It's been one month on the road, but it feels so much longer. I am in southern China now, and after days of being blocked out of my own blog (even with a VPN), miraculously the Great Firewall seems to have peeked open for a moment, time enough to post a farewell to beautiful Bali.
I can't believe that 2012 is already nearing an end! I'm watching plastic Christmas trees and twinkly lights materialize in hotel lobbies. Cheesy English renditions of Jingle Bells have begun to filter through elevator speakers. I sometimes feel like I'm watching an alternate reality play out in front of me. Meanwhile, in the distance I watch status updates and news from home unravel like theater. It's a funny feeling of disconnect that comes from being away for an extended time. America is front and center on the world stage, it's almost impossible to forget.
Such a year of change for me, filled with new freedom, the chance to discover, to really feel alive. How can I begin to share everything? I feel like I've seen and done so much, yet this journey is barely unravelling. Things are still moving, time is passing, and there are eleven more months of backpacking yet ahead. Perhaps at the end, it will seem to me as if many years have passed.
And I've seen so much, already. From the colorful ceremonies to the rice terraces that stretch for miles beneath the foot of a volcano, to wacky monkeys and even a chicken farm (which made me very much appreciate and miss my hens back home).
Travel offers a regular reminder of life's impermanence. I wake up some mornings foggy, uncertain which country I'm in. Some nights I sleep in a hotel, other nights at a friend's house. Sometimes I find myself wishing I could stay put for a few more days, other times I'm restless, ready to move on to discover the next place. Life is like this, ever changing, ever uncertain, ephemeral.
My memories of Bali will always be an eclectic collection of images beautiful and random, many mental snapshots taken from the back of a motorbike (or horse!).
I've tried to stitch together a story of some of my experiences here on this blog, but I often feel I fall short. It's hard to share everything with the desired depth. I am so often mind-blown or left in a state of wonder and curiosity, overwhelmed by all the visual newness. I am so lucky to be on this adventure. How to truly describe? How to hold onto it all, to not forget? Everything I've seen, felt, tasted, touched up until now on this journey I somehow want to remember, to share, to return to. That is travel, and life.