Chris Soules is The Bachelor! After a bittersweet exit from Andi Dorfman’s season of The Bachelorette, the farmer from Arlington, Iowa, is searching for love once again on ABC’s hit franchise. Chris, 33, will be blogging for PEOPLE.com every week about the women, the dates and the difficult decisions he’ll make on his journey to love. So check back every week, and follow Chris on Twitter.
Bali. Wow. Yes, the trip over there is a long one, but it’s worth it. I even had just enough of a layover in Hong Kong to hit the town. I partied with the locals and ate some things I never thought I would eat. If you’re ever in Hong Kong, check out Underbridge Spicy Crab. I’m still not sure what I ate, but it was delicious!
Arriving in Bali, I really couldn’t believe I was there. I mean, we’d been in New Mexico, South Dakota and Iowa, but now we were in freaking Bali! Seriously, that place is incredible. There are the beautiful, ancient temples, the beaches are seemingly endless with these huge waves that people come from around the world to surf. But not me, I just went there to go on dates – my life is not normal.
I’m sure many of you have noticed my tendency to sweat through most of my shirts even in mild climates, and the temperature in Bali was consistently 80 to 90 degrees and close to 100 percent humidity. Needless to say, I was sweating like a “you know what” in church. I had to pack like two or three shirts for every date, and the producers would rub baby powder on me to slow the inevitable soaking of my shirt. Hey, I am not complaining because it’s negative 5 degrees in Iowa right now, and I would gladly go back just to warm up.
The Mulia hotel was one of the nicest hotels I’ve ever seen. I even had my own butler. That was an experience in and of itself. I’d never had a butler before (shocking, right?), but this guy was good. I think if I had asked, he would have been willing to help me get to those hard-to-reach places on my back while I was showering. This guy was legit. I almost wanted to bring him back to the farm he was so good. Heri, you are the man! Whatever they are paying you is not enough! If you ever want to consider a career in Arlington, let me know.
I was so thrilled to be in Bali with three incredible women, but I couldn’t believe that I’d already reached that point in my journey. It felt like almost yesterday that 30 women pulled up to the mansion, but, at the same time, it felt like a lifetime had gone by. As excited and happy as I was to be in Bali, I was nervous, almost scared, because I knew I was falling in love with the remaining three women, and, from the start of the week, I had a dark cloud hanging over me knowing I’d have to say goodbye to one of them.
Seeing Kaitlyn in Bali was surreal. The last time I saw her was in Iowa at the rose ceremony, now all of a sudden we were in Bali together; it was pretty incredible. Walking around Denpasar was very cool. We chatted with locals, listened to some kids play guitar, drank beer with others and I even had the opportunity to hug a shirtless chubby man – it just felt like the right thing to do! Seriously, though, I really felt like I was on vacation with my girlfriend.
The great thing about Kaitlyn is how comfortable she is in all different types of situations. She could roll the cob with Jimmy Kimmel and also hang out with strangers from the other side of the world who didn’t even speak English!
I have to say, I was pretty shocked seeing a MONKEY cross the road. My natural instinct as a farmer, of course, was to pet it, but I quickly realized that was a bad idea when it hissed at me and almost bit me. A car of locals driving by started laughing at me and told me not to pet the monkeys. They would have been helpful a minute or two earlier! I was surprised by how aggressive those monkeys were! Those dudes really went for their bananas. Kaitlyn was a little scared at first, but as soon as one peed on me, she loosened up. Just for the record: monkey pee is not easy to get out of linen. Kaitlyn and I had such a great day monkeying around (ha, see what I did there?) I didn’t know if the night could top it but it did.
I noticed earlier in the day that Kaitlyn was sort of shaking when we first met up, but I just figured that was because she was nervous since we hadn’t seen each other in a while, but I noticed it again later that night. It was clear she had something she wanted to get off her chest. While I felt bad that she was shaking, it really made me realize how seriously she was taking everything.
It felt good to know Kaitlyn was finally truly putting herself out there as much as I was. I was so happy she was able to finally fully let her guard down, and when she told me she was falling in love with me, I couldn’t hold back. I know a lot of Bachelors tend to bite their tongues in these situations, but it just felt right to say it back because it was true. I was so glad she accepted the invitation to the Fantasy Suite because now that we had come so far in our relationship, there was so much more I wanted to know without cameras or anyone else around. We had a very special night that I’ll never forget.
Spending the day at sea with Whitney was mostly great. Well, we had fun. The crew? Not so much. The waves were pretty big that day, and almost everyone got really, really seasick. Walking around behind the cameras was like walking around a Civil War battleground reenactment. Bodies everywhere. I think the captain, Whitney and I were the only people who didn’t get sick! While Whitney and I were popping champagne and sharing a romantic kiss, I could actually hear one of the producers puking off the side of the boat. Yeah, not the most romantic moment of my life. Still, it was a day I’ll never forget. Especially the moment when my arm was nearly ripped off as I was holding onto the boat trying help Whitney out of the water, and a huge wave came causing the rear end of the boat to project completely out of the water. Yeah, that was fun.
Later that night, there were a couple of things I wanted to talk to Whitney about. Having seen her in action as a nurse and having seen her apartment in Chicago, I wanted to know if she could really leave all that behind for Arlington. I wouldn’t blame her if she couldn’t because she has quite the life going on in the big city. I loved how honest Whitney’s answer was. She said she would never choose Arlington but that it’s not about the place itself – it’s about the person you’re with. I admired her honesty. Truthfully, I loved that Whitney said she’d be ready to have babies, because I’m 33, and that’s definitely something I want sooner than later.
It took Whitney a few seconds before she said yes to the Fantasy Suite, and she totally freaked me out. Once again, that girl knew how to trick me and keep me on my toes! I was relieved when she said finally said yes because I really wanted that alone time with her, and we had an incredible night together.
I was really looking forward to my date with Becca because we’d really gotten closer in Iowa and I wanted to build on that. Spending the day with her in Bali’s countryside was incredible. The area we were in, Sidemen, oddly reminded me of home. Even though their farming techniques are centuries old by our standards, it’s a small idyllic farming community, and I felt like I fit in. I’d read about this kind of agriculture in college textbooks, but it was incredible to see it in the flesh. And the local village kids were adorable and followed us around all day.
As you could tell by now, whenever you enter temples in Bali you need to wear a sash, sometimes even a sarong. Some of these places are hundreds, if not thousands, of years old, and you can really feel the history. Speaking to the local medicine man was a trip. I definitely liked the advice he had to give! It’s good to know that wherever you go in the world men have the same thing on their mind. We truly are all the same.
That night, hearing from Becca that she thought the feelings she was having might be the feeling of falling in love made me really hopeful. I couldn’t help but tell her how I felt. I know what it feels like to be falling in love because I’ve been in love before, and I knew I was falling in love with her. When Becca said yes to the Fantasy Suite invitation, I was excited, but I could tell there was something on her mind.
When Becca told me that she’s a virgin I was a bit speechless because it isn’t something you hear from people every day. There is no question that being a virgin is a personal choice Becca made, and I respect her for making that choice. Although I have to admit, I wasn’t fully surprised. Becca was always conservative when it came to affection. She was the last girl I kissed, and we really waited for the perfect moment. Her sister even warned me about the fact that she’s not very intimate (now I realize what she was hinting at), and Becca was forthright with me about the fact that she’d never been in love. Becca didn’t really strike me as a girl who had sex without being in love, so the thought that she might be a virgin had crossed my mind.
Here’s the thing: Obviously sex is an important part of a relationship, and I’m not a virgin. Waiting until marriage was never part of my plan. But that doesn’t mean that my future wife has to share that philosophy. Becca being a virgin was simply not a deal-breaker for me. If the chemistry is there, that’s all that matters.
I woke up the following morning in a raw, emotional state. I thought I would have more clarity about my relationship with Becca, but I was more confused than ever. On the one hand, Becca was saying she “thought” she was falling in love, but on the other, she said she was not ready to say that she could really see herself in Arlington. When it came time to leave the fantasy suite we both had questions about our relationship so we thought it would be good to give ourselves some time to think and talk again before the rose ceremony. Unfortunately, the only opportunity I had to see her again was at the ceremony.
Now, I know a lot of you probably don’t feel bad for me, and I’m not asking for sympathy, but that last day in Bali was probably one of the hardest days of my life. I truly woke up not knowing who I was going to say goodbye to, and I hated the fact that I had to send someone home. I know I signed up for it, but I wasn’t ready to end any of my relationships. I was falling in love with all three of them, and they each possessed qualities I could see in my future wife. I really wanted them all to meet my family knowing they could help me make this difficult decision.
Talking with Chris Harrison really helped me. He asked me tough questions and helped me pinpoint my feelings. He made me question things in my own heart and in my own mind, and he forced me to think about things in a way I hadn’t up until that point.
Now, to lighten things up for a second, those outfits Chris and I were wearing at that temple were not for fun. Out of respect to the temple and traditions, we had to wear those sashes and the traditional garb. I wish I could have that outfit so I could wear it back on the farm planting corn. Okay, back to the serious stuff
Talking to Becca really settled my heart. Neither of us had stopped think about each other, and to hear her say that she was definitely falling in love with me was all I needed to hear – that and knowing that she hadn’t taken Arlington off the table. I felt in my gut, in my soul, that I couldn’t say goodbye to that girl.
Knowing I was about to say goodbye to Kaitlyn hurt me so much, especially after the incredible day and night we had just spent together. Saying goodbye to her was physically painful. I could feel the sadness in her eyes, and, trust me, I was really hurting too. When she asked me, “What happened?” I really didn’t know what to say because it wasn’t one thing that “happened.” It was simply that I had to make a decision that I honestly wasn’t ready to make, and I had to go with my gut. Man, that was brutal. It was just as hard to watch it.
Kaitlyn is an incredible woman. She’s smart, funny, but also deep and soft. She’s everything I thought I ever wanted. In any other circumstance we would still be together, but at that point it just wasn’t an option. Under these circumstances, sometimes there just isn’t enough time. Kaitlyn, if you’re reading this, I hope you understand how deeply I cared for you.
Next week, the women from my season sit down with Chris Harrison to tell all. (I have to admit, I’m a little worried about that one!) The week after that, my journey comes to an end. Will I get down on one knee? How will I say goodbye to a woman I love? Will I get my happily ever after, or will I head back to Arlington just as I started this journey – alone? Tune in the next two weeks to find out!
Thanks for reading,
Can’t get enough of The Bachelor? Tell us about it. Be sure to sign up for PEOPLE’s exclusive Bachelor newsletter, filled with news, recaps and even blogs from Chris Soules himself. Sign up here to get the newsletter sent right to your inbox.