Close your eyes and jump! I said to myself as I hit the *Book Now* button on a 10-day solo trip to Bali. I wanted my very own adventure, just for me. I wanted to become my own best friend and learn to rely on myself, but I was also kinda terrified. New territory, new terrain, somewhere as far away as possible where all I recognised was the skin on the back of my hands. A self-proposed challenge, I faced it fuelled by a whole heap of anxiety and anticipation. I wanted to do this to grow. I had to.
Bali, well, it bloomin’ embraced me. New sights, sounds and smells surrounded me so densely that I didn’t have a chance to feel alone. Engulfed by new experiences, my eagerness to explore replaced the doubts which had dominated, my senses were too preoccupied with pleasure. I based myself in Ubud, a haven of Hindu traditions. Green, green rice fields, temples and streets strewn with the prettiest Canang Sari; twice daily handmade flowery offerings to the gods, thanking them for peace. Such a calm pace of life I could hardly even contemplate for life back home, their dedication to devotion defied my usually busy life. This calmness was the coolest feeling I have ever had.
Walking the patchy pavements avoiding holes and uneven surfaces, I felt I was forever stepping carefully over these sweet scattered offerings, so many that the streets looked like they’d been littered with Party Poppers, explosions of cute colour at my feet. Scooters swarmed like mosquitoes, injecting a rush of activity, Mothers straddling bikes, no helmets, with children held on laps, trusting their own way of life. Markets had a super stench in the heat. Leather, spice and sweat coupled with constant calls to buy, all stimulating my senses to the point where, I could not stop smiling.
I visited a Hindu healer, with no idea what it would hold. After him repeatedly banging hard on my head and pushing his thumbs so forcefully into my closed eyes that I wondered if it was a joke, he told me, I had to be my own hero.
As I spent my last evening watching the sunset at Tanah Lot, I took it all in, every single bit of it. I’d had monkeys on my head, eaten fruits I’d never heard of, shared a bedroom with lizards and lingered with locals. I had done this, I had navigated my own adventure. Faraway from anyone I knew, I felt an intrepid confidence blooming. Teaming tour groups around me, selfie sticks obstructing the view, and with a somewhat hands-on tour guide trying to sit too close, I caught on to just how far I’d come. I realised right there, I already was my own hero.