In the morning the rice fields and the small forest are so quiet. I wake up at exactly 5.35am every day, after sleeping enough. I turn off the garden lights then the poolside lights in this tiny villa in Ubud, Bali, make a cup of coffee and I greet the day outside on the porch, watching the light tinge clouds with orange. Then I do the routine that I’ve been doing for the past nine months, in exactly the same order. I’ve practised this routine in the Philippines, in Taiwan, Bangkok, the Croatian coast, Zagreb, and now in Bali where I am to write a book and figure out where home is.
The routine goes like this.
While sipping coffee, I write what I am grateful for in my journal, freely without paragraphing. Invariably the priorities for the day show up in the writing, and I have three goals for the day. The first goal is always what I am writing at the moment. The second is a wellness goal, like walk for 8 kilometres or swim 10 laps or both. The third is some task I have to do for business, a blog post or an ad design or other administrative stuff that is necessary for the day to day running of a digitally based business.
Then, I meditate for an hour.
After the practice, I prepare a simple breakfast of protein. Then I write.
At midday, I take a break and clean the house or swim. I go out for a local lunch at a Warung, an Indonesian cafe, where the prices are local and big on flavour. Then I walk and walk and walk as far as I can and then head back, an app on my phone counting kilometres and steps.
Then I walk back. When I get back I am sweaty and I take a quick swim, then shower, change and read until it’s time to go to bed.
Pretty much this is my life on a day to day basis.
I am grateful that where I am now is where I wished I was, nine months ago.
It seems like nothing much is happening. I wrote once that it is the work on the mind that is the busiest when there is a transition in our lives, and the last months have been no exception.
I wrote a book that was published last July in addition to the freedom book, which was the subject of the post I last wrote before this one.
And I think I found the rhythm of my life. The mornings set the tone of the day, and I am happy with the minimalistic approach to life.
Without much stuff with me, I have learned how to be content with what I have. In fact, I have an abundance when I take inventory.
I have time, lots of time. I can write without interruption for a whole day, taking a break only to swim or have lunch.
Those books I bought for the kindle that never read the past four years? I still have them, and I am enjoying reading them one by one, savouring the pleasure of learning from them at last.
I have no car or motorbike, but I have ample opportunities to move by walking and have the luxury of stopping to study life on a street or stop to take a photo or talk to someone, learning about the neighborhoods in Ubud where artists live and create.
Once in a while, a company will email me to say there is a consultation and I have to go teach where they are. I can do this, too, and meet lots of new colleagues and visit a new city. Recently, I was in Suzhou for an assignment and enjoyed the experience.
Yes, long term travel means a conservative budget. I’m not on holiday, so I don’t do the same things that I would do if I were on holiday. I don’t eat out much, and when I do I eat at local places. But the wonderful thing about this is that I meet local people and not tourists. I learn more about the insider’s view than I would were I on holiday and hanging out with other tourists.
Yes, I am by myself a lot. I don’t mind this so much. In these nine months, I have learned to enjoy the company. I know that in the long term, liking yourself when you have time alone is a strength of a creative person.
In the days when I was busy chasing after what I thought was the next step, I did not stop to listen to silence, I accumulated stuff I never used, and I took everything for granted.
Today, nine months after I stopped chasing and started being present in the present, I am happier and feeling more fulfilled than I can remember I’ve ever been.
I will stay here for a while.