Lately I’ve often been referring to Canggu as “home”. At the beginning of this month I decided to get an apartment here. For just a tiny fraction of what I would pay for a place in LA, I have a nice clean room in a Melrose Place style apartment complex, with a lovely pool, and a friendly community of expats on a journey similar to mine.
When I arrived in Bali over two months ago, it was dark and rainy, to complement the dread I felt at being in an entirely strange place. This is a developing nation, and there was no mistaking it based on the dilapidated urban landscape and constant stream of motorbike traffic. One thought dominated my mind, “Holy shit I’m gonna be here for 6 months, what the fuck have I gotten myself into”. Ironically, save for the motorbikes, the city didn’t look much different from central Los Angeles. But I compulsively kept comparing the worse parts of Bali to the best parts of California. It was a survival mechanism anticipating worse case scenarios. When I arrived at my villa in Canggu though, I felt much better. The place was exceptionally clean and comfortable. I locked all my doors and windows and got in bed to recharge.
The next day was vastly different. The rain had passed and revealed Bali in an entirely new light. What I had perceived as the dark alley where my villa was located, was actually a small unpaved road that ran along a vast and lush rice field with two story villas dotted in the distance. Over the next few days, I began to get all the basics in order, such as getting a new sim card for my cell phone, finding the nearest laundromat, learning how to drive a motor scooter, and finding the restaurants with great food and fastest wifi connections. I also became acquainted with the surf break here. Most of all, I began to realize how friendly the residents generally were. I quickly began to realize that despite the sometimes monstrous surf, the seemingly haphazard motorbike traffic, and the swarms of mosquitos, this place wasn’t so treacherous after all. In fact, it was a wonderful place to live. Best of all it offered quick access to some of the most beautiful natural scenery I have ever seen. After years of working in the monochromatic concrete ant hills of central Los Angeles, Bali offered a communion with the natural environment.
Southern California will always be my first home. Even now, I miss my friends and family dearly. I feel a deep emotional and spiritual connection with my favorite surf breaks, the national parks, and all the natural beauty that California has to offer. Bali is now my second home. It is offering me the opportunity for greater self expression. It invites exploration of one’s personal aesthetic and potential. For me, Bali is an opportunity to explore the art of being me. Moreover, I’m making new wonderful friends, some of whom will be friends for a lifetime.