Over the course of 9 months in 2017, my partner and I sold all of our possessions, including 2 vehicles, and a house full of stuff. In order to sell the house for its maximum value, we also completed 3 months of renovations that had been lingering for over 3 years. We wrapped up 2 businesses and left a town and tight knit community that we both cherished. We did all of this in order to seek out a life of freedom, away from the hustle and bustle of the 9-5 life, but most importantly, we did it so that we could travel. This is our story…….
An article came to me today while doing work on my laptop, and it got me thinking about how little it takes to scare most people out of travelling.
The article was put out by the New York Times (click here to read the whole article) and is titled “Bali’s Rumbling Volcano Leaves Tourist Industry Gasping for Air.”
The article was written on December 7th, only 10 days after the rumblings of Mt Agung, caused the mandatory evacuation of 100 000 people who lived within close vicinity of it. The ash spewing from the volcano, caused flight cancellations and delays, stranding thousands of passengers.
The article goes on to say that because of the uncertainty of this erupting beast, it’s said that it could erupt again soon, many future flights and travel plans have been cancelled, and tourism seemingly came to an abrupt halt. One man is quoted as saying that occupancy was at 20%, instead of the 60% that was typical at that time of year.
Despite the fact that none of the tourist facilities are near the volcano, people have been frightened off, once again, from this absolutely incredible island nation. Is it the possible inconvenience of flight disruptions? Is it fear of being in direct line of a piece of lava spewing from the volcano? Is complete and utter unabashed fear? Fear of not even knowing what one is fearful of? Or maybe it is a fear that is ignited by others’ fear? Maybe people get scared because someone else gets scared, and then suddenly it’s all contagious!?
I have to say that I certainly can not relate to this sort of fear.
Bali is a very large island, by island standards, and there are many places to see that will bring you nowhere near the erupting volcano. The people are some of the most caring, thoughtful, friendly and wonderful people that you will ever meet. Experiencing the Balinese culture is like nothing else. Their Hindu values make them extremely warm and inviting, and you can’t help but feel completely at peace when among them.
I first travelled to Bali in 1995 when I was 18 years old. I was a student with Class Afloat, a floating class room, if you will, that took place aboard a 188 foot tall ship, S/V Concordia. There were 52 of us students on board, plus about 16 professional crew. We spent about 10 days on the island of Bali, back in the days of less tourism and less commercialism. We stayed in Ubud for a few nights, many of the streets weren’t paved, there weren’t many people around at all. There were a few smatterings of craft stalls and art markets, but nothing like it was when I returned in 2008. I was aghast at what had become of quaint little Ubud during the 13 years that I had been away. It was in that moment, that I realized how seemingly quickly things can change.
Although Bali has always been a tourist destination, mostly servicing Australians back in the early days, its popularity now, has put it firmly on many peoples’ bucket lists. And for good reason! However, this has unfortunately created a false economy for this island nation, as the slightest little things that go wrong, send it reeling into the pits of despair as tourists decide to go elsewhere, somewhere safer.
Well, I can tell you right now, that there is nowhere ‘safer’. The world is changing at an incredible rate. There are rumblings going on all over the place. As I type this, I am sitting in Costa Rica, and my partner and I experienced our first official 6.8 Earthquake about a month ago. Of course, it didn’t stop flights from flying, and it didn’t cause massive devastation, but it could have. If the epicentre was in San Jose, it very easily could have created a scenario that might have stranded passengers and caused many fatalities. But it didn’t.
Around the world there are hurricanes and floods, mud slides and typhoons. They happen ALL THE TIME. In fact, there are also volcanoes erupting here in Costa Rica. At any moment one of them could really start spewing, and then what? Do we all flee out of here, afraid of the entire country being carried away in a stream of lava? Of course not!
It is time that people started thinking clearly about these things. By cancelling a trip of a life time, or maybe one that you do every year, because of the teeny tiny rumblings of a volcano, is utterly ridiculous. You are in more danger of being hit by a car outside your house, then you are of being harmed by an erupting volcano. Let’s not forget that people have lived amongst volcanos for centuries! Besides, how cool would it be to actually see an erupting volcano!?
One of my all time favourite travel moments, actually was right here in Costa Rica back in 2004. I was near the town of Fortuna, made famous for it’s proximity to Arenal Volcano. The volcano was erupting at the time we were visiting, not a lot, just a bit of smoke through the day, but the real show was at night. I will never forget the experience of sitting in a RIVER of hot water, coming straight from the innards of that very volcano, while watching red rocks rumble and tumble from the top of it, splitting into thousands of red embers as they crashed down the slopes.
Of course, we were well enough away to not be in harms way, but seriously, can you imagine bearing witness to such a sight? I really felt like I had to pinch myself. I absolutely felt like I was in a dream world, like this only happened in books and in movies. But no, here I was, ACTUALLY there, ACTUALLY experiencing this awesome sight! Wouldn’t you like to experience that? Are you willing to set aside your fears of the unknown to really get out there and see things that you only dreamed of? That you too only thought happened in movies.
Please for the sake of all that is holy (I am not a religious person), re-consider your decisions when you make them based solely on ridiculous insights. Think, for once, about the lives of the people that depend on you. About those who survive solely because you have enough money to go wherever you want in the world. Don’t punish those that rely on you, just because you have an inkling of a fear! And really, don’t punish YOURSELF by taking away what could be one of the most incredible experiences of your life!
To those of you who weren’t planning to go to Bali, I must say, NOW IS THE TIME! Less tourists means a better experience after all! Go check Bali out, check it off your bucket list, and do it as SOON AS POSSIBLE!!!
The Balinese people will be thankful for it, your soul will be thankful for it, and in turn, you will help to heal the world!
This will be a decision that you will NOT regret! And while I can’t promise you everything, I can certainly promise you that much!
Thanks for reading! Please know that above all else, I aim to inspire others to just get out and see the world. Traveling is such an enriching experience, and I can’t even comprehend how much it has shaped me as an individual. If you have ANY questions, or need travel advice of ANY kind, PLEASE don’t hesitate to email me at the address below! I will do my very best to help you in any way I can!
Xoxoxo Happy Travels!
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