Western Europe is fabulous. It has myriad museums and lots of art, often state funded (!). There are functioning pension and health care systems, and good education is accessible to many, if not all (depending on which country you’re from). There’s also an almost clinical level of hygiene which everybody adheres to. Everything works here. There’s money. And most people take shopping therapy almost on a weekly basis.
Indonesia is fabulous too. There are few systems and those that are in place barely function, even the traffic is haphazard. Education for all? Dream on! Washing hands before eating street food – not there yet. Nothing really works there. But the islands are pulsing with life.
They are unpolished. People’s minds are unpolished. Some places still show humanity in its raw, unadulterated form. There are rituals – especially in Bali. There’s suffering, but there’s also open-heartedness and a belief in the mythical and the sacred. There’s edginess and a roughness of being human that has been lost in the West. There’s a sense of spontaneity towards life that the well-oiled systematic machines have eradicated in the West. There’s a sense of aliveness, which is fresher, more vibrant and spacious than any London, Paris or Barcelona.