I traveled to Bali last Spring. It was an impulsive trip, and not really the best time to leave work, but life is short and I wanted to have my Eat, Pray, Love moment. One of my best friends who is a fashion designer in NYC, produces some of her leather jackets in Bali and asked if I wanted to join her. I saw this as a good opportunity since she had been to the island before and knew the lay of the land, relieving a lot of the stress of being in a new country. Bali is located in Indonesia, and it's far. It's roughly a 24 hour flight, but it is a flight that you will not regret taking (even if you're sitting in the middle seat in economy class). I am happy to know that Bali exists, and is available to me whenever I need to experience it's magic again.
One of the first things we did upon arriving to this magical land, was book sessions with an Australian energy healer named Jim. I had been carrying around a lot of baggage from an abusive relationship I had a couple of years ago, and Jim could feel it. He was actually able to remove the two "swords" stuck in my side that were leftover from the relationship, which felt great. After getting that taken care of, I felt like I had swallowed a huge handful of pain killers and muscle relaxants. I'm not sure if that was from the energy healing, or if that's just how everyone in Bali feels. It's easy to let go of everything there. It's a pretty cool way of life, everyone rides scooters, there's fresh, healthy food available everywhere, lots of sun, and very little partying and alcohol (at least where we were staying in Canggu). Plus, everything is very cheap. Living there instead of Los Angeles for two weeks saved me a lot of money, and I lived like a queen.
Hinduism is practiced by a majority of the population in Bali. Every morning, they set out offerings to the gods outside of their homes, shops, temples, shrines, the ground, anywhere they can really. They place flowers, rice, and various natural elements in palm leaf woven baskets and let the incense burn as the prayers make their way up to heaven. Noticing this daily ritual, it seemed that everyone there was more connected to life, and the United States felt so far away.
We spent our days working remotely from our villa or at internet cafes, riding the scooters back and forth through the "shortcut", walking along Echo beach, getting $30 full body massages, and eating the most delicious and healthy tropical food. It felt like time didn't really exist there. We spent two days up in Ubud, about an hour drive inland. Ubud was more of a jungle, in every sense of the word. It's busier, more congested, and the energy is a lot more intense than the beach vibes in Canggu. Well worth the visit none the less.
I saw Jim one more time before I left, just to make sure I had cleared everything I needed to before returning to LA. I told him that I didn't want to leave Bali and would be back soon. He said, "You already got everything you needed from coming here. You can come back and stay if you want to, it's nice, but you got everything that you needed from this energy vortex." He then told me to scoop up all the magic I could before I left, and store it in a bag (imaginary). Then when I returned home, if I ever needed it, just open that bag and stick your whole head inside.
My best advice: rent a scooter. Take a yoga class. Maybe see an energy healer. Relax. Focus on yourself and your inner work, that is what Bali is for.
Eat / See / Do
- The Shady Shack - Arrive hungry, you'll want everything on the menu. I highly recommend the smoothie bowls.
- FLKR Surf Shop - Aly's friend owns this cool lifestyle shop, and it is where I found my favorite bathing suit that I get complimented on every time I wear it. They also sell surf boards.
- Made's Bakery - Made is one of the happiest people I have ever met, and will probably be there to greet you when you arrive. He'll be excited to share all of his gluten-free baked goods made from banana flour. I hope you have a sweet tooth!
- The SLOW - if you're not Airbnb'ing a villa with your own pool, you're probably going to want to stay here. If you do have a villa, come for breakfast, lunch, dinner, a very well made cocktail, or a butterfly flower kombucha. Take some photos that will make your Instagram feed look cooler.
- Auguste - the most beautiful summer dresses from Byron Bay, located right next door to the SLOW hotel.
- The Practice - namaste in this beautifully built bamboo facility right off of the Batu Bolong. Tip: there is a little spa right next door where you can get a wonderful and cheap massage after class.
- Milk & Madu - delicious, fresh food and a great place to work on your computer if you need free wifi.
- Crate Cafe - This is definitely the hot spot for surfers, Australians, and the younger crowd. Best for breakfast, but get there early to avoid a long line. You can park your scooter across the street in the lot for a small fee.
- LaCalita - we ate here many nights for dinner. It's right on the main street just up from the beach. Fresh fish, tacos, chips and guac, everything is good, but the Aztec lime soup and superfood salad made a nice combo.
- Yoga Barn - even if you don't want to do yoga, this place is worth checking out for the beautiful grounds and deeply nourishing vegan food.
- Starchild - I don't like bringing back tchotchkes from any of my travels, but this is a good spot if you're looking for meaningful souvenirs like crystals or jewelry.
- Alchemy - really soothing vibes and a fun smoothie bowl bar where you can pick your base and toppings. The shop has lots of great wellness books, tools, and products akin to Cafe Gratitude.
- Jungle Fish - take your scooter for a day trip about 10 minutes outside of Ubud. Jungle Fish is a beach club where you can spend the day laying out by the infinity pool in the middle of the jungle, have a nice healthy lunch, and do a spa treatment if you wish. It's worth the journey outside of town, but don't forget to check the weather to make sure it's not going to rain!
- Green Spirit Villa - though we didn't stay here, you can. This bed and breakfast sits on top of a valley over looking the jungle. The views are breathtaking, the owner is an ethereal goddess, and it was one of the most peaceful and serene places I went in Bali.