First I would like to point out that in 2017 so far I am up to a blog post a month (while this blog is turning 5 soon!!), and I feel pretty proud of myself (give myself a pat on the back here). Not that I have more time on my hands, quite the contrary. But I am getting better at handling my own personal chaos and making time for the things that are important to me, like writing for myself (and for you guys, thanks for reading).
Today is Nyepi, the day of silence and the Balinese new year of 1939, what is looking like a fine year here in Bali. Already my 4th Nyepi. Some of you know the drill already: not allowed outside, no noise, no lights, etc. Yesterday as always there were some ogoh-ogoh being paraded on the streets, these evil figures representing the bad spirits.
In Bali we are pretty lucky, power is on and this is why I am currently typing this. On Lembongan I did 3 Nyepi with no power. After a while, your laptop dies, your phone dies, you are sweating your boobs off and there is nothing to do but do what Nyepi is for: be silent, reflect upon life and other shit and take a little break from the world.
While sitting peacefully in my hammock this morning, listening to the lack of noise, it got me thinking about this all always connected thing a lot of humans have going on these days (including me).
About 20 years ago I started studying at university (yup, not getting any younger here!) and it was the beginning of the internet as we know it. Altavista was a search engine and Google wasn't even a thing. I would wait outside the campus doors on Sunday to get in the IT room that would unlock once every hour, and nerd out and explore the web. I created my first webpage around that time, it had 2 photos and some text that I wrote.
The first (of many) time I took off with a backpack for a month was about the same time, and back then my parents would just have to trust that I got to the other side of the world OK, until they would get a revert charge call from a payphone or a post office.
Nowadays, if I go to remote corners of Indonesia for a week where I will be offline, I have to warn my mom: no whatsapp for a week Mama, nothing to worry about. I don't even feel whether I am making a conscious decision to inform my mum, I feel like I have to because after 72 hours of no sign of life she will probably send someone break in my house in Bali. But 15 years ago when I was taking off for a faraway country, much younger and inexperienced and maybe when the world was not as travelled as now, she had to just sit tight and wait to hear from me.
Internet and all the subsequent technology has shifted the way we communicate and therefore the way we travel. We go out and do all these cool things in a new place and straight away we share it with our loved ones or the rest of the world. For some people, travel became a job, or at least a way of making a living. We also have all this information available at our fingertips and it is nowadays so rare to end up in a place where you have no idea about anything, because someone has likely been there before. So it is somewhere on the internet.
I am not pointing fingers here, I do it too. Take some cool photos and upload them. Say "I am here". Photos has changed so much too. Now everyone is a instaphotographer or something similar. But still only a handful of people are photographers, artists.
In Komodo this last January I had a full 5 days with no network or signal whatsoever and it was BLISS. Just diving and chilling. I think I will try to make this a yearly thing. A week of "I am not available to the rest of the world, only here for whoever is with me at this moment in time". Go dive somewhere and just be away.
The other day I was writing on dancing with demons. I have been dancing quite a bit lately, not sure who will walk out of the dancefloor first, me or the demons. But life is a work in progress, after all. Today is the day where the demons roam the streets of Bali, find them silent and empty, and go haunt somewhere else.
I am wishing you all a happy Balinese new year 1939.