the most adventurous day of my life

Let me tell you a little story about the day I almost died. No, seriously. It turned out to be one of the best days of my life, but I also was practically positive it was going to be my last day on this planet. But let me rewind a little bit...

From Sanur Beach, we took a fast tourist boat to Nusa Lembongen and chartered our own private boat from there to Nusa Penida, a nearby island. Upon arrival, we rented motorbikes and hired drivers to drive us and be our tour guides around the island. We only had rented our private boat for 2 hours, and there was a lot of ground we wanted to cover on Nusa Penida before heading back. We explained to our guides (who didn’t speak much English) that we wanted to see Broken Beach, Angel’s Billabong, and Crystal Bay all in our two hour time limit, and they hit the pedal to the metal. Breakneck speed, steep treacherous unpaved roads, no helmets… I legitimately thought I was going to die. All I could hear was my mother’s voice inside my head telling me to never ride a motorcycle… and then I pictured her at my funeral. If only I’d heeded her wise warnings!! I struggled to think of a way to describe how painful this motorcycle ride was… here’s what I came up with: it felt like riding a bucking bronco, but one that was somehow balancing on skis and going down a double black diamond slope. Super safe. Seriously, all the bible songs of my Sunday school days came rushing back to my mind and I sang them out loud for an hour and a half straight until we reached our first stop: Broken Beach. At last - solid land! A miracle.

I practically fell off my bike, gasping for air, my seat totally sore from bouncing bareback on the bike, puddles of sweat marks left on my poor guide’s shirt from where my hands had clutched so tightly, and my heart rate more elevated than any time ever at the gym. I turned to Celine, out of breath and emotionally exhausted, as she giggled and bounced off her bike saying, “That was so fun! How relaxing!” My sweet little adventurer. She bounded off, camera in tow, to check out our destination. What a view. For a second, I wondered, maybe I did die on that bike and this is heaven? That beautiful. The most gorgeous view I have ever seen with the bluest of blue waves crashing against a picturesque rocky arch. We snapped some pics, but unfortunately couldn’t stay too long (time limit!) and walked around the corner to another famous landmark we wanted to see – Angel’s Billabong. Another gasp from me… are you kidding? Truly unreal. Some tourists (more adventurous than us!) scaled the large rocks to climb down into the natural pool to swim. One had even brought an inflatable pool floatie! Ah, if only we’d had more time. But back on the bike - too soon!

This time, my guide hands me his helmet. PRAISE GOD. I was able to relax a bit (I only clutched his shoulder with one of my hands! Progress!) and take in the beautiful island’s surroundings. We finally reached Crystal Bay, another of the most beautiful beaches I’ve ever seen. It was so isolated, with such clear water, and black sand. We went for a quick dip, but I wish we could’ve stayed for a week! Instead, we had to hop back on the bikes for the last time (tragic, I know) to race back to our private boat. Did we make it in the 2 hour time limit? Hahaha, absolutely not. Even at breakneck speeds it took 3 hours to explore the whole island. But, lucky for us, our boat captain had waited and didn’t mind at all. Like they say in Bali, don’t worry be happy.

This is a Bali motto that I am trying to take to heart. Yes, they love Marley, but these words became more to them than the lyrics of a song. It defines the good-natured spirit of their country and their people. I always thought this optimism and talk of good karma was just a stereotype, a cliché of Bali life, but it’s real. They totally embody it and want you to embrace it too. They are more present and more natural, they live more simply, and are just plain happier. Now, whenever things get hectic for me, I try and remember that Bali inner peace. After all, isn’t that what traveling is all about?