Jonathan and I have been here since 6 a.m. and it’s now almost 4:30 p.m. We ALMOST didn’t get to leave to airport because in Guangzhou you need a visa to even set foot into the city… but we were able to snag 24-hour visas after *quite* a lot of trouble to do so (and getting yelled at by a few security guards).
After a minor experience teaching ourselves the Chinese metro system so that we could check out the city during our epically long layover, where we ended up at a *terrifying* / fascinating / terrifying meat marketplace where we somehow convinced each other to try the local dumplings (basically corn covered in a mystery meat?), and after Jonathan very nearly left me inside of the metro because he got out while it closed on me (yes, closed on me and my massive stuffed-full-of-everything bags…) — we have now finally made the glorious decision of parking ourselves at the VIP lounge near our gate.
This is the mystery meat / dumpling / corn concoction straight out of a bag in Guangzhou. Yep, his face says it all.
Upon sitting down for the first time all day we shoveled our faces with vegetable fried rice, egg rolls, and soup in the lounge (talk about things I haven’t eaten since I was probably 9 at Panda Express in the mall) and I am now happily typing away while J rearranges my overflowing bag (think Brazil nut explosion).
Not only am I thrilled to be blogging and sitting somewhere comfy that has WiFi, I then remembered I had a Lily’s dark chocolate bar and brand new Vital Proteins MATCHA Collagen Powder with me so I melted into a puddle of happiness. It’s the little things, you guys.
(FYI: I don’t travel without Vital Proteins, ever. It’s on my list of airplane non-negotiables right up there with Liquid I.V. for hydration, my Coco Kind Matcha Stick for chapstick and for my under eyes, dark chocolate, and cashews. VP’s new Matcha Collagen is packed with antioxidants and easy to add to anything. I am hooked. Just a lil’ #TBBtravels tip for ya!)
So even though the egg roll face shoveling experience was pretty much our first time eating in 30 hours and I think we could both desperately use a shower we are still over the moon excited because…
WE ARE GOING TO BALI TONIGHT!
Yep, beautiful Bali, we are coming for you!
A little backstory:
When we landed this morning we thought we were flying out to Thailand this afternoon. We decided on Thailand as a backup plan yesterday after a VERY rocky 48 hours trying to decide whether we would still fly to Bali as planned even though the volcano eruption there has been scary and all of the major airports near Bali were closed up until today.
Let’s just say I cried a little last night (okay, a lot… okay, I sobbed hysterically on the plane until I had snot dripping down my face and all over my sweatshirt) and knocked myself out for almost the entire flight to China. When we landed, we saw that there were flights to Jakarta available (which is in Indonesia not that far from Bali) and we both looked each other with eyes that screamed: “WE MUST GO TO INDO.”
So I called the travel agent I frantically hired yesterday when I thought we were planning a trip to Thailand with 5 hours to spare, and told him we’d like very much to fly to Indonesia instead. Yes, we’d even like our Thailand hotel cancelled because our hearts (both of them — not just mine!) were so, so, so set on this trip to Indonesia.
Then we saw that there were not only flights to Jakarta, but that the Denpasar airport in Bali reopened TODAY which means that:
a) I could have saved thousands of dollars by keeping our original flights from LAX to Shanghai, and Shanghai to Bali rather than canceling them and booking all new flights to Thailand and THEN from China to Denpasar at the last second, *but* I have decided to let it go because while it’s upsetting… Mother Nature will always do her thing and it was too risky for us to know yesterday whether we were going to be able to make it to Bali, AND
b) it’s just money — as I’ve been reminded over the last 30 hours traveling with my love, the only thing that matters is the person you’re with / the love we surround ourselves with / and the journey along the way.
It might sound cliche, but as I sit here in my grimy airport clothes desperately needing to brush my teeth and scrub my face from the Chinese meat market oil that wafted into my face in downtown Guangzhou today… I couldn’t possibly feel more strongly that love is all that matters.
Even as the metro closed on my body today (feel free to laugh — and Danielle Kesich, I owe you an open apology for laughing so hard about you getting your foot stuck in the London tube that one time — I now feel you wholeheartedly) and I clutched onto J and his backpack straps for dear life… I thought to myself, “I wouldn’t rather be anywhere else in the world with any other human. Whatsoever. Period.”
b) Being the type of gal who chooses to follow my heart no matter the cost and no matter the extra time/difficulty/work it’s going to take to make it happen, I knew the moment I saw that the Bali airport was reopened that we had to rebook our trip. Call all of our hotels. Tell them it was a false alarm. Cancel our Thailand hotels and flights. Alert our friends in Bali that we were indeed coming.
c) This experience has been a huge lesson for me in learning to GO with the FLOW. If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, then you know… I am simply not someone who is a natural at going with the flow. Jonathan begged me yesterday to just chill out and fly to Shanghai as planned and see what was happening with the Bali airports when we got there. But I worked myself into a tizzy and didn’t want to be stuck in China with no plan. And guess what? Today, after all the rearranging and the tears and the changes of plans, we were still stuck in China all day with little to no plan.
d) Because of the above, and the stress and woe I put myself and him and our travel agent and my poor parents (I call them constantly) through… I never again want to underestimate the value of going with the flow and choosing happiness and calm in all situations.
After I had some sense knocked into me by J telling me last night leaving LA that my stressed mood was really killing our vibe, I have made a conscious effort (for the last 30 hours) to calm down, enjoy every moment of the crazy process, and go with the flow. It’s not about repressing emotions or ignoring how I feel, but rather reminding myself that travel is an adventure and that even when it gets stressful… I’m with my love, we are on vacation, and there’s going to be a great outcome no matter what.
SO NOW! We fly to Bali in two and a half hours and we will be heading into Jimbaran tonight, and then to Ubud in a few days, and then to NIHIWATU on Sumba Island as we have been planning all year and I simply cannot wait.
And as a little more background, in case you think I’m crazy for agonizing between Thailand and Bali, hands down two amazing places no matter what — Bali has been my dream for as long as I can remember. I have never been, and my soul already aches for it.
We planned this trip in February, and every single day since then I have counted down the days and felt an unbearable amount of excitement to be there. Between my schedule and J’s schedule + his Ironman training this year, we have been looking forward to blissing out on this trip and being together OFF of the screens, away from technology, our daily obligations, all of it, more than words can say. I’ve had a vision of the relaxation on this trip for so long that changing that vision and trying to make Thailand fit the mold of what I wanted just felt so off, no matter how hard I tried.
That said, I’m sure if we had gone there after all we would have had the time of our lives. And one day we will — I hope! But this trip, it’s all about Bali.
THAT BALI VOLCANO, THOUGH!
And I have to say, I don’t know what has gotten into me over the last several months and the funk I have been in with blogging…. but writing this post just made my whole entire day and then some.
While I do plan to take some much needed me-time away from technology on this trip, I will definitely be blogging it out and sharing with you guys along the way. Check Insta for behind-the-scenes & back here for some more in-depth updates to come. 🙂
Mother Nature and the Universe always know what’s up. I know with certainty that there was a reason for all of this mayhem with the way our trip has gone down, and I already know that the first part of that reason was everything I’ve learned from this wild experience so far.
Going with the flow, trusting the original plan, letting go of my control over stressful situations, not letting myself get overly worked up and affecting others in the process, knowing that the people I’m with and the love I have is all that really matters to me in the end, money is just money no matter how much of a bummer it is to throw it away carelessly, and that following my heart is ALWAYS. WORTH. IT. are invaluable lessons in every way.
And I am sure the Universe will present even more to us in the next 12 days that we are here about why our journey took this particular turn.
Regardless, I am so happy that we are still making it to Bali as planned and I feel epically grateful that the volcano is easing up enough for us to arrive.
STAY TUNED for so much more! Love you guys and would love to hear any crazy travel stories you may have…. this is certainly one for the books!