Chris and I chose a trip to this small Indonesian island on impulse, as Chris needed a trip out of Singapore before he received his work visa. And did our spontaneity ever pay off. This little gem has a rich culture, so different from anything I’ve experienced before. Many Balinese people have little money by our standards, yet these people appear to be fulfilled in ways us Westerners only dream of. We traveled to the North which is relatively untouched by tourists and there is such a strong sense of collectivism among the smiling faces you encounter in these rural areas. This society has evolved so differently from ours and during my time in the South, the heart of the touristic district, I often wondered if visits like ours destroyed this beautiful tranquility that Bali originally had. In the South, like Sanur where we stayed, you have shopkeepers begging you to buy from their stores or rent their massage services – and you eat in restaurants where only the tourists can afford to eat while being served by locals. These situations stirred up pangs of guilt, as I know tourism is the main source of income in Bali, all the while being responsible for the disintegration of the raw natural beauty and culture. Yet I do think ethical tourism is possible in Bali and I’d like to believe Chris and I did this whenever possible. And on that note, I cannot emphasize enough the unique experiences we had on this island. Our time in the North was a reinforcement that people’s love for life does not arise through money or materials – it’s through the relationships we build and the experiences we have. We have a lot to learn from these people who pick their families over their careers and their communities over themselves. We saw many sights during our four days in Bali, various ancient temples situated in the most stunning places I’ve ever seen, white sand beaches with crystal blue waters, and long stretches of jungle yielding tasty tropical fruits. I’ve shared some pictures to give you a taste of the place, but truth be told, it’s very difficult to capture the serenity that is Bali.