Bali was so much more than a beautiful tropical vacation, it was a spiritual journey. Coinciding with this trip I started a 21 day meditation challenge and Bali was the perfect place to make this a habit. The people of Bali were so friendly and clearly spiritual connected. There are enchanting temples, worship places and offerings to the gods everywhere. As my son said, hope you find your Zen Mom… what could be a better start than massages and mediation every day in paradise.
Our home base was a magnificent villa in Sanur, with a beautiful private pool in the centre and just a short walk to the beach boardwalk. Our trip was the perfect balance of relaxation and exploring… ideal for a Busy Life of Leisure. We hired Nano and Gerry, our friendly Balinese drivers, to show us the sights. Bali may be small but there is so much to see; we played in the surf in Seminyak, visited Taneh Lot temple by the sea, were mesmerized by a traditional Borang dance performance, interacted with Trider the dolphin, snorkeled by a coral reef, witnessed the beauty of a waterfall and other local landscape, explored the spectacular rice terraces, watched the sunset and feasted on seafood in Jimbaran.
Sanur was close to everything and Ubud was well worth the trip with many great side stops along the way. The Lewak coffee plantation tour was amazing, seeing how the most expensive coffee in the world is made. The Lewak eats the ripe coffee beans, where the animal’s stomach acids naturally decaffeinates the beans before they are excreted… they are then cleaned, toasted and ready for drinking. Another highlight was the Monkey Sanctuary where thousands of monkeys roam around in a large beautiful reserve. When we were not exploring, playing in the pool, floating in the ocean, shopping or biking the boardwalk we were relaxing. It was the perfect place to sit back and unwind reading a book under at tree with the ocean breeze, have a $3 beach side massage, meditate, have a nap or enjoy a cold Bintang as the sun sets before heading out to one of many beach side cafés for dinner.
We were also lucky enough to experience Galungan which is celebrated every 210 days according to the Balinese calendar. It celebrates the victory of good over evil and it is believed the ancestral spirits descend to earth on this holy day. According to the locals it is equivalent to our Christmas. Outside almost every home and business is a Penjor, an elaborately decorated bamboo post with dangling offerings for the gods. They are beautiful and some are very elaborate (similar to our Christmas tree). We were out exploring the day before Galungan and the preparations were well underway, many roadside stores were closed to celebrate and the streets were lined with Penjors, a sight I will never forget. The next morning we went for a bike ride and there were hardly any cars on the road, just some scooters with families (we have seen up to 5 on one) all dresses in beautiful Balinese traditional attire and the temples were packed with worshipers.
It is really the people that make Bali amazing… so friendly and grateful. It really made me realize the focus we put on material things in our quest for happiness which is so different than in Bali. The spirituality of the people is evident in the magnificent small offerings which magically appear at the many worship places throughout the island. The people were content and gracious for all the beauty in their lives. What Bali taught me is that happiness is not found in things but in appreciating all that we have and in being present… I come home with a new appreciate for my amazing life and importance of enjoying every moment!