Riding Imperfection

I am on a cliff side terrace overlooking the ocean. It’s absolutely gorgeous here in Uluwatu, Bali. There are dozens of surfers in the water—some of the best in the world who come to this exact spot to catch the perfect wave.

Here, I am watching the sunset and waiting for my ride. Earlier that morning I meet a local who is supposed drive me to another town. We have been texting all day and he will pick me up at 7pm. But at 6:33pm I get a text that he’s not coming. Car problems!! Normally I would be super disappointed and actually angry. It’s dark and I’m here alone without a place to stay. Now what am I supposed to do?! I should have never trusted him!

This is the type of reaction I have all of the time. When something doesn’t go my way or if someone stands me up, I get disappointed, angry and even might not talk to them for a while! And this anger latches on, impacting the rest of my day and even becoming part of how I know myself to be.

All of the noise and confusion stems from my desire for perfection. I want my trip to be perfect. I want to go to the best spots, find the best places to stay, and have adventures and interesting conversations. And to be totally honest, I want to be able to come home from my trip and talk about how amazing it was.

Underneath my desire to be perfect, is my desire to “look good.” I want to be accepted and loved by people. This is a super familiar feeling that I’ve had since I was little.

Watching those surfers, I get that failure and imperfection are essential. Often the best surfers don’t catch the wave they are going for. And they fall into the wave while they are riding it. Falling is an essential part of surfing. It is part of the sport, and definitely part of life.

Unpredictability is what I love about traveling. By opening up to the flow of my life, something greater becomes available.

While I would normally be super angry that my ride didn’t come, this time was different. I didn’t react! I hung out watching the ocean a little longer, walked up the road and found a place to stay, went out to a delicious dinner and met fellow travelers, found a super fun band and danced all night! I was truly joyful! It almost felt like I was supposed to miss that ride.

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