Ukiyo – Living in the Moment

“Somewhere on your journey don’t forget to turn around and enjoy the view.”

– Unknown –

With international borders slated to open cum April 1st, I’m pretty sure many of us are just itching to get onto that plane and fly off to distant lands. If you’re like me, most likely these past two years have been hell, heck it’s such a tragedy that the only borders I crossed were between Selangor and KL. Yup, you heard that right, even with state borders opened, I’ve been a bum at home and travelling in between malls like they’re countries in Europe. 

The last real holiday I went to was in Bali, Indonesia and honestly, I miss that place. I spent eight wonderful days on the island and though there are different approaches to how people spend their breaks, these are some of my takeaways from my trip there (don’t take this too seriously, these are based on my experiences okay?)

1. Try to catch the Barong and Kecak dance at least once.

Okay, I might be biased for saying this, I mean heck I’m guilty of watching the Barong and Kecak dance multiple times even though I already know the storyline. For me, these two dances reflect on the deeply spiritual culture of Bali. A fight between good and evil and an ancient ritual that is also some form of exorcism? If that doesn’t intrigue you, I don’t know what does.  Not only will you get to watch a riveting performance, but you will also get to appreciate the beauty of the setting and the costumes, as well as the cultural background that shaped the island’s history. 

The Barong dance is normally set in an amphitheatre and showtimes are in the morning whereas the Kecak dance begins at sunset. Personally, for me, the best place to catch the Kecak dance is at Pura Uluwatu or Uluwatu Temple. The view of the setting sun kissing the horizon of the Indian Ocean as your body is cooled down by the gentle ocean breeze as the flames dance in front of you is a sight to behold. 


2. It’s okay if you don’t know where you’re going.

It’s usually through wandering some random backstreets that you find the most amazing hidden places. Don’t you ever get envious of the locals who call the same streets you’re lost in their homes? No, I’m not telling you to get lost on purpose, I’m saying that it’s okay to just wander around (please make sure you have data so you can at least google map your way back). The last trip saw my friends and I getting lost multiple times, I got tired of it. But it’s through these wanderings, I found the friendliest people who were willing to go out of their way to show us around, to give us an extra helping of drinks, and where their curiosity of your home country made you miss home for a while; in fact, I ate nasi goreng paprik at a hole in the wall stall, so that was good. 


3. Take it slow.

Literally, you’re on a holiday not competing in The Amazing Race. To some people, those eight days could definitely be spent visiting all the tourist attractions but honestly to me, it should be a fine balance between both. Allocate a few days to geek out on those places you wanted to visit and take the remaining days to just rest and relax. Want to just sit in your hotel room, binge on brainless tv, and order room service? Nobody is stopping you. I spent a whole day eating breakfast at McDonald’s, strolling through a shopping mall, catching a movie at the local cinema and ended the day at Kuta Beach sipping on soda and enjoying the sunset. And to me, that day was my favourite out of the eight days I was there. 


4. Enjoy every moment of your trip with the people you’re with.

Travelling with friends can either be really fun or a pain. Trust me, spending close quarters with my mates, sharing the same hotel room and one bathroom was a real nightmare. You get to witness their quirks first-hand, get annoyed with how none of the boys knows how to put the toilet seat up and even who spent the most and had to borrow money from the rest before the trip was even halfway through. But hey, that’s all part of the experience. The pros outweigh the cons. These were the same people that put a smile on my face and made me laugh every single day, these were the same people who called me “Mama Di” (I was the mum friend), these were the same people that accepted my quirks that annoyed them just like how their quirks annoyed me, these were the same people that made the whole trip memorable. So seriously, enjoy the company, because these memories only happen once.