About a month ago, I suddenly came down with violent stomach flu. It was the worst! After several days of lying in bed reading Chris Guillebeau’s The Happiness of Pursuit, I was overcome by the urge to book a last min trip to Bali. I have now been home for about a week, and want to share some of my experience from this beautiful country with you.
I find there’s nothing quite as exciting as landing in an exotic land. When all you have are the pictures in your head, and the stories from friends and travel magazines. Even though going somewhere foreign requires hours cramped up on an airplane, I always get my second wind as soon as I leave the air conditioned airport and the warm, humid air hits my face. The best.
It didn’t take long to start falling in love with Bali. I didn’t book any of my trip except for 2 nights at a hotel close to the airport. I figured after flying for over 20 hours it would be good to decompress in a place that had a beautiful pool. The mid afternoon swim after a bad sleep due to jet lag feels absolutely heavenly. I pretty much stayed by the pool most of the day and once in a while I would float on my back and see giant kites flying overhead. Yes, in Bali people fly kites just for the fun of it.
Every single person who I told I was going to Bali, told me I would like Ubud, which is a town close to the centre of the island. My friends must know me pretty well because I freaking LOVE Ubud! So much so, that I didn’t leave other than a stop over to Seminyak on route back to the airport. I figured I had to see the beach at least once!
Bali feels like a fantasy land. Ever sense is stimulated with colour, fragrance, tropical fruit, art, design, spice, music, signing, dancing, yoga, and massive smiles on every single face! Creativity and inspiration are everywhere you look. I was blown away by the blast of positive energy and my soul felt deeply nourished.
For my first few nights in Ubud, I stayed at a home stay which is basically a very small, simple hotel and sometimes they are actually in someone’s home. It was an interesting experience, but after hearing the British guys next to me talk about football and girls all night because the walls were so thin, I was ready for an upgrade.
The next day I felt the pull to walk down a little side street, and ended up catching the most magnificent sunset (to see this and other Bail photos, check out my Instagram). The vibrancy of the colours were absolutely insane. Next to where I watched the sunset was a beautiful resort overlooking the rice fields, so I decided to check with the front desk to see if they had vacancy. They did thankfully, and the next night I was staying in a gorgeous Balinese style room room with a day bed on the massive terrace. All this for $65/night including breakfast!
It didn’t take me long to get into a gentle rhythm. I would wake up, do 20 mins of mediation, sit on the terrace and write for a bit and then eat breakfast. After that I usually went to yoga which is easy to do in Ubud because there’s a studio on practically every corner. It’s like Starbucks in Vancouver! My favourite place is Taksu because it’s hidden in the jungle next to a stream but only a 2 min walk off the main street. I also became friends with one of my yoga instructors (as you do!) and she invited me to some fun local events.
In the afternoons, I’d get some Make It work done and then head to the salt water pool overlooking the emerald green rice fields. I probably got a massage or facial every second or third day because they were cheap and some of the best treatments I’ve ever had. In the evenings I would go to Yoga Barn which should be called Yoga Farm because it’s massive! I was really into sound healing classes where you basically lie on your back and listen to really cool interments. It’s incredible the psychedelic images your mind will come up with. It’s a natural high for sure! Yoga Barn is also great place to eat and meet people which I did lots of.
My favourite activity by far was ecstatic dance. If you don’t know what this is, let me paint you a picture. A huge room filled with 150 high vibing humans, a DJ, musicians and the motivation to dance like nobody is watching. The difference between this and a night club, is no one is allowed to speak and the only drink you can buy are fresh coconuts!
At first I felt a little awkward, because ecstatic dance at Yoga Barn attracts an eclectic gang of folks. I was a dancer for many years so I am confident in my ability to move, but this was a bit different then what I’m used to. But with some intentions and self talk I was able drop out of my head and into my body. The feeling of letting yourself completely surrender, and to simply move to music is ecstasy. I was hooked immediately!
Waking up in Bali felt like a dream. I was overcome daily by the warmth, culture and loveliness of the people. The Balinese look deeply in your eyes and smile constantly. Being a big smiler myself, I was in heaven! Plus there’s so much fantastic food in Ubud. It’s very conscious and progressive, so you can find delicious vegan and raw food everywhere. I have never been to a place where it was so easy and cheap to eat healthy. Other places in the world please take note!
There’s a very strong energetic buzz in Ubud. It’s hard to explain, but I tuned into it right away. I felt so amazing and was able to connect to myself in a deeper way than I normally can. I think it’s because the pace is slower and there’s such a strong focus on spirituality and consciousness. Whatever it is, I would love to bottle it up and take it home because it’s extraordinary.
Now that I’m home and finally over some crazy jet lag, I’m beginning to process my experience more. Being in Ubud for over 2 weeks really did wonders for me. Sure it was yoga, dance, massages, green juice and swimming, but my spirit also was uplifted. I feel joyful, content and full of love. Like I said, if you could bottle Bali vibes I would have brought some home for you 🙂
Do you have a travel destination that you are totally in love with? I want to know what it is, so please share it below.