Tuesday, September 26th, 2017
I feel safe now…
I’m in Sanur now, which is a lot more touristy. I didn’t realize just how special Amed was until I left it to relocate.
Mount Agung seems to have calmed down a bit. Some people are saying it’s probably going to erupt, others are saying it’s not. I’m in the “not” camp. Science says that if the tremors are slowing down, that means the magma is ready to explode out of the top…but it could also mean that Agung is cooling down. I’m not an expert, but no one knows what is going to happen. The morning we left Amed, Francisca and I walked on the beach and noticed all the smoke. My hope is that she has blown off the steam that she needed to. Maybe I’m wrong, but I’m thinking positive.
During all the chaos with the earthquakes, I was convinced I was going to fly back home. I was scared and was making rash decisions. I was also on 3 days of practically no sleep. So when the sun came up and the car was ready to take Francisca and I to Sanur, I was at an all-time low.
“Do I give up on this adventure? Am I going back now?”
But then as we were leaving Amed, the floodgates opened. My heart was broken and my intuition was louder than ever.
“You can’t leave Amed like this. You will be back.”
I was balling and trying to hide all my tears. We drove by all the little restaurants I frequented, I saw the people I formed friendships with. We drove along the road that I walked miles on the first week and later learned how to get over my fear of my scooter on. The breakdown I had when I was homesick a while back was nothing compared to this burst of emotion.
This is just a temporary speed bump in this journey. Maybe Agung will erupt and everything changes. But maybe it won’t. Maybe in a week, it will have calmed down so much that I go back to the sweet town with one road and continue. [crossing fingers] I thought of my friend Rick and his comment on one of my posts: “Keep going girl!!” I was looking into plane tickets back to the States and “Keep going girl!!” kept running through my mind. I knew deep down that I am not supposed to leave. I am going to a safer place at the moment and seeing a new part of this beautiful island for now…
Wednesday, September 27th, 2017
I didn’t finish my entry yesterday, so here I’ll continue…
I’m listening to my Bali soundtrack – all the songs that every single warung, bar, and driver plays nonstop – memories of the times when it was normal in Amed are running through my head and my heart aches that everything is different right now. However, an idea came to me in the middle of the night and I’m feeling energized and driven. I’ve got a fire list under my ass. Before I get to my idea, I want to give an update on Amed and Mount Agung.
I haven’t felt any tremors in the past two days. Some tremors in Amed are still happening, but they’ve slowed down (from what I hear). I have to be careful looking into the news because there are a lot of exaggerated and false reports. But what is true is that there are practically no tourists in Amed anymore. They have all gone South or left the island completely. There are still locals of course, and a community of expats coming together in Amed. I even saw my favorite yoga studio offering free classes to try to keep the energy positive.
Right now, I’m still in Sanur and I’m sitting at a Starbucks.
While I’ve been in Bali, I’ve been listing “Things Cheaper than a Starbucks Tall White Mocha” and here I am, drinking a tall mocha (they don’t have white chocolate here…). And yes, it is on my “Things Cheaper than an American White Mocha” – about $4. I’m happy to be in a place that feels familiar, but I am also very sad. My heart is in Amed and with the people near Agung.
My heart breaks because the locals are already living day to day to survive, and now, it’s even harder. With no tourists, that means no money. No money means no eating. Locals can’t tap into their savings or sell items on Craigslist to make a quick buck. The money they get each day is all the money they have. The mocha I’m drinking doesn’t taste as sweet as I used to remember. The amount of money I spent on this drink is 5 meals for a local.
I’m sleeping in a queen sized bed with 4 pillows while locals are sleeping on the floor in large groups, sometimes with no pillows at all. I get to choose what I want to eat while locals eat rice and meat for every meal. I’m by no means wealthy at all – but in Bali, I’m filthy rich. Filthy. Since I don’t have a source of income, I can’t give away all my money like I’d like to, but I want to try to help in some sort of way.
Ok, so I know there are some push backs to everything. These are some of the thoughts I’m having myself:
- You’re on an island with a volcano that may erupt. Get the hell out of there, idiot!
- The Balinese are poor and that’s the way it has always been and the way it always will be. No use in trying to change that.
- Stop living in this fairytale of listening to your gut all the time. Life doesn’t work this way. You’re in over your head.
- Come back to reality.
These are all valid. I mean, the volcano could seriously erupt and everyone is in danger. And yes, the Balinese will likely always struggle to make money. But the thought about my gut? I’m choosing to listen to it no matter what.
Amed has a special place in my heart. I’ve grown some roots there and I’m directly seeing how much tourism helps the locals – and keeps them alive and healthy. People aren’t going to Amed right now and likely won’t for a long time. So right now, I want to try to shed a positive, magical light on the “hidden gem of Bali.” I’m not rich so I can’t donate a ton of money or buy supplies for them. But what I do know – which I cringe saying this because I feel like it’s such a weird, millennial thing to so – is social media. This is where I have experience.
Hear me out…
When I came to Bali, when I was trying to decide where to go on my excursions, I turned to Instagram. I looked up hashtags and Bali-specific accounts to get ideas. It was because of Instagram that I visited a beautiful waterfall near Amed and experienced a truly magical moment. I can’t be the only one who turns to Instagram to get their travel ideas. It’s a lot more powerful and influential than I think it gets credit for. It’s not just an app. It’s a very valuable resource. Man, I sound like such a millennial…
“Keep going girl!!”
So I created an account for Amed. I’m going to curate beautiful photos of Amed and surrounding areas and build a following. You never know, someone could see a beautiful picture from this account and put Amed on their excursion list. Even if one person travels to Amed because of coming across this profile, it will have been worth it. Back in the States, I grew KOMO’s Instagram account from 8,000 followers to over 30K followers in 12 months. Did the pictures and the profile mean more people were watching the news? Ehhh, I’m thinking no. Will this profile mean more people visit Amed? Maybe not, I have no idea. All I know is that I’m jazzed up about it, so I’m going to follow this energy.
When (not if) I go back to Amed, I’m going to keep my creative juices flowing and keep going with my passion of photography and special moments. I’m going to keep exploring Amed and show people that it is a must-visit town. There is no other town like it in Bali…or the world. My time in Bali is not done. Besides, my Mom made me a beautiful sarong that I haven’t worn yet and I’m determined to wear it to a ceremony. Oh yeah, and I borrowed a book from WaWa WeWe that I need to return…
This is definitely a pie in the sky idea. It was funny when I was coming up with a vision, I thought of the phrase “pie in the sky.” Last night I went outside with Francisca to get a bite to eat and I looked up. Kites in the sky. Not quite pie…but I’ll take it.
Why not try? I have the time, I have the experience, and most importantly, I have the passion.
If you have an Instagram account, give it a follow: @visitamedbali.
Love you all. ❤