Halo Halo Halo! I have been in Bali for about three weeks and I am feeling grrreat. Quick and important heads up, when people tell you that Bali is hot and humid, please for the love of all that is holy, believe them. There is sweat dripping down my neck, my back...and you get the idea. Pack loose and lightweight clothing and a crap ton of sunblock, it will make all the difference in the world. Other than that, everything has been phenomenal. Every day I am grateful and feeling blessed. With scenic views that look like a screensaver on your desktop, food that is helluh fresh and adventure always around the bend, how can I not be?
To all the newbies or the people who forgot, I am in Bali with Hello, Adventure LLC running retreats and scouting locations. What is Hello, Adventure LLC you ask? Well, we are a travel company dedicated to creating rad trips for creatives, freelancers and entrepreneurs. We basically allow you to take a vacation without leaving an away message. Nifty huh?
Now, let’s get into it!
(Let the record show that I tried to make this brief, but I have racks on racks of journal entries with countless adventures exploding from the pages. All to come with future posts, don’t you worry.)
I arrived at the Denpasar Airport on April 26 at one in the morning, greeted by Sarah and Dewa, our driver. With the Airbnb about forty minutes away in Canggu, I got cozy in the backseat. I aspired to take a nap, simply because I wanted time to fly, but failed miserably. I just gazed out the window into the pitch black nothingness. Once we arrived, I thanked the driver and waltzed inside to my room. I did a quick scan of the area, dropped my bags on the floor and hit the sheets. Believe me when I say there is not a word worthy enough to describe how miraculous it felt to finally be horizontal after being vertical (seated or standing) for over thirty hours. The only bummer was the fact that it was two thirty in the morning, I was wide awake and my internal clock would be off. I suppose that is to be expected when you sleep the entire last leg of your trek and arrive in the wee hours of the night, my bad fam. I dozed off for about four and a half hours and just relaxed in bed. I knew that once my feet hit the floor it was go time, and the adventures would come one after the other.
Oh, and the jetlag took about two days to wear off completely. I am never a grump, but man oh man did I have resting bitch face working hard there. Sincerest apologies to all who had to look or be around me, I was all out of whack.
The first accommodation was an absolutely breathtaking Airbnb run by Leannah. When you first walk in through the gate, there’s a gazebo on the right where you can chill in a hammock or in a bean bag, or if you push all that to the side, it's yoga and meditation time. To your left, there is a pool and a barbecue. Once you step inside the house, the living room is directly in front of you and the kitchen and rooms are off the right. Our room was lovely, equipped with air con, a wardrobe and a mosquito net. Your girl did not get bit once (celebrate good times, come on). The bathroom was half indoor for the toilet and sink, and then half outdoor for the shower. There's nothing cooler than showering underneath the stars. Yes, you may encounter a gecko in your bathroom, but no harm, no foul.
The second accommodation was Echoland, a hotel off of Batu Mejan, where we are staying for ten days and nine nights with our group for the "Get Away & Get It Done" retreat. Echoland has two floors, with nine rooms on each. Each room is equipped with a bed, air con and an outdoor bathroom. Yes, that's right; you get to shower under the stars once again. It's also nice that they provide two water bottles a day, hydration in a key. The third floor (aka rooftop) is where breakfast is served, between seven-thirty and ten-thirty in the morning. Outside of the dining area, there is room to chill or have a yoga/meditation class (both mats and blocks are provided, and if you request ahead of time, there can be a speaker available). The cherry on top of the sundae, everyone at the hotel is beyond wonderful to work with and always available to answer questions or assist if there is a problem.
The third and final accommodation is an Airbnb, run by Anton, which still feels a little too good to be true. Seriously, you should take a minute and slow clap for Sarah because this place is ridiculous. There's a yard with its very own temple, a swimming pool and the entire first floor is open space. We have an area for lounging, where we Netflix a night, a spacious and equipped kitchen for all our eating and cooking needs and a dining room table if we ever feel like getting fancy. Now here is the part where shit gets unreal. The entire top floor is ours for the taking. There are two bedrooms, each equipped with a private bathroom, changing area, dresser and some bomb air con that has me shivering when I peel out of bed in the morning. Oh and did I forget about the patio, large enough to do yoga for 8? Ha. I am still dumbfounded that this is my home for a month after the retreat.
For breakfast, I usually make a granola bowl with an assortment of fruit, helluh delicious and helluh nutritious. Let it be known that I have got a real addiction to granola; I carry that shit around in my purse. I'm not talking a dainty little bag either. Outside of fruit and granola, I have had some marvelous dishes from restaurants we scouted and a bomb continental breakfast from Echoland. Yes, I have had it every morning and no I am not ashamed of the amount of toast I can consume in the morning. As I have stated before, I may be petite but man oh man I can eat.
For lunch and dinner, we scouted several restaurants but I will give a short list of my favorites so far:
My first food love in Bali, and the owner is awesome.
· Summer Salad: lettuce strawberries avocados cashews with a lime dressing. It is kind of the perfect salad for me with the extreme freshness and a dash of sweet, and something I have had multiple times already.
· All Day Surf: pork sautéed with onions and bell peppers, served with your choice of rice or noodles and bruschetta. Its portion is quite large, so well worth the price and it tastes like my mom’s cooking. How could it not be one of my favorite dishes?
· Chocolate Avocado Mousse. Why yes, it is exactly what you think it is and yes it does taste like heaven in your mouth.
Roti is an Indian subcontinent flatbread, traditionally known as atta flour. I personally think of it as a thicker crepe.
· Banana and Chocolate. Need I say more?
Live and Let Live
Talk about flavors popping in your mouth, and it is vegan friendly?
· Vegan Satay: vegetable shish kabobs with a peanut sauce. You can never have enough peanut sauce.
· Tumis Terong: stir fried eggplant with rice or noodles. A literal explosion of flavor in my mouth, and it saddens me already that this is not going to be available back in Los Angeles.
· Burbur Ketan Hitam: sweet black rice with a coconut cream. The perfect end to any meal, plus coconut is really growing on me.
Run by two bad ass females, with fair prices and surfer sized portions.
· French toast served with honey and a homemade papaya jam. I will never use syrup again, my eyes have been opened and my life has been changed.
· Breakfast Burrito: seasoned potatoes, black beans, homemade pineapple salsa, cheese, and beef. The burritos can be made vegetarian or vegan, and gluten free. Now, I have had my fair share of burritos in my life and these hit home, tasting like they could have been made in a Los Angeles food truck.
Gaya Gelato is MY life. I am working my way through the vegan flavors and then going back to mix and match. You would not be wrong to assume that I go there every day because I do, shamelessly. Treat yourself, right
On my very first day, it was straight down to business. I drove a motor bike for the very first time. I got up to twenty kilometers per hour, oh yeah you can call me speedy Gonzalez, on the back streets before tapping out. To my defense, I felt comfortable and was also in dire need for some quality h2o. I have made it a personal goal to become comfortable driving solo and on the main roads within the first few days after the retreat. Plus, it is kind of my only option unless I want to keep paying someone else to drive me around.
A couple days later, we scooted on over to Tanah Lot, a rock formation home to the pilgrimage temple Pura Tanah Lot. It is a popular tourist destination, especially during sunset. No, it is not cliché. All it takes is witnessing it once firsthand and all makes sense. Before reaching the temple, there are a series of markets available for your souvenir and clothing needs. Here is where I learned to bargain, and also purchased my first item, a stylish and lightweight romper. After a quick shop and pictures of the temple, I had my first sip of avocado juice. Once again, my life changed.
The last big adventure prior to the retreat was a day trip to Ubud. We had a few little detours on the way. The first being an unsuccessful venture to the bamboo chocolate factory, which majorly bummed me out but what can you do? The second was a coffee and tea tasting. Let the record show that I don’t even like coffee, and they had me sippin hard. After that, we headed into The Sacred Monkey Sanctuary. I prepared myself, I avoided eye contact and when I wished to take a photo, Sarah had my back. We walked through it rather quickly, before turning around and agreeing to give it another chance. Why yes the monkeys do want to steal your water bottles, they’re just monkeys. About two minutes into our walk back, we heard screeching and became a little hesitant. A few moments later as we turned the corner, we saw a monkey pounding and jumping on another one. We made eye contact, swiftly turned around and power walked our asses out of there to the Ubud Markets. It begins with a main street, filled with restaurants and name brand shops. We stopped for a quick bite to each and gelato before continuing on. At the end of the street are the local markets, which is where I prefer to do my shopping. I bargained for my first time solo and got the elephant shorts I had been pining after. After an hour or so, we made our way back to the main street where our driver picked us up to take us home.
With months of planning and a week's worth of adventure and scouting down, the day had finally arrived and pickups from the airport were commencing. Our first pickup was mid afternoon on May fourth (May the Force be with you) and scattered for a day and a half, with the last pick up late into the night on May fifth (Revenge of the Fifth). Sorry, not sorry.
If you want to hear about the retreat, you should tune into Hello, Adventure's blog! Coming soon to a smart phone/laptop near you. Mini Spoiler: It was awesome, a shit ton of fun in adventure packed days, and straight chilling on private beaches. We worked a little, in case you were wondering or had your doubts.