2022 - The Crossroads
Updated: Mar 5, 2022
March 4, 2022
Glaringly obvious is how many years have passed since the writing of my last travel letter. Briefly, what stopped me in my tracks was a heartbreak - one too raw to write about. But back then I didn’t have the wherewithal to communicate about my life without including absolutely everything, so I just stopped writing.
My sorrow is with one of my children. He is alive, and for that I’m grateful, but the issues are not resolved. It’s out of my hands, though, and deep and constant as the heartache is, it has shown me that it’s possible to have a broken heart and still live a full and happy life.
I am 70! In acknowledgement of this surreal number, and the tumultuous year that preceded it, I’ve decided to (metaphorically) pick up the pen again to tell you of a different heartbreak.
On September 22nd, 2021, the life I’d spent seventeen years building in Bali imploded in a single day. It was sudden, but not unheralded. Looking back now, I can see so many red flags - portents that I chose to ignore over the years. In a bizarre way I’m grateful for my own delusions, as it gave me an incredible refuge during the COVID lockdown, and the years preceding it. Ignorance can indeed, strangely, be bliss.
Below is a letter I penned to my friends when the person I’d trusted as a working partner proved just how delusional and blind I’d been.
September 22nd, 2021
“Love your story, live your dream“ - this has been the most comforting personal motto of my life. I now need to add one more line. “… and be ever willing to change that dream mid stream, as life may dictate.”
I am currently in the process of dismantling all that I have been working on for all these years in Bali, after an unfathomable tangle of deceptions (self and otherwise), cultural differences, delusions, naivety, greed, blindness, entitlement, misunderstandings, stupidity - and some glaringly over inflated egos. (My own included.) I thought I was intuitive and different, and that my primary relationship here was “special.” I’d heard many cautionary tales and nightmare scenarios - but that could never ever happen with us. How wrong I was! I created my very own monster, despite countless clues and signs over the years. And now that beast has emerged fully formed, and promptly turned around and bitten me - hard.
Bottom line, the person I most trusted and believed in here has engineered a scenario whereby it is highly likely that I will be deported, or at the very minimum have some kind of crippling fine. Whatever happens, my life here can never be the same. So I (and a large crew of able bodied others) am currently packing up every moveable thing I have, putting it into storage, to be either sold or moved elsewhere, as I myself ride the waves of emotion with the focused intent of coming into shore as soon as possible.
I could fight, lawyer up and spend the next couple of years in battle, and those of you who know me well know I’m usually not afraid of challenges. But I have also been acutely aware of my own chaotic stress levels; sleepless nights, exhaustion, sorrow and anger, obsessive preoccupations, adrenaline and other hormones flooding my body and potentially wreaking havoc. And my conclusion is that whatever time I have left on this planet is not being squandered on this, as I am 100% positive that the price exacted would be my peace of mind and health. I unequivocally choose to lose money over either.
All during this amazing time of magic in Bali I have felt the shadow monster quietly taking form, but my 17 years of wonder, beauty, accomplishment, and genuine joy has not in the least been negated. However, as I slide into my 70th year, I am profoundly aware that the most precious things I possess are a healthy and vital body and mind - things that can never be measured against anything else in this life.
The biggest heartbreak is the staff. We have spent all of lockdown together; building, planning, learning and bonding. Telling them was devastating, and there have been floods of tears for days now. Most of them are the sole support in their families, and as for everyone, this lockdown has been incredibly hard on them, to a degree that most of us can’t possibly imagine. So along with my own self-pity is an incredible sadness for them - and a hefty dose of anger. They are all multi-skilled, so here’s hoping they will eventually find new employment. I will do my best to support them until they do.
An image that has been helping me through this time is that of the Tibetan Sand Mandalas, those intricate creations made by the priests, whereby they make something incredibly beautiful and painstaking, and then simply sweep it all away, releasing the energy into the Universe.
Impermanence, this has been my lesson.
Again, I take full responsibility for what has transpired, and I also know I will rise from this and be better than fine. Let the new adventure begin!
I have also taken this as the ideal time to come off all social media; I want that energy for other things, and am already feeling better being removed from it. I may start a blog or similar, I will let you know.
My love to all, and know that I am fine. Also, please don’t feel bad for my not sharing while it has been happening. I have really needed to journey through this time solo, and have had the necessary support from some very precious souls here on the ground in Bali.
And now I am on my way back (both metaphorically and in reality), and can’t wait to connect with many of you. It’s been too long.
On September 22nd, four intimidating immigration officers showed up at my precious home in the rice fields to inform me that I was under investigation. I am not going to belabor the details, but this was an intentional act of malice that involved information being given to the authorities regarding a grey area of living as an ex-pat in Bali. Admittedly, I did make some mistakes. Nothing current, and when I was questioned by Immigration the following Monday, they were gracious and fair as they informed me that I was going to be deported. On October 4th, I texted a friend from Istanbul airport, on my way to a two-week quarantine in the UK.
In retrospect there was, I believe, no avoiding what happened, unless I had bowed to being hostage to greed and entitlement, but I refuse to do that. I’ll take the financial losses and count myself lucky I escaped without physical harm. These vampires are still out there, seeking victims, and they are already using what they did to me as a threat against others. In telling my story, I hope to spare anyone else from the same pitfalls.
I left Bali reeling and heartbroken, my spirit ragged and bloody - but still intact. I have spent the last few months with close friends, they have held me close through the shock, sorrow, and fears, and out the other side. They have rescued me, plain and simple. To be blessed with such friends in life is priceless.
I enjoyed being off social media for a few months, but I do want to stay in touch. I have indeed started a new Aquarian Wanderings blog, and the writing has proven a powerful tool for processing and recovery. As I pick up where I left off in my travel journal, I’m going through all my old letters and Facebook posts to fill in some of the letter-less years.
While reading the words I wrote during the delusional years, I have been starkly reminded of how deeply and blindly I trusted, supported and loved the person at the heart of this betrayal. She didn’t act alone by any means, and I always knew her spouse was an actual criminal after being openly robbed by him many years ago. Yet still I believed this could be over-ridden, because she was apart from, and above, her partner’s greed. I was wrong. Rightly or wrongly, I have largely edited her out of most of what I wrote before - it’s too disconcerting to read my glowing and affectionate reports about her.
My last wrenching chapter in Bali is not a defining event, just a blip in the grand, marvellous adventure that is my life. Every single day I am grateful for it. In less than a month I will be welcome to return to Bali. But I am not sure when I will be comfortable enough to return, and in what capacity. I believe I will just know when it is time to do so.
So let’s see what’s next…