Balancing Act in Indonesia – Flashback Friday

What’s the best way to transport things and stuff when you are walking? I carried a backpack when I began my solo journey to Southeast Asia in early 1993. After my backpack broke down I replaced it with a couple of duffel bags created from patchwork batik cloth. The idea of carrying things on my head had never really occurred to me. But why not?

I saw women in Indonesia carrying all kinds of objects on their heads. Tagging along on a dive boat so I could do some snorkeling near Candidasa Bali I noted the women balancing air tanks atop their heads in order to transport the tanks to the boat.

Stopping to catch my breath upon reaching the summit of Mount Batur in Bali, my eyes focused upon a Balinese woman balancing a tray upon her head. A dozen glass bottled soda pops sat upon the tray. Flip flops adorned the woman’s feet as she glided up the mountain.

Using my t-shirt sleeve to wipe the sweat from my forehead I wondered how many times she made the trek each day. Purchasing a soda I felt grateful for the woman’s entrepreneurial spirit, and in awe of her ability to balance that tray of drinks so effortlessly.


Woman balancing a table upon her head while walking along the road in Indonesia. A child accompanies her on her, carrying a set of bowls upon her head.

Balancing act – carrying things on one’s head is common in Bali


I started practicing the talent of balancing things on my head while in Indonesia. My skills never developed to the level of expertise of the average Balinese woman but I did enjoy trying. And it always resulted in smiles from the Indonesians to see me trying out their method of carrying stuff around.


About the Author

Susan Moore's first solo travel experience was traveling around SE Asia for 7 months in 1993. It was life changing and extraordinary. Currently Susan is living a nomadic life, working and roadtripping around the USA and Canada. You can reach Susan Moore at Facebook or Twitter

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