This month, Barbra Esher — Chiara’s beloved travel partner & co-leader for their Inner/Outer Travel transformative journeys — has written a guest blog about Bali. Meet Barbra’s friends as well as the locals who will be escorting the February 2017 Bali trip participants through this leg of their journey. We have one spot open, due to a cancellation: read more here!
Travelling to the Depths of Our Hearts & the Height of a Volcano: “Yoga Saved My Life”
I was trekking up a volcano with Ketut Mandi, a friend of my Balinese sort-of “ex” husband, Juta. When I told him I practice yoga, he said, “yoga saved my life.” He got my attention. “Tell me more,” I encouraged. He used to have a lung condition that basically incapacitated him. He couldn’t work, much less trek up a volcano with me, because he was so quickly out of breath. He was healed after he started doing yoga. I became fast friends with this extraordinary man. If you meet him, you can refer to him as “Pak Mandi,” “Pak” being a form of respect in Bali.
Pak Mandi is helping us organize our cars, drivers, entrance fees, trekking, hot springs, and, most interesting to me, yoga at sacred beautiful temples in Kintamani, Batur (see photos). This
is one of the poorest areas of Bali because they can’t grow rice, due to their altitude, lack of water, and cool temperatures. They don’t even have access to the majority of the tourist dollars because most of the foreign tour operators don’t use any local talent. This leaves women having to run after huge bus-loads of people, waving sarongs at them, trying to make a few pennies on a sale. Men can sometimes make a small amount of money guiding solo travelers or couples traveling on a budget.
I’d like to share my joy with you in that our money goes directly to the people that need it. Like the other drivers and guides we will be with in Kintamani, Pak Mandi is paying for school for his daughter Balgis, whose dream is to become an artist. He also helps mentor young people lost in drinking and drugs find their way, as well as participating in countless other community activities.
Our welcome gift of traditional “adat” temple wear will help a young lady, Mely, start her tailoring business. Kadek Bola will guide us through the old market in the morning.
We’ll accompany Ibu Chandra and Pak Juta to their family temple with traditional offerings, then share in a simple, typical Balinese family meal.
We are going to see Bali, and my guess is you will find a deeper inner journey as we meet people who touch the depth of our hearts. We are
all traveling as fellow human beings, inextricably inter-connected. Mindfulness awakens our awareness that our next action will impact the world and us in the same way. With the intention of meeting others where they are, the same as us in many ways, we can’t help but to bring more kindness, compassion, love, and inclusion into the world, one step at a time.
Please join us in Bali, Japan, Cuba, or India for the journey of your life! Let us know where you want to go and we’ll let you know of the next trip there.