The Starving Tourist

There is a cafe’ in Kyoto where they sell delicious cheesecakes and have great people buying them. Once a month at this cafe’, all get together for an event called The Flame. If you have heard of The Moth from New York, it is a smaller version of that. I was asked to tell a story with the theme of the month being, “Kindness, Wisdom, and Food for Thought”. I told a recent anecdote from New Years 2014 about my little adventure in Bali.

Have a read:

Hi everybody. How are you all tonight? For those who don’t know me, my name is Johnna. I told a story a couple of months back and ever since then I have been wanting to tell another. The Flame had themes like Horror Month, and I could not think of a story. We had the Boss Month, and again there was nothing really there. We had the love theme… And I thought of a few short stories *sarcastic hair flip*.

This time when I got the email, I thought that I must have a story related to this theme. Kindness, wisdom, and food for thought. When I emailed Charles and asked if I could tell a story, I actually didnt have a story in mind yet at that time. I figured that I would think of one later because there were too many times people have shown me kindness. There was so much beautiful wisdom that I have received from people over 22 years. And there has been a lot of food and a lot of thought. So I looked for a way I could combine all three. I believe I found one:

This is a fairly recent story from New Years 2014. I decided to make a trip to Singapore and visit a friend for one week and be by myself the second and travel solo. Things were going as I had imagined it would until I made a friend from Pakistan at the hostel and we became good friends. On the third day I knew him, he invited me to go to with him and his friends on a trip to Bali. It sounded like fun so I said Okay! But my father was not to happy when I told him about my new course.  “You have no money.. You don’t know who these people are. Common, we just want you back home.” I explained to him the situation behind it, as I will to those later tonight who are currently questioning my sense of judgment. My father saw my side and I was on my way to Bali.

Now, what I didn’t know was that the group consisted of not one, not two, not three, but FIVE dudes, with myself being the only girl. I spent a week or so in paradise, and it was great! Villa hopping, trying new foods, scuba diving – I had the best week of my life —— until my new friends left to go back home. I was to be on my own for three days because my flight had been scheduled later. Sure enough, my dad’s prophesy of my money running out came to pass and I was in trouble. On top of that, I didn’t eat much during the time I was there because I couldn’t stomach the food. I was eating next to nothing up to that point and I was really eating nothing after they left.

After a couple of days of rotting in my hotel room, I emerged and walked out into the sun. I took five steps and my delirious self decided to sit down….. in an alleyway ……with five Balinese men. They were locals sitting there and were selling things and asking tourists and Australians if they want a taxi ride. I seemed like the easiest target in the world, and when they came to me I just apologized and said that I had no money. Which is what everyone says so they are used to it. No, no. You white girl you rich. Out of that whole group there was one who could speak English and make conversation, but he too was skeptical about my financial state and chimed in with his friends. Oh, they tourists all have money. We don’t believe you. I kept saying that I didn’t.

I have no money! I haven’t eaten in three days.

After a while I see the expression in his face change, and he tells his buddies Guys I think she’s actually telling the truth.

This Balinese man who has next to nothing asked if he could buy me food. Without thinking I say yes and find myself on the back if his motorcycle, going somewhere. He took me to a local restaurant and I ate and ate.

That was the kindness part of my story.

He became my tour guide for the day and showed me some beautiful places. I went on the motorcycle highway and to Nusa Dua and saw the skyscraper high waves, but the greatest part was the conversation we were having. He shared about his life and how it was his dream to have his own garden and live by this mountain in Bali. I shared about mine, and I asked him his advice on many topics. Even though we had completely different backgrounds, he gave me very good insight. He told me things that a rich tourist from Japan wouldn’t think about.

That’s the wisdom part.

I got back to the hotel alright, and I got back to Japan alive *happy dance*.  Coming back home, I got bombarded with things like Johnna don’t ever do that again…You reallllly should get a credit card… How could you just trust everybody so easily? Unfortunately, I can’t tell you the answer to that one because I don’t know why myself. But what I do know is that when I was in line for luggage check to Singapore in the beginning of my trip, I was scared and nervous about the whole thing, but mostly scared. That was when a thought came to me and I told myself that I would let whatever experiences come and not be afraid of it. Good things seemed to happen naturally after that. After coming back to Japan I got to wondering, What experiences have I given up because I was too afraid? What have I said no to because I was too scared to trust others or myself?

That’s the food for thought bit.

I hope to be as brave and as lucky as I was in Bali for the rest of my life. It has been working out so far.

Thank you.

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