Finding Neverland: what a year in Bali taught me and why I’m not sure what will happen next.

It’s been almost a year since we decided to come to the “island of the gods”. Yes, that’s how they call this place. The smell of incense is everywhere and the “gods” look after you, or they don’t….I’m not quite sure they care at all to be honest, but they are here, and they are a lot, so let’s try to keep them happy.

The streets are still full, the rice fields are getting cropped, clients are calling or writing and “everyone” is still here; even the dogs and cats in the street haven’t moved. The laundry is washing clothes, the butcher still killing pigs, and all the so-called “Digital Nomads” are still at the office “living the life” they so hard fought for. But are they?

We just came back here after our summer in Europe and all this got me thinking a lot about this place, this bubble filled with people looking for something and creating amazing things, people following their dreams. This Neverland where we are all just lost boys, trying to be a little less lost but without a Peter Pan. Because we don’t have one. No one fights the pirates for us, no one makes sure we get freed after we played with the RedSkins. We are just here, where the time doesn’t seem to pass, but unlike the lost boys, we DO grow…oh yes we do. How? I’m not quite sure but all this desire of finding ourselves, finding our scope, making it work, making a difference, TAKES TIME. A long and exhausting time, that as much as it doesn’t have to feel so long, it does.

What happens though, is that it passes in a nice but yet bizarre way: friends, community, parties, nights out just to talk or in the villa chilling, watching tv or drinking together, smoking a shisha or literally anything nice you can think of.

Thanks for the photo Lilli. I hope it’s ok if I took them, they capture this last year perfectly. Simplicity. Happiness.

One day you wake up, and it’s been a year. One, wonderful, unique year. But still a year. Where did it go? How did we spend it? This is the big question: some of us say they grew “soooo much” but no one is really ready to move on. A sense of disorientation comes when you leave the island and as much as people are excited to leave it,  it’s holding them back. Because let’s say it, who wouldn’t want to live in Neverland? Who wouldn’t want to see the pink sun setting every evening on the rice fields? And while all this dream goes on and on, for some reason it’s kind of unsettling.

I guess that was I’m trying to get to is the answer to this big question, this question that is following me in every country I fly to (even without pixie dust): can we ever, really grow up in Neverland? Can we really be ready for the next chapter? but above all, why can’t we just live as “lost boys” forever?

This time, going away is getting to me, is giving me a weird sense of emptiness. The problem is that once again, what’s the option? I have spent my last days literally asking everyone, how do they do it? How are they really nomadic for life? How can we just really spend our life in this bubble beyond time?

I got different answers; some say that the key is not to see this as your home, but as a place you come to recharge your battery. “You know” – he said – “you land, and within the first day you have your house, you sort out your scooter, your phone and you are up and running. You know where to eat, drink, and you can have the night with the boys. As long as you know is temporary, you’ll be able to enjoy it”. He had a point I guess. Some say you should see it as your incubator, to prepare you for real life, but does it? does having a cleaner, a villa, a pool, eating out every night, being part of a tribe (the most amazing tribe in the world but still a tribe), paying your way to literally everything, prepare you for the real world? Once again I write without knowing the reason, I write because I’m flying out tomorrow and I always feel that leaving this place needs to be part of this “thing” I write on this blog. I write because I hope some readers will help me answer some of those questions, maybe cause they are going through some of the same struggles.

Meanwhile, while I wait to figure things out and getting back to real life (“this is another topic all together”), the only thing left to do is to buy a ticket and enjoy the ride and (or at least try), this weird fucking ride that makes us bounce from place to place, from visa run to shopping trips and bring us back to where we leave a bunch of little pieces of our hearts.

Oh, very important….that ride ticket?…one way, always one way. It gives us the illusion to be free.

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