Reflections on Ubud

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What an interesting city Ubud is. Strattled on the fine line of overpopulation/tourism surplus, yet exuding a calm, relaxed feel. Many people are searching for serenity, connection, a spiritual retreat of sorts here. Spiritual or not, it seems everyone is seeking for something here,.

The city itself is noisy, bustling with backpackers, motor scooters, and Balinese at every corner, using each and every tactic to bait you in. Tourism drives the economy, but many Balinese think enough is enough. Venture just outside the city center, speak to the right people, and the quiet, calm, zen of this place still exists. I find, it lies in the people. It is in the wife of a painter who gladly showed me every detail of a painting even though she knew I wasn't purchasing. It is in the painters effortless and perpetual smile. It is in the cab driver who was so eager to give me a real feel for the city, for no extra charge.

The backpackers are their own breed, for both the good and the bad. It gives me a sense of familiarity to be around them. It seems each of them is seeking something different on the surface but really the exact same thing when you go deeper. It is a quest for bliss, for a break from the daily grind, to see other ways of life. And it's no surprise that I fit right into that category.

As far as personal development, though it's still early, at times I get waves of clarity, with glimpses of certainty for what it is I want to do on my path. I feel like I've lived a year in the past week! A strong motivation for me wanting to embark on this journey was to break out of the cultural paradigm I have been embedded within. Our culture tells us about things we must do, how we should live to be successful. For many that story, is no longer a narrative being imposed on them, but rather an absolute truth; it just is how things are and how they should be.

Being here , after one short week, has reaffirmed it doesn't have to be that way. It's in the entrepreneurs I met, who quit their day job, to work on a passion project in Ubud. It's in Dianne from Holland, who has been here for close to a year and is writing a book on the learning she has experienced. It’s in the backpackers who make just enough money to afford their next spontaneous travel trip.

For now I'm off to hot springs by the volcano with some friends, before leaving Ubud to hopefully go to a more quiet town where I can finally catch a glimpse of the ocean. Stories , photos and more thoughts on the past week coming soon.

With tons of love and contentment,


Scott HaberComment