Uncertainty becomes an element in this peculiar life we live…

Tom grabbed me and the camera when he noticed this cart attached to a motorbike on the beach.

“Sightings on the Beach in Bali”

Family of four on motorbike stopping for Dad’s phone break. Often, locals with cell phones attempt to log in on the Wi-Fi signal here.  Since we arrived the first time, it’s been password protected thanks to help from Gede.

Nothing in life is for certain.  Oh, we understand the boring cliché about “death and taxes.” Yea, fine. They’re true. Although many have figured out how to avoid taxes which doesn’t necessarily include most of us.

The death part? Yep, a certainty. Although I’ve been reading scientific observations about our conscientiousness living into infinity. OK. Maybe we’ll hear more about that in this lifetime.  Maybe not.

Tom heads upstairs to the second story several times a day searching for more interesting activity on the beach. Yesterday, he spotted this cart and we went into action taking photos. It seems every activity on the beach has a story to tell.

Everything in between?  Uncertain. As we can easily obsess about the dangers and risks omnipresent in life, yours and ours included, we wonder if we can free our minds sufficiently to live in the present. Less apprehension and worry has the ability to extend the quality of our health and subsequently the length of our lives when we master the art of avoiding too much stress.

I oftentimes wonder if we take a carefree attitude of what’s transpiring in the world we’re considered to be in denial or ultimately deluding ourselves into believing all is fine. I’ve said this before, I’ll say it again, “You can run but you can’t hide.”

These two locals were busy collecting coconuts on the beach and placing them into the motorbike driven cart.

We didn’t run away. We walked. The crowds, the traffic, the hurried pace of daily life, the outrageous rising prices, the escalating crime, the political climate, and in Minnesota, the frigid climate itself, all played a role in our making the decision to leave almost four years ago.

Oddly, we expect “culture shock” when we will return to the US next May, in a mere eight months where suddenly we’ll be thrown into all of the above for a total of over two months. 

They appeared to have quite a haul.

It’s funny how after all this time, we’re no longer surprised or experience culture shock by the nuances of living in countries with less certainty, often without the predictability of consistently running water, power and Wi-Fi (which is sorely lacking in this area of Bali) and personal safety.  We’ve adapted.

Throwing us back into the land of “everything in abundance,” how will we avoid seeming like old hippies who just landed after years of living in a tent on the beach with a vegetable garden and chickens? It may not be as easy as it seems.

I don’t mean to imply we’ve lived modestly as stated above. Far from it. But, we’ve encountered endless situations in most countries in which we’ve lived over these years, requiring we change and adapt our expectations, may easier than others.

Soon, they’d be able to take off with their coconut haul.

Spending days outdoors with temperatures hovering at 90F, 32C, with humidity close to 90% (even on sunny days) requires a certain amount of tolerance and adaptation. I’d never have considered attempting to adapt to such discomfort in our old lives. 

Whole house air con was the way of life. Hot when outdoors? No problem. Walk inside, pour a beverage using ice from the automatic ice maker, park oneself in front of 500 channels (or more now for all we know) big screen high def TV and chill out. Or, browse online for a continual high speed connection, with rarely a signal disruption.

Antique Balinese seat we spotted next door, made into the shape of a boat.

Insects? No problem. Call Orkin or Terminex, for a fee they’ll be there within days to eradicate every last creepy crawly. In this life, we’ve learned to live with an endless stream of poisonous and/or annoying insects in every room, even at times crawling on us during the night.

Dining out on a whim? Not possible in many locations. The unpredictability of staff understanding my food requirements where there’s a language barrier keeps us from dining in restaurants in many locations. 

Piece of driftwood resting against a tree outside our veranda.

Food at home? The fabulous cooks in Bali only have access to prawns, chicken and occasionally fresh tuna (none lately). We’ve been rotating the same meals night after night: chicken (two ways), prawns and the occasional use of the ground beef we purchased in Denpasar when we arrived. When we run out of the “mince” there’s no heading back to Denpasar for the four or five hour harrowing drive to purchase more.

Recently, with high winds at sea, there hasn’t been any fresh tuna. Hopefully, soon it will be available again, but at the moment uncertainty prevails. We continue with the repeats, surprisingly enjoying every night’s meal as if somehow it was a “first.”

The tide rolled in making the river next door larger.

No washer? No problem. We hand wash if we need something now. It will dry outdoors on the rack within 24 hours (high humidity). No English speaking TV news? No problem. No car? No worries. We’ll figure it out.

Not a single store nearby where I can purchase a tube of lipstick or a bottle of Advil? No problem. Thank goodness, I have some remaining tubes of lipstick in the third suitcase and I’m using un-coated aspirin when absolutely necessary. (Eat something first. Take with lots of water).

Uncertainty is an expectation when flying, cruising, out on tours, riding in taxis and with drivers, moving from location to location. It follows us wherever we may go and especially each time we open the door of yet another “new home” in which we may be living in for weeks or even months.

Cement walkway on the edge of the next door neighbor’s property.

When we return to the US, everything we’ve mentioned and more will be available. One need only have a thought, jump into the car and drive to the appropriate location to acquire whatever is needed or desired.

We take nothing for granted, except perhaps uncertainty itself. On that, we can rely. Hopefully, while spending over two months in the US, distracted from the pleasure of being with those we love, we’ll continue to maintain our level of adaptation that we’ve worked so hard to acquire over these past years.

Certainly, by all means, have a beautiful day!

Photo from one year ago today, September 20, 2015:

In Fiji, one year ago, an example of uncertainty as indicated above, Mario, the owner, brought over this router that plugs into an outlet, providing us with a private connection not shared with other guests. Since he’d purchased the device in Germany, his home country, he had to add an adapter to make it plug into the outlet. The weight of the device using the adapter, made it keep falling out enough to lose the connection. Tom placed this stack of books under it to hold it in place.  The signal goes to “limited” quite often. It worked for a few days, then quit. For more details, please click here.