I Went to Bali, and Things Got Weird

It feels like five years have passed since I sat down and filmed my “Happy 2018” video on Youtube, which has now been deleted along with most of my other content. I can’t believe it was this year I published BEYOND MY DYING MIND. Time is a strange thing.

Changing Course

I never could get comfortable creating Youtube content, so when Youtube rejected me from the Partner Program a few months ago, it was the final sign I needed to change direction. Although I enjoy being on camera and editing videos, I don’t like talking about myself. At least, not enough to maintain regularly scheduled programming about my life. I like doing other types of content that aren’t focused on me, but having to come up with ideas for my books, two Youtube channels, and all the articles I write for my day job was stretching me too thin. Something had to give. 

If you’re subscribed to me, hopefully you’ll stay subscribed. The Youtube dream might be dead, but I still enjoy making the occasional video, like the recent film I made using clips from my trip to Bali (and a layover in China). 

For now, my main focus is back on writing books. I’m 35k words into a draft at the moment. It’s another afterlife fantasy, this one with lots of supernatural elements. I’ve been tinkering with it since 2012, and I’m not sure how it’s going to end up, but that’s part of the fun.

Going Far

This year, I was determined to get out and do more. I spent a month in Bali, and it was one of the weirdest experiences of my life. What a strange and magical place with many powerful energies at play. I faced a new, difficult challenge daily, something I hadn’t been expecting from such a blissful-looking location. I didn’t get a relaxing holiday, but I did get one perspective-shifting moment after another. Through the conscious abandonment every crutch, I had set myself up to suffer, but it was the best kind of suffering. The kind that takes you deep within and helps make you a better you. 


I was going through all this alone, which made it harder. I’ve traveled enough to know that some trips, you make a bunch of friends, and some, you end up mostly solo. Bali was the latter sort of trip. Despite being surrounded by fellow yoga enthusiasts and healthy eaters, I didn’t really click with anyone I met. I did have some nice conversations, however. A few times, due to various challenging circumstances, I was forced to surrender control and be vulnerable in front of strangers, and I was grateful for the kindness I received. Along with most travelers who come to Bali, the Balinese people are chill and nice to be around. I’m thankful for how everyone treated me while I was there.

There were also the times I can always count on, plentiful or sparse as they may be. The moments you’ll always remember. Every trip has them, and Bali was no exception. Like the night I shared my fish dinner with that hungry cat, or the evening of the rainstorm, when that beautiful release of pressure normalized my inflamed system, and I sat there watching a waterfall pouring over my balcony. All those mornings when I’d wake with the rising sun to watch monkeys scampering over the rooftops and collecting fruit from the trees in the garden. The day I arrived in Amed, found that ancient tree on the beach, and sat on its thick roots, surrounded by a graveyard of washed-up coral. From there, I watched the wild dogs play near the crashing waves, red flower petals fluttering down from the branches above. I remembered: This is why I travel. 


Going Further

In 2019, I’m entering new territory. A lot changed this year, and I have higher standards for myself now. It’s going to take work to live up to them, but I’m no longer limited by the idea that my wildest dreams are unrealistic. Not when so many of them are already coming true. 

A tall mountain is high, and there’s no shortcut to the peak. In 2019, I plan to keep climbing. I want a thriving career. I want to be strong, flexible, and amazing at yoga. I want financial freedom. I want to create a comfortable home where I can offer warmth and safety to others. I want love. More than anything, I want my stories to touch someone out there. I already have accomplished some of these things, but I take nothing for granted. Success is not final, and failure is never the end. It’s like plank poses in yoga. You hold ground with every trembling, burning part of you. You accept the work.

I wish everyone reading this a happy holiday season! What are your plans for 2019? Will you be traveling anywhere? Are you in the process of climbing your own tall mountain? I hope amazing things are coming for you. 



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Tips for Traveling Light: What I Brought to Bangkok, Thailand

Backpacker romances are common, but on my 2009 trip, which took me through Thailand, Laos, and Cambodia, my only long-term companion was a small Osprey day pack.


My trustworthy Osprey Waypoint Day–next to Vogue and J-Law for comparison.

The feeling of freedom that comes with having everything you need packaged into one small container  can’t be overstated. Your travel plans will play a big role in what you’ll be bringing, of course. Meeting a lover for a romantic trip around Europe will require different elements than an Australian climbing trip. Either way, lightening your load as much as possible will help you be comfortable.

Flying from Los Angeles to Thailand: Things I Brought

What you need for travel can be divided into two categories: official and crucial.

The official stuff is pretty obvious. Passport, cash, credit or debit card, any important paper work or visas.


Where will you go with nothing burdening you?

Then there’s the crucial stuff. The stuff you need most. For me, these things included:

Basic Hygiene Products

Dental care, maybe a rinse cup, since you can pack smaller things like earplugs (also a good thing to have) or pill bottles inside of it. A good bar of soap (I prefer Dr. Bronner’s) that you can use for a variety of things, like washing your clothes in the sink.

Leave room to buy new products when you get there! I had a lot of fun experimenting with products in southeast Asia, but if you’re picky about your facial cream, your tampon brand, or the type of condom you like, you will want to bring your favorites from home.

A Few Changes of Clothing

I brought about six pairs of underwear and three pairs of socks, and I rolled them down really tight. You don’t need a lot of socks in Asia; flip flops were best for most occasions. My t-shirts were small and flimsy, so they could be rolled down super small as well. I had two skirts and a pair of shorts, and thank God I didn’t forget a sweater. Southeast Asia is warm, but it can be chilly at times. Middle-of-the-night train rides, for example.


A Combination Lock

This one is really important! I’m glad I had my lock. There were many times when it protected me or gave me peace of mind. A tool with many uses–you will see!

A Journal and Pen

I had two journals, one that I brought from home, and one that I got in Laos. With my journal, I also brought a few pages from the guidebook I thought might be helpful.

Things I Didn’t Bring that You Might Want

I didn’t bring:

  • Protective stuff (pepper spray, etc)
  • The guidebook, at least in its entirety
  • Makeup
  • Pillows/sleeping bag
  • Extra clothes
  • Phone/camera
  • Computer
  • A rain jacket
  • Medication or supplements
  • Other things I didn’t think of (tell me in the comments, please. I will edit them in!)

What Happened and What I Think Now

If I had it to do again, I would bring a camera, and although I did okay that time, I would never travel without my computer these days.

I’m glad I went without more clothes or makeup. The sea water and sunshine were good to me. Life was simple. During the romantic moments and so many others, I felt beautiful.

Thanks for reading! These blogs are a work in progress, so I will update if I can think of anything to add. If you like this blog or found it helpful, please let me know by commenting or following. I follow back authors on Twitter! 🙂 @ms_andiloveall



I cheated and bought a second bag in Vientiane, Laos, about halfway through my trip. It’s purple with beautiful embroidery, and I still use to this day. I guess the moral of the story is that sometimes it’s good to let baggage go, and sometimes, it’s worth taking on.