AM I TOO OLD TO JOIN THE CAST OF THE BEACH?

As a middle-aged man who has lived a life of excess. I mean excess, everything I have done, I did it to the extreme until there was nothing left, especially red wine. I always had in the back of my mind that I wanted to escape to a yoga retreat, that somehow was connected to a wine bar, yet for some reason, I could never find one. Now I have studied yoga before, I wouldn't say I was a yogi, but it was definitely one of the excesses that I had a relationship with. A healthy one, but of course one that fell to the wayside. Finding myself at 38, single, burnt out, uninspired, inactive and a body full of red wine. I decided this was a great time to live out my dream of escaping to the land of Namaste and sun salutations. I didn't really give too much thought about it, I'm not the one to search too much, I'm impulsive and don't have the patience to find the best deal. The only certain factor was that the destination was Bali. Why? Because I had traveled there before, loved it, knew it was relatively well, really cheap to live and it was close to Australia. On occasions I had visited Bali previously, I stayed in Seminyak. So I knew straight away Seminyak was not going to give me the Serenity I needed and Kuta, well I'm Australian so Kuta for me is a no-go zone. I think I drove through Kuta once, with my doors locked and windows up. This is nothing to do with the locals, but the Australians that flock there who seem to have been released from a zoo. I can say that I'm an Aussie. We even had a TV show about Australians in Bali. It was a cross between Jersey shore and well Jerry Springer. Both lovely shows. Google them and you will understand. With Bali in mind, I sat down at my computer and googled Yoga retreats Bali. On the screen before me, popped up a number of locations. Since Seminyak and Kuta were out, I went with my intuition and clicked on Canggu Beach. Now I am definitely a guy who looks for "signs" and here at the top of google search was a Singles Yoga Retreat, yes singles don't rub it in. A 30-day yoga retreat in Canggu Bali and it was on sale. Now I mentioned I was into life's' signs, so this deal almost jumped through my screen and started packing my bags for me while I booked my flight, without even googling where Canggu was, I was just going. In under a week, I was seated on a plane trying to drink the aircraft out of red wine, before I landed in Bali on my quest to become a Yogi. I landed late tired and quite happy with the planes bar service, all I wanted to do was sleep so I did. Waking up with a little sore head, I was taken back by the scene before me. I swear I had landed on the set of The Beach, with Leonardo ordering his takeaway Soy Latte in front of me. Scattered around this Eco-friendly Yoga retreat, were pretty young men and women from all over our vast globe, talking in their native tongue and lounging on outdoor couches, sitting in groups perched in a thatched hut, barefoot and drinking Alkaline water. I have never felt more miscast than ever. Checking in for my first class of the month, I can say the thought crossed my mind to run to the nearest hotel with a bar and hide. Instead, I faced my fears, registered, grabbed my mat and started my first initiation into the yogi tribe. Now in Yoga, there is no judging, so once I let my ego stop talking my head off, I found myself loving and being happy with my decision. This turned into great happiness when I found my tribe. People over 30, who were all traveling solo, and harboring some sort of similar heartbreak, burn out story, similar to mine. I found my own cast of The Beach. From that moment forward I can say, my month spent in Bali, facing my demons, hey I'm not going to lie, I did find a bar on a few occasions, was one of my happiest months in my 38 years. I did downward dogs, I balanced on my head, I meditated, I met amazing people from all over the globe. I laughed with these new friends, cried as well, Yoga can be an emotional journey, ate fresh food cheaply, swam in the ocean, once even tried to boogie board with a new mate from Germany and both nearly drowned. The worst $2.50 I have ever spent. I spoke to anyone and everyone, cause traveling solo you are forced too. I made friends with the locals and simply I feel in love with Bali. I also managed to fall back in love with life. So after feeling miscast on my first day, I can honestly say no matter who you are, where you come from and what you have achieved, none of this mattered at my Single's Yoga retreat. As for Yoga itself, it made me feel alive again, so alive that I am heading to India, to do my Yoga Teacher Training in one month. For anyone reading this who may be thinking of traveling alone, DO IT. Anyone thinking of visiting Bali, DO IT, and for anyone thinking of Yoga. DO IT. These three pieces of a recipe have changed my life. I'm not saying it will change yours, but if I learned anything on this trip. Anything is possible. You just need to jump. Namaste.

Bali Sunrise. Tanah lot

Final surf.

Magical Sunsets.

Serenity Yoga,

Wine time.

First Catch of the day. Bali.


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