I was enjoying my gluten free muesli in the terrace of the restaurant, with the big fluffy clouds and blue sky above me. I felt a sense of connection with the limitless sky, the roots of the strongly rooted trees brought a level of calmness and belonging I hadn’t experienced in ages.

As I allowed the ambience to take me away, I noticed how I had a glee on my face that drew people to me (or I’d like to believe!). I didn’t know that in this breathtaking place, I’d meet someone and learn so much in the process.

A tall, lean, blonde woman, in her 40s sat on a table near me, writing away in her journal. My immediate thought was she must be ‘on the path’ because not many are into journaling. As I was chatting with another woman from South Africa, she and this lean woman exchanged a few words and that was when I learnt that she was from Germany.

I was initially judgmental given how Germans seem so organized, meticulous but also reserved and I am quite the opposite. But I was proven wrong about the latter. She was very neat and tidy and perhaps this was something I needed to be reminded of besides the deep conversations that led to many revelations I had thanks to her!

We talked about personal crisis, how we coped with our struggles, our life journey and what brought us to this very wellness resort. The depth of our chats would have people think we had known each other for years but in reality that was far from the truth. We were open, vulnerable and gave each other the space to be the way we are as we revealed more of our shortcomings and flaws. The beauty of our newly found friendship was that we found a connection that bypassed the superficial conversations.

I did however also learn how she, like me, detest shopping unless it’s shopping when away on a holiday or in the right mood. When we shop, we shop for months so we don’t need to do it again. We went to a jewelry store in Ubud and were drawn to different accessories. But we appreciated each other’s taste and were honest in our feedback. In one particular jewelry store, she was trying on a set of flowered pendant and matching stunned earrings. The pendant was flashy but it didn’t look tacky however the earrings that she had on didn’t look like the right shade of silver and I made sure she knew that. She agreed and felt that too. We instantly knew that we didn’t have to sugarcoat anything. At another store, we were trying on dresses. I liked one particular black linen sleeveless dress and she was honest in telling me that it didn’t flatter my curvy body.

It may seem easy to be honest but more often than not, we shy away from it because we’re afraid that it may offend the other person. We were fortunate that we could be frank in our criticism which also allowed us to bare our soul with one another. I never knew going away to find some calmness would lead to making a friend that not only made my stay so much more colorful, but it also brought a lot of insight and growth.

If you haven’t done a solo trip, I’d highly recommend it. You don’t know who you’ll meet and how that can inspire your life even more. To unexpected and beautiful friendships! Namaste.