I’m Already Packing for Bali!

When we were discussing travel recently, my writing teacher Carolyn Brigit Flynn said, “Your soul begins the journey weeks before you physically go.” I’m leaving for Bali in less than a week and I’m definitely feeling it!

It will be six years since I’ve set foot on Bali. Six years since I heard the tinkling metallic sound of gamelan, had to shield my glasses from the grasping hands of monkeys, reveled in the beauty of sacred masks, drank in the rich, lush green of rice fields, delighted in children of every size practicing Balinese dance on open-air platforms. I can’t wait to soak in the smells, the air, the daily sacredness of Balinese culture—during the two tours I’ll be leading we’ll be learning about the spiritual life of the Balinese and visiting healers. Gathering together to write each day will be our way to integrate these experiences and bond as a group.

When you run writer’s tours like I do, you begin planning for each trip at least a year in advance—a year of writing descriptions, creating registration forms, managing budgets, handling registrations, planning curriculum, creating support materials, and a million other details—which I oversee with an amazing team of support: Jen, my virtual assistant, Judy and Surya, our tour leaders, Cathy, who does graphics, and Linda, our travel agent. But now, at this point, a week before I depart for Bali (a week early—to get over my jetlag), all that preparation falls away, and what takes its place is glorious anticipation of returning to an island I fell in love with a dozen years ago, the first time I brought people to Bali.

Now, the floor of my office is covered with piles to be packed: teaching tools like a silver talking stick from Petra, laminated language cards with important phrases in Indonesian: how to say hello, thank you, and the basic phrases for bargaining; small empty notebooks for my students; lightweight, washable clothing; a prescription mask for snorkeling and diving (I hope to do a few dives in my week waiting for my students to arrive), a Scrubba—a portable bag for hand-washing clothes, a travel pillow, power adapter, gorilla pod stand so I can make videos on the go; airtags to track my bags should they get lost in transit; my passport and 60-day visa; a map of Indonesia; and various toiletries, medical supplies, extra pens, a water bottle, and various backpacks and suitcases I have yet to decide upon.

I love this mess—it signals that I am about to go off on a big adventure. Sitting here with all these things surrounding me, joy fills my belly and my mind quiets. All the planning and the busyness of preparation is starting to fade. I have been “wrapping things up” for a while. Anything new that comes my way now goes on a list called: “Later” that sits on my desk—later meaning later in the summer or maybe not until next fall. Because I’m not just going to Bali, I’m taking July and August off, and then heading back with a group of writers to hike the Camino de Santiago next September.

I have finally given myself a summer off—and I fully intend to enjoy it.

Right now, as I write these words, I’m looking forward to blogging this trip to Bali. For me, creating daily posts for you is a wonderful way to stay present, to sharpen my capacity to “find a story” every day, and to model for my students the basics of quick and dirty travel writing on-the-go. So, look for my posts. They’ll be on Facebook, Instagram and sent out in digest form to anyone on my email list (www.lauradavis.net).

I hope you enjoy the virtual vacation!

P.S. We just sent this video out to our travelers. Watching it brought me right back to Bali. I can’t wait!

Scroll to Top