Scott Stoll logo world traveler. A bicycle wheel and the globe symbolizes Scott's journey around the world on a bicycle.
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Bali has the densest population of talented artists and craftsmen anywhere I’ve ever been. Arts and decoration adorn almost everything.

An adventure as a gemologist in Bali

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A daily offering and blessing outside my hotel room.

The World Adventure Continues in
Bali, Indonesia

Update 2021: Yes, I had a failed career as a gemologist. But it was an adventure. One of many adventures that I tried to avoid going back into advertising after my trip around the world reprioritized my life. I was — am — a little embarrassed by this. I have yet to tell the full story, but it is on my list to come back to this one.

After traveling the world for years, I can’t seem to stay put in one place for very long. I’ve got a giant case of Island Fever, in fact at the rate I’m going, I’ll have Planet Fever in no time.

I just can’t get used to the “real world” of 8-12 hours in an air-conditioned room in front of a computer, my new window to the world, and the only thing getting a workout is my butt. It’s not really a workout, it’s more like a feat of endurance sitting in one spot for so long. Ironically, it reminds me of riding a bicycle all day. Gosh, I miss my customized leather saddle.

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If you want an adventure, try walking through a monkey park with a handful of bananas. When a monkey runs up your leg to the top of your head, you’ll quickly learn how to mime a banana tree.

My new affirmation is: “You should be grateful, you could be mowing grass with a machete for a living.”But like any affirmation, it doesn’t work, because deep down what you are really saying is, “I feel guilty and shameful and I shouldn’t feel this way.” Which is a guilt on top of a guilt.

So after hopping from state to state and a thrilling one-day adventure in Mexico which ended when the policia had me spread eagle against a wall and searched me for drugs (Ah! It reminded me of the good old days traveling the world), I decided to go on a big trek across the Pacific (without the bike this time) and turn that spark of adventure once again into the flame of new experiences and inspiration.

“Welcome to my paradise.” Is the opening line in Bali. And it is a paradise, a bit overrun by motor scooters and tourists, but still a paradise.

So, since people are a little impatient with words these days, here’s a small photo pictorial.

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My friend Nyoman posing with a statue of Shiva. In Bali, there are traditionally only 4 first names. In order of birth: Wayan, Nyoman, Made and Ketut. Nyoman has a second child named Nyoman and if he has a sixth child, he or she will be called Nyoman also. So, to avoid confusion I have to refer to my friend as The Funny Cab Driver Nyoman, and believe it or not, when you tell people this, they know who you are talking about. It is a small island.
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One of many Hindu Temples overrun by the jungle.
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One of the more “tasteful” erotic statues.
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Another example of one of those jobs like climbing three stories with a pile of bricks on your head that I’m glad not to have.
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Cockfight anyone? A custom recently made illegal, but since when has that ever stopped anyone?
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My only complaint about Bali is the fumes and exhaust, it was hard to breathe at the end of the day when the locals burned their garbage in the backyard, plastic bottles and all.
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Here a man carves a statue of Ganesh. It takes him about a week and he sells it for about ten dollars. Like a true businessman, I thought I could get a deal buying direct; but like a true artist, he refused to sell me one because he wasn’t finished.

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