When Magic Finds You

I’ve tried to imagine what traveling would be like if pictures weren’t a
part of it. I stop myself from venturing too deep into such thought
because I don’t want to know. That thought has nothing to do with being
unable to show the photos to others or all the visual bliss that could
decorate some social media account, but rather what those pictures
reproduce by way of invoking the fragments of emotion felt during the
very moments they were taken. What it felt like in that time and place.
What I felt like, and how those places touched me.

Not too far off the southeastern coast of Bali, there’s a small island
called Lembongan. I knew nothing about it, but it had been recommended I
go there for my long sought search of some proper snorkeling. But how I
found it or what led me there other than a simple desire to swim with
tropical fish, isn’t what matters. Because what’s truly relevant to me,
is a reoccurring revelation of how sometimes magic just finds you, and
when it does, you have to embrace it and cherish it like you’ve just
been given a gift from the universe. Moments when you can feel your
actual soul smiling along with you.

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I woke up one morning and rented a motorbike, grabbed a map of the
island and packed it with my camera and GoPro and left in only board
shorts, a surf top, and sandals(simplicity and peace). The only other
thing I need sometimes in life other than that is sand and saltwater.
And so what waited for me that day as I drove from beach to beach, all
along half-broken brick roads and winding coastline, was what turned out
to be one of the best and most memorable days of my life. There are no
cars on Lembongan, only motorbikes. There are no traffic lights or
people in a rush to get anywhere, because they’re already there.

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The pictures I took that day as I wandered from one enchanting spot to
the next, were as if they were all vying to compete for my amazement.
But the heart-stirring natural beauty I found in each shot, is far more
than just a photograph for me. They hold an emotional language that I
get to reconnect with each time I see them, remembering what it felt
like to explore some small piece of the other side of the earth. I was
an alien that day, only wanting to discover some new place that inspired
me to feel how small and lucky I was to be there. To be captivated by
something and feel completely connected to it at the same time.

I returned to Lembongan again two months later, but it was never the
same as that day or that first week being there. You can try to recreate
magical moments of your life, but you’re usually going to be let down by
the simple fact that we aren’t the ones who create magic in the first
place. It finds us when it’s meant to, and when it does, it’s best to
enjoy every bit of it and be moved by it. Take pictures while you do, or
write about it. So you can look back and get to touch a piece of it
again, remembering how alive you felt.

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