Made & Mandela  – A reflection on the lessons learnt from a global “freedom fighter” and local Balinese “driver”.

I wish my Balinese driver, Made, had met Nelson Mandela. I have no problems picturing the inspiring union – a peaceful embrace, two all-knowing smiles lighting up the room, and then the comforting silence of two men happy to bask in each other’s presence.

Both highly educated and heart based decision makers, they have had a daily impact on my life. For those of us looking to make a difference on the lives around us, while also finding the answers to our own questions; here are a few lessons learnt and a personal reflection on the tales of two extraordinary humans:

Aparthied SignDream Big – There is absolutely no point, passion, or purpose in living a mediocre life. Mandela may not have believed that he would be the leader of a movement to dismantle apartheid; but nor did he aim to only be able to share a toilet with both his white and black South African brothers. He aimed big, never lost sight of the vision, and achieved things far beyond anyone thought possible.


Ripple EffectThe Ripple Effect – The small things in life matter. Not only to you, but also to all those around you. All guests who have met Made in Bali will know he is so much more than a driver. Made is a philosopher, historian, leader, teacher, and father – assisting challenged students at school, imparting a philosophical ‘gem’ of a quote to a guest (right when they needed it), or simply sharing a smile. These are the small conscious efforts that change the lives of those around Made; and the impact continues to ripple from seemingly small, conscious, and heart felt acts of service.


The JourneyThe JourneyDon’t expect an easy ride. People will always doubt you, there will be stages on the journey when you question yourself, and you’ll need to open doors of your ‘shadow self’ and embrace them as part of all that is uniquely you. And when you find yourself battling to find focus – look to Mandela for inspiration: 27 years in imprisonment, denounced as a Marxist terrorist by his critics, and constantly sacrificing his own life for the greater good. The rewards may not be a Nobel Peace prize and you may never be referred to as ‘the father of a nation’ – but you will be rewarded with a memorable, meaningful, and majestic journey.

For those that haven’t had a chance to read A Long Walk to Freedom, then please have a go once in your life.  And for those that don’t read… look for your name on a sign, and one hell of an infectious smile, as you exit the Bali airport and into the care of our ‘driver’ Made.

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