Winds of Change

Something is in the air. We’re feeling the tugs of the crossroad. A confluence of disparate influences are lining up like bowling pins -or given where we are, like ducks.

We marked our first year in Bali a month ago, and it rang some bells for me. Our loose plan had been to use Bali as a base while exploring Southeast Asia for 3-ish years, and now a third of it had passed. It was a great year, full of diverse experiences and adventures. Perhaps our most exotic / challenging / rewarding piece of the year was our trip to Myanmar, but still, we didn’t travel from Bali as much as expected, simply because we dove into Ubud more instead. However, the list of places that we want to visit in Southeast Asia has only expanded since we arrived here, yet now we have less time in which to do that.

As a result, I began to realize a desire to leave Ubud, and in fact to leave Bali altogether, in exchange for living somewhere else for another good chunk of time. I’d rather experience living in different SEA countries such as Sri Lanka, Laos or Vietnam for a while, than to stay in any one place the entire time. I don’t have hard feelings about this, and can see the merits of staying put. We’ve invested time into learning the language, goegraphy and culture, and have made some friends -both expat types and local Balinese. I’m finally playing tennis again, and volunteering at the cat clinic, and working on some art projects, and life is good just like this. The culture, ceremonies, and people are beautiful, and there’s plenty more to keep learning about Bali, Indonesia, Hinduism. But the truth is that I don’t love it here the way I want to -the way Jennifer does. Maybe its Ubud -or Penestanan, which at times feels too westernized, discovered, comfortable, and too far from the ocean. Maybe its my personal sense of contributing to Bali’s (percieved fast) decline that I can’t shake. And maybe it’s that I sense some imbalance / tension / destabilization afoot: an economic / political / social / or cultural  bubble that’s going to burst. Maybe I watched the Year of Living Dangerously too many times. (Its likely all of these things, and the feeling that I “get” Bali now, and want to “get” other countries as well. And by the way, the Presidential election is coming in early July, and should be very interesting. Look for the young, progressive, people’s favorite, Java Governor Joko Widodo, to excite this country and threaten a very corrupt power structure).

Our current rental contract ends with August -though could even end sooner if the place is sold to a recently interested party. For many months we’ve wrestled whether or not to stay and renew -if given the opportunity. We seem ready to let go of this fabulous place, and all of its benefits and practicalities now. But before we decide to leave Bali and seek out a new base, we’ve decided to look more closely at other parts of the island, including other villages that surround Ubud. We both share a desire to move into a more authentic Balinese community now that our language skills have developed somewhat, and that could include villages near us already. You can’t have everything, but high on my list is to be close(r) to the ocean. So we’ve been taking small excurions and overnight trips to varied seaside communities of late, exploring their potential. So far nothing grabs us on balance better than the Ubud area.

Another factor in all of this concerns our house in San Francisco. There are tax issues and related deadlines to consider, and Jennifer’s general dislike for SF -versus my deep desire to remain a San Franciscan as long as possible. A really interesting tidbit we recently discovered is that joining the Peace Corps -which I’ve long wanted to do, counts as living in SF, which seems to eliminate the pressure of the capital gaines deadlines and requirements. We wonder about the prospects of working somewhere exotic in Indonesia, say maybe teaching headhunters in Borneo about plumbing   : )

But there’s a big monkey wrench recently developing in our spokes, which grows increasingly likey to tie us to Bali for some time to come. Our cat Jingga is recovering from some serious medical attention at the Villa Kitty cat clinic. He could be there for 3-4-5 or more months (he’s been there 2 already). We will not give him up to the clinic, and we want to live close enough to visit him several times per week. But even after he leaves the hospital, he’ll need some recovery time -with us- before we can even consider moving to another SEA country and leaving him -and our other cat Mannix- with others. We are determined to keep them together because they are serious BFF. That might be very hard to do, but we’ll cross that dreaded bridge then.

In the meantime, we need to leave Indonesia in June in order to renew our 6 month visa. We are leaning towards 2-3 weeks at a small island off the Malaysian coast called Penang, and its surrounding area. In theory, Malaysians speak the same language as Indonesia. We’re excited by the prospects of seeing another country.


These photos are added here just because.

matt camera 5-17 cremation 013


Matt's iphone 5-10-13 010

may27-v2 015

M_May20_2014 025

M_Sep3 046

M_sept11 037

matt_iphone_Nov23_2013 061

M_1-25-13         Kuntia Temple 029

M_iphone_Aug25 013

M_Sep3 015

matt_iphone_Nov23_2013 021

M_August_18_Upacara 013



1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Alexsandra Trevor
    May 24, 2014 @ 14:17:04

    I will be so sad to see you go, but I do get the desire to explore. I want to do more of it myself. There is so much to experience in this part of the world might as well take advantage of where we are!
    Glad Jingga is on the recover road.


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