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Come Travel with Me

December 19, 2023

Come Travel with Me

By Amba Gale

There is inner travel and outer travel.

While most of these postings have concerned themselves with inner travel, this is different.

I have always held (outer) travel as a unique opportunity – for discovery, exploration, and for learning. Learning the ways, the nature of, the thinking, and the behaviors of people who think differently than I do, who have different norms, and who have been brought up in a different culture. When I travel, I am beyond curious: I intentionally cultivate a commitment to wonder.

The amazing, extraordinary trip my husband and I just completed during the month of November from Bali to Bangkok by ship, with five days in Bali, five days in Bangkok, 3 days in Singapore, and many day stops in between – Kuala Lumpur, Jakarta, Semarang, Surabaya, was just that – amazing. Filled with the newness of new lives, new ways of being, ways of living, new sights, sounds, and smells.

I invite you to join me, through light touching, with photos, through this posting, in the adventure.

The depth of the welcome, people’s orientation to share, the warm smiles, forthcoming embraces, gift-giving, and heart extensions were prominent as we discovered, leaned into, and allowed ourselves to be amazed by what we discovered and uncovered.

A waiter in Ubud, Bali; his smile, straight from his heart, lit up the world.

A waiter in Ubud, Bali; his smile, straight from his heart, lit up the world.

In a world where people have been killing one another over religious differences for years and years, the people of these lands, and their ways of life, gave us an opening to visit a world oriented in a different direction.

Religions depicted in woodwork stand side by side

Religions depicted in woodwork stand side by side.

Throughout Indonesia, people of different religious persuasions include, embrace, and live next to each other in the same neighborhoods.  In Thailand, while predominantly a Buddhist country, the Buddhist temples, Muslim mosques, and Christian churches often stand side by side. 

In Bangkok, we were walking through an art neighborhood and stumbled into a Buddhist temple, with monks chanting.  We delighted in people selling their produce and wares on the canal, the open floral markets. We were awed by the beautiful gold Buddhas that abound in the city.

The Golden Buddha

The Golden Buddha

In the Buddhist Temple

In the Buddhist Temple

The Floating Market

The Floating Market

palaceThe Grand Palace, a vast compound of palaces and temples, was the location where Governess Anna and the King of Siam (yes, from the movie) actually met – true story.  dancers

Then, there are the wooden houses on stilts and plumeria trees, with homes built right on the canals and goods conveyed down it. And, if that weren’t enough, a ginormous Buddha along the canal.

buddhist statueIn Kuala Lumpur, the indigenous natives, the Mah Meri native Malaysians – former sea nomads – live in villages overseen by a shaman. We were treated to a unique mask dance to honor the ancestors.

In Singapore, the world’s only island city-state, the cleanliness of the streets, the super technology, the astounding architecture of the buildings, and the 30 million trees (yes!) and countless flowers of the Gardens by the Bay astounded us with their beauty, entranced us with their unusuality (brought in from all over the world).  A “ship” or “surfboard” spanning three hotels at 58 stories high greeted us throughout our perambulations of the central district.  From the top, as we took the elevator up to the “prow of the ship,” the view was amazing.

Singapore at night

Sands Skypark, which looks like an enormous surfboard.

Sands Skypark, which looks like an enormous surfboard.

View from the top: The cargo ships are all waiting to be able to get into the port.

View from the top: The cargo ships are all waiting to be able to get into the port.

Gardens by the Bay: trees were imported from all over the world. The Singapore citizens love trees.

Gardens by the Bay: trees were imported from all over the world. The Singapore citizens love trees.

These are called “Supertrees.” – They are like vertical gardens. They generate solar power, collect rainwater, and light up at night in a super light show.

These are called “Supertrees.” They are like vertical gardens. They generate solar power, collect rainwater, and light up at night in a super light show.

treesupertree

altarIn Bali, altars are everywhere.  Here, the Hindu culture predominates. Even in the colorful market stalls, people light their incense, and altars are in every stall.

Ganesh, prevailed.  Ganesh– the Indian elephant god who provides and then removes obstacles, predominated as a spirit and a figurehead.

couple in templeelephant statue
Ganesh's cave

Ganesh’s cave

Jungle Monkey Forest

Jungle Monkey Forest

Jungle Monkey Forest

Jungle Monkey Forest

monkey familyIn Ubud, the artist and cultural center of Bali, temples abound in each block.  Each family has an enclave that includes a temple for that family.  Then, there is a “village temple” in each village, which villagers (not outsiders) all go to.  Then, there is a larger public temple, which extends for approximately a block and is open to the public.  All the temples are beautiful and entrancing.

couple with monkeysIt was hot.  Both the food and the weather.

It was intense. It was exhausting, and it was wild. 

templeAt one point, a monkey in the Jungle Forest of Ubud, jumped onto my lap as I rested from long hours of walking with my husband.  I was delighted!  Then, I discovered he was after my necklace! Fortunately, Don brushed him off and we were able to leave with 

only a minor scratch, a little “love note!”

Now, I give myself some time to integrate, to be with, to complete, and to look with new eyes and see what I see from here as I start my next inner traveling, the creation of my new future.

The world is beautiful.  Both the inner and the outer, when we see it with a clear heart.

couple vacationingcouple vacationing

And for you? We are coming to the end of this year.  You could hold this time as an opportunity to declare for yourself what has ended or what it is time to end, and let it go, with love, appreciation and honor.  Everything has changed, and there is no going back. We are living in a new energy, one that demands new muscles for resiliency, for being unattached, for listening deeply for what is being asked for (really), for re-imagining, for touching one another, serving one another, and for love.

We are being invited to trust the universe, even when it looks awful. We are being invited to bring created gratefulness to everything we are being given, including those difficult challenges that are there to serve our evolution.  We are being invited, once more, to see everything, even now, as a gift, and to bring our appreciation and gratefulness to the world. We are being asked to keep our hearts open.

I invite you to invite completion, compassion, and courage into your heart.  Let in the sorrows that are there, the griefs, as well as the joys.  Completion has healing and a bringing to wholeness, compassion, a softening of the heart, an opening into and embrace of views and ways of being that you don’t understand and that are different than your own, and courage, the heartful stepping into allowing your actions to be in alignment with your most profound commitments, your vows that you have made to yourself.   

And as you think of gift giving, may you give the gift of yourself – your Presence, your attention, your gratitude for, your appreciation of — to those you love and all you touch.  May you gift yourself with Life.

May your end of year days be loving, completing, compassionate, courageous, and welcoming of a new future.

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