Being out of the office meant a lot more than simply stepping away from my 9-5. My ultimate goal of finding happiness and fulfilment in life and work was to plan 3 months of not only living my passions; but to also step out of my comfort zone, try new things and challenge myself. This part of my journey, I call – The Solo Traveller.
My Solo travel would consist of 3 parts; Vacation, Retreat & Isolate.
It took 14 hours of flying and transit until I finally reached my destination of Bali.
An eventful flight that was for sure. A tap on the shoulder from the flight attendant asking if I wanted to upgrade my seat brought an overwhelming smile to my face. ‘Hold up,’ my little inner Chon said – ‘girl why aren’t we walking towards business class?’ But a 2 seater window seat with a shit load of leg room to myself was just perfect.
An Aussie who was drunk AF finally gets restrained buy a combination of Balinese flight attendants and other passengers and tied to his chair with non other than cable ties after telling us all he was going to kill us. Lets not forget that he’s also sitting in the row next to me so I get the best seats in the house or should I say plane. Like seriously though, out of all places mate- Bali? Really?
A lovely lady gave me tips to staying safe and hustling while at the Bali and organised dinner for us a couple of night later in Kuta where her driver would eventually show me around and point out the ‘must-go’ places.
Ketut, also known as Tony was waiting on my arrival with his home made sign which read Chantelle Daniel – bless him.
20 minutes later through the craziness of traffic and minimal road rules we arrive at my first hotel, Puri Maharani. Being just off the main highway down a long driveway I entered a tranquil lush setting surrounded my nature, frangipani & balinese culture.
After hearing that ciggies were only $2 a pack over here I asked one of the staff for the nearest shop at which she waved me down the driveway and signalled her hand to take a right. 40 minutes later, as I sweated through my singlet and started to get that fat girl chafe on in the 30 degree heat, a Balinese man I had walked past earlier asked where I was going.
Here was my first encounter trying to communicate through broken english. I made my fingers into a V shape and placed them to my mouth and blew out pretend smoke. He then pulled a packet of cigs from his bag and handed them to me. I gave him 50,000 Rupiah ($5) which made his face light up and got my walk on back to the hotel. He followed me for a bit, waiving me over to get on his scooter. After a number of attempts I quickly ran through the possible outcomes of taking this little risk and decided to jump on and I was back at my hotel in no time.
After a quick cool down in the pool I met another solo traveller, an old but physically youthful American guy from Vegas who had a hard time remembering stories he had told me only 10minutes earlier. I soon realised he was put in my path to test if I could just tell him I didn’t want to eat EVERY meal or spend every second with him in the most politest way possible- I knew if I didn’t speak up then I wouldn’t be doing what I wanted to do. I had a quick, ‘you go girl’ moment when I eventually manned the courage to do so and stuck to my plans.
The rest of my night was complete relaxation. An amazing hot stone Balinese massage, $3 Mai Tai’s by the pool, a beautiful prawn cocktail set in a pineapple with Bakmi goreng for dinner. I could definitely get used to these juicy $4 feeds and the lifestyle.
Not realising the time I dozed off and woke up at 3am. What the fuck am I going to do until morning? Watch a movie she said, it’ll get you to sleep she said. Fully wired and balling my eyes out from watching the most emotional movie ever I finally got back to sleep.
I polished off my beautiful breakfast of fresh tropical fruit, strawberry juice, coffee and a banana pancake and set off to explore the nearby town of Sanur. I meet just the cutest little friend, an 8 month old monkey named Skippy who wore the cutest yellow banana singlet and nappy and kept trying to come inside while I was shopping.
I then hired a driver (who was an hour late but at least I was used to fob time, well I suppose Bali time now) to take me on a tour to Ubud. He decides to take me to a few local places.
First, we stop to try balinese tea & coffee- it’s crazy how their famous Luwak coffee is made. Who would have thought the Luwak (possum looking thing) eats the coffee beans and shits them back out before the coffee process begins.
After a Picturesque waterfall, handmade jellewry tour and the monkey forest I’m then find myself at markets to get my hustle on.
Then there’s the art gallery! Oh the painting I found…I’ve never actually bought a piece of art before but oh how it made me feel. I was attached. It spoke to me. (usually when I shop the stores always whisper my name anyway but this was different) After realising it would be too much of a mission to get it home I say goodbye- until we meet again I thought. But as I write this post it’s still on my mind. Who knows, maybe on day 10 I’ll have to go back. I’ll just keep an ear out for those whispers.
My 4 hour driver hire was coming to an end so I tell him to leave so I can keep exploring and that I’ll find my own way home, not knowing at the time it was an hour drive away.
After getting lost in Ubud it starts pissing down and my fat girl Chafe returns and brings with it a mass blister right where my jandles met my toes. I then find a great little place for dinner and cocktails on my lonesome.
$15 and an hour drive later I arrive back at my hotel.
The most intense thunder and lightning storm hits but after a while I find it somewhat beautiful as it puts me to sleep.
As the sun rises on day 3 I’m starting to find my bearings and find myself having a Kiwi Breakfast & coffee in Sanur.
I take a taxi to Kuta to explore and people watch. The lady I met on the plane is running late so I end up across the road from her hotel at the beach. As I watch the waves crash and sink my toes into the sand with my Bin-ting in hand I smell a whiff of Tiger balm as an old Balinese lady starts massaging my shoulders and clicks my neck – Heaven.
My new friend and I (who is actually a human rather than the animals I had found myself with lately), get lost in the traffic of Kuta then eventually find ourselves at Sardine, a restaurant that overlooks rice fields and is my kind of menu and ambience- seafood and beautiful lighting.
After some live music and tea, my driver then takes me home where I have a quick ciggie with my friend the frog before hitting the hay.
I’ve accepted the fact that I will continue to smell like a can of mozzie repellent while still being eaten alive; that I will continue to sweat like a mother fucker for the rest of my trip; and that I just have to say no to all the Balinese hustlers trying to make a living.
Now its time to cut back on the cocktails, the vacation lifestyle and sharing my trip through social media channels. It’s now time to invest fully in myself and development as I embark on an inner voyage at the Holistic Bali Retreat…