The 5 Things I Learned by Spending My Summer in Bali

Jennifer DeSimone
January 16, 2024

One of my favorite things about going back to school each fall was figuring out how I would answer the question, “what did you do this summer?”

As an only child, my parents always tried to make summers a little magical: lazy poolside afternoons, weeknight BBQs, summer camp, or a family vacation to somewhere we all enjoyed.

Summer time means beach time

This year, though, I spent my summer in the rice paddies of Bali where I learned more about myself and others than I had any other summer of my life.

Here’s what my summer in Bali taught me.

I learned that others made me stronger

We made it to the top of Mount Batur!

One of the best parts of the Bali tip is hiking Mount Batur at 4 am in the dark! It's also one of the hardest thing I have ever done physically. 

However, when we band together, and encourage one another, we all get to the top. We may have to stop and we may have self-doubts, but together we are empowered and unstoppable.

Just when we think we can’t anymore, someone is there to push you forward. 

And the view from the top? Breathtaking.

I learned how to ask for help

River hike to hidden waterfalls

During our river hike, we swim up current to a hidden waterfall. It’s was one of the highlights of my summer but getting past that current is another team effort.

By asking each other for help, we are able to face the current and power through it. And by asking for help, we each become a little more humble and our trust for one another grows. 

I learned to honor the Earth and eat off the land

Enjoying the coconuts we picked on our rice paddie tour

I had the privilege of walking on sacred ground in Bali. The land is honored and people dedicate their lives to cultivating the land to grow food.

As a result the food is fresh and healthy. We each learned that we can eat off the land and have our needs fulfilled while feeling nourished. We need that nourish to power through our days!

I was reminded that eating is a way to honor myself.

I learned new dance moves

Enjoying a night of music and dancing

Balinese dance is intricate and beautiful. At the end of every trip we celebrate the end of our week with a beautiful Balinese concert complete with dancing.

At the end of it, we all stand up and learn to dance together. No one is watching to see who has the best dance moves; we are all there just to be open, have fun, and appreciate this art form.

I made lifetime friendships 

New friends from all over the world!

When you experience something in a beautiful land and you live outside your comfort zone for a week, you become bonded for life. The experiences you shared can’t be replicated or even fully expressed to others.

After my summer in Bali, I now have “pen pals” across the US, Canada, Bali and even Lebanon!  

Spending my summer in Bali was one of the best gifts I have ever given myself. 

Summer 2016 goes down in history as one of the best yet! 

How are you planning to ring in 2017? 

‍Join us for New Year's!

We have several spots open for our New Year’s Eve trip in Bali! Come start your year off with adventure, serenity, and new friends!

Jennifer DeSimone
Currently based in Austin, Jennifer is the Chief of Community for U30X. She has a passion for creating connections, community, and opportunities for more empathy. In her spare time you can find her on her yoga mat, whipping up something yummy in the kitchen, or reading a good book.


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