Yesterday I checked off two things on my bucket list:
- I rode on an elephant.
- I got a tour of one of the famous 5-star hotels in Ubud.
But here's the amazing part...
I didn't plan on either happening.
BOTH happened completely by coincidence while I was adventuring freely with no expectations.
Let me tell you how it all started...
I started my day at 7AM. Got my coffee, fruit, and fried egg from the boys at Wenara. Thanks Made Ponal.
After breakfast, I touched base with my team of rockstars (Avi, Jeff, and Anshul - thanks for being awesome guys) and ensured that everyones on the same page and has what they need to be successful.
Business comes before pleasure ;).
I did about 4 hours of hardcore in-the-zone grinding.
That means naturally just flowing from one task to another, without pause or break. Just knocking out what needs to get knocked out. High-efficiency type shit. And especially because it was first thing in the morning I was at peak focus and performance.
When I was finished with those 4 hours, I felt there was nothing else to do...
I wasn't going to just sit around and find work to do (like I used to do).
So, I decided to go on an adventure.
Now in the past, if I was going on an "adventure" it's typically going to be with AT LEAST one more person.
Like, you don't just hike a mountain solo. Unless your Moses or something.
But, this time. I was just thinking "Fuck it, I'm not going to waste time texting people seeing if they want to join. I'm just going to ride solo and see how this goes".
Worst-case scenario, this whole plan bombs. Tomorrows a new day.
So I said peace to my homies at Wenara, picked a direction, and hit the streets with my motor bike.
And just started driving...
Until I had an gut feeling to go to this really awesome place I had lunch at a few days prior, Moksa. Maybe I was hungry and it was just my stomach growling ;).
A very special shoutout to Big Al for showing me this wonderful establishment and continuously opening doors for me in this beautiful thing called life.
When I got there I was greeted by the two owners Chef Made and Made Janur.
I hugged Chef Made (one of the owners and the creator of magical organic delicacies).
Talked a bit about how important the emotional part of being a business owner is & what they don't teach you in business school with Made Janur (the other very business-savvy owner).
And then sat down in a open hut, overlooking their immaculate vegetable garden, to enjoy the 3-course, farm-to-table, 5-star dining experience that I was about to receive.
So that is how I started my day..
When I was done eating like a king, a drank a coffee, thanked them and continued on my "adventure".
Up until this point, it really wasn't much of an adventure. I mean, I went to well-known territory, and had a meal.
Nothing about that screams adventure.
It's okay, baby steps...
And The Adventure Begins
So I thought okay, let's just drive and get lost. Isn't that what adventurers do? Get lost and find their way back.
And that's when, I thought... I'm feeling like this is about to get EPIC...
Let's video tape this shit.
and literally 5 seconds later ...
I come across an incredible looking tree.
Now what I particularly find interesting is that if I wasn't in "Adventure Mode", perhaps I would have passed by this beautiful tree without even acknowledging it's existence.
But because I had my "adventure mindset" on, I was able to spot it, and therefore appreciate it, AND it gave me a little hit of happyness.
It's the little things baby...
So I went down a few more dead ends, through a few villages, talked sign-language to a few more Balinese men.
I basically got really freakin' good at getting lost.
But heres what's awesome, every time I got lost it was a gift.
I talked broken balinese/english with more and more balinese women, men, and children and kept putting smiles on their and my faces.
Who would have thought getting lost was so fun!?
After having fun getting lost on Balinese side streets I decided to jump on one of the main roads and just ride it until I see something interesting.
I drove for about 15-20 minutes and that's where I saw a sign for the infamous ... Bali Zoo.
Zoo? Isn't that for kids I thought. Fuck it. Let's give it a go.
So I banged a left and rode down the road until I got to the Zoo.
Going in I literally had zero expectations. Just went in with an open mind.
When I arrived at the ticket office, the wonderful Balinese girl informed me that they offer Elephant Safari riding. Here's how our conversation:
And 5 minutes later ... I found myself on. an. Elephant.
After the Elephants, I did a quick lap around the Zoo, and headed out.
I came, I saw, I conquered.
I decided I'd head back to the hotel as I really felt like going for a swim.
As I was heading back I saw a sign for a village that was recommended to me earlier that day.
I'm in the school of thought, that if something is recommended to you, you should try it.
I mean the recommendation came into your life for a reason, right.
So I headed to the village.
I wove through a bunch of traffic with the motor bike, when I passed by a cool looking alley way.
"Fuck, why wasn't I more attentive", I thought.
If I wasn't day dreaming, I would have seen it coming and would have been able to make the turn.
I told myself I wasn't going to miss another turn like that again. I'm going to be present in the journey and get any day dreaming out of the equation.
And then another of the same EXACT alley way appeared. This time I was ready for it. This time I banged the left.
I went down the Alley way into this beautiful little village. I smiled at everyone and everyone smiled back.
I continued to drive until I got to another deadend.
When I saw a gate.
A HUGE beautiful gate.
It must have been 15 feet high, with two guards.
My instinct took over and yelled, "Hey! What's in there?"
One of the guarded waved and then nodded his head no.
Anytime someone tells me no, I get more curious.
"Hey! Can I just have a look?!", I yelled.
He paused, and then nodded yes.
Mandapa, A Ritz Carlton Hotel
I drove down to the gate where I was greeted by the two guards.
They told me to continue driving down where I would be able to park and tour around the place.
"What was this place?", I was thinking.
"Where the hell am I right now? Is it a hotel? It it a government facility?".
As I got to the large courtyard I was greeted by a guy with a hotel uniform and a big smile.
I started to get an idea of where I was.
"Am I at Hanging Gardens?", I asked anxiously to find out.
I thought I had ended up at the hotel that I have been meaning to visit!
He said, "Welcome to Mandapa. Please valet your bike and proceed to the lobby where you will be greeted for your tour".
I get a tour! Fuck yeah.
I walk into the lobby where I'm greeted by a young lady which escorts me to the "Terrace View".
This was my reaction.
After getting another hit of happyness from the Terrace View. The lady asked me, "Would you like a buggy tour of the estate?".
Fuck yeah! I want a tour of the ESTATE.
I was then escorted back into the court yard where I was introduced to the stud that was responsible for giving me a buggy tour. Here's a short clip from the tour:
For brevity I won't include every clip of the tour. For that you can follow me on snapchat. But I will include just one from the very end of the tour, just so you can see how I felt.
And that was it. After that I was in complete euphoria.
So many "hits of happyness", that I was simply on cloud 9.
I thanked them dearly for being so kind, generous, and sharing their world with me.
I was ready to pack it in for the day.
So what did I learn.
I learned that if you appreciate and enjoy the moment for what it is, then even wandering around and getting lost is fun.
I learned that when you don't plan and you just freely follow your intuition you end up doing things that you really want to do and they come in the form of surprises.
(In my case it was ride elephants and visit a fancy hotel in Bali.)
And I think most importantly, I learned that we can TOTALLY have a BLAST by myself.
Of course if I shared that experience with other people that would have been memorable and amazing too, but I was totally content just riding solo on this one.
Alright, that's enough thought-to-paper for one day.
Last thing I'll say is ... that today is a bit sad. It's the last day I'm spending in Ubud and it's going to be hard to say bye to all the amazing people that I met.
I'm going to the Gillie Islands tomorrow, and fly to Thailand on Tuesday where I will be embarking on the next chapter in my journey.
I'm going in without any expectations, but I will say this:
If Thailand is even half as good as Ubud, Bali it would have been worth checking out.
Thanks to all the amazing people I met in Ubud. Thanks for making this so memorable and life-changing. I know I will stay in touch with those of you know who who they are.
Confession - I ripped the name of this blog post from a fellow adventurer in Bali named Derek Loundermilk. I really loved the name of his blog for the title of this post, as I think the verbiage captures my aha moment for discovering the adventuring mentality. Thanks Derek for the name, and best of luck to you and your podcast