Starting Again, Again.

1 Sep

My last attempt at blogging regularly again was back in April and it lasted a whole two weeks. Not my best work, not even close but I chose to be distracted by things and people instead of prioritizing what made me most happy and fulfilled. When I was sailing last year, I felt incredible. It’s AMAZING what good sleep, great company, and working your brain (for me that was through reading and writing daily) can do for your mind, body and soul. Funny enough, those are all things that I can do anywhere, anytime, if I choose to do so. So here I am, trying again, to do what makes me feel my best. And I might still fail, again, but you can bet that I’ll keep trying until I find something that works for me.

I read somewhere that it can take 18 – 254 days (yes, two hundred and fifty-four, that’s not a typo) for something to become a habit. While I’m in no way, form, or shape committing to blogging for 254 days, I think it’s time I do my own version of NoBloPoMo and try to blog through the month of September. Why September? Well, for starters, it’s conveniently today and I found myself with time today to write again. I was born in September so it seems like an appropriate time for change and reflection. And seasonally, it’s a time of transition. Besides all that, why not September? After all, the whole premise of my blog is to starting someday today :-)

In Sejal fashion, I’m going to share 5 things three things (gotta run and make my flight back to Portland!) that have happened since I last blogged:

  1. I’m currently in Chicago, for the second time this year and second time this summer. A friend got married in Louisville this weekend and instead of flying in and out of Louisville, I decided to come to Chicago before and after the wedding (it was cheaper to fly into) and catch a ride down to Kentucky for the wedding. My time in Chicago this time around was limited but I got to see a few friends, which is always nice! Screen Shot 2015-09-01 at 10.44.33 AM Continue reading

365 Days of Funemployment

18 Apr
A year ago, Bali seemed like a dream. Yet here I am, taking a break between dives on Gili Trawangan.

A year ago, Bali seemed like a dream. Yet here I am, taking a break between dives on Gili Trawangan.

I’ve officially been unemployed, or funemployed as I like to call it, for a year now. I still pinch myself because I can’t believe this is my life. The life that I’m living. The life that I’ve chosen. First and foremost, I could not have done it without the ongoing support and encouragement (eerily RIGHT when I need it) and the incredible, pure, love that I’ve received from my friends and my family. Words can’t express how thankful I am for you–whether it’s checking in on me to see how I’m doing during one of my trips or offering to pick me up from the airport with a burrito when I land to reading my posts to messaging my friends or family asking about my adventures (you’re always welcome to message me, I do respond ;-)), to leaving me an encouraging (and sometimes envious, I’m sorry!) comment on one of my photo, every bit counts. I credit you guys with much of what I’ve done, not just over the past year, but over the years, yet you humble folk always turn it back around and send me more love, which then gets us into a vicious complimentary/love giving circle that leaves both of us feeling energized and uplifted.

Some days it feels like 365 days have flown by and other days it seems like I have all the time in the world. To answer your questions:

1) No, I don’t know where I’m going next.

2) No, I’m not sure when I’m going to ‘stop’ traveling. I don’t think I’ll ever not travel, but I do miss having a little bit of a routine and a purpose.

3) Yes, the funds are running out. Savings are pretty much tapped. I have no idea what I’m going to do about a job, or if I could return to a corporate job but I do need to give some thought (and take action).

This has become a familiar sight over the past year

This has become a familiar sight over the past year

Continue reading

Where to Eat in Ubud (Part 1)

16 Apr

A few days ago, I shared a list of the things that I did in Ubud during the week I spent there with promise of sharing my eating and sleeping experience next. Note: several of the excursions that I did, such as white water rafting or the Mt. Batur sunrise trek can also be done from other locations in Bali as the tour companies will pick you up from most major starting points, your pick up time will just be different.

Onto eating! I like to use Swarm (part of Foursquare before they split it into two) when I’m traveling so I can remember where I ate, and sometimes get tips from others. I ended up eating at 15 different places (or that’s how many I checked in at–that’s not including breakfast because my room came with it, the lunch that was included in the cycling tour and the lunch we made at the cooking class) over the 8 days I was in Ubud. At times, I snapped pictures of my food when I remembered and other times, I was too hungry to wait. I’m breaking my post into two parts so it’s less overwhelming. Hint: Part 2 includes one of my (newest) favorite restaurants in the WORLD.

Laughing Buddha Bar I had just gotten into town and wanted to eat somewhere that was close by. Laughing Buddha had live music (a band called Afro Moses) so it was the perfect spot for me to grab a seat at the bar, order some food and a drink, and be anti-social after my long trip to Bali without feeling like I was being too anti-social. My food was okay, but the vibe was cool. I walked by the next night and there was a latin band playing and people dancing, really cool. I would go back for the music and drinks, not necessarily the food.

Green smoothie and a view? Yes, please.

Green smoothie and a view? Yes, please.

Tropical View Cafe I wanted to go to Venezia Day Spa for some spa services, but they could only get me booked for an appointment that started in an hour, and I hadn’t eaten yet. Cue Tropical View Cafe. It was across the street, had nice paddy field views and the service was fairly quick. I was surprised by how much food I got and it was decently tasty. I would return for the views and for drinks and fast service, but the food wasn’t memorable in my opinion.

Tapas from Nomad

Tapas from Nomad

Nomad I sought Nomad out after someone commented on a Bali thread in a travel group I’m part of and since my dinner there, I’ve passed on the recommendation. I went for the tapas here, ordering 6 different Indonesian/Balinese dishes, and it was delicious, fresh and cheap! Nomad also has this cool vibe of explorers; the table next to us was a group of performers who had just attended the Bali Spirit Festival. I’ve never done this before, but I spotted a gal eating by herself at a prime table, so instead of sitting at the bar, I asked her if she minded sharing a table and ended up gaining some company over dinner. (Of course, if she didn’t feel like talking, I would have kept to myself.) I’d go back to Nomad and would recommend it to others as a good (and affordable) meal. Continue reading

What’s There to Do in Ubud, You Ask?

13 Apr
I could go back for a third time

I could go back, again.

When I thought of my trip to Bali, I envisioned riding a bicycle (with a basket) through town with a smile on my face, going to daily yoga classes, sitting in cafes to write in my journal and blog on the computer while I enjoyed Bali’s beauty, and going to get a massage or spa treatment every few days. Sounds lovely, doesn’t it? I’ve now been in Bali for a little over a week and the only time I got on a bicycle, it was during a torrential downpour, I haven’t gone to a single yoga class, I’ve sat in cafes but I’m usually fanning myself before I turn into a puddle on the floor, and my journal has gotten some love but the blog has barely gotten a hug. I have, however, gone to the spa on four different occasions. As much as I wanted to (and could) unplug and unwind and relax, my FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) was way too strong to allow for that.

Every day has felt like a week. I went on excursions, I switched hotels, I shopped, I wandered, I even met people! (FYI: I’m terribly afraid to initiate conversations with strangers. I’ll engage in conversations, but starting a conversation with strangers by myself? No, thank you. But I’m working on it!) Ubud was more fast-paced than I thought, or maybe it felt that way because it was my first stop in Bali so I felt this pressure to go do stuff (and I was still in go-go-go-travel mode from India and Nepal). Whatever the case, I did a lot.

Facebook is for more than just playing Farmville and Candy Crush. (For the record, I don't play either, but I do play WWF and Trivia Crack!)

Facebook is for more than just playing Farmville and Candy Crush. (For the record, I don’t play either, but I do play WWF and Trivia Crack!)

When I woke up on Saturday morning, mere hours after arriving in Bali, a million and one thoughts were running through my head. What am I doing here? What am I going to do? Am I doing all of the right things? Am I missing out on anything? How do I do that? Am I sure I want to do that? Is that the best way to do that? Fortunately, Uncle Google, Facebook posts, travel families like Nomadness Travel Tribe, and helpful friends are there to provide some guidance.

Thank you, internet. You’ve been so helpful so here I am, paying it back. (Note: There’s more to do in Ubud. In fact, I didn’t do quite everything that I wanted! This is just my take on the things that I did.)

Word to the wise: I walked into a shop to ask about some statues they had and ultimately got distracted by some of the brochures for excursions the owner had on display. I walked out without a statue, but with 3 bookings for 3 different excursions for under $85 USD total. You would think that you get a better price when you book a tour directly with the company–not the case here. Some of the excursions had their price listed as $45 USD on the brochure but by booking it through a counter when in Bali, it was ~$27USD. I’d think you could negotiate the price even more if you have a group interested in purchasing tickets. Tip: Have an idea of what you want to do/where you want to go/how much it is online, find a ticket counter when you get to your destination and work out pricing at that point. When I talked to people in the same group on the excursions I went on, I found that I paid about the same or less than they did.

Venezia Day Spa – A trip to Bali isn’t complete without a spa treatment, or six in my case (in my defense, they were split up between two visits). This place was recommended to me by friends as a good place to get treatments for really cheap. We’re talking $30 USD/390k IDR for 4 hours at the spa (an hour body massage, an hour body scrub/bath, an hour facial, and a hair conditioning treatment with head and arm massage). It was so lovely, that I went back a second time for a Four Hand massage (two people massaging you at the same time–loved it!) and another hair cream treatment. There are so many places to choose from in Bali that you can’t really go wrong, just check reviews/the facilities before you agree to make sure it meets your standards. If not, go down the street and there are more spas to try.  Continue reading

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