Sometimes people say to me, “I can’t do what you’ve done. I don’t have the time/money.” “I’m too scared.” “I couldn’t travel around Asia alone. It’s too dangerous.” “I’m a woman and don’t feel safe.”
All of those statements are as true as you want to believe in them. I’m currently facing every issue that someone else would use to keep from living their dream…does that stop me? No. Because the reason I’m here is so much bigger than any of the excuses (valid or not) or risks which would keep me from being here.
Let me paint a picture for you. I’m sitting in a hostel in Kuta, Bali, Indonesia. I don’t particularly enjoy Kuta because its so touristy, dangerous, crowded, loud and generally more expensive than many places in Indonesia. I’m here because I’ve weighed my options and at the moment, this place serves my purpose. My hostel is $7.50/day and includes unlimited pancakes (equivalent to roti or crêpes), Air Conditioning and an ensuite toilet which I have to use a bucket of water to flush. The A/C isn’t the strongest thing I’ve experienced, so I’m hot much of the time. The bed I’m sleeping in isn’t the worst mattress I’ve slept on in Asia but close to it as it dips in the middle and I’m basically sleeping on a board. I’m in a dorm w/ 3 other beds, so at any given time I may have loud, messy and stinky roommates.
When I walk down the street a man or woman tries to sell me overpriced merchandise every 2.5 ft because I’m a westerner and that means I must be made of money. When I go to the beach I’m harassed every foot and a half by someone trying to convince me to take surf lessons, pay for a lounger, buy merchandise, a massage, henna, food and everything you could possibly imagine wanting and not wanting to be sold to you on a beach.
There’s a street between the main strip in town where all the nightclubs are and my hostel. If you walk down this street at night the likeliness you’ll be accosted is very high. If you’ve got a wallet, cash, phone or any other valuables on you, you’ll likely be going home without it. Getting mugged, robbed and pick-pocketed is not a rarity here.
Two days ago I was almost (unknowingly) pulled into a ring that may or may not have included money laundering, sex and drug trafficking. A girl I had met traveling a few days earlier in Ubud was slyly and slowly working me into a corner that would have been impossible to escape had I gotten pulled in any further…even 10 minutes longer than I had been would have been devastating. I barely escaped in the knick of time and I’m still shocked at how subtle her process was! THIS IS NOT A JOKE HERE! Lesson Learned…moving on.
Why am I here then? Right now I’m here because I’m at the very end of my bankroll without a backup plan. It’s cheap to be here. I can spend $8-$10/day for total living cost while I’m here. I’m making sacrifices every day, but there’s something out here that drives me to keep going. I don’t know where I’ll go next or what to do when I get there. I don’t know how to survive longer than I have…but I still have a dream…and my dream hasn’t merely been to meet amazing people and travel. I have questions about humanity, connection and behavior that I CANNOT leave without understanding. I’m closer now than I’ve ever been, but I feel something inside of me driving me to understand more completely why we do what we do and how to change it more easily and naturally.
I’m here to write, but my battery on my computer is dying and I don’t have the correct charger to charge it. I’m here to meditate but finding turmoil in my thoughts and environment rather than peace. Why am I here? Because I could be somewhere else barely living, acting like a stooge and regretting every moment of my un-lived life. Because I still believe in the cause that brought me on this journey 13 weeks ago. I believe the answers to the questions I seek will change the world as we know it, and I’m absolutely DETERMINED to discover them.
I’ve seen the world full of so much unhappiness and dissatisfaction in life. We are searching for something that I believe exists, but settling for temporary and unfulfilling means to fill the void and its making us sick and unhappy. I know this because I’ve experienced it most of my life. It’s no fault of my parents, family or friends. They suffer from it too. We all seem to at least to some extent. I believe there’s an answer that’s applicable to every human being on earth…at the very Core of our being…that can serve to fill and fulfill us in ways that uplift and inspire rather than tear down and destroy. I believe its a simple but overlooked principle, a truth that when its applied can actually change the nature of our motivation and behaviors. Maybe I’m crazy. Maybe it doesn’t exist. But if it does…no one will ever be the same…and that, to me…is worth my sacrifice to be here.