So how do you end up in Bali anyways ? What motivated you to travel so far? Was it a movie or documentary you watched on the big screen or at home? A photograph on Instagram or Facebook? A travel vlog on YouTube ? A magazine at the doctors office ? A travel blog like this? A adventure story your friend shared with you ? A childhood memory ? For work? Or is exploring just in your blood?
Either way I am glad we are all here now. I feel like expats and long term travelers are like a family to me. I believe we are all explorers deep down inside ourselves since we were able to walk or crawl. I can remember my mother not being able to turn her head away from me for any length of time because the second she did , I was gone. I can’t recall what my intentions or motivations were behind all my disappearances but they continued to happen. My first memory of exploring was when I was around 7 yrs old in a London airport (LHR) getting picked up by the local Bobbie before continuing on to Vienna with my mom. On another occasion I disappeared in a crowd at the Vatican City and was blessed by Pope John Paul II around age 9 or so, and another time I disappeared running through the streets in Sicily only to be found later by my mom eating pizza in some random pizzeria, luckily they knew my moms friend Chico Scimone.
The list goes on and on because in those days there wasn’t a leash made for kids. I imagine that I was just a curious and free spirited child who wanted to have a look around just as I am today. My mother took me everywhere with her since age two. My first trip to my moms hometown, Vienna Austria which was our base every summer between 1973 to 1989. We spent a lot of time with my grandmother there but mostly ventured off to other European Countries. All my fondest memories were when I was out exploring, playing soccer at parks, riding a bike everywhere, and usually done solo.
When I turned seventeen I moved to Mammoth Mountain California so I could snowboard and live the life of a ski bum with zero rules. I couldn’t afford to buy ski equipment, or a ski pass so I figured out how to work there and get all those things for almost nothing thanks to Warren Miller Films. I quickly adapted in every ski resort, learning about all the best local spots, secret ski trails, Taco Tuesdays at the Antlers, the best parties, best bars, where the hot springs were for midnight dips, where to buy the best snowboard equipment. I quickly blended in like a local and was respected even more by outside visitors from around the globe because I could navigate them to these places as well. Every season I’d either return to the same ski resort or try a new one that I dreamt about all summer long. Next stop was Lake Tahoe, Then a couple seasons in Vail Colorado, back to Big Bear California, then to Park City Utah for a couple of seasons. Eventually shattering my acetabulum (hip socket) and pelvic bone in Vail Colorado while snowboarding. My mountain high dreams started to fade while finishing up my rehabilitation and by the time I could walk normal again I was already searching for new source of adrenaline to fill my new void.
My dad knew this and shortly after a break-up my dad decided to take me with him on a business trip to the Philippines. We stayed for about 4 months in his Condo in Salcedo Village , Makatti in Manila where I studied graphic design with a private tutor. Also visiting my Uncle Chen (dads Business partner) in Hong Kong for a few days. I was in my early 20’s and just got out of a relationship. My dads way of helping me forget about another girl was by taking me to P Burgos Street, a red light district in Makatti ( Thanks Dad! ) I ended up dating a Filipina girl on my own though, away from the bars and going against all my dads advice of not seeing the same girl more than once but I couldn’t help myself. I also broke the rules by sneaking out at night so I could spend time with my new girlfriend. I was in love again with a Catholic Filipina girl and when it was time to go back to the USA, I was heart broken once again. I just didn’t want to leave but I had no choice. When I came back I focused on my sales career which took me to almost every state across the USA. First managing a newspaper sales team and then as a roofing salesman. These two jobs were perfect for the nomadic salesman but the whole time all I could think was traveling to Asia.
So in 2010 I decided to live in Thailand where one of my friends from California lived. This was one of my favorite experiences I had and my only experience traveling with a childhood friend. I visited Laos while I was there to for a visa run. After returning to USA I started to notice how down I became. There was no purpose for me in the USA anymore besides working and making money so that I could once again return to Asia. I would try to have a normal life with a so called normal American girl but it always ended eventually. I ended up getting a divorce and I promised to myself I would never date another America again. I wanted someone with better family values and someone who is somewhat traditional in their own ways. Asia always came to mind.
I thought I was going to move to Thailand to be honest, I never thought I would end up in Bali Indonesia but a friend introduced me to the most amazing woman I have ever met. So amazing I decided to fly out to Indonesia and meet her…….Well , here I am going on my second year living in Bali where I fell in Love and married this Indonesian woman who has hopes and dreams of traveling the world as I do. Now I have someone to share my adventures with.
My final thought:
When I told my dad I was coming here , he thought I was crazy especially since it was predominately a Muslim run country. I am just a different breed and my beliefs are “we are them” “they are us” I just can’t and won’t live in fear. He was the only person I told of my plans because Frankly I thought nobody else would understand why I was moving to Bali. I didn’t care. I didn’t even care what my family thought , the same way I didn’t care when I was seven roaming the London airports, or disappearing in Vatican City when I was 9, or the streets in Taormina Sicily. I am free, my inner child is free again. I will continue to travel until I can not travel anymore.
To be Continued…….