There is a point, after you’ve been traveling for a while, when your flip flops are worn through, and you’re bag is full to the top and spilling over into other bags, and you’ve gone from carrying everything from home to carrying home with everything, and you’re tired and you’re eyes close. Every other sense heightens. The dewy humidity against your skin, the rhythmic waves lapping the beach, the taste of a hot slice of air, and the tangy scent of the tropics all tell you you’ve arrived in Bali, without even opening your eyes.
Landing in Bali is like falling into a pair of soft hands, that cradle you when you’re travel tired. Everyone is all smiles and “How are you?” and “Where are you going?” We arrive in Kuta, Bali at the end of June, and spend a few days checking out the beaches and the busy surf spots: Uluwatu and Dreamland where the ocean throws fistfuls of surfers against the rocks, over and over again, and they get up, laugh as though someone is tickling them and paddle back out. It’s impossible to be any less than relaxed in a place where the population seems immortal. We are joined by Lindsey, one of our favorite LA ladies and we head to Gili Trawangan with it’s crystal waters that fade from clear to navy through every gradation of blue. There are no cars or motorbikes so the only traffic we hear are bike bells and horse cart horns while we lounge, drinking Papaya juice on the beach and watching sunset after sunset.
It’s almost impossible to leave, but we have to meet Nathalie, so we tear ourselves away, and go from the blue hues of Gili to the lush greens of Ubud, Bali. The green is overwhelming. It reflects off our hotel room walls and creeps in with the morning sun. Everything smells of chlorophyll and hibiscus. The locals are Hindu and make daily offerings of flowers and incense to ward off evil spirits. They wear flowers behind there ears, place them in front of statues and on all the doorsteps, and let the perfume seep into their baths. Everything smells of hibiscus here down to the scents that roll in off the rice paddies as we practice yoga in the open air studio. Ganesh watches with some pedals tucked behind his ear, and I can’t help but feel lucky.
I am loathe to leave Ubud, so I say good bye to the girls and fall into a steady routine of yoga, tea drinking and book reading. This is too good to last, so after a few days, I head back to Kuta to meet up with a few friends and repeat the circuit all over again, fall back into the open palms of Bali, and stay until it’s time to go to Australia and reenter the real world. I really can’t think of a better place to take a rest.