Snapshots from Bali: Disposable Cameras and Life Lessons

Snapshots from Bali: Disposable Cameras and Life Lessons

It is important sometimes, I think, to step outside of your comfort zone. Let yourself be a little bit afraid, and learn from it. Travel somewhere new and experience it all, from the highs to the lows. Immerse yourself in the tastes, the smells, the sights, the sounds. My hānai sister and I recently ventured off to Bali with our carry-on luggage in tow and a disposable camera for each of us as our sole means of photo documentation, and we came back with memories and a few lessons learned.

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Happiness isn't all that society makes it out to be. The people of Bali are not wealthy. Children play in the alleys, and families live in close community. Their lives are not glamorous, and yet I could not help but notice the contagious smiles the locals have when they played in the surf and appreciated the simple things.

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Trust can do wonders. There were moments when I felt completely alive on the back of a moped, and were times when I was terrified and tried to grasp onto any feeling of control. It was in those moments that I had to learn to let go and learn the value of trust.

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Limitations are not necessarily a bad thing. Life often doesn't go the way we planned. Obstacles come up, and we can either stop and sit down, or we can learn to find a way around them. And oftentimes the detour is more beautiful than the main road. We just have to be willing to see it.

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A faithful friend is worth more than billions of rupiah, especially if she's a little gila. Traveling in tandem is a humbling experience. Barriers are worn down, compromises are made, and strong bonds are formed. There are moments of uncontrollable laughter, moments of tears, and all the moments in between. I went to Bali with a good friend and returned with a sister.

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It's a big, beautiful world out there. Small paths through vibrant green rice patties. Clear blue waters under a cloudy sky. A street full of people in colorful Balinese garments. I could travel the whole world and never cease to be in awe of it all.


Maddie Buresh is a writer and photographer with an unquenchable desire to explore the great outdoors, from the ocean to the mountains. She finds joy in trying new things, living in community, and crafting stories that encourage people to go outside, have adventures, and enjoy this big, beautiful world.