Bec Meets Ketut
Coming up with an idea of a blog is much easier than actually starting to write said blog. It’s tough working up the guts to walk up to a stranger in a foreign place and say, “Hey, you look cool. Tell me a story, please!” Eventually, that’s my goal. Give me a few glasses of wine and it will be easy-peasy! But, for now, I’ve decided to start close to home and talk with the first friend I made when I moved abroad about her Bali travel experience: Bec Woods.
If you ask Bec and me how we met, we will both tell you opposite stories. Don’t worry I will give you both. Let’s start with mine! When I first moved to London, I booked a few nights in a hostel that later became my home (literally, I lived there for 7 months). I arrived at the hostel a little past midnight and was exhausted from the amount of emotions running through me. I mean, I moved across the world with a suitcase, no job, and no friends…talk about exciting! This could only lead towards a sleepless night with the anticipation of my first official day in London. I woke up around 6 in the morning with one goal: make friends.
As I’m enjoying my free breakfast and sipping my tea (gross, but I was in London), I noticed a friendly looking girl sitting on the sofa across from me. I panicked and asked her about cell phone plans. Wouldn’t you want to be friends with someone who asks you about phone plans? From there I spiraled downwards in my panic and kept asking questions. But this girl was responding and she seemed really cool! Slowly, more of her friends started joining the group. It turned out they all worked at the hostel. This was it, my new friendship group. We sat and talked for at least an hour and I knew I wanted them as friends. A group of travelers that had found each other in a hostel? Talk about a dream!
My side of the story is almost too perfect, right? Well, here is Bec’s side: After a long graveyard shift at the hostel, I sat down to check my phone and eat some food before I was finally able to sleep. The hostel wasn’t too crowded yet as it was only 6 in the morning. But of course, the most annoying, bright-eyed, blonde, American girl sat right across from me. My plan was just to stare at my phone and avoid eye contact so I could finish my food and head to bed. But here she was questioning me about my phone plan! Thankfully, the rest of the crew started shuffling in and kept her distracted so I could sneak off to bed.
I know, I know. How pathetic, Caro! I’m sure you can smell the desperation of my friendship attempt all the way through your computer screens. But hey, it worked out. Bec is still one of my best friends to this day and we even lived together for half of a year in the SAME bedroom and did not kill each other. That is friendship.
So, back on the topic of my blog, Bec is one of the most traveled friends I have. Her whole life is based around her love of travel and she has some of the most exceptional stories I’ve ever heard. Bec moved to London from the land down unda in 2014 after dreaming of a life abroad since she was 16 years old. Travel is her passion, so, naturally, she transformed her career to illustrate her obsession.
Bec started off in your basic office administration job and then hopped around from different travel jobs until she found her current position at a wholesale adventure travel company and she “bloody loves it!” When I was talking with Bec about this blog and her stories, I remembered one story in particular that has always been a dream of mine and asked her to tell it to me again. “The Bali travel story” is what I call it.
The story begins with Bec and a friend departing on a spiritual trip to Bali, Indonesia (which is obviously why I call it the Bali travel story). This was right after Bec had shaved off all of her hair and the travel bug told her to escape from the world for a while. The two of them wanted to avoid the main touristy parts of the country and stay off of the grid. Remember this was a spiritual journey not an Instagram photo shoot! They did the standard beach thing in Seminyak, saw some beautiful temples in the south, and finally went and stayed in the highlands near the rice fields in the town of Ubud.
Not far from there, the two adventurers took a day trip out to the fields. Her friend sparked up a conversation with their driver about the book Eat, Pray, Love (read the book, it’s better than the movie). The character of Ketut Liyer (rest in peace, you beautiful soul) was brought up in their conversation about their Bali travel. That’s when the driver claimed that his cousin knew where Ketut lived! Now, if you don’t know who Ketut is because you’re way behind the times and have not read or watched the movie of Eat, Pray, Love, you won’t know that almost every traveler dreams of meeting this legend. Ketut Liyer would do face, palm, and back psychic healing readings from his home in Ubud.
So, Bec and her friend decided to trust this driver and continued onward to find his cousin and see for themselves if he was being honest. They were led to a tiny house in a small village and followed the path towards the entrance archway. This is where they realized it was the exact location they had used in the filming of the movie Eat, Pray, Love!
The two girls patiently waited their turn for a reading from the REAL Ketut Liyer. I’m still so amazed and jealous of this. Bec describes, “He’s this beautiful old man in his 90’s that barely speaks English. He was short with crooked teeth and big caterpillar eyebrows, but he was gorgeous. You could tell he was a real happy-go-lucky guy. Ketut told both of us that we were Lotus flowers and that’s one of the reasons why I have my tattoo (of a lotus flower). Before we left I asked if I could get a photo of him. He agreed and spruced himself up and smiled at the camera. After the photo he eagerly said ‘show me show me!’ I turned the camera around and he was like, ‘No good, no good.’ He took off his bandana and brushed his hair and smiled for another photo.”
The reading was short and only lasted about 5 minutes, but Bec says that was all she needed. She was told she will have good fortune in her life with two kids, strong bones, and a strong body. He read between her shoulder blades, and that’s where she was told she was a Lotus flower. So cool, right! Now, I know there are stories and blogs out there that say Ketut was a fraud after his fame exploded from the movie, but I like to believe in his genuinity (is that word?). The energy that was felt during his reading was pure. Traveling is all about the connections you make and the imprint you leave on those you’ve met. I think Ketut has left a positive mark on the travelers he encountered.
And that’s Ketut and the Bali travel story.