Blessings and Curses

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Sometimes a situation can feel like a hex is upon it no matter what you do. Travel is no exception. This trip, at times, has felt absolutely cursed. Two and a half months abroad and how many things could go wrong? Well, missing your flight to Asia is a brilliant start. Someone losing a wallet with all money and credit cards is pretty high up there too. Getting thrown off the good train car into steerage for a six hour journey isn’t so fun. How about your guide not showing up for your full day tour of Nusa Penida when it is your last day there to do such an excursion? Knocking over a parked motorbike the first time you’re riding a scooter in Bali and breaking your only decent pair of sandals doing so? Shitting ten times in one day despite taking copious amounts of immodium? What about your friend missing her flight to Asia when she’s supposed to meet you near the end of the trip? Yes, this trip has been chalk full of challenges. Yet, here we still are, soaking it all in, taking it in stride. No tears since SFO over a month ago.

A cursed trip still has many blessings to offer, if you don’t get caught up in the negative. And bad things are bound to happen, even if they seem to be plaguing us more than our fair share. Thank God there is abundant cheap beer to help.

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I actually don’t have many Buddha-like words of wisdom about this, because I am still in the midst of it all. My friend is arriving two days late to Bali. Everything is more expensive here than I remember from three years ago, the beaches near Seminyak and Legian are not all that nice, and I can’t get wifi in my villa at the resort. But I have perspective. I am in Bali, with beautiful and friendly people and a gorgeous culture. Even if it is more expensive than I remember, it is a hell of a lot cheaper than if I were at home in the US. The crappiest beach here still has warm water, little warungs where I can order a fresh fish for lunch, and ladies who want to massage my feet while I sit on my day bed. My friend will get here eventually and soon she will forget about the harrowing mess of flights it took to arrive, just as I have done.

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For every absolute shit thing that has happened, ten amazing experiences have occurred, if not more. I’ve made amazing friends, worked with elephants and bears and gibbons, eaten ridiculously good food, toured and stayed at gorgeous properties, swam in idyllic oceans and felt soft white sand between my toes. My tan is enviable and all the intestinal problems and hard volunteering work have helped me drop some pounds. So really, REALLY, is there anything at all to complain about?

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