Facing My Fears in Bali

My spontaneous ten day trip to Bali is coming to a close, and I have so many thoughts and feelings I could pen my own “Eat, Pray, Love”, but for now I will settle for this.

Comfortable is easy, but it isn’t always right. A couple of years ago, I was comfortable in my little box. My life was routine and simple – and there was a certain peace to that – but I was antsy. Something wasn’t quite right. I craved change, and I needed challenge. So I made some big decisions. Some were painful beyond words and it took a long time to move through the grief, but I have come to accept that they were for the best.

Life without challenge is stagnant and stale. Challenge forces growth. Growth is essential to a fulfilling life, and travel is where I find my growth. It always has been, and I have a feeling it always will be.

Beautiful Bali has opened my eyes, my mind, and my heart to a world I have just begun dipping my toe into in my day to day life these past months – a world where I face things that scare me. Things past Bella never would have considered.

I rode an ancient scooter through the bumpy, busy streets. Don’t worry mum, I even wore a helmet and enclosed shoes in a place most people don’t. After seeing how prolific scooter use is here, and watching the locals navigate the potholes with such ease, I am excited to jump on Ruby scooter when I get back to Sydney and explore even more. I can lane filter like a pro – my provisional licence test will be a breeze.

I woke up at 2AM to hike to the top of a volcano in the dark, and you bet I was up front with the guide, anticipation building with every step. Sleep is great, but soaking up the sunrise from the top of the world is something I will never forget. My heart expanded over the clouds and peaks and I felt more connected to the world in that moment than I have in a long time.

I went scuba diving. I’m not a strong swimmer, I almost drowned once as a child. The thought of putting my life in the hands of other people and contraptions that are outside of my control has never appealed to me. But everyone else I am traveling with decided to go, including two others who felt anxious about it. As my brother said, “If there’s a time and place to try it, it’s here and now”. So I packed up my trepidation into a little box and placed it aside, thinking I would open it later and deal with it. I never had to. As soon as I descended into the ocean and spotted an anemone full of wiggling clownfish, my fear melted away and my eyes filled with tears. My body automatically treated the whole experience like a meditation. I took long, slow breaths and embraced the weightlessness. I kicked my legs like a mermaid, let go of the guide’s hand, and explored. My mind was calm and my soul was full. I had a moment of worry on the second dive, but as the sun rose over the WW2 shipwreck and the guide pointed out a giant, sleeping Bumphead Parrotfish, I pushed through and I am so glad I did. It was like magic down there. If anyone wants to do the Great Barrier Reef with me before it disappears completely, it’s now high on my list.

If you asked me even a year ago if I would ever try these things, I would have shaken my head and laughed, “No way, too scary. I value my life too much.” But a dear friend said something to me when we parted ways over two months ago that I will be forever grateful for.

“You are more capable than you think.”

Now, I value my growth.


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