My husband has really bad teeth and ever since we moved to Perth in 2006 has told me he would love to go to Bali to get his teeth fixed up.
We had friends that had gone to the Island to do dental work and had come home with amazing new teeth, done at western standard establishments for less than 1/4 of the price it would cost here in Australia.
I told him I am never going to Bali! To be fair this was a year after the latest bombings in Kuta and I was terrified to take my children somewhere they might be in danger. What if we get blown up? What if the baggage handlers try to put marijuana in our luggage? What if the police try and extort money from us? What if we get some tropical disease and die?
In 2008 my lovely sister in law decided to get married in Bali and I wrestled with the idea of going to Bali for a long time. In the end I decided that we would go to the wedding but we would stay in Canggu and Seminyak, away from Kuta. We would take extra precautions and we would be safe. I decided to leave our two daughters at home with family and just take our then 2 year old son with us, and we would go straight to the wedding and home again. This trip was a total of 4 days.
From the first smell of incense, and greetings of Selamat Pagi I was in love. Having never visited Asia before my senses were awakened and I was in awe of this different way of life. The people were so friendly, and the culture like nothing I had ever experienced before. I was thrilled at the chaos of driving and apparent lack of road rules and amazed at the throngs of scooters that lined the streets and roads. It was common to see a whole family of 5 on 1 scooter without helmets and I was shocked. However it all just seemed to work in Bali. I worked out fast that you just give way to anything that is bigger than you and top speed is hitting 40km.
Bali is a country of two extremes. If you travel to Nusa Dua and other tourist areas you see many 5 star resorts dotting the shoreline. However if you visit the country and villages in Bali, you will see people living a simple life with very little but content and happy with their circumstances. So if you want a 5 star experience in Bali you can definitely get it at a rock bottom price.
Visiting Bali for the first time ignited a curiosity and hunger for more. Within the first few days of returning from my sister in laws wedding I had already booked a return trip in a few months time. J got more work done on his teeth, and this time my parents, J’s mum and one of our daughters were in tow.
From then on we have been visiting Bali at least 2 times a year as a family and have made many Balinese friends along the way. So there it began my travel addiction bug. I often hear the phrase “I’m never going to Bali”, from friends and family. I too was just like them and allowed mainstream media to shape my perceptions of a place I had never visited before.
Bad things happen everywhere and we have no control over that, but we can be smart. What we do have control over though is our own realities. I am so glad that I got out of my comfort zone and had my own experience of Bali! Man I love that place and can’t wait to discover more beautiful people and places around the world.