Now the only thing I remember about the mountains of Bali is my feet. One foot going slowly in front of another along a 35 degrees slope. And even though committing suicide was out of my consideration, giving up was pretty much up there.
We had it all in the mountains. Nice landscapes, broken roads, hidden waterfalls, sunrise on a volcano, coffee with roosters and some tragic sunburns. But the most important thing that I learnt from Mount Batur is that the fear not to achieve anything in life can easily leave you the moment you realize that a couple of seconds ago you almost lost that life. That’s also how I learnt that touring motorcycles are not good for steep and broken roads.
People come to Bali with their heavy luggage full of thoughts of all sorts. Some of them land in Kuta. There they can find their peace in clubs, ‘popping pills’ and roasting their bodies at the hotels’ swimming pools. Some rest their minds hiding in private villas somewhere in Sukawati area. Some climb mountains or hit the islands.
I came to Bali with the head as heavy as the stones that Indonesian builder ladies carry on their vertexes. I considered that cooking my thoughts in the sun and soaking my body in the water would help me to empty my extremely capacious head and lighten my endless sadness. But it happens to me quite often that as soon as I decide to spend my days in passive relaxation, life drops me an idea to do something very active about my existence. This time life, represented by my boyfriend, said: «Let’s ride a motorcycle around the island». And I said «yes» without even thinking about any other answers.
Our road was quite nice and flat for a while. We didn’t make more than 30 minutes a day, made stops whenever and wherever we wanted. We saw mud-fighters in the jungles that taught us how to drink mud kopi with lemongrass and cooked a home lunch for us. It was very nice and supposed to be very relaxing. So I guess that is the reason why my brain was not even close to letting it go. We went deeper in mountains. Hidden Canyon.
«A little bit of hiking, a little bit of swimming». — That’s how the ticket seller described the Hidden Canyon tour to us. Ten minutes later I found myself standing on a sharp slippery rock, looking at the stream under it.
«Just put your left foot in that hole, take the rope and jump with your right foot here». — Our guide was standing on a rock on the other side of the stream while laughing at me.
«It’s very easy! — He said, — you just need to relax and jump! »
That was my first time in this trip when I was offered to relax to be physically able to continue my way. And the first time when I actually was considering to turn around and go back to where I came from. But I didn’t do it. I just closed my ears from the tones of my own thoughts and jumped. I didn’t get the philosophy at the moment, but I made my first step to relaxation and finished my way through the Canyon with a smile.
The deeper in the mountains we were going, the more shallow my life contemplations became. I got less «am I going the right direction in my life?» kind of thoughts and more «are we going the right direction?» thoughts as Google navigation was less and less helpful and the roads didn’t deserve to be called «roads» anymore. At some point we found ourselves in a tiny sandy road that led us deeper in the forest and that became an even tinier path barely 35 centimeters wide with a hill to the left hand and a precipice to the right.
«Seems like this is actually a way to our hotel, — said Dragos, my boyfriend, looking at Google Maps, — can you help me to push the motorcycle through». At that moment my inner voice, which was just quietly questioning everything I did before, started literally pushing the alarm button in my head.
«No», — I said. We turned back and got out easy, crashing the motorcycle only twice in a sandpit.
I admit, those messed up roads were very good for emptying my head. But it is not very helpful if you try to launch your YouTube channel about the amazing adventures you are having. Simply because by the time you finally get that hidden rustic cabin in the village slash forest kind of place, your head is too empty for talking to the camera.
Thank God we at least got the chance to sleep under a real roof. Otherwise, I was ready to sleep under the stars from getting lost.
Another crucial moment on our way into the mountains was when we took one of those steep roads and for a couple of seconds, the front wheel of our heavy motorcycle got off the ground. I thought about death and how inglorious it could have been later. At that moment I just screamed ‘shit!’ in my head.
«Yeah, these roads are for motocross bikes only», — said Dragos. Starting with that moment all the steep parts of the road, I did on foot.
That last day in the mountains Dragos woke up with only one thought: «We need to get out of the mountains». When he synchronized his thoughts to mine, I thought I could smell the ocean beckoning me from afar.
Our way out of the mountains started at 2:30AM when we got up to climb a volcano. And then, at around 4AM, when we decided to take a faster and steeper road to the top of volcano instead of less fast but much smoother one. That’s how I learned, that the more I complain about my own decisions, the harder my road is. When you are in the mountains, the philosophy of life becomes very physical and real. I had to force myself to lighten my thoughts in order to reach the top of that tricky path.
«One foot in front of another».
It was my second time in two days, when I said to myself: «No more hiking for this trip». Later I realized, that all the lessons of the previous days, when we lost our way, crashed the motorcycle, met nice and helpful people, had our front wheel off the ground — all that was to prepare us for the way down to the ocean.
«If you don’t know what an empty head is, you can’t stay near the ocean», — said the Mountain and messed up our GPS. It paved our way through the hills of black lava, along sandy roads; it made us think that we are close to the way out when in fact we were going deeper into the clutch of mountains. It brought us to the steepest of its roads and made me panic, so we stopped on one of the slopes. It turned off our motorcycle, so we couldn’t move in any direction («I decide when you can leave», — said the Mountain). Some passerby with a silent question «what are you doing here?!» in their eyes helped us to bring our monster up the slope. And we climbed again. I prayed so it was our last slope (like they are the scariest thing you can come across). But the Mountain said: «You are praying girl, it means, your head is still not empty». And it turned off our GPS completely. We were going by guess, trying to guess, where the sky has the reflection of the ocean on it. I was getting accustomed to the idea of sleeping somewhere in the rice fields or among the marigold flowers — the road just would not stop going up.
The last slope the Mountain sent us was one kilometer long (counting the exaggeration, created by my fatigue and thirst). And it’s exactly what I remember of that last day — right foot in front of the left foot, left in front of the right, and then again. And again. And again. And just like that until there is no thoughts in my head. No noise, no people, no thoughts, no complaints. Just my breath and the sound of one foot going in front of another. I remember, I almost fell. When I finally reached the motorcycle, my head was completely empty, and Dragos said:
«That was the last slope, we are on our strait way to the ocean».
The way down was like a relief after a long fever. When we got to the ocean, I didn’t really know who I was anymore. A blank page of paper, maybe. «I don’t know, where I am going, but I want to do it with a strong body», — I said to Dragos. And he showed me how to flick a stone. For the first time in my life I threw a stone and it jumped three times on the surface of the ocean.
Like what you read? Support our adventures with a small donation!