‘Let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you really love. It will not lead you astray.’ -Rumi
When I arrived in Bali in early January 2017, I planned to spend five weeks exploring the island of the gods. Little did I know, but my experiences in Bali would change the course of the next year of my life, inspiring a last-minute decision to cancel my return ticket back to California.
I’ll admit it —when I first decided I was going to travel alone through Europe and Southeast Asia, I was terrified. The thought of spending four months by myself, traveling through foreign countries surrounded by a bunch of strangers who didn’t speak the same language sounded…scary. Friends and family telling me how dangerous the world was didn’t help much —according to popular opinion, if I wasn’t killed in a terrorist attack or raped in a dark alley, I would be lucky to arrive back in San Francisco as a travel-hardened survivor of sexual harassment, rampant pickpockets and mosquito-born illness.