Recently I travelled to Southeast Asia and spent a month in Bali for work. It was the most interesting and eye-opening experience. In my relatively short time there I learned so much from the Balinese culture.

Upon landing at the airport I immediately noticed the country’s motto “Unity in Diversity”. I didn’t think much of it but quickly realized its importance. Indonesian culture, much like Western culture, wildly varies from traditions to foods and even religious practices. Still, something was very different – Everything in Bali seemed to work in harmony.

Cheap Everything

First off, Bali worked in harmony with my wallet. You can eat an entire Indonesian meal for only $2 and get an hour massage for less than $5! Even luxury resorts are affordable. The first few weeks I stayed at an incredible 5-star resort located in Ubud. My stay was fantastic but I knew it wasn’t the authentic Indonesia I wanted to see. After finishing work duties, I opted for more cultured accommodations in the home of a local family, away from touristy areas. It was the best decision. I was able to get a closer look at life as a local and save even more money.

Content With Everything

After getting over how cheap everything was, I was able to focus more on the culture. Spending time with locals helped expand my views on developing nations. Regardless of what they have or don’t have, everyone seems to be content. It was very refreshing.

Family Over Everything

Through my conversations, it dawned on me that Indonesians place a high value on family and community, over individual needs or desires. I am continually inspired by the unique depths they show and look forward to further incorporating the Balinese way of thinking into my life.

Food Is Everything

Similar to family, food is very important in Indonesia. I would best describe Balinese cuisine as a flavorful blend of sweet, savoury and spicy. The perfect combination, in my opinion. Rice, of course, is a staple in nearly every meal. I was somewhat surprised to find a few Western options such as Kentucky Fried Chicken and Starbucks. No hate towards them or anyone eating at those places but C’MON, YOU’RE IN BALI!

Adventure In Everything

Whenever I wasn’t stuffing my face, I found time for adventure. I’m a big explorer at heart and Bali has no shortage of fun things to do. I visited a few white sand and volcanic black sand beaches with waters reaching 85 degrees. One morning I woke up incredibly early to fish with local fisherman and enjoy our catches for lunch. I rented a scooter (I was terrified at first) and drove to a couple waterfalls where I swam with random people. I even took some surf lessons in the nearby beach town of Kuta.

Leaving Was Everything

While having the time of my life reality started to set in. The thought of leaving Bali had me feeling a little bit of everything. I was thankful for such an amazing experience but sad that it was ending. The experience was truly everything and ultimately I felt content. The invaluable lessons and adventures only made my desire to return more urgent. That may explain why I am back in Bali writing this post.