Bali Departure: The Packing Saga

Dinner potlucks and herbal tea meetings abound here, in Ubud. Quite often you will hear talk about how Bali will always give you what you need – healing, peace, insight, inspiration. And when what you need is to leave, Bali will also give you a swift kick in the ass! I’m starting to feel the marks of Bali’s coconut crusted feet being applied to my derriere.

Yesterday, I moved from my home, my sanctuary, my center of peace. I didn’t cry. I was too busy dealing with power failure, phone failure, coy fish pond failure, and everything else in between. (In case you’re wondering, fish pond failure is when the half the water from the pond mysteriously disappears, with no sign of drainage!). When I wasn’t frantically running around the house finding and flicking fuse box switches, banging and begging my phone to come back to life, or leaning and looking over the now murky pond to see if the fish were still alive, I was upstairs packing.

Did I ever mention that my parents have called me a bag lady since I was seven? That should give you an idea of what I was working against. Preparing for the ‘great pack’, I did a personal inventory of what I have accumulated over the past six months – outside of souvenirs which don’t count! I have bought one t-shirt, two cute evening tops, a pair of leggings, and a jumper. Oh, and a three dollar pair of brown cork flip-flops which have since broken, so that’s a net zero. I think that’s pretty good, astounding when it comes to me. Considering such minor additions, packing will be a piece of cake, right?

One hour into packing: I haven’t made a dent. The room stands boldly against me. It is a fire-breathing blue giant like the cartoon character Genie when he turns against Aladdin. He is resting his brawny fisted arms waist side, and with a forbidding voice tells me that I will never win this battle of packing. He even gives me the James Earl Joneseque slow, throaty “ha, ha, ha” laugh for added effect.

Three hours in: my Evil Room Genie’s slow chuckle has grown to roaring laughter. I start to move faster. Beads of sweat run down my brows, my back and my chest. My bed is transformed to a contaminated sea of stuff – clothes, journals, cameras, chargers, more journals and note pads, baby wipes, vitamins, badminton racquets, and did I mention journals??

Four hours in: I pass out on the bed. With no space to sleep, I rest my head on a folded mound of clothes and my body contorts to find what little space remains on the bed. Evil Room Genie patiently waits at the side of the bed, ready to return to battle.

Five hours in: I am angry. How could I have so much stuff? What is all this stuff? Where did all this stuff come from, and where is it going to go? I don’t have any answers. I don’t have enough bags, either. I feel incredibly un-zen and cluttered and junky. This is not how I want to return home. With no time to process any of this, all I can do is to keep packing. Evil Room Genie’s brows become furrowed as he shrinks in size. The battle tables are starting to turn. The smoke is now coming from Tough Packing Zuri.

Six and a half hours later: it is over. As the dust settles, Evil Room Genie returns to his lamp and a weary Zuri emerges as the victor, sort of. I have finished packing, but satisfaction is not had. More work must be completed. While I came to Bali with just two large bags, I have now managed to fit all of my Bali-worldly possessions into my trusty giant blue backpack, my slightly smaller red backpack, a gigantic new quilted souvenir duffel bag, a bright orange durable shopping bag, a small beige tote bag, and a large red plastic bag. Reduction and reorganization is in order.

I am sleeping at my Balinese Auntie’s house (the Princess’) for two nights. Leaving the physical space of my old home is creating emotional space for me to process and prepare for leaving Bali, for coming home, and for starting life anew.
Clearly I needed this to be a two-phased process – for emotional and logistical reasons! Bali Departure, Phase I is now complete. I leave tomorrow morning for the beach; for diving, contemplating, and bag reducing!!

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