What a month it’s been! To be honest, one month after the next I feel like a completely different person. Travel sometimes feels like doing a deep dive to the bottom of my psyche and pulling up all sorts of things I never knew existed there. This was definitely a month of change, but of stillness as well. I stayed in Ubud, Bali for the longest I’ve been anywhere since leaving home in August. Sometimes you need to stop moving to process everything that’s happened.
Where I’ve Been
El Nido, Palawan, The Philippines (1 Night)
Puerto Princesa, Palawan, The Philippines (1 Night)
Manila, The Philippines (1/2 a Night)
Balian Beach, Bali, Indonesia (7 Nights)
Ubud, Bali, Indonesia (7 Nights)
Kalabang Moding, Bali, Indonesia (14 Nights)
Singapore (3 Nights)
Canggu, Bali, Indonesia (1 Night)
My stays got progressively longer as the month went on, which was exactly what I needed. I originally landed in Bali to go on a work retreat with WeTravel, and decided to extend my time there for another two weeks.
Tourists to Bali get a 30-day free visa upon arrival, and then they either have to pay to extend or get out of the country. I decided to book a flight to Singapore (the cheapest international flight) and then move on north to Malaysia and eventually Thailand.
I go nuts for coconuts #🇲🇨 • • • • • #traveldeeper #darlingescapes #girlswhotravel #dametraveler #bloggerstyle #bloggerlife #bloggersgetsocial #travelandleisure #myfavtourlina #mylittletravel #endlesstraveling #passportready #letsgosomewhere #thatsdarling #darlingmovement #thehappynow #flashesofdelight #bandofun #girlsvsglobe
About two nights before my flight to Singapore, I realized that I didn’t want to leave Ubud. I was making friends, taking classes, and getting work done. I wasn’t ready to leave. Then, I realized that I could just go back! No one was forcing me to go to Malaysia (a country which, incidentally I REALLY want to visit, but that will have to wait for now).
So I sit here writing this at the Changi Airport in Singapore, about to fly back to Bali for two weeks.
What I’ve Loved
The WeTravel work retreat was SO fun! I wasn’t sure what to expect at all (I didn’t even know WHERE we were staying until I got there!) but it turned out to be a great two weeks. When you work remotely for a company, you spend a lot of time sending emails and taking phone calls with people who you’ve never met in real life.
Luckily, I did get to meet a bunch of my coworkers when I stopped in San Francisco a couple of days on my Ultimate USA Road Trip. But the retreat served as an opportunity for me to get to know them better. I also met our development team who work remotely from Azerbaijan and Ukraine.
Our accommodations for the two-week retreat were seriously amazing. First, we stayed at a villa directly on the beach where we fell asleep to the sound of crashing waves. The second week we were in a villa in Ubud, which was really a sprawling multi-level compound. There were turtles in the bathroom, guys.
After last month traipsing around The Philippines in beautiful accommodations, and this month in Bali, I think I will never be able to stay in a 16-bed dorm room again. (Just kidding, I did that the past three nights!)
Settling down for fourteen whole days in one spot. I stayed in a villa 15 minutes outside of Ubud in a town called Kalabang Moding. The first week there was tumultuous, but by the second week I was settling in and developing a routine. I went to classes at The Yoga Barn, movies at the vegan movie theater, and made some new friends!
The woman who owns the villa where I was staying is quite possibly the sweetest person ever, and on my first day there she invited me to a family wedding. I got to go to a Balinese wedding! It was quite the experience. Weddings here are a more communal affair, with people from the community coming to celebrate (and probably enjoy the free food!) The bride and groom wore elaborate dress, and there was a ceremony in the family temple. I love seeing the similarities and differences in culture, and even though there were definite differences, the general atmosphere was very much the same as a “Western” wedding.
Checking out country #37: Singapore! I only went for a few days, but most people assured me it was plenty of time to see the bustling metropolis. For those of you who don’t know, Singapore is actually a city that IS a country. I saw a fair bit during my two days there! The first day I explored Chinatown and enjoyed the beauty of an air-conditioned mall and double feature at the movie theater (I saw The Girl On The Train and Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them – both amazing!) The second day I went to the “indie” neighborhood of Tiong Bahru, ate Indian food in Little India, and attempted to see the Gardens by the Bay.
I definitely could have stayed a few more days in Singapore! It’s an interesting city. Very multi-cultural, a bit sterile, and bubbling with activity – there is a lot to explore in the city/country of Singapore!
Escaped to Singapore on a quick city break. Tried to see the Gardens by the Bay but it was for online ticket holders only! I did get to see this magnificent view, though, completely for free 👌 Tip: if you don't want to pay to go into the Gardens, you can sit by the fountain outside and watch the whole light show! It's farther away and you can't hear the music as well. But you get a panoramic view! • • • • • #Singapore #exploresingapore #visitsingapore #igsingapore #marinabaysands #gardensbythebay #singaporenbeyond #timeoutsingapore #travelsingapore #traveltips #blackandwhitetravel #singaporeinsiders #singaporevacation #vacainsingapore #timeoutsg
What I’ve Learned
Medical care in Bali is pretty good! Upon arriving in Bali, I was hit hard with a sickness. I had a fever and really bad sore throat. Unfortunately, this was the first week of the WeTravel retreat. I kept hoping that I would magically get better, but once about 5 days had gone by, I conceded to visiting the doctor. I’ve heard some horror stories about going to the doctor in a foreign country, but the clinic I went to in Ubud was great. The doctor spoke perfect English, they took tests, and then informed me of the results. The doctor took the time to explain what was wrong with me, and all of the different drugs they wanted me to take. Within a day or two I felt much better!
Happy one year of full time travel to me! Okay, so it's been a year and a couple weeks now, but I am celebrating on the blog with the highs and lows from my first year of travel. Check it out by clicking the link in my profile! Thanks to @potchphl for taking me out for a day of island hopping in El Nido on Tour A! Like the shirt I'm rocking? The reason I am able to travel around the world is because of WeTravel @wetravel.to – the best tool to plan your yoga retreat or group trip! • • • • • #abmtravelbug #tasteintravel #dametraveler #globelletravels #thetravelwomen #she_explores #wearetravelgirls #shewashere #wetravelto #sealandventure #elnido #elnidotoura #palawan #itsmorefuninthephilippines #tbexph #🇵🇭 #visitphilippines2016 #visitphilippines #visitphilippinesagain #tourismphilippines #choosephilippines #philippinesmorefun #travelstoriesph #travelph #traversephilippines #wowphilippines #travelphilippines #explorephilippines #the_ph #ig_philippines
The result of the elections shook me to my core, even being half a world away. I felt my heart break for my country. I am glad that I was surrounded by my co-workers during that time. Only one other person on the team is from the USA, everyone else is from a different country. Many of them live and work in San Francisco. Most of them were in total disbelief that anyone in the USA would choose an unqualified, dangerous, liar over a competent, experienced politician to be President. They viewed it as a bit of a joke, and started asking if they would be forced to leave the country now. For me, there was nothing funny about it. There is more work to be done.
Spending my favorite holiday away from home sucks. This was my second Thanksgiving abroad, and it was not easier. I just tried to pretend that it was a regular day, but every time I looked online I felt a pang as people posted photos of dinner or snapped their family’s crazy antics. Instead of doing anything fun or meaningful I sat in bed all day and felt sorry for myself. That spiraled into two or three days of laying in bed feeling sorry for myself. And as I lay in bed I thought all sorts of dark things. That I would never make it, never be happy, always be alone, etc. I contemplated whether I should stop traveling all together and move back home. Or go back to Europe. Or go anywhere but where I was. I didn’t realize until the last day of my pity party that I was spiraling downwards and perhaps the reason was that I had been laying in bed for days. So the next day I got up, left the villa all day, and I felt much better.
What I’m Reading (Online)
I read so many amazing articles from around the web, and I thought I would share a few of my favorites with you!
Is there a maximum age for staying in hostels? Amy of The Wayfarer’s Book thinks she might be too old to stay in hostels. Her reasons for being over the hostel life had me laughing and shaking my head in agreement.
Speaking of the election, Sally of Passport and Plates wrote an insightful piece about what it feels like to be a Muslim-American in the USA.
More election reflection: Are you a fellow Liberal Millennial? Richelle of Adventures Around Asia basically wrote exactly what many of us are thinking post-election. She even got a bunch of pro-Trump haters calling her rude names on Facebook, so now you KNOW it’s legit.
So I may be a bit biased with this one, as it’s an interview I did with Angela of She Went Wear for her Wednesday Women series.
Favorite Instagram Photo
I have a lot to be thankful for this year, and every year of course. It's my second thanksgiving away from home and it is sad to be away from family on my favorite holiday! But travel has taught me to be a more grateful person in general, and I am writing a list of my blessings today: •I am able to travel around the world •I have literally everything I need •I am in Bali, one of the most beautiful places in the world •I grew up in a place and time where I was able to receive free education and express myself openly •I have friends and family all around the world that love me and are rooting for me despite me not being there half the time •I have an able body that takes me everywhere I need to go, including 36 countries in my short 27 years on this earth •I have parents who are supportive of everything I do, even if they worry about me they trust me enough to know that I am doing the right thing •I am living my dreams ✨ • • • • • #sheisnotlost #girlslovetravel #womeninwanderlove #sheroams #sheseestheworld #globelletravels #thetravelwomen #passionpassport #traveldeeper #darlingescapes #girlswhotravel #tasteintravel #dametraveler #globelletravels #thetravelwomen #she_explores #wearetravelgirls #shewashere #girlsvsglobe #myfavtourlina #natureprimeshot #natureshots
The colors in Bali are just stunning. I took the opportunity to reflect on everything I have to be grateful for (there are SO many things).
Coffee wise, I discovered this gem in Ubud, Monkey Cave Espresso.
Where Am I Going Next?
Ubud for a little under two weeks, and then flying to Bangkok to meet my family for the holidays!
Let me know in the comments: Do you have a home base? Do you think it allows you to discover things about yourself that you wouldn’t process while traveling?
Happy Exploring, Wherever You Are!