“Bali Blog” – too soon??...
Surely any trip of Balinese magnitude could not be covered in one post, so the Bali Blog will consist of two installments. Part 1: Adventure & Part 2: Awareness
By late spring, my friend Spencer and I were jonesin’ for another surf trip. Yeah, we’d already been to Barbados just a couple months prior, but we wanted to go a little farther from home for this time around. The top destinations on our list included: Hawaii, Fiji, El Salvador, and Bali. I’d really only started surfing less than a year before that, so I had absolutely no business surfing the world class waves at any of these locations, but I knew they'd all certainly be adventures.. On a mid-May Saturday, we threw a dart at a globe and on Sunday we booked two tickets to Bali. On Tuesday I flew to LA to meet up with spencer and from there we headed to the other side of the globe. Bali is literally halfway around the world from Orlando... booking just two days prior to departure made things even more exciting.
After 36 hours of traveling and a quick pit stop in Taipei, Taiwan, we arrived in what’s arguably Indonesia’s most beautiful island, and perhaps one of the world’s most magical places: Bali. We were staying at a surf resort at Keramas, a world class surf break, which included indoor/outdoor rooms and showers, a pool club on the black sand beach, and fresh exotic fruits and juices squeezed daily. This laid back paradise makes you rethink the way we live our fast paced, highly technological lives back home…
|One of those sunrises that just keeps getting better and better....|
Needless to say, in addition to shoes and makeup, pants were a rarity on the trip - I was in heaven. Each morning, we rolled out of bed before sunrise and scurried our way down to the beach, hurrying to paddle out to ensure we'd be in the water on our boards to witness the first sign of sunlight peak out from behind the volcanic mountain, Agung. We'd surf the morning, grab breakfast, and spend the rest of our days surfing other various breaks and exploring the island. We hired a driver, who also happened to run a surf camp on the island, and he chauffeured us to multiple different cities and destinations each day. From hiking in the rice patties, getting attacked by monkeys at the monkey palace, to exploring an eerie old Buddhist temple late at night, our days were filled with adventure.
|More like a FUNrise!|
|Rice hikes, historic temples, etc.|
|Those monkeys are nothin' but trouble!|
One day we took a boat trip to Lombongan Island, a small landmass just a mile or two off the shore’s of East Bali, where I surfed my first reef pass, and we experienced a minor scooter “incident” - naturally. We may as well have had “gringo” tattooed on our foreheads. Anyhow, we survived and caught the boat back to the mainland just in the nick of time.
|Managed to have a little fun, too.|
|In the clouds|
Having some of the best cuisine in the entire SE Asian region, smoothies for breakfast and American trail mix the other two meals of the day, towards the end of the our trip we couldn’t help but splurge on dinner a couple times. When in Bali, right? I think so. When in Ubud, Mozaic is a world class option, named SouthEast Asia's best French restaurant last year, or head to RockBar at the Ayana Resort for appetizers and drinks while you watch the sunset from a platform hanging off the side of a cliff just above the ocean (get there EARLY as there is only room for a set amount of people and is a top sunset lurking destination) After the sun sinks below the horizon, try one of the resort's 6+ bad ass restaurants. Our choice: Dara. No Regrets.
|Typical street in Ubud - magical.|
As any stress-less adventure, ten days flew by and we were back stateside before we knew it. Spencer and I parted ways, and I hung out in LA for a couple of days followed by a trip up to Sacramento for the Liquid Force Free For All stop at Wake Island. I ended up changing my flight from the next morning to evening so I could milk a few more west coast hours. That day, my Califriends and I rode the newly built Velocity Island Park, which had yet to open to the public. Worn out from riding all day, I was able to sleep through my redeye back to the sunshine state.
|Liquid Force Free For All - Wake Island, Sacramento, CA|
Adventure is good, but home is good, too.
I appreciate vulnerability. It's an opportunity to learn and grow, and being halfway around the globe in lands unknown for the first time pushed my out of my comfort zone, and I welcomed vulnerability every mile of the way. Yes, it's much easier to accept being vulnerable on a fun trip to paradise as opposed to some of life's less enjoyable situations, but you've got to start somewhere. You don't have to travel halfway around the world to get out of your comfort zone, learn, and grow, but if you want to, Bali's a not a bad place to start.
|Sunrise to sunset, Bali was magical.|