Don’t we all want to be somehow Nomads, Vagabonds, Roamers, Rovers, Libertarians, Pilgrims, Wanderers, Perpetual Travelers, Permanent Tourists, Tramps, Continental Drifters, World Citizens?

Chris did it… for real.

bamboo and paper mache parade sculpture in BaliBlogging his adventure as nomad4ever, Chris ditched the western rat race after 14 years in a big ITC firm to explore ever-fascinating Asia from Thailand to Singapore to his current home-away-from-home in Bali, Indonesia.

Here, in an island paradise, lurk the spectacular bamboo-and-papier-mache Ogoh Ogoh monsters — at least, in the parade season.

“Before the Hindu new year, Nyepi, is celebrated in the spring by a day of silence,” Chris says, “you can find Ogoh Ogoh everywhere in Bali. They are mainly built by the youngsters of the villages and kampungs in the weeks and months before Melasti and Nyepi.”

Traditionally, the Ogoh Ogoh monsters are made in the form of creatures of the underworld known in Balinese as buta-kala, but nowadays they may also turn up as modern characters from government leaders to rock stars… we can only wish that our North American parades could have one fraction of the creativity and joy expressed by these strange huge creatures!

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bamboo and paper mache parade monster in Bali

The Balinese are the most loveable people you can imagine. It’s amazing how they keep their culture and traditions alive, even with lots of tourists around. Unlike in Thailand, where the youth is pretty much neglecting their roots and are almost completely westernized, the Balinese seem to be able to preserve their traditions and everyone is involved in all kinds of celebrations and festivals throughout the year…

You know, I was drawn to Nomad4ever at first because I have ex-pat friends in various parts of Asia, none of whom are any good at writing to convey the full-colour flavour of their adopted countries… and I was curious. But then I fell madly in love with the wild Ogoh Ogoh monsters — well, who wouldn’t? — and now it’s all about seeing what Chris will discover to share with us next!

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