Selamut Pagi from Indonesia

I'm sitting here at the villa I've made home for the last three nights. The cicadas are chirping and the bamboo wind chimes are blowing. It's a different kind of paradise than what I imagine when someone asks me what I picture as the perfect environment for myself. There are no snow-capped mountains. There is no need for hot tea or a flannel blanket. But it is paradise.  

I have wanted to visit Bali for a long while but have avoided it for a multitude of reasons. One of which is that I've not fancied myself a beach person. I find big mountain peaks and hiking boots more refreshing than sweating in sand. But I have learned from coming here that maybe I can have it both ways. Maybe I can find that same refreshing feeling in salt water and snow, ya know? Another reason I've avoided Bali is the tourists. When so many people hype up a place, it's almost certain it won't live up to it, right? Wrong. So wrong.  

It's not hot like everyone warned me. Perhaps travels throughout Southeast Asia destinations like Vietnam and Laos or Myanmar {cough, Bagan, cough} have made me tough to the heat. Usually, I'm whining when the temperature reads anything over 75F, but here it is 87F at 6 p.m. and I feel a bit chilled.

There aren't bugs like I thought there would be. Near the waterfalls I've visited, I've feared mosquitoes. But, if there are any, they haven't touched me. Maybe it's September. Maybe it's a miracle. Maybe this place is just wonderful. 

Indonesia feels vastly different than Myanmar. In both comforting ways and ways that make me appreciate Myanmar much more. This is, truly, a tourist hotspot. It's covered with Australian and New Zealand accents. It's full of Brits having Bintangs. It's been infiltrated by Western cuisines. 

But, for whatever reason, despite all of that, I genuinely like it here. I like the privacy of my villa and how out of the party-scene it is. I love the sunsets here. I love them. I like the black sand beach a few minutes from my front door. I like my outdoor bath and the vegan food options and the weather. I like it. 

I already know I'll be back to Bali, and I haven't even left. There is something about this island that makes me feel extra grateful to be here. Maybe because it's taken me so long to pull the trigger it feels a bit special being here finally? I don't know. It could be because Indonesia is officially my 40th country. 

So, 'hello' from Bali and a very happy, partially sunburnt me. And, if you're counting, my 40th country ;)