Friday night in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, and I’m seated at the counter of Piatto Enoteca, a Vera Napoli pizzeria with certified Napolitan pizza.
It’s at odds with my decision made last night as I wandered to see Edgar Wright’s Baby Driver (brilliant, if you like the violent dark-humour heist-type movies).
Be the cliché. Own the cliché. Live the cliché.
Go to Bali and do yoga. Rent a bike. Eat more plants.
Sure. Why not?
Health has been the goal I’ve envisioned for Stage 3 of my travels for a while. Heal my mind, body, soul.
State of the Steffs, Sorta
I’ve never done a formal post-hysterectomy update, but that’s because the healing slowed down and I know I have a long road ahead of me. There ain’t much to say, you know? I had a uterus, the uterus is gone, it didn’t solve all my problems after all, but I’m facing that future of solving it myself.
Put bluntly: If you want to solve your health and live more healthfully, Bosnia is not where to do that. Smoke-filled cafes, meals that revolve around meats and breads. No. Not really the “Eat to Win” lifestyle, you know?
Bali? Looks like.
The plan has been, for a while now, to make travel decisions in Year Three based upon where food is fresh, cheap, and good. It’s about food that’s plant-centric. Not vegetarian, just more plant-y than meat-y. Weather that’s sunny and warm. Bike-friendly culture. And, well, yoga.
Inhale, Exhale… Namaste.
I’m not a yoga fanatic or even a fan, but people who do it regularly look happier, healthier, and fitter.
I have done yoga in the past, but doing it in Bali will be a stretch for me. Pun intended. I’ll be out of shape, fat, and awkward. It won’t be my finest hour. But maybe it’ll get me onto the road toward that finest hour.
People say lame guru crap about mindfulness all the time and I hate hearing it, because it oversimplifies life. It’s condescending and is often hurtful in how it asserts that those who are unhappy have simply failed to choose the alternative.
Mindfulness isn’t the solution, but it can be a tool in living better.
For my weight problem and some other areas of my life, I know that mindfulness is needed.
But I am frequently mindful. I know I’m lucky to be a nomad and I often stop to think “I’m here, in _________, right now, and this is amazing. I’m lucky.”
Mindfulness in yoga is different than what I do. It’s a mindfulness that’s more inward, not external. Instead of being grateful for my place in the world, it’s about being aware of what’s happening inside. The breathing aspect of yoga can create better awareness of, say, how this pizza is making me bloated while eating, rather than realizing it after I’m done.
The consciousness that comes from things like meditation and yoga can be a profound shift in the auto-piloting we do daily.
We all auto-pilot and live distracted lives, that’s how Western society survives. How else could we all be stupid enough to sell our souls to work, lose our free time, and allow ourselves to be so deeply detached from what’s important in life?
We willfully permit ourselves to be distracted by media, business, shopping, and, well, nearly everything around us.
Moar Lunenburg. A tender dory sits in front of the harbour. Each buoy marks where a boat owner’s anchoring spot is and this sort would mean they’ve towed out to their boat from shore to take the boat out for a spell. Assumably, if they were taking a longer trip and needed the wee boat for accessing land elsewhere, I’d be towed behind them or stowed on deck.
The Simplicity of Nomad Life: A Good Start
As a nomad, I’ve taken a critical step toward shunning all that. I may work all the time, but I do so on my terms – from where I work to when and how, that’s all on me.
Living out of a bag, well, that makes shopping out of the question. I visit a town like Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, and I’m told by no fewer than five people that “Dots & Loops” is a store they love. Well, me, I look in the window and think “Why bother?” I have nowhere to carry it, nowhere to store it, and browsing induces low-level resentment of normies and their comfortable lives with knickknack-filled homes.
So, shopping, that’s not part of my life. Not ever. Except in open-air food markets. Those’ll always be a place I love to browse. Don’t have to fit my food in luggage or have it meet a plane’s weight limit, right?
Yet I have so much work to do. So much mindfulness to attain. So many habits and behaviours to change.
But, like you, I’ve spent a lifetime being programmed by a society with a vested interest in us forgetting that all we really need is water, food, shelter, air. Everything else, they get us on the hook for. God help them if we ever wise up and find some work-arounds.
Little Bits and Kindred People
Bali, for me, won’t solve my problems or fix my life, but maybe it’ll help me focus more on what’s inside, and take more time for myself in healthier ways. If I stop eating a little sooner, eat a little healthier, cycle more, sleep a little better… Maybe all those “little bits” add up to a collectively huge change inside.
I know, because I’ve been there before. It took me so much work to get there. So much willpower, so much resolve. I had to shut down the noise, phase out the doubters, channel my focus. But it’s like debt and dieting: Every bit counts toward the whole.
Gurus tell you that success is started by surrounding yourself with people who are successful, who have what you’re looking for. This is something I believe deeply after the changes and wins I’ve had on a personal level.
On social media, if someone’s negative and finds fault in everything, I may be friends with them, but they won’t be in my feed. They’ll be some forgotten entity in the background of my life. Rightly so. Attitude is important, and theirs doesn’t mesh with mine.
To become a nomad, I reversed an old habit of blocking people living life better than me. Instead, I followed all of them and listened to their lives and thoughts. They inspired me.
The Right People, Not the Wrong Ones
And I’ll be honest. There’ll be a large contingent of people in Bali who annoy the hell out of me. Sure, I’m liberal and can be open-minded on spirituality and health, but I’m also opinionated, brash, unapologetic. Me and the fluffy vegan, heal-thy-soul/love-the-world/yay-PETA! types will not be clinking smoothie glasses at the juice bar.
But there are others in Bali, too. People who eat more plants, do yoga, but roll their eyes at new-agers while shouting at Fox News as they chow down on a messy, juicy hamburger. We shall commune and embrace the dichotomies.
Like most of life, people aren’t there to solve our problems or lead us to cosmic truths. No one can hold our hand to a better life and greater fulfillment. Ultimately, all that lies within us. Either we unlock it and channel it, or we don’t. Most of us never really manage it. We get the doors ajar, but only a crack of light seeps in. No angelic spotlight of clarity finds us.
Drinking amazing Slovenian/Istrian wine with fantastic pizza at a wine bar here. This is work done right. This is probably one of the nicest wines I’ve had in a long time. Edi Simčič Diet is a wine blend from Goriška Brda, Slovenia. I found this write-up online. I’m paying $6/glass but it’d be much more back home for something comparable. “Tasting Notes: “Edi Simcic calls his wines “controversial.” Funny for a man whose smile puts one completely at ease. But just over the Italian border, in the nature-blessed zone of Goriška Brda, Slovenia, Simcic is turning traditional heads with his stunningly bold wines. His Duet is pure Simcic: bold, stirring, compelling. Its richness is like a restaurant-only dessert: chocolate, cherries, cheesecake, and coffee. It’s silky tannins underscore a lush, ripe, fruit-full body that goes on and on, and will improve for 20 years.”
Happiness: Brick by Brick, Step by Step
I believe happiness and contentment are elusive and hard to attain, no matter who we are. It’s not “a choice”. Choosing is only part of the solution. Provided your body chemistry isn’t skewed, happiness takes work. It always, always takes work. And when we achieve it, it takes more work to keep it that way.
Bali, in a way, is me choosing to surround myself with a huge collective of people on a similar path to a better life. People who opt for mindfulness and simplicity, who value health and wellness, and, hey, travel too. And even people who like smoothies and avocados, for whatever that’s worth.
I guess that’s the beauty of nomad life. It’s all about trying on cultures and perspectives. Taking in what I like and leaving behind that which I don’t. After five years, what all will I have absorbed and shed? I look forward to the perspective from the other side.
For now, I’m en route to my next chapter – a chapter in which I will become debt-free and healthy via embracing cultures I’ve always shied away from. All that, and more, beginning October 10th.