House of Cards

It started with Mr. Sunny, or maybe it started with the healer I kept visiting but somewhere about a month ago I lost my footing. Things went from smooth sailing along a well-paved path, to literally and figuratively stumbling at every turn. There was the passport debacle, which was quickly followed by my debit card deciding to leave me, rendering me without access to money.

This proved to be quite a nuisance for both me and my Mom who had to Fed Ex me a new card, but all in all it was manageable and I decided it was the universe telling me to stop spending so quickly. I would have preferred a more subtle message, say like losing $5, but who am I to argue?

Then my lovely Mysore sister Cary arrived and we made plans to trek around Ubud and spend some time at the beach. The second night Cary was there a huge rainstorm hit, it flooded the apartment and made the tiles floors turn to slip-n-slides. I slipped and slid right into the door jam and broke two toes – one on each foot.

All right, I guess the universe wants me to slow down, start to ground myself or something along those lines. Dear universe: I am working to decipher these not-so-subtle messages, but come on, cut a girl some slack I think one tow would have hit home just fine.

Then four of us Bali Spirit girls headed over to the Gili islands for a few days of bad behavior and tanning. I think it best to not disclose all my bad habits here but sufficed to say, I made a few poor decisions on Gili one of which left me quite ill and seriously questioning my decision making processes.

I returned to Ubud and began packing up. Another two months had just flown by and the time had come for me to leave my Bali home. My replacement debit card had still not arrived so when Claude offered to partially pay me for my retreats in cash it seemed like a very good way to ensure I could keep traveling.

This is how I came to have $450 US dollars in my wallet – something I never do. I have a few self-imposed rules for traveling: never have my drivers license and passport in the same place, never have my debit card and my credit card in the same place and never carry more than $200 cash. I broke those rules in Australia.

My last two days in Bali were productive but scattered. I just kept thinking, Rachel, pull your sh*t together. I had to repack my bag about ten times because I just couldn’t make it all fit, I missed appointments, and basically just struggled with every tiny task.

Two days before I left Bali my bankcard arrived. Alright, I am whole again I thought, I can use an ATM. In the hopes that none of you will ever have to experience this, let me tell you it is a real pain in the arse to not have a bankcard when you are half a world away from your nearest local bank branch. Requisite shout-out to my beautiful mother for her proximity to speaker phones and Fed Ex outlets.

Pande my friend and trusty driver picked me up to take me to the Denpasar airport. I was still a completely scattered mess and I was coming down with a cold which was not helping to unfog my head. Pande dropped me off, I gathered up all my various bags and trotted off to test the validity of my visa extension. About an hour later I realized I had forgotten to pay Pande and he had been too kind to yell at me across the sea of passengers.

At immigration it quickly became obvious that Mr. Sunny’s visa was less than legit. The pit in my belly reserved for times of impending prosecution flared up and I am pretty sure all the tan left my body as my face turned white in those panicked five to ten minutes. In the end I ‘repaid’ the departure tax to the immigration officer – a bribe of 150,000 rupiah – which allowed me to leave and soothed the digestive fire ravishing my gut.
Next stop Melbourne, Australia. Once I got to Australia I felt like the tides were changing, I was functioning at a relatively high level again. I had a few truly beautiful days in Daylesford, Vicotria getting to experience a country-side autumn and not having to make any plans or decisions as my friend led me around his home turf.

Getting to see fall was really such a treat for me. I love seasons, I don’t think I can ever settle in the tropics because I love chilly autumn nights, the first buds of spring popping up through the frozen ground, and snow, I love snow. Daylesford was a pallet of blaze reds, pumpkin oranges and blonde grain fields. The highlight of that trip for me was a visit to a lavender farm.

That may be my new happy place. A manageable sized farm of lavender fields and olive groves surrounded by Australian bush lands and herds of Kangaroos. For two days all was well again.


Then I headed off for Sydney. One of the serious trials of the global nomad is how much crap you have to tote along with you. I try to get away with as little as possible but this still means that when I fly anywhere I am trudging along with one giant suitcase, a yoga mat, a backpack, a purse and a computer bag. Myself and all my belongings made it into a cab from the airport to my friends’, Brad and Tors, house, but only myself and my luggage made it out of the cab. My purse decided to stay behind.

As a result, I have spent the last 48 hours in a flat out panic, cancelling this, calling them, waiting by the phone, the inbox the door… This morning my emergency credit card arrived via DHL courier, tick that one off the list.

Perhaps the biggest issue to arise from this lapse, aside from the $450 US that went missing too, is that I now have no drivers license, and while most Asian motorbike renters don’t seem to require such frivolities, New Zealand car hire shops do. What little plan I had for New Zealand hinged entirely around hiring a car to stow all my luggage in while I traipsed around the countryside, crashing at quaint B&B’s and stopping as I like to take photos.
It hasn’t all been trial and tribulation however. Brad and Tors have seen to it that I got to sail in a weekend yacht race on Sunday and yesterday we cruised the Sydney harbor.

In the afternoon, I met up with Gai, one of the Escape the World retreat yogis and she kindly took me in ,for which I am forever in her debt as my time with her was the height of my flightiness and scatterbrained status. I cried, I drank wine I left my bag at the coffee shop we went to, affectively losing my wallet all over again – thankfully this was only a momentary lapse.

And through it all I couldn’t put my finger on why I was so frazzled, why I felt so ungrounded, so lost. I am having a hard time figuring out this stage, but come on universe… let me keep some money on me – whatever lesson we are working on here on can’t really require me to be penniless can it?

However, even in the midst of the storm I managed to have some really lovely moments. Sailing, walking around Sydney and sharing meals with friends I have met along the way.
Today, the tide really is turning, because I am making it so! Enough of the scatterbrained girl I have been lately.

Proverbial ducks … time to get in your proverbial rows!

Universe, while I am still not 100% clear on which lesson I am learning here, unattachment, responsibility, stability, frugality... I promise I am working on it, so you can take it easy on me for a while...

Footnote: After writing this I learned that yesterday Guruji, Sri. K. Patabbhi Jois passed away in Myspre, India. Guruji is the father of my kind of yoga and the gifts that he left during his time here are immeasurable. I honor him tonight with a Mysore practice and by paying puja to him and for all of us who love him and the path he followed.
Om Shanit Guruji, Om Shanti Ashtangis.

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