As a child our family would often travel overseas for holidays and Bali is definitely the centre of some of my favourite memories of family holidays. After a 2 hour drive to the nearest international airport from our quiet country town and then a 2 hour flight, we would disembark from the plane in a cloud of heat that was heavy with the scent of smoke and incense with the promise of fun in the sun and little else to think about.
I remember my brother and I being sought after by the Balinese ladies because of our blonde hair and blue eyes (although after one particular trip I returned home with green hair after too much swimming in the resorts overly chlorinated pool). Listening to a mix of conversations taking place around the pool perhaps in German, French or Dutch. Enjoying a coconut ice cream, platter of fresh fruit or fresh watermelon juice while having my hair braided into the low maintenance Balinese style – that interestingly none of the Balinese seem to wear themselves.
Last weekend Grant and I visited Bali for just a few nights in a whirlwind of a trip. We were excited to join up with family to celebrate my sister-in-law’s birthday as she entered a new decade of her life. After being subject to two colds and one dislocated rib over the last 2 months, I was looking forward to leaving my troubles behind and creating new memories in one of the most beautiful places in the world.
There is a quote I read recently that went something like, “Don’t speak of heaven until you have been to Bali” and I couldn’t agree more. While it had been about 20 years since I had been to Bali, it was still refreshingly familiar. The breathtaking views, the fresh food, the generous and always smiling people – everything is as if designed to make your heart beat slower and your lungs expand as you breathe in the air. While we didn’t stray further than walking distance from our resort in Sanur we spent our time wandering the broken pavement of the streets collecting souvenirs, indulging in cheap massages and spent lazy afternoons cooling off in the pool. Before we knew it we were boarding a plane and returning home to much cooler weather and the real world but thankfully we can look back through photographs.
“One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things” ~ Henry Miller