Tanah-Lot: lookouts, lewaks, and life

After a couple weeks in, I was starting to feel a little more at ease in this foreign country. This being my first trip outside of Canada (that I can remember) as well as being alone made for some difficult times throughout my days there. Like I’ve said before, being someone who struggles with anxiety and depression, this trip was a big step for me. I am so grateful for the friends and family that I had at home trying to help me through it when they could even with a 15 hour time difference. I had told myself before I left that I would try to make contact with home as little as possible, but I realize that that would have been completely impractical. It doesn’t make you any less of a traveler or an adventurer to ask for help when you feel like you’re losing your mind. Planning a trip by yourself is a big step and you need to do whatever it may be to make it happen. In my case, that was understanding that if I was going to stay in Bali for a month, I was going to have to get that reassurance from friends and family that I was OK over there. Even just chatting over the phone or getting a message from them made me feel more at ease and helped me get through my low times. Basically, what I’m saying is that if you struggle with anxiety or depression or any of the sort, try not to let it hold you back from doing things you want, just because it’s scary. Everything in life can be modified to make it more suitable for you. Just because one person who runs a travel blog has gone like 3 months without talking to anyone on a remote island and etc, etc, does not mean that you have to do the same to feel adventurous and independent. Do what you gotta do to just get out there and feel better about yourself.

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I was approaching the last couple of days at Villa #1. I was super excited to move to Ubud for the second half of my trip. Before I left Kuta I had to make a tattoo appointment and send out some postcards. Even though I was still regularly talking with everyone I was sending a card out to, I absolutely had to do it. There’s just something about a physical hand-written letter that warms my little heart up. As for finding the tattoo shop, I recommend to anyone planning on going to any shop to make sure you know the real address, as it took me three different tries in order to find the real one. Though in searching for it, I stumbled upon the cutest Alice in Wonderland themed restaurant and ended up having a good day, all in all.

I had made arrangements the next day for Andy, the driver who brought me to the tattoo shop, to take me to Tanah Lot Temple. I had originally planned on walking there but it seemed to be a little too far for me – about a five-hour walk. Really, it’s not that bad, but when taking timing and heat into consideration it was a bit much. Andy picked me up in the morning and we went a new route that I had never been on. There were a lot more rice fields and wide open spaces this way and it ended up being a very nice drive. He brought me around to places and told me some history of Balinese people and their religions as well as a bunch of other facts. I highly recommend getting a driver if you’re planning a trip to Bali, at least for a portion of your time. There are just some things only the locals can know as well as it will help out anyone who’s income solely relies on tourism.

We arrived at the temple quite early and Andy dropped me off and told me to give him a call when I was ready to leave. It worked out rather nicely because it was much cooler and a lot less populated in the morning. I decided to grab a coffee on my way down to the beach, which tasted like shit.  Just kidding… it didn’t taste like shit but it was actually made from shit! Lewak coffee is made from lewak droppings. They’re funny little creatures that are probably one of the cutest little animals I’ve ever seen, and surprisingly their poop actually doesn’t taste bad! It was a good way to start off my morning and I even got to watch two of them playing beside my table.

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Also! If you are planning on trying Lewak Coffee please remember to find an ethical source. High demand for their coffee means mistreatment from some vendors. –

After I got to hang out with some sleepy lewaks, I made my way through the marketplace that carries through to the temple. It was a bit of a maze but definitely one of the coolest markets I’d ever been to. By the end of the day, I got to hold a giant snake as well as an owl, then had lunch over the ocean. I’m glad I decided to see the actual temple before it got too busy because it ended up being littered with humans within a couple of hours.

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I went for a walk along the beach and sat down on a large rock on the far end. I stayed sitting there for about an hour and just got to take in everything I was feeling and seeing. The beach itself reminded me a lot of Tofino, B.C, which was a comforting feeling and reminded me of home. It was extremely peaceful to sit somewhere without the surrounding area being scattered about with people as usual. I like being alone and anyone that knows me knows that I really dislike crowded places, so it was quite the treat to be alone with such an amazing view.

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As a couple more hours passed by, I gave Andy a call to come and pick me up. I strolled around the beach some more while I waited for him to arrive. I was excited for a change of scenery. Beaches would turn to jungle and sand would be changing to rice fields. This would be the first experience with an actual jungle that I’ve ever had, and for once,  I was anxious in the best way possible.

17 days down already and another 15 to go.

 

-d.l

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