“Happiness is only real when shared”
I am a hopeless romantic. I don’t know how I became one–it might be due to growing up watching all those Disney Fairy Tales or too much idle time reading Matha Cecilias Kristine Series.
Or could it be possible that nature simply compels me to be one? When I am in the great outdoors, surrounded by the burst of colors of trees and wild flowers, I turn romantic. The mere sight of sunrise and sunset makes me all giddy and cheesy. And wish that someday I would share all these beautiful things and places with someone special, our hands together.
I don’t know when exactly I started to have that kind of longing feeling, but as I travel I always felt that it would be happier when shared. Thus, I made a vow to myself to never visit a place twice unless I have my special someone. Don’t get me wrong, I traveled with friends and family and even on my own and I felt perfectly happy. However, I just knew there would be a different kind of happiness—one where my heart could not stop smiling.
Ever heard of the saying, it is lovelier the second time around? Indeed it was. My Bali trip was a proof of that. The first time I went to Bali, I stayed in Nusa Dua, an exclusive enclave of high end resorts, which felt disconnected with my shorts, T-shirts and slippers lifestyle. It was primarily for work, so it was understandable.
The second time was with him–my special someone. And I considered it one of the best travels I had. There were numerous reasons and yes, let me count the ways:
The universe conspired for us to travel together. I always believed he wanted to go to Bali as one of his best friends had been to the place. And he surfs. As for me, it so happened that I had a work meeting in Malaysia and Bali is just 45 minutes away. I made an arrangement with my work as well with our funder for my plane tickets so I can follow him.
We stayed in the surfers’ paradise.Tucked up and out of the way, Bingin is what Bali is really about—chill, laid back and non-commercialized. The off the beaten place I look for. Every night, we walked down in a dark, steep pathway with our cheap energizer headlamp as our guide, a reason for me to hold his hands. And every day, we woke up to the sight of gigantic breaks and hollers of surfers.
We got lost and found our way through on a motorcycle. For speed and convenience, the motorcycle was our main transportation. He picked me up at the airport in a motorbike. I held tight to him and hopped aboard the motorbike in getting around Balangan, Padang-Padang, Uluwatu and Ubud. I just felt so happily thrilled as I sat on the bike cuddling up to him, leaning and chatting to his ears as we figured at the arrow signs for directions. It did not matter that my arms and legs got sun burned all along the ride.
We ate and drunk at the beach. Meals are best served at the beach. Always. And with your special someone, the bestest. Nasi goring has never tasted so good. We either ate overlooking the beach or our bare feet on the beach.
We slept in a creaky bed. A thatch room with an old senile fan and a broken toilet seat for Php500 a night, I considered it a home. Plus, it was located atop a cliff and had an equally creaky balcony that allowed us to see and feel the power of the never ending, never tiring massive waves from two other surf sites–Impossibles and Dreamland.
We had our own secret natural bathtubs. Unless you are a surfer, most people do not go to places where waves could go as high as 3 meters much more so if the wave breaks in a hollow reef. However, a breathtaking site awaits for those who remain for the tide to ebb as the reefs turned into little velvety green tubs. It was the perfect place to relax and swim while watching the sunset.
We surfed and got towed by the current. It would be a shame, even for an amateur, not to attempt to ride the waves in Bali. First and foremost, it is one of the top surfing sites in the world. Hence, we went looking for a site that would suit me and ended up in Padang-Padang. I had surfed before using a longboard, however, never with a short board. For a first timer, I was crazy to use such board in Padang-Padang and he was even crazier expecting me to balance perfectly. We spent in the water over an hour, with me on the board and him pushing me, arguing over my balance and why I wouldn’t go where the good waves were. Good thing I tried to be brave, stood up and rode a really good wave. It made up for all the arguments.
We argued and made up. On our first day together, he wanted to kill me. While paying for the toll fee, I was also giving away his ATM card, driver’s permit, national identity and insurance cards. I did not realize they were falling off from his wallet. A wallet he entrusted to me! I have never seen him so mad, if he could strangle my neck he probably would. Thus, the morning and afternoon of our day were spent finding our way back to the toll gate, looking for an internet shop and a telephone to call the bank in Spain. Such a distressful situation, but made me realized that despite seeing the worst of him, you accepted his flaw and loved him anyway. At the end of the day, we laughed it off and made up.
Misadventures followed us but we survived. Already constraint with money due to the loss ATM card, we were hoping that the rest of the trip would go smoothly. But life has a habit of surprising us. Who would have thought that those naughty creatures in Monkey Forest will eat the chair of our rented motorcycle. We ended up replacing it, luckily for a cheap price.
Then, there was the airport scenario, where our acting and negotiation skills were tested. We were carrying a surfboard, but without a baggage allowance for it. We attempted to argue first that it was just like any other bags…with a different shape. Of course, the airline did not buy it. So, the best way to deal with our problem was to honestly explain our situation and asked little kindness from the ground steward. With a sigh of relief, we were able to bring the surfboard home at a very minimal cost.
Though we are not together anymore, I want to thank him for the wonderful experience and for teaching me what it meant to share happiness. My dream of going around the world with my special someone remains. But for now, I have to do it on my own first and just be giddy and be hopeful about the future. Someday.
And for all the lovers out there, what are you waiting for? Travel and see the world. And make your own adventures.