Tuesday, 27 March 2012

The Bali Files - The grass is always greener

Image from here
I found myself exploring the villages of Bali on a bicycle last week. As I wound my way along the narrow roads trying to seamlessly integrate into the baffling flow of traffic, I smiled broadly and honestly at the scenery and people as I went by. Bali is a beautiful country. Its people are friendly and real.

I admired the lives they lead. Growing their own produce. Raising their own livestock. Working together as a community. Finding the happy in all the recent sadness.

Every plant is used from root to leaf tip. Every garden follows principles of organic gardening, companion planting and permaculture. Every animal has a place and purpose. Every person a role.

It isn't an easy life. It is manual labour of the back breaking kind. But there is beauty in the simplicity of it. Work to eat. Eat to live. Live to die.

Religion underpins the culture and the sense of completeness these lovely people have. They pray, they pay homage, they look for signs. God is everywhere in Bali. In the festivals. In the language. In the food that they eat.

I was struck by the lack of technology. The lack of obseity. The lack of processed foods.

I was impressed by the re-purposing and re-using (101 ways with bamboo anyone?) and the simple and sustainable cooking practices they have.

It is ironic, don't you think, that there are movements in first world countries to go 'back' to sustainability? We had it, but we lost it. Sure, improvements in healthcare, water purity and safety have made our societies better places to be in. But the 'improvements' are not necessarily all that.

The Balinese seek what we have. Technology. Processed food. White-collar work. They want an 'easier' life. Working 9-5 behind a desk is definitely 'easier' than farming rice in a paddy field all day in the boiling sun, raging winds and torrential rains. But what do you have to give up for this 21st Century life?

How many cars is too many? How much lack of connectivity is too much? How much money is enough?

The grass is always greener isn't it? There is so much to be learned (remembered?) from places like Bali. I wish I had had more time to spend there to gather more insights.

Don't you just love that travel wakes you up a bit?


Lisa H said...

I've never been to Bali, it sounds lovely, and I love this post. Most people talk about beaches and nightclubs when they talk about Bali, I love that you are sharing from a different perspective.

Some days I would rather do the 'back-breaking' garden work in the hot sun than sit at my desk for 7+ hours!

Photographer Mum said...

Yes indeed, the grass is always greener. I am aiming for simplicity this year - so far heading in the right direction :)

seminyak villas said...

Reading your post made me realize so many things. Thank you so much for sharing!

Mum on the Run said...

I love your perspective.
It's refreshing and always reminds me to consider my priorities.
:-) x

At Number 32 said...

Beautifully written and said.

Coal Valley View said...

Love this Post as well ! I love how they all work together too, side by side often with all the kids around - so community minded. We could definitely be better at this aspect of our lives. Bet you guys had an amazing time xx

Kymmie said...

Oh Coo. Nothing like a visit to a 'developing country' to realise that in so many ways they have so much more than us.

It's the same in Papua New Guinea. We lived there for four years. I saw there was so much for us to learn there too. Yes, the government is crumbling, but the people have their gardens, the soil is rich and fertile, and the people are actually happy.

Yet, they long for what we have. I remember saying to a few of my PNG friends that perhaps they might think twice about wanting higher suicide rates, divorce, obesity, and diabetes.

Mind you, I can understand their need for lower infant mortality rates, better health systems, and better work opportunities ;)

You'd made a great aid worker. I think exactly the same as you, and nodded passionately at your every word.

Now, what were you doing in Bali? Holiday? Sounds wonderful! x

Nat - Muddy Farmwife said...

Great post, I love that no matter how much things change, they stay the same, as we start to cycle back to more sustainable living.
Thank you for this lovely perspective.

Mama of 2 boys said...

What a fantastic post! I LOVE the way you pose these thought provoking questions, you always get me focused Multiple Mum, thank you for that.
It sounds like you have taken a great deal from your travels, the beauty of it being that you can come back and share it with us. I haven't travelled, anywhere really. So I find reading about other people's experiences very enlightening and extremely interesting. I am fascinated how less developed countries just know how to utilise everything they have available to them, a life without wastage would be an incredible way to exist. I feel guilty on a daily basis about the amount of rubbish my family produces alone. Sure, I recycle, but it's so much more than recycling. It worries me that if our household of four are generating this kind of waste, imagine what the rest of this country AND the world are generating. Scary.

Diminishing Lucy said...

So glad you had a wonderful time. Travel does indeed stretch the brain - and the cheeks for the smiling.


Marcy said...

Love your picture and your thought-provoking post. I would love to go there someday.

Life In A Pink Fibro said...

I think that's one of the best things about travel. x

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