I’ve lived in Bali for over 5 weeks now, and finally just rented my first scooter a week ago.
I’ve quite liked walking around and immersing myself in the day to day scene of the Balinese culture, but I knew that to truly immerse myself, it was time to stop riding on the back of other people’s bikes and get a bike of my own (good analogy for life, no?)
I had my scooter for no more than 24 hours when I got into my first “crash”. I was pulling out of my friend’s place in the morning- it was a sharp left turn- there was gravel, chickens and dogs lying in the street (standard for Bali.) I veered left and crashed into a tree. (And I’m not ashamed to admit it.)
Aside from a few bruises and scratches (yes mom, I was wearing my helmet), the dogs, chickens, and even gravel were left unharmed. It has been through these trials and tribulations of tackling my scooter that I realized the extreme parallel to tackling life.
The streets of Bali are crazy- people zigzagging in and out, abruptly going this way and that. The best advice I was given: mind your own bike; people will ride around you. Flow with the traffic; don’t try to control it, rather allow the scooter to do its thing and guide it along in an easy manner.
I’m not going to lie, I was terrified of the hills, potholes, and erratic driving at first, but with each day it gets easier and FUN!!
I might be an embarrassment to my friends as I often forget to take off my helmet when cruising into a restaurant; but taking on this new challenge feels incredibly liberating. As in life, the more we can just flow with things, not grasp too tightly, and if do you crash, jump back on and keep going (obviously with a little more caution, but get back out there nonetheless.)
Yet another thing I am grateful for in my experiences here in this beautiful, ever-changing town.
Michelle (and Nat- although, she’s a pro rider at this point. Ask her about some of her first time scooter stories; she’s got some good ones!)
*As an addendum to this post, and a couple of key things to mention if you ever do rent a scooter in Bali:
-Honking at the dogs that lie in the middle of the street is NOT going to make them move- I don’t care what anyone else says.
-A one-way street does NOT necessarily mean one way- anything goes here. (And you will likely see/ experience it all. Enjoy and embrace the madness.) 🙂
-When you ask for more petrol oil and the man begins sucking it out of a motorbike into his mouth- he’s not trying to get high or kill himself with toxicity, he’s simply siphoning oil from one bike to another. (We’ve included a clip to satisfy your curiosity.)