I have always encouraged people to travel, to see the world to experience life and all it has to offer. I’ve traveled with people and alone…

Travelling alone is scary, it can be daunting but I imagine or visualise I’m just traveling around my city or traveling to London. This takes to fear out of the unknown for me anyway. In January 2016, I was going through an extremely stressful time, my life had turned upside down, friends I loved turning their backs on me and many things I’d kept hidden deep down came flooding out. I was a mess, I was anxiety-ridden and fearful. My mum had a tarot reading. The reader explained I would have a new relationship and I would go traveling. I laughed, when my mum told me, “Mum I have no money and I feel ill how can I ever go traveling”. A few months later the relationship began, This I will leave for another post….

Fast forward a few more months and I thought about traveling somewhere… My intuition spoke to me… while trying to hold myself together for my own sanity after a stressful year I felt drained and I needed to get away to recharge. I needed to move on and find a balance in my life. I didn’t feel I was doing my son any good or my relationship. I needed to get back to me, for me, travel has helped me connect to myself and my spirituality, to tap into my free spirit before motherhood, study, 9-5 and mortgages. I was and am a spirit junkie, I needed to fill up all that had been drained away by life and people.

Where would I go? It was January and cold in the UK and most of Europe. How would I pay for it? Did I have the strength and confidence to travel by myself? Out of nowhere, I applied for a credit card, When I think back I’m not even sure why I made the application. I think I was guided slowly to put the wheels in motion.

I spoke to my Mum and son, I asked if it was ok if I went away for 2 weeks. Both were ok and fully supportive, agreeing it would help me. I thought where I could go, which was warm, cheap, the flight and jet lag would accommodate 2 weeks. I looked at Sri Lanka, Egypt a place special to me but having struggles or Australia? Another place which I had such a deep bond with and where my son was conceived. Eventually, I decided on Bali, I had traveled to Bali and the Gilli Islands when I returned from my year in Australia. I was 5 months pregnant, in a state of bliss, love, togetherness, and fire. I wanted to feel like that again. February 19, ticket booked I was traveling Bali. I AirBnb, decided where I’d stay and got my summer clothes out.

I didn’t get such a desirable response from some people, in fact, I didn’t tell others because I didn’t want their negative response. My relationship faulted because I was going but I reassured him it was for me, I needed to get back to me. After caretaking everyone’s feelings it dawned on me “What the hell am I doing?” I’m traveling halfway across the world alone! I hadn’t traveled such a massive distance alone since 2001. However I needed this, damn it I did.

Was my quest a daft pan idea, was I going to really get back to me?

 

 

 

I got the plane from Manchester, it was cold and I was wrapped up. I took off and I cried, I cried for me, for missing my son and my relationship which was a mess. I decided I didn’t want to talk to anyone, I wanted to relax for 2 weeks and meditate. I couldn’t be more wrong, I was going to be busy meeting and mingling.

After 2 planes and jet lag I arrived, met by a taxi and hot humid weather. I was back to this beautiful place – jimbarung. I explored a little bit I was scared, I felt daunted and I still questioned what I was doing. I drank my duty-free and slept, not too great. The next morning I got up and had breakfast, I met a couple from France, returning from Australia. We chatted over coffee, I went back to my room and I vowed to myself I’d venture out the next day.

I arranged for a taxi to take me out, wait then I’d Coe back. I went to Kuta, not the most magical place but I was alone, pushing through the fear and chatting to people from all over the world about our lives, where we’d traveled etc. Yes, I was sat alone in a sports bar but I felt connected, I felt alive and excited. I slept better that night, and I was feeling excited…

 

My next stop was Ubud the place I loved so much on my first visit. I was staying at a “home stay” with a family which was nurturing for me. I went out every night, ate alone, went to bars but I never felt alone.

I felt alive, embracing the culture, eating the beautiful food and making friends with locals and people from all over the world. Having alternative therapies, swimming, a bike ride through the jungle.

Bali has changed, everywhere had WiFi, the traffic had exploded, but the beauty of Bali was still there. It’s a magical place, for me, Ubud is the centre for me. The energy is wonderful, I was shinning and glowing. My host family came to be my mini family especially on Balinese new year, it’s a day of silence, of reflection – a time to think. Everywhere was closed, no travel, we were confined to the homestead. Ironic because I initially decided On the plane I wasn’t going to talk to anyone, I couldn’t cope with anyone’s stress. Funny how the universe has a laugh sometimes.

I spent that day with Adam an American staying at the same Homestead, a guy from South Carolina, we chatted and ate the beautiful food our mini family prepared for us. We chatted about our spirituality, lives, family, and travels. I had so many of these honest and open discussions, in fact, I’ve had many over the years with people I’ve met on my travels.

I felt grounded, I felt my journey here was not a mistake but a quest. I felt balanced, I had the chance to think, to listen to my inner guide. When I feel overwhelmed I think about my 2 weeks in Bali, my quest to find me. I meditate on the sounds, the energy, and the peace I found in myself. While I don’t always spring back and feel that peace straight away. I do, however, remember what I can accomplish and the peace is deep inside me. I will always have this, and it can’t be taken away from me.

Thank you Bali

JP x

Published in memoirs
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