Bali is quite popular among Westerners, and we decided to head out there to see just exactly why. After all, the famous Thomas Despin once said, "When I follow my heart, I wake up in Bali."
So after a long 27-hour flight from LAX to Bali, Indonesia, we were ready for a fresh coconut like we'd seen in all of the Instagrammed photos and a day full of lounging by our private villa's pool. That's one of the best things about Bali. There are a plethora of Airbnb's scattered over the internet, showing us that we TOO can live like kings for half the price.
Think: 3, 4, 5 bedroom massive villas for as little as $80 dollars a night. Add in a Balinese staff who cooks you breakfast every morning and clean up after you...well, we'll take it.
Although we knew this place was Westerenized, we didn't realize how many other like-minded individuals we'd run into. Cafe owners, digital nomads, writers, business start-ups...you name it. It was like they had all somehow conversed with one another prior to their trip and ended up here. Or it was just super cheap to live here under a writer's salary.
We were stunned by the (what seemed like) the unlimited amount of smoothie bowl places, Australian-owned cafes, surf shops and trendy beach lounges that bumped a remix of Harvest Moon by Poolside. I'll admit- it captured me. Even at the famous Potato Head, I felt like I was somewhere back on a NYC rooftop surrounded by the most beautifully sun-kissed people in the world. I found myself confined by all those Instagram models I swore were not real. Note: they are real.
It took me about a week to stop going to these places and found my real hunger was to uncover Bali's secret gems. Plus, I'm an Elizabeth Gilbert mega-fan, how could I not want what she had found when writing her book, "Eat, Pray, Love"? I too wanted a Ketut. I yearned for a guru to tell me something about myself and to convince me stay in his little hut for months and transcribe his ancient teachings too. But we can't all be Elizabeth Gilbert. And that was a decade ago, before Bali was much discovered as it is today.
I decided to start checking out the yoga scene as Bali has created an overwhelming demand for this type of wellness-minded holiday. The island is home to yoga retreats, meditation centers and surf camps situated all over. From Ubud to Canggu,there are no shortage of retreats. Bali are home to a variety of different styled yoga retreats, offering travelers a different way to travel. There are some incredible properties in Bali that provide authentic experiences that will teach you all about wellness, yoga, Ayuderdic medicine and the philosophy behind it all. You’ll find all types of retreats ranging from luxury to spiritual to even those on a budget.
Insider Tip: Check out Desa Seni. This private oasis in the heart of Canggu, offers up daily yoga classes, personal yoga retreats and wellness packages, a holistic spa, as well as an organic restaurant serving farm to table goodness. Try the Aura Chakra Treatment this treatment begins after an initial consultation with a traditional Balinese medicine man. Similar to Reiki, the healer starts with an aura cleansing using Balinese holy water, young coconut and a warm-salt footbath to remove toxins from the body. Using the Balinese art of Prana, the healer opens and aligns your chakras, resulting in balancing and harmonizing your body. This cleansing practices aids in removing stress and heaviness from your mind, body and spirit. It’s unlike anything you’ve ever experienced before.
Bali lived up to its name each and every day. From standing in rice patty fields, to even the threatening volcano warnings leaving us stranded for two extra weeks--it teaches you something. All we truly ever have is exactly what is right before us in that very moment. And although we do not have a choice of what happens, we do have a choice on how we'll respond to it. As I sat there, I wondered if that Balinese Guru's "juju" finally seeped its way somewhere deep in my bones.