Let’s Talk Culture

Once again I got the question what I actually want to do once I finish my tourism degree. Except this time the person in question kept asking and the final question was what tourism is for me. What is travelling for me? Why do I find travelling so fascinating?

Cultures was my first answer. When I travel, I want to see the culture of the country. The deepest layer of the people, their routines and how they live. You haven’t seen a country until you really feel the culture.

Just now I have an exam coming up about globalization. One of the most interesting aspects is how it effects culture. Is the whole world really turning slowly into America?

No. Compared to some other travelers amongst us I might have little travel experience, however with what I know and have seen around me I honestly think America can not take over the world and change all the cultures. We will not turn into McWorld.

People might walk down the street in Indonesia with their Starbucks coffee, pass 10 McDonalds, watch American TV shows and want the American dream, they will still go home, take care of their loved ones, do their rituals. The values and believes they inherit from their parents and society are so ingrained, I think it is almost impossible to change that.

The outside of cities might get an American feel to it, but what keeps culture alive is the people themselves. As a traveler you have to go off the beaten track, talk to the locals, experience their daily routine and get a feel of their culture. That’s what travelling is all about for me and that’s what I find so fascinating.

MF - Culture

Saying goodbye to my love Bali..

My feet are finally going to be on the move again. My time in Bali is up and the itch of moving on is growing each minute. I know I haven’t told you anything about the last month (!?) but my final few weeks didn’t go exactly as planned..

The week that was supposed to be my final week at my internship turned into a disaster when I got pretty ill over the weekend. High fever, muscle pain, headache etc. I finally decided to visit a doctor and what I was fearing became true.. I had dengue fever. Almost 6 months of perfect health and there it was, my worst nightmare.

I spend 3 days in the hospital and 5 nights at a friends house recovering and although I felt like crap then, I’m better, if not even better than before! So as my horoscope said yesterday, I’m packing my bags before the boredome sets in. In about 24 hours I will be in Thailand, with my best friend, doing what I love most: Travelling.

The best part for you, my dear followers, is that I will have lots and lots of stories once I get back home, which I will all share with you over time. Back to packing my backpack it is now and time to say goodbye to my love Bali.. I will miss you!

 

 

Another break from Bali: Gili Trawangan

I absolutely love being an intern in Bali, except for the intern part. It’s a well known fact that being an intern sucks and from what I’ve experienced so far I agree 100%. I don’t get paid,  have to do some pretty shitty jobs and my opinion is not really valued, but hey, I’m in freakin’ Bali! Which means I can have the best little holidays during the weekend.

Since my first little holiday in Yogyakarta, I was back in the rat race faster than I wished for so I booked me and my cousin (who has been traveling in Bali for the last 2 months) on the fast boat to Gili T. 3 Days 2 nights of total relaxing, getting my tan back and realizing where I am at the moment. Just think about it for a moment. I don’t want to make you jealous but in the western world, whenever you plan a long weekend break, most people can’t just hop to a little island where there are no motorized vehicles, white sandy beaches, clear blue water and sunshine to soak in. I can.

Now some of you may know that Gili T is known for their parties, mushrooms and weed but after waking up at 6 am, a bumpy 2 hour boat ride and lying on the beach the rest of the day we simply could not move that night. We were so tired that we decided to have an early night and wake up early to see the sunrise. My head must have been on holiday mode because I didn’t even think to set an alarm clock and realised we missed sunrise only after breakfast. We missed sunset that night and again missed sunrise the next morning..

Before the whole trip, I looked through my lonely planet on what to do on that cute little island. Rent a push bike and go around the island seemed to be the best way to see everything. We took our time and stopped whenever we wanted. I mean, when you see a place like this it just yells: “Stop here! Have a drink!” right? Even when we’ve been on the road for only 10 minutes..

Half way around the island (have I mentioned that you can push bike you way around the entire island in less than an hour?!) we stopped at what I first thought was a restaurant on the beach that happened to have sun beds and entirely empty. They welcomed us with open arms and we settled in for an afternoon of relaxing. It turned out to be quite a luxury resort but that didn’t keep us from coming back there the next day.

.

The empty surroundings, the cool water, the heat of the sun and the right amount of breeze were the perfect mixture for a full day of sunbathing.

.

.

Even though we didn’t do everything I wanted to do, at least we took the lazy tourist transport local transport to the resort our last day, snorkeled for a bit, did the push bike around the island and relaxed. We didn’t go to a party, see the turtle sanctuary, climbed the hill for sunset or sunrise or visited one of the other Gili islands and still it was the best weekend break.

.

I’m one lucky intern.

.

That’s it, from now on I’m Canadian

The European Cup. How cool would it be to stay up all night, go to a bar to watch the Dutch orange lions kick some German butt, go to sleep for 2 hours and wake up full of energy, laughing and making fun of my German co-workers. Bye bye dream..

Fighting against my sleep, sitting in a bar with Dutch and German supporters, a vomiting guy behind me, listening to the Germans screem their team towards the victory, 2 hours of sleep, waking up even more tired and hearing how well Germany played last night. Hello reality..

My genius plan now (if I can say so myself) is to tell everybody I’m actually Canadian and it’s not even a lie. Although I don’t have a Canadian passport, being born there make me technically a Canadian, right? Right!?

Anyway, at least I’m on the other side of the world and don’t have to watch all the orange decoration that remind me of the awful defeat..

1 Giant Mind: The Bali Experiment

Now you all know about my odd taste of music, I might as well tell you about my “spiritual experiences”. Ever since I can remember I’ve been interested in the “spiritual world”. I have a pack of tarot cards, 2 books about how to use it and 3 or 4 books about dreams. I’ve had a personality analysis based on the planet positions on my date and time of birth. I’ve been to a medium to “communicate” with my dad and I’m thinking about getting hypnotherapy.

I didn’t go to the 1 Giant Mind gathering with the intention to actively participate. I was just curious how it would look like, what it all was about and to have a little taste of the atmosphere. When we arrived at the beach the vibe was relaxed, we took some photo’s and decided to sit right in the middle of everything with kertan music playing on the stage. We were explained what 1 Giant Mind was all about, what research has showed so far and the goal of this gathering by the 2 co-founders and Bapak Merta Ada, a meditation teacher with over 80.000 students. 20 Minutes of eyes closed silence followed.

.

I sat there, with my eyes closed, very consious of the silence of 2000 people I was sharing this with. I could feel the soft breeze more consious, hear the sound of waves in the background more consious, smell the fresh air more consious. Where I first thought 20 minutes was a long time, during the experience I thought it was not long enough. The eyes closed silence was very relaxing although I didn’t feel like I was truely meditating.

We were lead out of the eyes closed silence by Gary Gorrow, one of the co-founders of 1 Giant Mind. Still with our eyes closed, he started to tell us to combine our inner silence. As soon as he said the words, I felt the physical impact of the engergy created on that beach. I have never in my life experienced anything like it. Slowly we opened our eyes to look at the people around us that we just shared this incredible experience with. The feeling of oneness and unity was dripping off the smiling faces I saw. We were no individuals at this stage, we were truly one.

I’m not saying that I’m hooked on meditation after this experience although I now truly believe that we do need these moments of eyes closed silence. How much impact it has on the world I don’t know. I’m just very thankful I was part of this experiment in Bali, one of the most spiritual places on earth. And how can you leave Bali without at least one spiritual experience?!

Now my questions to you. Have you ever experienced anything like this? Ever felt the physical impact during mass meditation?


Music soul mates

A few new Australian blokes recently moved into the hotel I’m staying at in Bali. We (the upstairs balconly girls as we like to call ourselves) decided from the very first time we heard them talk we were not going to like them. They were loud, Australian and all male, but mostly they were new. We liked the hotel just as it was. Nice and quiet, peaceful and away from all the Australian tourists. So when they arrived, we literally braced ourselves, waiting for the disaster to happen.

That disaster never happend. In fact, they invited us to their house warming “barbie” with free beer in the esky and food cooking away. As a Dutch person, I jump at the word free so I figured hell, why not! As it turned out, one of the blokes works in the music industry and shared my odd taste of music.

I don’t come across a lot of people that appreciate my rather mixed music collection. From Avril Lavigne to Tracy Chapman, Three Days Grace, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Foo Fighters, Ben Howard, Don Diablo, Bob Dylan and Mumford & Sons. It’s all in my Itunes and so much more. I have a passion for the music I love and no particular favourite genre. So to meet someone that actually understood my taste (the deeper meaning, the feeling some songs give you, it was a pretty intense conversation!) was not what I thought I would find here in Bali.

We ended up introducing each other to other bands, musicians and what not. I made him listen to Damien rice and he introduced me to Jeff Buckly. He’s going on a mission today to find some more music for me to listen to and I can’t wait. I don’t have a lot of music knowledge and living in Bali hasn’t expand this either. Until now!

This is just another learning lesson for me, to not judge people by their cover. I had a blast last night and can’t wait to see what he’s come up with.

Sunset at Kuta Beach

After a full day of shopping all around Kuta, driving from shopping mall to local markets and  walking down all the main streets, I was tired and just wanted to sit down with a cold drink. What is a better place to do that than the cool shade of an umbrella, while watching the sunset on the beach?

During these sunset hours it seems like the beach transforms. From people soaking in the sun relaxing and surfers in the water to a busy hub I don’t know where to look with all the things going on. The local boys come out to play some football, the love couples walking along the shore and the sports fanatics doing their daily run. When you’re lucky you’ll see a ceremony of some sort with the accompanying traditional music. The more lazy people (including me!) huddle together at one of the beach bars for a sunset drink and the vendors zigzag through the crowd, hoping for a good selling day.

It was on that day full of shopping, when I placed my butt down on a chair not planning to get up anytime soon, that one of the beach bar boys asked me if I wanted to play a game of backgammon. The last time I played that I was on a holiday with my mom years ago but I was up for a challenge!

Living the Bali life, pretty nice right?!