Unfinished business Bali: surfing, sun and sea-life

I have been home for about 2 weeks now but haven’t adjusted back to the real world… I still instinctively avoid throwing paper into the toilet and am careful to not drink the water from the shower. To be honest, it makes me smile every time I catch myself doing these things and I get “homesick” for a magical little island in the Indian ocean. Even with hordes of tourists, unsustainable tourism expansion and exploitation, corruption and pollution, Bali has a way of sinking its claws into you and not letting go. The feeling of the wind tossing my hair around while I navigate the scooter around the winding roads, passing groups of local school children who giggle and wave when they see a Westerner, enjoying the serenity of the vast rice fields blooming and loads of massive kites dancing so high up in the sky that you wonder where they bought that much string, watching the sun disappear into a cloud bank just above the horizon painting the sky in wild hues every night, the feeling of bare feet in soft sand dancing under the stars with the ocean lapping at the shore 2 meters away… maybe its just the dichotomy of living a fast paced and slow paced lifestyle at the same time that constitutes the attraction, but it has something special and it invites you to live in an intense way for a little while.
My motivation for traveling to Bali is usually primarily surfing related, but every time I am there I can look back at the trip and see what kind of an influence it had on me, on my perspectives, on my dreams… I end up learning so much more about myself than I anticipated that the end of the trip is always a struggle. This year was no different: I was not ready to leave Bali. Surfing was just starting to click again after a few rough months starting off with cuts and accidents, old friends were arriving for their vacations, new friends becoming more familiar, my basic understanding of the local language improving, my skin finally adjusted from deep winter to a tropical climate. And then it happened again: I had an injury. There is no sexy story of harrowing feats leading to my physical demise, as I have begun to pride my accidents on. No, this time it was just stupid. I slipped and fell on some marble stairs. The x ray at the hospital in Canggu showed a displacement of the lumbar vertebrae and my insurance company flew me home to Austria for further tests within a week of the fall. My departure from Bali was abrupt; I wasn’t able to say goodbye to most of my friends there, my last surf session was not really a highlight, I didn’t have time to make peace with the end of a chapter. It feels like a love affair that is just suddenly over… it leaves you wanting more… calling you back… keeping your mind occupied with the vivid images, sounds and impressions.
Luckily for me, the MRI results came back saying it should be nothing serious in the end, a few weeks of physio and rest and I should be back on my feet in time for the snowboard season. That is good news! Here in Austria the fall has welcomed me back with some nice weather and warmer temperatures, making the adjustment that much easier. I am excited for the upcoming winter season, even if I’m a little heavy hearted about leaving the ocean, I know the moment I see some fresh snow I will have a one tracked mind again.
In the meantime, here are a few pictures of my last bit of time in Asia: unfortunately my gopro was glitchy and I didn’t get any good videos surfing although it was working most of the time during my Open Water Advanced course diving in Malaysia.


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