Days of Ariel

Hello world! I’m Ariel, a 26-year-old American who recently moved to Bali, Indonesia, after having spent a year on a working holiday in Australia. Today I joined an amazing co-working space in the small town of Canggu, and the vibe here is inspiring. So inspiring in fact that I’ve decided now is the time to tell you my story. The story of how three years ago I left everything back home: friends, family, my four-legged best friend, my degree, and my life, as I knew it, to travel halfway across the world completely alone.

In three years I’ve traveled to 14 countries across the globe, lived in three, found love in one and experienced things I’ve never dreamed of experiencing.

I’ve learned basic, conversational Italian…in Italy. I’ve driven a scooter through the chaotic streets of North Vietnam, and mastered driving on the left side of the road in general. I’ve scaled an active volcano in Indonesia, and made a tattoo in Australia. I swam with manta rays in Fiji, and went scuba diving into the depths of their world. I plunged into the cold Pacific to swim with over 400 Dusky dolphins in New Zealand, drank coffee from the ground feces of a luwak in Bali, and visited the largest religious site in the world in Cambodia. And I’m just skimming the top.

I’ve laughed, and cried, and loved, and hated. I’ve smelled new smells and tasted new foods. I’ve witnessed some of the most amazing sites, and some of the most horrific. I’ve met people from all sorts of walks of life, cultures, religions, and classes, sharing some of the most memorable moments with those who lived off of as little as 2 dollars a day.

Although I’m a solid two-day journey from my friends and family, I feel more at peace with myself now than ever before. Deep down I know this is the life I am meant to lead.

It is often hard for friends and family back home to understand my lifestyle choices, and even harder for me to explain that I don’t want to go back to living my life ‘the way I ought to.’ They believe they know what’s best for me, and will offer advice whether I ask for it or not. Especially when many think I am ‘running away’ from reality, and that I need to come home, get a job, and grow up.

Oh it would be so nice to accept a life in the states where I can get a job, an apartment, a boyfriend, a puppy (that is a must) and simply settle down. This is perfect life for so many, and I’m envious at times for all my friends and family who are fulfilled living this way, but it just doesn’t make me tick. Hell, I can barely last in a city for one month, before getting ancy to leave; and sometimes that’s exactly what I do. I leave. I thrive off of spontaneity, knowing that I can literally leave tomorrow to a new city, a new country, a new adventure. This is my drug.

Of course I have responsibilities. Responsibilities to find work, pay rent, budget my money, and manage my time. But to be able to do all of this in a country, on an island so far from my hometown, well it is exciting if I take a step back and think about it. Most people know Bali as a name; an exotic vacation destination, or a beautiful place to find romance (if they’ve seen Eat Pray Love). For me, Bali used to be a name I had heard of once or twice, located somewhere in South East Asia, where people drive scooters, and the way of life is dirt-cheap. This is my second time here, and I can say I knew little, if nothing of this ‘Bali place,’ and still have so much to learn, and take from this beautiful island in the South Pacific.

I may not know when my next paycheck is coming, or when I’ll actually be able to find some stable online work. But I try not to be overly intimidated, or deterred, by how little I know compared to everyone else who works remotely in Bali. They all started somewhere.

I’m healthy (usually); I’m young and know that if for any reason I lose everything, I can always return home. There will always be jobs available to me, and I can jump right on the bandwagon climbing the financial ladder into a successful and acceptable life. But I’m not willing to do this, and probably never will be.

Since the age of 17, I suffered from a mild, persistent, depression. I would spend days in bed, and if it weren’t for my dog, Riley, I would rarely even leave the apartment at school. I read self-help books, exercised often, and even gave into seeing a couple of therapists, but nothing really helped. I felt a constant anxiety, hopelessness, and, a persistent numbness to my core; at times I was drowning in despair. What was I going to do with my life? What did I actually enjoy doing? At the time, nothing drove me, or ignited a fire in my heart. So I did as was expected:  I finished school with respectable grades, graduating after five years with a degree in Kinesiology. Even on graduation day, standing in front of my delighted parents with this hard earned diploma in my hand, I felt withdrawn from everything, and utterly empty inside. I realized I had finished school to make my parent’s proud, and because it was the societal norms. When did this start happening? When did I start living my life the way society expected me to, instead of taking a step back and listening to what I might actually enjoy pursuing? I was living a lie to everyone, myself included.

I graduated just over three years ago. Although I can remember the past me, and those negative feelings still arise from time to time, I’ve changed as a person. I am living for myself, and my decisions are based off of what I want. This seems like such a simple concept, but through my late teens and early twenties, I was doing the exact opposite.

I’ve now become a person who is excited for the future, and what it has to bring to me. I have a motive to work hard, and save money, knowing it will help me on my next adventure, and ultimately lead me to discovering something I am gung-ho passionate about doing for the long haul.

Obviously I’m human, and I have bad days, lazy days, and hopeless days where I would rather lounge around the apartment in my pajamas and watch endless hours of “Shameless” on Netflix then venture out into the great unknown. Days where I feel utterly lost, and disheartened, feeling that I’ll never find my niche in the world, or that I’ll never find the job of my dreams. But these feelings, and days are a part of life, and instead of letting them dishearten me, I try to take a step back and realize the endless possibilities the world has to offer to me. Endless. As in, “I can do anything in the world I want to,” endless.

Is my dream to become a horse breeder? Sure why not! Maybe a dive master? Absolutely I can! If I’m driven enough, passionate enough for an end goal, then why couldn’t it become a reality for me? Every so often I put my life in perspective, acknowledging the amazing fact that I, by myself, have managed to stay travelling for three years. It’s important to acknowledge this every now and again. I can live almost anywhere in the world and do anything I am determined to do. My desire to find my calling in the world continues. My dreams are constantly changing and molding the longer I spend abroad, influenced by the people I meet, places I visit, and life changing experiences I continue to have.

I hope this blog gives you inspiration, tips on traveling, life and being happy. Comfort in knowing its okay not to know what you want to do with your life, and there should be no expectations of time for you to find you passion. Listen to yourself, and what really interests you. Break away from bad habits, and of blindly going through life, working in a job you loathe. You have the potential to be great; we all do.

I’m going to take you back to the very beginning now, when I first left my quaint golf cart driving town of Peachtree City for Los Angeles and ultimately Auckland, New Zealand. Back then I thought I knew what to expect, but looking back on it now I realize traveling was going to be far more life changing than I ever could have imagined. And see finally I started my online business based on travel also. Is it co-incident?  I believe it’s not. I’m working with Mr. Montasir Ahmed in this ground.