What you can learn in the crazy traffic chaos in Bali

10. December 2021

If you’ve ever been to Bali or anywhere else in Asia besides Singapore, you may remember how chaotic and crazy the traffic is. Though I drive a scooter myself at home, on my first day on the island I noticed how anxious I was to venture into the seemingly unstructured movement of cars, scooters, and people.

How does it look from the outside?

The streets are full of cars, scooters, cyclists and people walking around at random. It’s loud because of the constant honking and there don’t seem to be any rules at all. Oh, and you are driving on the left side of the street. It feels like you’re minutes away from an accident.

But well – I had my scooter and an appointment in another city, so I drove off anyway. After a while, I actually noticed that my previous perception of traffic did not match how I felt in the middle of it at all.


How does it look inside?

Because of the lack of rules, people were actually very attentive when driving, always keen to see whether someone was coming towards them or overtaking them. Even if you started driving on the wrong side of the road, the cars would just avoid you in a pretty relaxed manner. In the midst of the chaos, I found more structure than I expected.


What can be learned from it:

From within, the flow of traffic began to make a lot of sense to me, and I understood that three characteristics determined people’s attitudes in the midst of a chaotic, unpredictable, and rapidly changing situation:


– Presence
– adaptability
– fearlessness


Isn’t life like that – chaotic, unpredictable and rapidly changing?

How do we often approach life? To want to control everything, to constantly rethink the past and future, to miss the present moment in which life actually takes place. We struggle to adapt to situations we don’t like because our expectations are different. Out of fear, we often “prepare for the worst” in order to feel safe.


What do we need to follow the flow of life?

Presence, adaptability and the courage to be fearless. If we incorporate this approach from Balinese traffic into our lives, we can learn to face challenges, changes and lows in our lives with a calmer attitude. With the knowledge that when we stop fighting against the current, we flow with it and react to every moment to what is there, we can reach our goal more easily without “accidents”. We may have to accept minor or major lapses, but we don’t have to go against the tide of things.


Stop waiting for an illusory moment when your life is in your control to feel calm and happy, but start finding your flow amid chaos and unpredictability.