I feel that it is necessary to share this story, because it could happen to anyone, and I would like to pass on an important lesson that I learned. I will say as a disclaimer that this is no reflection on Sanur as a holiday destination – this could have happened anywhere.
If you’ve read my last post on Bali then you would know that I participated in an amazing jewellery making course in Sanur, Bali. On the last day of this course I was riding my bicycle back to where I was staying when two men on a motorbike attempted to rob me.
It was 4:30pm on a main road – one that I had ridden up and down almost every day without issue. All of a sudden a motorbike slowed down right next to me. There were two men on the bike. Without looking, the man on the back reached out to grab my bag which was sitting in the basket of my bike.
I always clip my bag to the basket just in case something like this happens, so the man couldn’t get a grip on it. Potentially in anger, and maybe also to make sure I couldn’t follow them, he grabbed the basket and twisted my handlebars towards the gutter.
The wheel went sideways and I went straight into the concrete shoulder first. My left side was unscathed but on my right side I had done some serious damage to my shoulder, arm, hand, knee and foot – concrete and gravel are very unforgiving… Thankfully nothing appeared to be broken, torn or dislocated.
This is where the story starts to get better, as this experience actually gave me insight into the kindness of people. There will always be those who are so desperate that they choose to do something that physically or emotionally harms another person – but in contrast there are many more people who will reach out and help someone who is physically or emotionally harmed.
I had fallen right outside a small Balinese warung. The locals who worked in the kitchen instantly came over to help me, and once I told them what had happened, one of them even jumped on a motorbike to see if they could get a glimpse of the perpetrators. They were long gone, but the lovely people at the restaurant got out their first aid kit and helped wrap me up well enough to get back to my guesthouse – all without a word of English.
I offered to pay them for the supplies I had used but they categorically refused to take my money. It completely baffled me because I wasn’t offering to pay them for kindness; I was offering to pay for things they had given me. All the same, they wouldn’t take it.
The next few days were painful – that same evening I had to go down to the local chemist and get antiseptic cream as well as something to bandage myself up. Using alcohol swabs to clean the wounds was excruciating, and I felt like I had no one to help me. If only I had asked!
On the third day the family at my guesthouse realised that I wasn’t really leaving my room. When I finally showed my face they instantly went in, cleaned up my room, changed the sheets, and brought me some fruit. I had been ordering McDonald’s delivery because I couldn’t find any other food that I could get delivered, and the family wouldn’t have a bar of it!
They brought me breakfast, lunch and dinner every day for the next few days while I healed up. I told them what kind of food I preferred and they had it all delivered. For the first time, I actually cried about what had happened, because I felt like it was ok to have a weak moment now that I wasn’t on my own. When it first happened I went into shock, and then into survival mode – I didn’t actually give myself time to process the event. I think I was relieved too.
The amazing thing is that this didn’t discourage me from continuing my journey. I made the decision early on that I was going to take the good with the bad and I meant it. And I felt lucky because it could have been so much worse. I could have lost all my belongings, or I could have been seriously injured.
That’s the message I want to pass onto any fellow travellers. You will be tested while you pursue your dreams, but don’t let fear stop you because fear is the real enemy, not your negative experiences.
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