Solitude, If Not Solace

My favorite day of the week has always been Sunday. Saturdays are nice too, but I usually need that day to unwind from the proceeding week and so it is Sunday when I can really relax. The only flaw with Sundays is that they are immediately followed by Mondays, but here in Bali with no one on my dance card, Mondays aren’t too bad either.
On this particular Sunday I am being decidedly, blissfully non-productive in my solitude. Perhaps that is too harsh, it’s not like I am still in bed or anything. Among my meager accomplishments today, I finished reading What is the What, by Dave Eggars, which I recommend highly. This task required that I sit in the sun poolside for an hour or so resulting in a deepening of my tan and amassing of perhaps another 20 bug bites.
I strolled leisurely next door to Indus my most often visited neighborhood restaurant, where I can get Wi-Fi access while enjoying various delicacies - my favorite of which is a warm Tunisian salad served on mashed beats which sets me back about $4 and is more food than I can possibly eat in one sitting – that is unless it is Sunday and I allow myself to sit for three hours.

I have plenty I could be doing of course, like deciding when I am going to leave Bali, how and where I am going to spend the next month, what I want to do in Vietnam, Thailand, Australia or any of the other countries I am still planning to visit. And of course there is the ever-present hum of the future nagging me to decide where I will live and what I will do for a living when this journey is over.

Some days I think about speeding up the trip after Bali – perhaps not a month in each other country, maybe a few weeks here, one week there, get back to the US while I can still get some ski runs in. Or maybe I should abandon my return plans all together and see how long I can ride this wave out here in Bali, convert my life savings to Indonesian Rupiah – actually might not be a bad idea given the financial events of the last week.

But the universe has a funny way of setting goals and deadlines for you and half a world away a series of events, seemingly unrelated to me, have dictated that I be in Europe next July. So at least I know where I will be ten months from now.

Apparently little known cyclist from Texas has opted to ride in Le Tour de 2009 and well… I’d be a friggin moron if I didn’t book my ticket to Paris today. It is however, surprisingly difficult to book a ticket to Paris when you don’t know the city you will be departing from. No matter, it will all work out.

This week got kicked off with morning meditation in the Ashram/resort I am living in. These practitioners adhere to a tenant that is not exactly in keeping with my chosen path, but there are enough similarities that I feel comfortable in their presence and I am having some of my best meditations alongside them so it feels right to join in their fun.

What has become my routine here in Ubud is one that brings me great joy and calm each day. Every morning I practice yoga (asanas), be that in my villa, the shala or by attending a led class at the Yoga Barn. Then I stroll to Kafé for a latte and lunch or sometimes I go there before class. Afternoons are different each day but generally involve me walking for long distances. Evenings I venture out to one of the many ridiculously inexpensive and truly wonderful restaurants, where I sit alone most nights and watch the world go by.
I should explain that there is a sort of a yoga mafia here who controls most things yoga-related in Ubud. The Mafioso run not only the main yoga shala in town but they also operate my favorite café and a yoga clothing shop that I am powerless to pass with out making a monetary deposit.
This mafia however trades cement shoes for bare feet, ‘whacking’ for meditating, pasta for nasi campor and zoot suits for organic cotton yoga pants. Bali Spirit, as the mafia is known, does a fantastic job of centralizing all things yogic, metaphysical, holistic, organic and healthy in Ubud. And their restaurant Kafé is like the Grand Central Station for trains departing to enlightenment – also they make the best vanilla lattes in town. And as we all know, my Pavlovian bell is the sound of frothing milk.

So I write this morning from Kafé, over an organic/free range breakfast burrito filled with green chilies, which is good enough to bring me right back to Colorado and a homesick tear to my eye. In a few minutes I will leave and go take a class at Yoga Barn and then I am off to rent myself a motorbike.

I know… I know… I said I wouldn’t do it, but I have evolved and besides it scares the crap out of me to drive here and this trip is largely about conquering fears. Did you know that not long ago I was terrified to spend the night alone, and now look at me. If I can sleep in room whose doors barely lock, surrounded by every kind of biting insect imaginable, half-way around the world from those who have for so long comforted and protected me… then maybe, just maybe, I can drive a motor bike on the left side of what passes for a road in Indonesia.


Captnbaker said…
Funny, I just found out I will be in Tuscany July 2009 for a family reunion. So if not ski season, perhaps a rendez-vous in Europe? I was just accepted to school, thanks for sending the positive thoughts!
Anonymous said…
Rachel - if you decide you want to check out Lombok before you go, my uncle's partner and his family all live there... Amrul (my uncle's partner) actually lives on a different island during the week working for a mining company, but then he comes home to Lombok on the weekends. Anyway - it appears life is looking out for you, but if you need an Indonesian connection in your remaining time there, email me at Keep enjoying the journey! lkp
Anonymous said…
hey man!

I don't even have a motorcycle anymore! No fair!

All my love,
Sheri said…
Go Rachel! It's Sheri, Hilary's friend. I am so happy for you! You are brave, courageous and I am living vicariously in your beautiful journey.

You are truly one Feisty Female. I am tuning in regularly. The colors and writing are wonderful.

Go with's the journey as you know...not the destination. blissful....I have added you to my inspiration list....

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