Bali Breakdown

Here it is folks, the moment we have all been waiting for….

Where Julia Roberts and I go face to face in a hot dog eating contest while discussing which is better Ubud or Sanur.

 

  1. You already know I don’t eat meat and although I would love to have Julia Roberts chime in over some delicious veggie dogs (if those even exsist) its just simply not going to happen, so you get me, myself, and I breaking it down for you.

 

*Cue mom dance moves with Justin Timberlake “Dance, dance, dance” playing in the back ground*

 

After Ubud we headed back to Canggu and stayed at Tugu. This place was pretty insane. Once again another awesome outdoor bathroom, except this one came with a pond and fishies. Tugu was also next to some pretty cool places to eat, including Old Man’s…definitely had to take a pit stop there. Our stay at Tugu was short but also reminded me how much I adored the Canggu area. It has a pretty hipster vibe to it and most of the tourists are pretty young.

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After that we ended our last days in Bali in Sanur. We stayed at Oasis Lagoon and enjoyed every last second spent in Bali. I finally got to try some of Secret’s gelato, which was just as good as everyone said, but not as good as Mamisso’s which was half the price but double as good. We also spent time in the Sanur market buying goodies, and took time to check out another great Sanur beach.

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So if you haven’t guessed it yet my favorite place overall to visit in Bali was

*drum roll*

Sanur.

What I love about Sanur was that it wasn’t too touristy but it still had plenty of amazing food and places to visit. The beaches in Sanur were perfect, calm blue water and were pretty peaceful and quiet. I enjoyed still having glimpses of Bali culture and meeting locals without feeling completely out of place. The taxi mafia is still pretty bad but not as bad as the other areas. You can get away with uber and grab taxi as long as you don’t make it obvious. My favorite place to stay in Sanur was Sudamala. I loved their atmosphere and how amazingly nice their staff was. That was one thing I noticed overall in Bali, is that no matter where we went, where we ate, where we stayed, the staff and the locals were always so welcoming and so nice to foreigners.

My favorite place to eat in all of Bali was…. Fat Tony’s….man what I would do to grab a veggie burger from there right now…

(If you didn’t read my post “Dear Fat Tony” go check it out to see a glimpse of their place.)

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I don’t really have a least favorite part of Bali but Ubud and Kuta were both pretty touristy and lacked the Bali feel to me most.

I definitely recommend a trip to the Nusa Islands, just a quick one though. Kelinking Beach is definitely worth a boat ride over. Only if you have plenty of time to spend, don’t go if you have to rush it. The hike to Sekumpul Waterfall was also well worth the steps up, as long as you plan ahead and eat before hand. The key to doing touristy things in Bali is getting up hella early to beat the crowd….yea I just said hella. Sue me. You can grab a couple of pictures before places get busy.

I think it is important to remember to get out of your comfort zone while traveling. Always try to keep an open mind and try new things. It was hard for me at first to venture out, mostly because I was scared to embrace the motorbikes, but it was always well worth it in the end.

Also remember when you travel it is like going into someone else’s home. Be respectful of their traditions and people. So many times I would see foreigners getting frustrated with language barriers or throwing trash on the streets, or teasing the monkeys. It is important to reserve the places we visit so that others can enjoy them after us.

Overall I look back at the girl sitting scared in the Hong Kong airport wondering what was going to happen and I feel proud of her. I have successfully lived in a foreign country for two months while learning to embrace different cultures, different languages, and different attitudes towards living.

 

And I think I finally found the answer to the question:

 

Am I crazy?

 

Hell f****ing yes.

 

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Always remember:

Life is Beauty full (even from where you are standing…or sitting…right now.)

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Ubud…Ubud…Ubud

Do you feel happy, scared or excited when you see the temple statue above?

Happy, Excited, or Scared.

Pick one and don’t forget it. You’ll find out later.

This isn’t rocket science, I believe in you.

 

Man do I suck.

 

I would love to blame my lack of posting on the case of Bali Belly that had my dying, but that only lasted a total of 24 hours (even though it seemed like at least 80 hours).

But since that only lasted a day, and it’s been over a week…I will have to blame my inconsistency and procrastination on me just simply trying to enjoy my last week in Bali.

SUE ME.

I know terrible excuse, almost as bad as the that whole dog ate my homework one. (Oh how I wish my sweet Bambi was here to eat my homework.)

Instead of coming up with more excuses, I am here to make up for it by giving you the complete run down of Ubud. (Finally.)

So here it is. Prepare yourself.

We started our trip off in Ubud staying at a place called Zen Ubud. It has to be one of the craziest places we have stayed at yet. It had an infinity pool overlooking the jungle along with two bedrooms and you guessed it..another amazing outdoor shower. We took a quick hike to a tiny waterfall one of the days spent here and came back to Monkeys raiding our villa. I couldn’t even pretend to be mad. They were the cutest little balls of fur (even if my sunglasses were taken hostage.)

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What I really loved about this place was that it felt like we were completely by ourselves in the middle of a jungle, when in reality we were only a quick ten-minute scooter ride through rice fields to the local Ubud market (yes, the famous one that Julia Roberts walks through oh-so casually).

Oh Julia Robert’s I get it. I totally get the love for the place. I do, I do, I do.

I get the whole Eat, Pray, Love movement and I totally understand wanting to visit and experience Ubud but I feel like people come to Bali to only experience Ubud when there is so much more around it (trust me I have spent the last two months proving it).

Don’t get me wrong the Ubud market was filled with culture (along with being elbow to elbow with other tourists.)

It is definitely a place worth visiting, but please know that the same things sold here can easily be found in other villages for half (if not a third) of the price you will pay in Ubud.

Ubud was extremely busy. Covered in tourist fanny packs and the scent of sunscreen and cigarettes following us around no matter where we went. We stopped to eat at a little place and for the first time in two months we were told there would be a twenty-minute wait. Talk about a buzz kill. I feel like people come thinking that Ubud is the shit when really it is just becoming shit. Sorry but it’s the truth.

It is sad to see how a simple book has transformed a cultural place into money-making madness. If you are plan on visiting Bali just to visit Ubud, keep in mind there are many different areas with half the amount of people, and half the price close by.

The best part of Ubud was the Balinese cooking class and ATV tour we did with Wayan Tours. Wayan picked us up from Zen and took his time driving us to his village, stopping and explaining things that I had wondered since arriving to Bali. I learned more from him in our quick car ride than I have the last two months.

Speaking of which; do you remember which one you picked?

Happy, Scared, or Excited. (If you don’t…well just close your eyes point to one and go with it.)

They have those temple statues outside of almost every temple in Bali (incase you didn’t know… that is A LOT of temples) and how you perceive the statue is how you also perceive your life.

When Wayan asked me, my answer was “Uhhhh…a little of both…scared and happy.”

I would say that is pretty damn accurate.

Anyways, I thought it was pretty cool.

The Balinese cooking class was pretty damn awesome as well. I got to mix up some traditional food while learning about the traditional spices and seeing the other local market in the village next to Ubud. (I also got to laugh at Stephen wearing his cute little Balinese cooking attire.)

If you are interested in taking a cooking class or riding ATVs while staying in Ubud definitely go through Wayan Tours. There are so many tourist agencies charging way too much, and I can honestly say he took his time really teaching us about the culture and it was definitely worth it.

 

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From Zen Ubud we grabbed some quick food from a little place and then went even further into the jungle and stayed at a place called Hillside Eden. This is when it hit. No not more monkeys…

I am talking about *cue horror music* Bali Belly!!!

Honestly I was thankful that I had Bali Belly and not Dengue (sickness from mosquitos). If it were Dengue I would have had to head to the hospital and this week would’ve been a whole lot different. Thankfully it was only a day bug and after some ginger tea, fever medicine, and lots of rest and fluids (along with a hot hot bubble bath) I was feeling much better.

The staff at Hillside Eden blew me away. They were quick to help out and cooked some of the yummiest food I have ever eaten. The stars were BREATH TAKING.

It has been a little bit (months) since I have really sat under the stars and zoomed out of life and all of its bull shit. It is humbling to sit and realize how small I really am. IT IS CRAZY.

Stars and sunrises; both things I had a chance to see every day/night while in the United States, but only appreciated them once I took a chance to actually appreciate them. CRAZY.

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So Ubud in a nutshell:

If you are REALLY wanting to visit Ubud, by all means do it, but also venture out and check out the other areas and markets. You’ll thank me later, I promise.

It is a beautiful place and you can still see glimpses of how it used to be but it’s important to venture outside of Ubud and head to other places like Sanur.

Speaking of Sanur, that is where we will be ending our Bali trip.

*INSERT A MILLION SAD FACES HERE*

I will be posting another post wrapping up (a lil cheat sheet of Bali) all of the areas.

(Hopefully I can get that one out way quicker than this one, no more excuses, I promise.)

 

And while you wait…don’t forget….

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Candidasa

We kicked off the week at Candidasa at a place called Villa Pantai.

It wasn’t so much the place that won me over but more so the owners.

The lovely Aussie couple Stuart and Pam. …Ohhhh where do I begin with this dynamic duo? They were two extraordinary people that welcomed us from the minute we arrived.

From morning smoothie chats to dinner conversations, we learned so much from our quick stay with them.

For starters I learned that a Balinese man is allowed to have three wives, unless he is a Prince, than he is allowed to have as many as he would like. I do not know why a man would want more than one wife, personally I think that individually we are already a pain, but pair us women together and we are completely indestructible.

Another interesting thing discussed over dinner was Kelinking beach. If you remember back on my blog post “The Island Life” (if you didn’t read that one, shame on you) I wrote about how Kelinking Beach was one of the most beautiful beaches I have ever been to. Apparently a lot of natives have died at that beach due to the strong current and strenuous hike down. While at the beach, Stephen and I were trying to capture Drone footage of the beach and within five minutes of being in the air the Drone completely freaked out and crashed into the cliff (don’t worry thankfully it landed on sand and still works). We weren’t able to capture any of the footage and had no idea what happened. Turns out, Pam told us a lady down the street told her that the spirits of Kelinking Beach do not like to be put on video. We thought back to the day at the beach and also remembered that the only other couple on the beach had their GoPro taken from them by the waves and lost it that same day. Crazy.

We still talk about Pam and Stu and definitely hope to catch up with them whenever we end up in Australia.

 

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From Villa Pantai we had a quick trip about fifteen minutes south to Villa Stella.

Although a short drive, it was a big change. When I say big, I mean three bedrooms, three bathrooms and a private lap pool big. We weren’t expecting this, but we definitely were not complaining. Equipped with flamingo floaties and another giant outdoor bathtub I was more than happy to stay a couple of nights here. This place had to have one of the (if not the) best sunset I have seen in Bali so far.

It was like the white house of Bali (except I doubt the president has a pink flamingo floaty…well actually with Donald Trump…who knows).

 

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We packed up all of our stuff after two nights and made the thirty-minute drive to Jasri Bay Hideaway also known as Turtle bay hideaway.

Jasri Bay Hideaway had an eccentric, all wooden house right on the water. Falling asleep next to crashing waves beats LA traffic outside my window any day.

Once again I found another place with an outdoor shower that also serves as a sprinkler system for outside plants. I still think that this is such a genius idea. AND ANOTHER AMAZING POOL. One thing is for sure, Bali is does not have a shortage of freaking awesome pools.

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The only thing I haven’t loved about this area is the lack of restaurants, exploring, and nightlife.

You are tucked away from the chaos and have about a twenty-minute scooter drive to get to any local restaurants. Candidasa is a better place for escaping rather than exploring.

Still haven’t found a place to top Sanur or Canggu for me. Sorry Candidasa. No hard feelings.

Although not a lot of restaurants, Jasri Bay did have a chocolate factory right on the property. (I didn’t even need a golden ticket to get a tour of the place.)

It was so interesting to see how the cacao was fermented with banana leafs and how they hand picked their beans to make sure that their chocolate had a pure and consistent taste. I was even allowed to take a look inside the secret chocolate closet where the keep the packaged goods, pretty sure that’s what heaven smells like (and they knew not to leave me in there by myself too long). It was interesting that they made most of their machinery; it reminded me of something you would see at the science fair (or Willy Wonka’s).

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The owner Emerald was yet another welcoming soul. He was (almost) as sweet as the chocolate.

He provided me with more insight on temples and how the land surrounding us was known for the sea goddess and that many locals will go give offerings to her before trying to accomplishing certain goals or life projects.

Balinese people put more emphasis on the unknown or the unseen in order to achieve what they want in life. Emerald explained it by asking the question:

“If some of the most amazing things in life start off as thoughts, which are an unseen than why shouldn’t we rely on unseen forces to help us achieve what we want?”

He has now lived in Bali over twenty years after living in New York, California, and Hawaii. Who would’ve thought that an East Coast man who was used to living in the cold could easily make his way to the tropics and live a super sweet life. (Pun intended.) It amazes me how humans can be so adaptable.

Another main thing to remember is that underlying issues don’t just go away or disappear (even when you’re on the other side of the world.) If anything not having the normal everyday distractions makes issues more apparent.

I think it is important to know, because there are so many people trying to paint pictures telling people that traveling is the answer to your problems, when in reality it will just make you face them.

The world is constantly telling you to “find yourself” like you are supposed to play some twisted hide and go seek game with your soul.

Plot twist: you don’t need to find yourself, you just need to learn to be yourself, to accept yourself, and to love yourself.

I have learned quickly that I need to work on patience along with a list of many other things. (Don’t worry I won’t list them out.)

.In the end there is no escaping yourself, just remember that. You can fly across the world, jump on a scooter drive three hours through the jungle and you’ll still be you. (Trust me, I did it.)

You can try to put on the new Fenty beauty products until your skin is flawless but still underneath it all…you are still you. You can stay out all night and drink until lights start to become blurry, but when you’re back at home getting out of the shower sobering up, you’ll watch the foggy mirror clear up, and realize…yes…it is still you.

I thought maybe most of my issues would be left back in LA, I thought this would be the “escape” that I needed, but honestly the last month has taught me that I was carrying more than just bikinis in my backpack.

It is not easy coming face to face with things I have been trying to ignore, it may be easier to do them next to the ocean while the sun comes up, but it doesn’t make it any less painful.

Rehab for the soul.

Detox for the mind.

 

Just remember it is okay not to be okay, and traveling across the world isn’t going to make it any more okay.

 

I know it’s a daily struggle, one that I still battle.

 

I am not at all trying to discourage you from traveling (AT ALL), just wanted you to know that traveling isn’t going to make you love yourself any more. Loving yourself begins right where you are, right now.

Speaking of LOVE….our next place is where Julia Roberts ended up after stuffing her face in Italy, and escaped food poisoning in India….

 

Up next is…..

 

*drum roll*

 

UBUD. Pronounces “oo (as in food)- boo-d” Because I have embarrassingly butchered that until Pam and Stu gave me some solid training in

“how to say Bali names so that you don’t sound like a complete idiot”.

I have heard various things about Ubud.

I have heard it is a beautiful place filled with middle-aged women trying to recreate the “Eat. Pray. Love.” Movement.

I have also heard if you stick to the outskirts you can still see the remains of beauty and culture that still exists.

Wanna know something crazy?

I just saw a spider the size of my fist about two feet away from the bed I was supposed to sleep in.

Wanna know something crazier?

 

WE ONLY HAVE A WEEK LEFT IN BALI.

HOLY SHIT.

 

Where did the last two months go????

Let’s not get into that or I will get super sentimental and emotional and Stephen will have to pretend to care and that is just asking too much of him at the moment.

So, without further ado…here goes nothing.

Ubud, I am coming for you.

 

 

 

 

 

Dear Fat Tony

We headed to Legian after returning to Bali for a three-night stay at Ini Vie Villa. This has been one of my favorites so far while staying in Bali.

We had an adorable villa decorated with bright flowers with our own private pool that we could literally jump to from our bed.

This place was insane.

Not to mention they also had an option of a “floating breakfast” where you could have pancakes while chillin in the pool. That’s exactly how every Monday should start.

Pancakes poolside.

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Our first day we sorted our laundry…finally. I don’t think I have ever been so happy to finally have clean clothes.

Can you believe that I literally have people judging me for wearing the same things in my pictures….

Like, hello…I am living out of a backpack in the middle of South East Asia…. GIVE ME A BREAK.

 

Enough ranting.

 

Back to finally having clean clothes, we spent the day getting everything re organized (sooooooo fun) and when the hunger kicked in, Stephen knew he had about thirty minutes to feed me before I turned into a monster.

I get hangry …okay, it’s one of my many flaws.

Wanting to live, Stephen looked up the places that were within walking distance.

A place called Fat Tony’s was the winner so we headed that way.

 

Now I don’t know who Tony is, or if he is even fat….but let me tell you, I would kiss this man if I could.

 

This place specializes in Burgers and chicken wraps; not being a chicken or beef eater I was still in luck when they had a veggie burger.

I was even more in luck when I took my first bite and realized that it was the BEST DAMN VEGGIE BURGER I have ever tasted.

And when I thought I couldn’t get any luckier, I got the bill.

For two veggie burgers that came with fries, two water bottles and a soda we paid…

 

*Drum roll*

 

3 DOLLARS AND 80 CENTS. That is 57.000 RP for both burgers.

This by far was one of the best places I have eaten at in Bali.

Fat Tony…if you are reading this, I love you.

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The next day (despite stuffing my face the night before) we decided to head to Uluwatu because we heard that this is where some of the best beaches were located.

Uluwatu was about an hour drive away, so we hopped on our scooter and headed for Green Bowl Beach.

Pictures of this place were beautiful and I knew there was a little bit of a hike to get to it, but after the Kelinking hike I was up for anything.

Don’t get me wrong, the beach was beautiful, but I wish we would’ve known what we were getting ourselves into.

The beach was really small. REALLY SMALL. And on high tide the water came up to the rocks so you couldn’t lay a towel down in the sand without having to jump up every other wave to avoid getting soaked.

The only place to sit at this beach was inside the little cave on the beach, so if you like to get your tan on (like me) you weren’t able to.

However, if you are more of a reader in the shade type of person than this would be perfect (unless you hate crowds).

There was also A LOT of people on the beach, way too many. There was also 290 steps to be exact to get to the beach (Stephen counted) so overall if just wasn’t worth it.

 

We decided to dip out early and go grab a bite to eat….

I know what you’re thinking:

“Julia are you ever not eating?”

 

And the answer is yes….only when I am sleeping.

 

Café Le Passion was down the street and the only food place to pop up on our maps.

I don’t know what food God is looking out for us, but once again we picked a winner.

I got fried shrimp tacos and immediately made up for all of the calories I burned climbing those 290 steps.

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We heard about the sunset dance at Uluwatu temple, so we decided to head that way since we were in that area.

We didn’t spend as much time as we had anticipated on the beach so we got their super early.

Talk about touristy.

We were given a sarong to wear to cover our legs before entering the temple.

It was any person who hates crowds and being shoved by people trying to get the perfect selfies worst nightmare. We had to wait until five o’clock to buy tickets to the sunset show.

Luckily I have a boyfriend who is an expert at getting Eagle’s football tickets and I watched as he put his skill of holding out money to snag tickets to use, and we got in to get the perfect seat. Turns out there is no perfect seat because they literally shove about two hundred people over the safe limit into this tiny stadium. There were people sitting on the actual stage area.

 

It was cool hearing all of the different accents and languages. They had a competition of which country could yell the loudest… Don’t worry USA I did you proud.

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The show was very…interesting. The sunset was one of the best I have seen in Bali.

They had men imitating the sounds of instruments telling a story of two women who had to void off evil spirits for the village. The costumes were very amusing. It is worth a visit if you are in the area but I would definitely recommend getting there early. It is pretty expensive and beware the monkeys have zero chill. I witnessed a monkey take a girls phone. Don’t worry, he gave it back after he realized it was an Android.

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We took off and headed back to Legian and after two hikes and being out in the sun all day we decided to make another trip to Fat Tonys. (YES, it was that good.)

After being refueled we decided to make the most of our last night in this area and head to one of the hottest night life places (or so we heard) Mirrors Lounge in Bali.

I was in the mood to dance, and I heard that this was the place to go so I decided to spend what I normally spend in a week in about three hours. It was one of the coolest clubs I have seen on the inside. It kind of reminded me of a cathedral church with the painted glass windows. The DJ was super good and you can only imagine how hyped I was when they played California love.

The answer: too hyped.

I would recommend drinking before coming here. Way over priced, and they had a weak pour.

I wasn’t going to be that douchy person that says

“uhhhh please make my drink strong like me” (yes people actually say that).

Save some money and pregame some where else.

They give you one free drink ticket after you pay 20 dollars to get in, but you’ll definitely want more than one.

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We grabbed a taxi which tried charging us 350.000 RP for a ten minute ride (we paid 40.000 RP to get there) Needless to say we weren’t that drunk and were able to talk him down to 100.000. Bargaining: yet another skill that being in Bali will teach you.

We crashed super hard, woke up late and somehow managed to pack up and grab a car and start the two-hour journey to Candidasa.

We will be staying in this area for the next week so I am excited to see what kind of trouble we can get into here.

 

P.S. Fat Tony, if you are still reading this, know that I will miss you and your veggie burgers dearly.

Sincerely,

Julia Rose

 

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The Island Life

I’m baaaaaaaack.

I have been hopping around on the Nusa Islands and I finally have time to fill you in.

So grab your popcorn, get comfy, and tell your boyfriend to stop talking about football for five damn minutes so you can focus.

*Cough cough* (That was me dropping a hint to Stephen.)

I want to be really clear on the break down of the Nusa Islands, because before traveling here I was trying to research on which one to go to and I really never found a good answer, so I ended up going to all three of them.

Getting to the Nusa Islands was a task in itself. We left from the Sanur port about fifteen minutes from the place we were staying. We hired a car from our villa to the port, found the sketchy place to buy boat tickets and bought a one way (about 100.000 RP per person) on the slow boat and was told the boat would leave in approx. 43 minutes.

We opted out of taking the fast boat because it was almost doubled the price and we weren’t in a hurry. Good thing we weren’t in a hurry because the boat was about thirty minutes late due to them loading the boat with all sorts of goodies for the Islands… like water jugs, fruits, and other items. I swear these men have super powers, they were carrying double their weight…down rocks….in water… I quickly stopped bitching about my backpack. When we finally were able to board the boat we did so in kneedeep water carrying our belongings above our heads and were then crammed in the back of the boat with about six other people…I guess being on the slow boat and saving money meant squeezing in between the water jugs and backpacks.

 

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We had a (not so) quick hour and a half trip to Nusa Lembongan where we unloaded and looked more lost than ever. We knew we were staying on Ceningan and we knew there was the famous yellow bridge that connected the two islands, but that was about it. We walked up from the beach to the village, found a man who offered to take us to the yellow bridge for about 150.000 Rp, and accepted the deal:

  1. because we really didn’t have any other option and 2. We weren’t going anywhere fast with two backpacks, luggage, and a camera bag.

 

It turns out that the yellow bridge is more like a yellow path because you are only able to take a scooter across it or walk. We were let out next to the bridge and had a local tell us that we could’ve arranged for the place we were staying at to pick us up from the yellow bridge………………..

With no phone, no wifi, and no way to get in contact with them we were shit out of luck.

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We hauled our heavy ass backpack across the bridge and I was instantly regretting bringing seven pairs of shorts and three pairs of shoes and whatever else was weighing me down. We got on the other end of the bridge and began searching for a way to our villa. We decided that walking was about the only option we had so we started up hill and luckily had the map of the area already downloaded. About 15 minutes into our 30 minute up hill battle, a god send of a woman who happened to work at the place we were staying got us a ride and what was going to be fifteen minutes of hell ended up being a quick two-minute ride on a bumpy road.

Our first night in Ceningan was at Le Pirate. It was a very little (emphasis on the word little), cute and quiet place with yet another awesome infinity pool right by the water. The room’s were teeny tiny and literally only consisted of a bed, but I wasn’t complaining…I was actually napping. Literally the minute we got there I stuffed my face with spring rolls and took a good hour power nap. We enjoyed another beautiful Bali sunset and spent some time with the local pups. I found it interesting that the entire island only runs on salt water. The shower and sinks run only on salt water and our place didn’t have hot water at all. Let’s just say my shower was extremely quick.

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The next morning we grabbed some fruit, packed up and headed to our next place Ceningan Resort. Luckily it was right down the street and Le Pirate offered us a ride, we definitely didn’t turn it down.

Ceningan Resort was more like a little village. All of the rooms were villas and it had an outdoor restaurant under huts next to the water and a salt water pool. We knew we wanted to explore the other islands while being here so we arranged for a boat to pick us up from the resort the next morning at 7 am to get an early start because we had to be back by 3 pm for dive lessons.

We headed to Nusa Penida, which was a super quick 15 minute boat ride from Ceningan. We explored Angel’s Billabong, Broken Beach (which by the way is not at all a beach) and Kelinking Beach (one of the hardest beaches to get to, but totally worth it). Unfortuntely due to the full moon, the tide was high and Angel’s Billabong wasn’t accesible, but that was our only drawback. The roads here are not paved at all, and getting around by scooter is rather difficult…but nonetheless totally worth it.

If you are at all contemplating visitng Kelinking Beach, which I highly suggest you do, keep in mind it is about an hour hike down and an hour (at least) hike back up. So give yourself plenty of time, also bring lots of water and something to eat once you make it down. That hike is no joke. It is a straight slope down and you rely on hand-made bamboo steps built by the locals tied together with blue boat string.

I must say it was one of the most beautiful beaches and there were only two other people down there because not a lot of people make the trek down.

We only had the chance of exploring these places before jumping back on our boat and heading back to Ceningan.

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Kelinking Beach
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The next day I had the absolute pleasure of scuba diving for the first time with the Ceningan Divers. Having never done this before, I was super nervous and almost backed out last-minute.

Something about learning to breathe underwater was a little intimidating.

I am so glad Sandra, our instructor, talked me through it.

I have been snorkeling millions of times, okay not millions but enough to know that this was fifty times better than snorkeling.

It is literally a whole different world down there. I have never been so amazed. There really isn’t a word to describe the feeling of floating 10 meters underwater with hundreds of neon colored fish circling you.

I may or may not have hummed the little mermaid’s theme song for the first thirty minutes of being underwater. (Stop judging me.)

It was an experience I will never forget and one that I am so thankful to have gotten to experience. If you ever have the chance to go scuba diving…do not pass it up.

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Ceningan Resort

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After doing two dives we headed back for a quick salt water shower, rented a scooter and headed to Nusa Lembongan (the island we had arrived on).

We wanted to check out the beaches there and see how it measured up to the two other islands.

We checked out mushroom beach and dream beach, both were beautiful but after seeing Kelinking, nothing quite measured up. Don’t get me wrong these were way easier to get to and still very beautiful, but Kelinking will always be my favorite. There was more of a variety of restaurants and this seemed to be the busiest island out of the three of them. We caught the sunset at Devil’s Tear and watched they sky turn into a cotton candy mixture of pink and blue before heading back to the yellow bridge (which happens to light up different colors at night).

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To sum up the three islands for you:

Nusa Lembongan– more touristy, seems like the main island people go to. Way more restaurants, night life, and places to stay.

Ceningan-Quiet, best for diving and getting off the beaten path.

Nusa Penida-Less civilized island with big views. I wouldn’t recommend staying the night on this island but definitely visit if you are ever in the area and spend a day exploring.

Time flew by, and after a quick four days we were headed back to Bali.

We managed to get a ride from Ceningan Resort where a local and his wife somehow loaded our luggage onto scooters and had us follow them on a different scooter back to the port to head back to Sanur. Putu, the kind man who gave us a ride, got us the local price for the fast boat back to Bali so we had a quick thirty minute ride back.

Another thing to take note of, when boarding boats, they will offer to carry your luggage for you, which is great, but be prepared to pay a fee. A man picked up our luggage without us even asking, carried it to the boat, and then turned around and asked us for 50.000 RP. We later find out the most you should ever pay for them to help you with luggage is around 20.000 RP.

Just another lesson learned.

I feel like I blinked and the last week went by. It is crazy how fast time is going by.

My days left in Bali are numbered and I look forward to sharing each and every one with you.

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A L I V E

Watch out Canggu..you have some competition.

We have spent two days in Sanur and I absolutely LOVE this place. There are so many restaurants and little shops. You still get the feeling of being in Bali but with a hip little spin on it.

There is way more tourists in this area but it’s not touristy…if that makes sense. There are so many bars and authentic restaurants and the food is still pretty cheap. One of our favorites has been Beach Breeze and another one that was right on the beach. Unfortunately I don’t have the name of the other one, because it was literally just a few wooden tables scattered on the beach.

Speaking of the beach, I am a total beach bum. I have road tripped the entire coast of California just to discover some of the best beaches. If you ever want to visit a good beach while in Cali, I got you. (I won’t ever give away my favorite though, because it was abandoned when I was there and I would like to leave it that way.)

Although this beach wasn’t super secluded, it was nice to finally be at a beach that wasn’t covered in black sand. The water felt like a warm bath and was crystal clear.

We have stayed at Sudamala Suites and luckily we were a quick five-minute walk from the beach and our stay came with beach loungers. I couldn’t change into a bikini quick enough. I love that you can walk knee-deep in the water for miles, there is barely any current and it is heaven for those who love the beach but aren’t exactly great wave divers (like me).

 

Walking back from the beach they had the usual graffiti painted on the walls.

There was one in particular caught my attention.

“We will live”

“We will die”

 

And I thought to myself…death, death is certain.

Eventually we will die.

But to live….will we all truly experience living?

 

Was I really living in Los Angeles?

I mean I was going through the motions.

I continually tried sheltering myself from making mistakes.

I worked a mediocre job with terrible hours just to make ends meet.

I thought I wanted to pursue modeling when I really just wanted to pursue happiness.

I thought the key to traveling would be through modeling and it turns out that I didn’t need a fancy agency to see the world.

I was on a reality show that cut me a pretty good check…a financial one and a reality one. *pun intended*

I made countless mistakes and beat myself up for being human.

I drank a lot, went out A LOT. Had amazing LA nights that I still can’t believe.

But was I living?

I was a living robot. Living through a routine day in and day out, accompanied by my casual sushi runs. I stuck to a strict gym routine and tried to fulfill this mold and sculpt myself into something I thought I wanted based on what I surrounded myself with.

Something was always missing.

The only thing I was living, was a lie.

It took taking myself out of the equation to find the answer.

 

Without all distractions I am able to ask myself

“what is it that I truly want?”

 

I want to float in luke warm ocean water cooling off my sun burnt cheeks.

I want to be dressed in traditional hindu attire listening to people pray in sync with each other.

I want to ride in the chaotic streets of Bali on the back of the motorbike while looking up into the stars.

I want to look forward to eating fried bananas and enjoying my morning coffee.

I want to embrace my freckles and messy hair and feel completely beautiful without an ounce of make up on.

I want to surround myself with people who teach me how to appreciate the little things.

I want to do this….this is living.

Yes, I know I will eventually die, but I want to do it knowing that I poured every ounce of effort into living.

I was always so scarred to step outside of my comfort zone; to leave my fluffy white bed, and now the only thing I wonder is why I didn’t leave sooner?

 

I have fallen in love with Sanur. We are going to be back in the area in a couple of weeks before we leave Bali (crazy how fast time is going).

We head to Ceningan and Nusa Lembongan tomorrow. We have to grab a taxi and then jump on a boat to head to the islands. I have heard that this is where most of the beautiful beaches are located, so you can only imagine how excited I am to get over there.

P.S. Thank you to everyone who gave me recommendations on mosquitoes, mosquitoes no longer love me and Soffell has become my new best friend.

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This is Effe’n Cool

*Que Lion King’s theme song*

“AAAAAH ZABENYAAAAAA”

 

We have arrived at the Bali Safari. This might be one of the coolest places yet.

I am not big on Zoos (I am actually 100% against them). Instead of animals, this place puts people in cages, and then they drive them around on an actual safari so that you can see the animals roam freely. I got to witness them feed lions, tigers, and bears elephants…oh my.

I think elephants are the most majestically creatures; they are so powerful and so smart. I have always had this (weird) obsession on how they are so emotional and have the most vivid memories (just like your average female). Ever since I have landed in South East Asia I have been waiting for the moment to come face to face with one and finally (FINALLY) today was the day.

HER NAME WAS EFFE, AND SHE WAS SO EFFE’N CUTE.

PSA: Please, please, PLEASE do not ever ride an elephant. Bathe it, feed it, cuddle it, kiss it, but please stop riding them. People will offer it to make money but an elephants spine is not meant to support the weight of a human and the fabric of the seats can irritate an elephants skin.

Anyways, I look forward to visiting many elephant sanctuaries while being in South East Asia, and so far I am convinced that in my past life I could have very well been an elephant, I mean they eat up to 16 hours a day and can even eat WHILE they sleep… so yea, it definitely could be a possibility.

We also got to watch a traditional fire dance. It was completely mesmerizing. I love how everything is worshipped here. The land, the sun, the moon…everything is appreciated and it is so humbling to watch people put on shows and show appreciation to things that we just expect daily.

Like…. I mean…. A FREAKIN STAR (a yellow dwarf to be exact) rises everyday before you even get out of bed while this thing called Earth spins on this other thing called an axis.

Things really become irr-elephant (see what I did there) when you just take a step back.

Overall the Bali Safari has been an experience I will never forget. I was able to lay out by the pool and watch zebras, rhinos, and ostriches just casually walked by.

I do have to be honest though.

I mean…that is the whole point of this experiment; learning to be honest, with myself just as much as with you. I have been traveling in and out of these amazing hotels and taking photography for them. Don’t get me wrong; I am blessed to get to see these beautiful places, but I almost feel like I get so caught up in trying to capture moments and trying to document them that I end up missing out on them in the end.

I feel like with a generation run by social media it feels like if we don’t prove that it happened, than it is almost like it didn’t. It’s so twisted, but I know I am guilty of it.

I am trying to learn how to simply enjoy things; to just live in these tiny moments.

I was listening to a TED talk before falling asleep (because that is what you do when you do not have access to Netflix or Hulu), and this woman went on for about twenty minutes on learning how to be vulnerable and organic with your surroundings. I came to the realization that this is what the people of Bali have taught me the most. They aren’t taking pictures of their offerings or putting up mirror selfies in their temple attire. They aren’t snapchatting the meal they just cooked. Kids aren’t on Ipads but instead outside flying kites.

Obviously I am very appreciative of technology as I write this to you on a laptop, and as you read it on some sort of screen.

Technology has done some magical things but also in a way has taken away some of the magic.

I just want to remind you, as I remind myself, to hold on to a little bit of it; to enjoy moments and to store them in your brain and not just on your hard drive.

Why must we learn how

to relax?

to just enjoy sunsets?

to love ourselves?

Should these things not come just as natural as breathing?

And if not instinctual shouldn’t learning them be just as easy as learning how to walk?

I have read all of these text books, sat through countless seminars, yet not one school credit, not one teacher has truly taught me the lesson of stepping back and learning to love my surroundings while learning to love myself.

Why am I 23 (about to be 24) still struggling with things that evidently should come first?

Why did it take traveling across the world to learn how to appreciate a sunset when I saw one nearly everyday where I was?

I get so frustrated because I feel like I miss out on things that matter most with all of these endless distractions to scroll through. Why do I continue to stare at a tiny little light up screen when I have the sky painted different colors for me every night desiring my attention?

I am learning as I go to find a happy medium of trying to capture moments and live in them. Once I figure out the perfect formula I will be sure to send it to you.

Until then, I am hoping to venture into less touristy spots and getting to soak up more of this beautiful Island. I am headed towards Sanur tomorrow and I will be heading to Ceningan shortly after that, so if you have any recommendations on things to do out in those areas please do not hesitate to leave me a comment (especially if there are elephants involved).

 

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