Life Knows the Way – A Story About Self Discovery in Southeast Asia

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This is the story of a teacher from Germany who decided to to quit his job and travel through Southeast Asia to start a journey of self discovery.

Life Knows the Way – Self Discovery in Thailand, Cambodia and Bali (Indonesia)

The time of sitting still and loud thoughts inside me was over after exactly three months, an incredible quarter of a year. At this time, the injury accounted nearly 90 percent of my trip. That said, out of 15 weeks travelled, there were 13 weeks with injury.

I had just seen two countries and a few interesting places. That was not bad at all. It just went differently than planned.

Instead, I saw how Thai people go on holiday in the most ridiculous way, I ate dinner with big-hearted Thai families on the living room floor, I got an Express parcel from Germany to Cambodia with a camera worth 500 Euro, and collected many more short, but unforgettable stories that I would love to share.

Time for Action

Self Discovery Travel South East Asia Thailand

Still, I did not trust my life at that time. But after a quarter of a year, in which I reached the lowest point of my entire life and then slowly got myself back up, I had laid the foundation for a conscious experience of my journey inside and outside. Everything had happened the way it was best for me.

With this performance I was able to leave Koh Kood and Thailand at the end of May.

Now it was time for action and experience. I flew to Bali in Indonesia and met Dustin again, with whom I had planned a road trip over the entire island. Although, I’d love to talk about the entire road trip and all the unbelievable moments that we’ve gathered in two months in Bali, unfortunately, in this story I can only talk about a few specific events.

A Quick Introduction Into Flowing

After I spent two days alone in Bali (Indonesia), Dustin also landed on the famous holiday island who had previously taken his road trip from South to North Vietnam. I just knew him from the week we were together in Koh Kood in February. We had arranged to make a road trip to Bali, with scooters.

Already while planning the route everything changed several times and felt so chaotic. After another two days of preparation, when we rented our scooters, we went to Ubud, the cultural centre of Bali, and later to Amed, a coastal town in northeastern Bali.

I already knew from Dustin that he was very fast on a motorcycle. But in addition, he was already more experienced with the extremely crazy traffic of Southeast Asia. As a result, I lost track of him again and again, and while I was always following the navigation, he just drove off and followed his nose.

I noticed that this bothers me and that I was annoyed by his way to ride. Because he did not care about me and I had imagined the road trip more like we both drove around together the whole time.

Self Reflexion

Very quickly, I realized that I was just feeling so bad because of an expectation. An image in my mind that I had previously imagined for days. And since it did not become reality, I was just disappointed. Dustin’s behaviour was by no means wrong or bad, it just triggered something in me.

The only thing that made me feel uncomfortable was my non-realized idea of ​​a road trip I had never done before. When I understood that, I could let go of the idea and accept the reality as it was. Dustin had a sense of special places and he followed this intuition. I wanted to try that too.

Self Discovery Travel South East Asia

And as long as we found ourselves in the end, he could drive faster than me. Just with thought power I could transform the unfounded anger, that something was not according to my concept, to a sense of freedom.

I focused on the benefits of travelling with Dustin, and let go of the need for control and certainty. So easy was flowing. From this moment on we both followed the flow.

The Feeling of Freedom

While clutching the handlebars with a firm grip, I released expectations and left them behind me. All of a sudden I was not just free with my body. My mind also felt incredibly light. So I opened up for the adventures in Bali. I was open to route changes and stuck to “a plan” as little as possible.

This allowed me (and also Dustin) an unforgettable time in Bali. There were many mornings in this month when we did not know where we would sleep in the evening. This sounds very uncertain and you may feel like the thought alone baulks at you.

But if you always plan where you will be in your future, you do not give your life the freedom it needs to surprise you. This flow is possible through trust in your life. I simply did it because it was a wonderful feeling of freedom, but if you want to consciously build trust in your life, you can leave some gaps in your holiday or weekly planning.

That ensures surprises and pure life. When I have learned one thing in my journey, then that: The less we try to bring something under our control, the freer our thoughts and actions and thus also the happiness can be.

The following descriptions of our time in Bali are intended to clarify what exactly “trusting life” means and work as an example of how you can give your life more freedom.

Be Free, Get Surprised

For the first time in this strange place we could hardly judge how long we would need for certain routes. Accordingly, we set no breaks and no arrival time. When we were hungry or had to refill gas, we just looked spontaneously for something in the next upcoming village.

Self Discovery Travel South East Asia Thailand Beach

That’s how we once discovered a booth on the roadside, where we were offered delightful Tofu bags, filled with noodles, for 0.12 Euro per piece. When we reached Amed after a few hours drive through the jungle and mountainous landscape, we had not booked a hostel yet. But we found a place that has just been finished. We were the first guests ever. Everything went from one to the other.

Fishing in a Nutshell

That same evening, we listened to Bali’s beautiful gamelan music, which seemed to slosh right out of the neighbourhood. As we sat down to join them, we were spellbound by the drumming men. After they ended the orchestra rehearsal, we got into a conversation with Loling, an aged fisherman who spoke only a handful of English words.

He invited us to fishing the next morning. And so we sat – a few hours later – in a nutshell of a boat, in which we hoisted a just caught huge Barracuda, while in front of us the rising sun in powerful yellow sent her morning rays through the clouds.

Behind us the mighty volcano, Mount Agung, dipped in golden glow. It was by far the most impressive moment of my journey, not to be outdone in beauty and pure magic. I did not feel a single wish arise in me. I was in a deep state of contentment.

When Dustin and I sat at the breakfast table we were addressed by another Indonesian who invited us for dinner on the beach. I just realized that none of what happened to us was planned in any way beforehand. It just occurred. I also realized how kind, helpful and humble the Indonesian people were.

They didn’t have much – better said: They nearly had nothing at all. But still, they offered us to be their guests. It wasn’t only for the money, as Dustin and I always felt like we had found new friends.

A Simply Perfect Day

We indeed gathered in the evening at a table that was set up for us and a French couple, on the sand between those nutshell boats and playing kids. We ate delicious, freshly caught tuna and fried egg with rice and delicious Indonesian sauces.

The sun dipped the sky into a dark blue-violet where the first stars came to light, and the volcano to our right rose into this gradient curtain as a black giant. Such delicious food I had not eaten in Indonesia so far. We were all entranced by this opportunity to sit on the beach in a cosy little round and to eat such delicacies.

And so, the whole day turned into an unforgettable, perfect day in the simplest way. And this day was only the beginning of our journey through Bali.

To Be Continued…

Later we settled over to Lombok to witness the Muslim family life of a friend who was taking part in Ramadan. We stayed on this island several weeks to discover hidden waterfalls and the southern coastline.

For a while we lived in a jungle cottage where we encountered the wild and huge black monkeys. We also met a gold miner who made us an unmoral offer about girls. And this all happened close before the big earthquake destroyed half of Lombok.

There is much to tell. If you want to read more about Martin’s journey of self discovery, visit his blog It’s written in German but feel free to translate his stories. Also check his Instagram!