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  • Writer's pictureAna Philibert

The coordinates that choose us

Updated: Sep 19, 2021

08 ° 49′53 ″ S, 115 ° 05′13 ″ E

Uluwatu, Bali, Indonesia.

Sometimes we choose the coordinates and, sometimes, the coordinates choose us.

I learned many years ago that I can choose the coordinates where I want to be. I have enjoyed this freedom, moving around and living in places I had only dreamed of. But this is the first time I've ended up living in a place that I had no idea existed. I had been dreaming about Bali for years and I definitely chose its coordinates. But Uluwatu? Uluwatu chose me.

I spent my first month in Bali, living in Canggu. A place full of things to do, entrepreneurs and creatives working in little cafes, lots of motorcycles and a bit of chaos. I chose Canggu because a friend lived there and wanted to experience it, but I always knew it would be for a little while, so when the month was up, I was ready for a change.

I started looking for a house in Ubud, when I found on Instagram a place for rent in another town, in front of the beach. A few photos and a couple of videos, were enough to convince my mind of what my intuition already knew, so without seeing the place in person, I decided to rent it and move to Uluwatu a week later.

A beach town with only one main street, Uluwatu is the best place for a quiet life away from the city and close to the ocean. Cafes, restaurants and surf shops, are set in the winding street, traveled by motorbikes with surfboards and manes of hair wet by the sea, flying in the air.

The turquoise sea with stokes in different shades of blue, the large rocks that interact with the beaches, the cliffs with amazing views, and the small streets outlined by hundreds of trees, make this place a paradise.

I like the feeling of living on an island, and although I know I've been living in one since I arrived to Bali, having a 180 degree view of the sea and being surrounded by jungle makes me feel like a true islander.

An absent tourism for more than a year, has returned this beach to its almost virgin state. Small wooden shacks with old signs, were places where beers or coconuts were sold before. Now they are just abandoned structures, worn out by the weather and the passage of time, which provide shade for the few people who come to spend the day. Once a touristic beach, now it's almost entirely for me.

Two days before arriving in Uluwatu, they announced a lockdown across Bali. This meant a forced one-month confinement, which made it almost impossible for me to meet people and gave me a lot of time with myself. I then understood that this place had appeared to contain me and at the same time expand me. It allowed me to share my days with the beach, and feel free instead of locked in.

Uluwatu has shown me a simpler life, without any rush. Waking up without an alarm to the sound of the waves. Receiving the day with the sun peeking out from behind the mountain. Floating in the sea and drying with the sun. Sand between my toes and freckles slowly joining the collection—of little souvenirs from the happy sunny days of my life—on my face.

The slow afternoons on the beach waiting for the sun to go down, have given me the best sunsets of my life. In the afternoon, the tide goes out and the sea stays still, reflecting the colors like a mirror, multiplying in the sea any spectacle happening in the sky.

This place connects me deeply to nature, to a spirituality more and more intertwined with it. It connects me to the elements, to the sun and the moon. I meditate daily since I arrived, something that had never happened since I started meditation a few years ago. But this place connects me, inspires me.

Creativity has more space and visits me more often. I write every day; savoring the words and witnessing how they weave to relive moments and tell stories. I use my camera more often, especially the analog one, feeling like a girl with a new toy. I paint with watercolors and play the few chords I know on the guitar.

The lockdown began to fade away and—along with restaurants—new possibilities started to open up. I found my favorite places, where they now call me by my name and know how I drink my coffee. Temporary offices that fill me with inspiration.

I started meeting people and taking part in circles, bonfires and ceremonies; being part of a community that welcomed me with open arms and made me feel part of something since the first moment.

I arrived to Uluwatu without knowing what to expect, not knowing that I was going to completely fall in love with this place. This place that took me by surprise and that now feels so mine. That anchored me more to nature in a deeper way and connected me to music like never before. That allowed me to get over my fear of driving a motorbike. That gave me circles and new friends; deep moments with myself and in community.

Thank you Uluwatu for choosing me, for holding me, for surprising me every day. For making me a lot happier and a little bit more freckled.


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