I met Miloone on my last day on Gili Trawangan island, Indonesia, he was the friend of the hotel manager.
I had not been able to take out cash from multiple ATMs the previous night and it was time to check-out.
Like most places out there, they don’t accept debit cards, and I was slightly panicking at the idea of being stranded on an island with no money, and the embarrassment of not being able to pay for my room. Every backpacker’s nightmare.
Miloone offered to walk me to the bank. He was walking barefoot on the concrete, serene.
On the way, he insisted on getting me water.
“Don’t stress, just relax. Think about the moment. You are in beautiful Bali, look around you!
Personally, I am an introvert, and I like to observe what is happening around me and take it all in.
I’ve lived in New Zealand and in Lombok (i.e. the closest big city in Indonesia).
Over there, people worried about money too much.
It was all about competition, and making money, but they didn’t enjoy the moment, they barely spent them with their family, or in nature.
It was too intense for me.
I moved back because I was looking for freedom. I found my freedom here.”
I asked how he defined freedom.
“It’s a peace of mind. I can be free to be me. Without caring about having people judge me. Without caring about what my salary is.
Without feeling the pressure of being better than the person next to me.
Here, we do not worry about money as much. At least, less people do.
If a friend or family member needs help, we’ll support him.
We are all in this together, different but the same.
And if I ever feel the need to unwind, I can walk to the beach and look at the sea. It’s the most relaxing thing I know.
So for your situation, don’t be scared, let life happen, don’t let the ego take control, follow your heart instead. You’ll figure it out, you always do”.
I knew he was right, but I also was starting to think of the different ways to solve my situation and could not really focus on anything else.
We arrived at the bank. The bills came out.
I offered to pay back the water.
“Next time. You’ll be back. You know… Bali is dangerous”, he said.
“Because when people leave, they remember. He pocks at his temple.
They remember our mindset”.