Travelling alone is a mixture of unease and thrill. For the super introverted person like me, it’s the supreme isolation within humanity. I am unseen and unheard unless I make the first contact and even then, the easy flow of banter isn’t a skill that I have developed. During my twenty-eight and a half hour journey to Bali, the delight of conversation presented itself only once…with a Filipino senior from Los Angeles whose manner was open and enveloping. I wanted to know more about her life. On the other and, my conversation with a fellow yin trainee that I discovered in the Taipei departure gate was stilted and awkward. The generational gap and the life experience gap were obvious. She wrote me off as a crazy old lady and I felt no desire to engage with her. She felt too two-dimensional to me.
This month, beyond the obvious benefits of training with two very knowledgeable people, is about changing habits. About pushing outside of my comfort zone or simply going in the opposite direction for a while. I think the one thing that I fear the most is living a small and safe life. Habits lead to complacency, complacency leads to inertia and inertia leads to death.
Some changes are small, yet delightful. I am drinking coffee for the first time in years. The flavor is both subtle and fulfilling. I can feel the texture of the ground beans on my tongue, my cheeks and the roof of my mouth. Each sip encompasses my senses. What a treat to have the time to savor a long forgotten taste.
I went for a two-hour walk along the beach this morning. Anyone who knows me knows that I bitch about having to walk the dogs around the block that takes less than ten minutes. And that includes all the time I have to wait for Fergus to pee on practically everything and for Poppy to stage at least one protest stop. I carefully walked barefoot on sand made of chunks of coral so rough that each step threatened to rip up my soft feet. I wandered into the waves for smoother footing. I marveled at the pieces of coral, some pieces whole and some so jagged and broken that they resembled the bottom of a fish tank.
Groups of beach cleaners passed me with their rakes and bags, picking up all the discarded plastic. Plastic either left by late night revelers or washed up from the ocean. I stopped for a while and watched two-dozen surfers bobbing in the waves, waiting for the perfect swell to ride towards the beach. There was a large event happening in the distance. Banners were waving around a makeshift stage and I could hear emcees yelling into their microphones while the surrounding crowd cheered. I decided to go see what was happening.
By the time I arrived to the crowd, they had moved down the beach and were crouching near the water line. There were hundreds of people and most of them were carrying small plastic containers. They began to tilt their containers towards the water and from each container came one tiny turtle. It was a baby sea turtle rescue! The participants gently nudged their turtle towards the waves, sometimes picking up the errant child that insisted on going the wrong way, and sometimes helping the one that seemed overwhelmed by the survival task before him, moving him even closer towards the welcoming surf. Some turtles disappeared into the ocean quickly and some kept being picked up by the surf and deposited back at their starting point. The entire process enthralled a little boy in a bright red t-shirt. He could barely keep his feet still as he danced in the waves and clapped his hands in excitement. As the little turtles began to swim past him, he stopped dancing long enough to wave goodbye to each and every one.
The sun started to get stronger, so I decided to leave the beach and head back to my hotel, taking the adjacent road where sections of the sidewalk ran through areas shaded by large fragrant trees. By the time I got back to my hotel, I was soaked with sweat. People are always baffled that I prefer cold weather countries. The irony that I am doing a training in Bali right as Canada is entering my favorite time of the year is not lost on me. I don’t like hot weather because I sweat a lot and I sweat all of the time. True, I work in the hot yoga business but that’s more like a nice warm shower. It feels fabulous and when you’ve had enough, you get out of it. Hot weather is a constant oppression that is hard to escape. Plus there’s a big difference when it comes to sleeping. Air conditioners make sound. All throughout the night there is a low and constant buzzing in the room. There’s no sound with heaters. Silence while you sleep. As I sit in Bali, my thoughts remain with the cool nights of Toronto.