I don't know why I'm smoking. Maybe it makes me feel like a writer. Maybe I'm counterbalancing my weeklong yoga-and-meditation-alcohol-free-find-my inner energy retreat last week. In any case, I'm doing it, and I don't feel bad about it. There's a lot of things I'm not feeling bad about these days. Like about myself (as much). It could be because I am alone in this hotel. Literally, I'm the only guest. Or because the Indonesian mother of four who is as tall as my chest told me this morning as she swept my room, "I like your body." Or it could be because I've just become more comfortable being me. When I get down to pump out fifty burpees all by myself, I'm doing it because expelling physical effort brings peace to my mind. It's my meditation, all the sweat and heart pumping body buzzing goodness of intense exercise. It zens me out hard and the muscles I get from it are a beautiful bonus and only for me. I feel strong. Strong in body and spirit. All I've got to take on today is to write some pages in this damn book I've gotten myself into and attempt to drive a motorbike for the first time (God help us all). So I smoke a cigarette here and there, and I pound out burpees and sit on my mat and meditate in front of Nembrala beach with the waves pumping offshore and God, I feel like me. I've been thinking travel is dumb. This huge waste of money and time to find yourself when you are you all along and wherever you go. But it does help, this change of place and self-reliance-ness and being alone. It's like thinking about how you might die tomorrow; travel has this way of washing away all the bullshit stuff in life that doesn't matter and really won't matter when you're on your deathbed. And when you're away away away you can find this clarity that's difficult to find in the slodge of everyday life: what is really important to you. What you care about. Your To Do list is all 'I should make sure she knows I love her' and not 'Make an eye doctor appointment.' The weight of your life situation - the to do's and mild everyday road rage and the maintenance sex and "Am I good enough? Am I getting fat?" and God, my coworker drives me up the freaking wall - drifts away like an ashy cloud from your being and you're left with a clearer head and peace and a sense of what's important and it's going to be okay, I shouldn't allow her to bother me anyway. So, sure, it's expensive and difficult to get away. But damn, it's a better path to clarity than finding out you have terminal cancer.