A few months back, my friend and coworker Molly sent me a text. “Wanna go to Bali with me? To this …” Here, she attached the schedule for a yoga retreat to Ubud, a popular town in southern Bali about an hour each way (without traffic) to the beaches. “Yes!” I said. Sure, it was the middle of football season and I had no idea how I would pull it off. But I’d been wanting to go to Bali for years and had just been talking about it with friends a few days earlier. I was going to Bali. The rest, I could figure out later.
I’ve always been a big believer in the power of saying yes. In a work context, it’s always better to say yes, even to the most impossible-sounding asignment, and give it your best shot. If it doesn’t work out, it doesn’t work out. But you tried. If you start out with a no, you never know if you could have pulled it off, and you likely piss off the person on the other end of the phone (your editor) with your perceived negativity. Even if no is simpy a realistic answer. “You want me to convince Kobe Bryant and Shaun White to take a snorkeling trip together in the Mentawis for a story for the travel issue? Sure! Doesn’t hurt to ask.”
In life, saying yes has lead to some of my favorite adventures. You never know what lies on the other side of those three innocuous letters. When you’re a kid, you learn to say “no” way before yes, mostly becuase your parents are shouting it at you while you’re rapidly soaking up their language. No! Not the electric socket! No! You can not have a third glass of water before bed. No! No! No! It’s one of the first words we learn, and I think most of us never un-learn it. No becomes our habit. Want to go to Bali? No. That sounds too crazy. Too hard to take off work. Too far away. No.
I’m so glad I said yes. This trip has been amazing. Lindsay and James said yes, too, and the four of us — as well as five new friends — had such adventures. We rode an elephant. We hiked a volcano in the middle of the night and watched the sun rise over Lake Batur. We rode bikes through rice patties. We surfed. And snorkeled. And got massages on the beach. We danced and yoga’d and ate. And ate. And ate.
Screw Elizabeth Gilbert. We did Bali right. (And, no. None of us found our Javier Bardem.)
(Blogger’s Note: I’ve realized lately that in all of my travels, I rarely remember to blog about all the wonderful places I eat and stay and use for daily excursions. So I’m turning over a new banana leaf. My next blog will be a Bali travel guide: How to do Bali with four friends for 12 days and have the time of your life!)
*Photos are tough to upload here. I’ll add some soon!!