Part 1 of “The Traveler’s Journey: Growing Through Experiences” Series. If you haven’t already, check out the introductory post in this series here!
Expectations are like weights, you can only get so far with them piled on your back. When you fill your travel itinerary with step-by-step plans and expectations, then accomplishing and meeting those become the standard for success in your travels. You can make a plan, set it in motion (thus expecting your trip to be a certain way), set off on your adventure and go home happy… assuming your expectations were met. Not a bad thing if a comfortable and structured experience is what you are after. However, if you set out with little to no plan, or bleed outside of the original plan, then suddenly you are getting the gift of what you had never dreamt was out
However, if you set out with little to no plan, or bleed outside of the original plan, then suddenly you are getting the gift of what you had never dreamt was out there to begin with. Suddenly, you are forced to solve problems, ask questions, and experience new things outside of your comfort zone and are no longer just fulfilling your original expectations. By leaving your expectations at the gate, you are enabling yourself to experience a place or activity exactly as it happens. There are no rules, no win or lose, just whatever you can make out of your day.
What We Learned By Leaving our Expectations At The Gate While Exploring Pura Lempuyang In Bali
Ironically enough, I found this temple when looking through fellow bloggers’ Instagram feeds in search of inspiration for places to visit. This magnificent temple sits on the eastern side of Bali and sees fewer tourists than many of the other major temples on the island. When we headed out for the day, we didn’t know too much about these temples other than that they are home to the amazing photo opportunity I had seen on Instagram. In the back of our heads though, we knew that there was going to be a lot more to this sacred site then one measly Instagram moment. With few expectations, a tank-full of gas in our motorbike, and the spirit of adventure we headed out in search of Pura Lempuyang.
Not too surprisingly, that Insta moment is found when you enter the first temple through the “Gates To Heaven” and can stand between them marveling at the mighty Mt. Batur and lush valley below. Since this epic site is only a few minutes from the parking area, many people only make it this far. For the fit and adventurous, however, heading up the mountain (over 1,700 steps!) to the 6 other temples on this route is an incredible experience (and workout). Our original plan was to see the “Gates To Heaven”, but after hearing about the route to the other temples from the guides at the entrance we knew we would stand atop the mountain. It may have taken us three hours (and one hour back) to journey up to this incredible mountaintop, but the views and the locals we met along the way were worth every step.
As we clambered up the mountain (in our beloved Chacos) taking care not to fall, or slip, as we climbed into the mist and fog, we were impressed by the local women who climbed their way to the top in bald flip-flops carrying large baskets of offerings on their heads or bags of sand for repairing the path. We stopped and chatted with a few along the way as we happily took a few minutes to catch our breath.
Further up we witnessed different groups praying, and were amazed after we reached the top and were preparing to head back down, when we saw 150+ locals walking out of the mist, up the mountainside, to the upper-most temple to pray. There were young children holding onto their parents, older family members, and just about every age in between. They got a kick out of seeing us at the top and some proceeded to take photos of us as we stood out of the way marveling at the procession taking place in front of our eyes.
Part of this was luck, us simply being in the right place at the right time. Had we been there too much earlier, or later, we would have missed the procession entirely. The other part though was stepping outside of our comfort zone and not planning our day out too much or setting certain expectations. We gave ourselves the time to stop and chat with the locals, to say hello as the parade of people climbed past us and had the confidence to not retreat fearing we were in the way (we weren’t). It was amazing to see so many people climb out of the fog, and many appeared to be just as amazed to see us at the top of this mountain greeting them as they arrived.
Interested in reading more of our Traveler’s Journey lessons then check out the next post in this series as we explore the power that embracing uncertainty will have on every traveler’s journey 🙂
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