OFF THE BEATEN TRACK

Soapbox | Written By, Life on the Island |

What is it about the joy of discovery that thrills us so? Why do we get excited to reach the top of a mountain, the bottom of the sea, the depths of the forest, the middle of the plains? I guess it goes back to our original, almost forgotten, bond with nature. Our primeval being that feels good to be alone in the wonder of the earth’s most beautiful places. To breathe fresh air and look over the vastness of this amazing world, and feel it is great.

soapbox

Oh yes, I know that we are doing our best to concrete over the fields, to chop down the forests and to pollute the seas, but there are still many places to find nature still intact, even here in increasingly “developed” Bali. But you have to go looking.

That’s why we have dedicated this issue to finding the “out of the way” places, the untouched and unspoilt, the natural and the unexplored (well not really!). Read on and get planning. Put down the beer and the burger, the sushi and the saké, the sate and the aqua and get into/onto a vehicle and go adventuring. You will love it. Plus, your appetite (and thirst) will increase!

I have never forgotten the first time, many years ago, I took a wrong turn in an unmarked village up north somewhere, and ended up in a little, perfect village square. I parked and walked, and chatted, and watched the village life go by. I sat under the sacred banyan tree surrounded by kids, drinking my “tehbotol” (bottled tea!), and thought to myself “this is really Bali”. It was wonderful. And still is if you slow down and find it.

Now I can’t guarantee you’ll have that exact moment but if you get to any one of the mountains, rice fields, jungles and lakes we recommend here, I guarantee you will feel better than you do driving down Sunset Road, trying to park in JalanOberoi, or sitting behind a thousand motorbikes at a traffic light! No contest!

Real Bali is still there, and apart from the temples, the villages and the palaces, 90% of it is “off the beaten track”. I hope you find it.

Alistair G. Speirs, OBE

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