Embracing the Slow Life
I’m not surprised I found myself back in Bali so soon. Last time I was here, I was living out my best life.
Fresh from quitting my job, I came fresh faced and ready to fully indulge in all this island had to offer Against the beach, the cafes, the draw-dropping sunset after sunset, I was not only creating the content, but living the life I’d always envied.
I had the space and the time to embrace this place and all the spirituality - famed and real - that surrounded me. Bali felt like one long outwards breath after years of anxiety of just trying to make it to the next hurdle. To put it at its most basic and simplistic, I found myself here.
I couldn’t escape the obvious allure of this country that has attracted Australian tourists in their thousands every year.
Throughout this past year, I’ve longed to regain this feeling; this feeling that anything was possible and that I was capable of anything. As much as I had found a place like Bali that instilled in my the confidence and creativity to feel like I could accomplish anything, I found the places that did not.
Sure, piece by piece, I was trying to build an independence of the location determining these things for me. While I now had the flexibility to only go to places that did bring me joy, I wanted to be completely free from these external factors of city vs beach, Asia vs Europe.
The disappointment of not fitting in back in Sydney clarified this for me. If I was supposedly so ‘location-independent',’ how was I not managing to feel comfortable and good in my own home?
After three long months in Sydney, I wanted to rewind the clocks and go back to where I started this whole digital nomad journey. I wanted to remember why it was that I started. I wanted to know I asn’t crazy at the very beginning.
I came to Bali searching for these answers. A part of me thought that if last time was so successful in setting me on a path I didn’t expect, the possibilities were only endless for this time. I wanted to breathe again, in ways I felt like I couldn’t around the surmounting pressure of high prices and the ‘need’ to have it all figured out in Sydney.
And has it all been what I dreamed it would be? Well, the answer is never as easy as yes or no.
It all feels amazing familiar to me. I know these streets, these restaurants, even the people at my coworking space, Dojo Bali. But, it is unmistakably different without the support of my Nomad MBA tribe members around me. I’m different - I’m not as lost with what I am doing with my life or what I bring to the table.
With that has come a weird sense of settlement. I don’t feel the need to do things all the time and live out my best life in every single Instagrammable moment after the next.
I am taking things slow.
To be perfectly honest, it wasn’t entirely by choice. My body has not been cooperating with me since I landed.
My body clock was messed around with the three hours difference from Sydney - different enough when it came to those wee hours but not different enough to be solved with just a night or two of good night’s rest.
I’ve been attacked by mosquitos in places that would be inappropriate for anyone else to bite.
I’ve broken out in hives, had a fever, felt some tummy rumblings that never bode well around these parts.
it was hard not to feel discouraged after all this. Did I really want to spend my first few days in Bali merely in bed? But also, who cares?
I took this time to truly allow my body to adjust because if anything, it was a reflection of what my mind needed.
You want to know if it was all worth it. You want to know how it all is. You want to see all the adventures I’ve been going on.
But that isn’t what this whole trip is. This is just my life. Yes, I’ll admit. Bali puts on a mean sunset and their cafes are seemingly made with their Instagram photo in mind. But I’ve never been one to post every single meal I ever ate or every day that I sat down at my desk. I don’t take a picture of every street I walk or every building I pass.
To be frank, I’ve been incredibly boring over this past week. Between going to work and going home, I’ve done little else of note. I’ve eaten some pretty incredible food, gone to the gym and watched some mean sunsets. Yes, I love it. But that’s because I’m trying to find these joys in every day, every place.
And yes, I guess I’ve been productive. But I’ve also been unproductive. I’ve finally got the relaunch of Morning Marjolaine up and running, but I’ve also binged the entire season of The Bodyguard on Netflix.
Is it because I’m in Bali or just because I’ve finally given myself the kick up the bum I’d neglected to do when I was back in Sydney? Who’s to say.
What I know is that it’s been brilliant not caring what anyone else thinks.
Maybe there is a level of not being able to do that in Sydney because I’m surrounded by people I know and know what they’re usually thinking about my lazy state.
But it’s been liberating to go at my own pace this time. It’s great to know that I don’t have to spend every Wednesday’s at Old Man’s just because that’s the night you go out. It’s great to have an early night or a sleep in. It’s good to spend the day at the beach and never opening up my emails. It’s good to work for ten hours.
This has definitely reinvigorated my love for the flexibility that freelancing does give me to work my own hours and from anywhere. It has also been great to be able to reconnect with other digital nomads who you don’t have to explain the whole concept to again.
So maybe Bali has just worked. Maybe the fact that I’m not out there living my best life in what Instagram might define it is; but that I’m living out the life that I need - slow, steady and in my own time - is exactly why I’ve come back to this point.