I know its a big cliche i’m a 47 year old female and my youngest is 17, so its time to break free and quit my life for one month off in Bali. I’m blessed to have the money to do so, time off work and enough crazy wanderlust spirit to go for it. So the one month off, sole female traveler with no plans arrives in Bali. Well actually i do have plans, in order to pluck up courage i book one month air b&b home stay in Ubud, the centre of personal growth and all things spiritual, thinking this will be my home and i can come and go on short trips off to temples, the beach and whenever the compass points. Great plan, and to be fair this kind of security did get me here but on arrival i discover two things.
Firstly i’m not in love with Ubud, to my post 24 hrs journey nervous system its like crazy moped hell, with over priced yoga and matcha latte, and i just left my home town of Glastonbury, UK which is full of less overpriced yoga and less over priced matcha latte. However i did go and pay my respects to Pura Taman Saraswati Temple in downtown Ubud, a stunning water temple set with pink lotus flower filled ponds. The Hindu creator goddess Saraswati is the wife of Brahma, and only went and helped him create the universe. A wife who deserves nothing less than pink lotus flowers by way of honoring and acknowledgement.
Secondly i choose a basic Balinese home stay with traditional Balinese mattress. Air b&b describes “Bata Bata is quirky traditional styled guesthouse, built with bricks and wood as its main materials. We use traditional beds and pillows with ‘kapuk’ filling, cotton-like fluff from a tropical tree named Ceiba pentandra. Please note that as it is natural, traditionally handmade by Balinese local mattress artisan and is filled with ‘kapuk’, it feels rather harder than synthetic mattress. This kind of bedding is very good for healthier back”. So i feel really gung-ho, wild-and-free and au-naturel when i’m booking this homestay, only to arrive and discover i am like the princess and the pea and i cannot sleep on this bed AT ALL. So after two nights, a broken back, and buckets of tears i face up to it. I’m a beginner and i got it all wrong.
During my two days in Ubud i also sprain my ankle, get bitten by the puppy (quite painfully) every time i leave my cabin and eaten by mosquitoes due to the very pretty but really impractical open roofed shower. My inner child is desperate, lost and broken and i realise we are going to need to do this trip together and i am just not really the wild wolf woman “la loba” of my fantasies but rather a very domesticated 47 year old once princess now queen and i’m gonna need a bit of comfort and peace.
I can laugh now, as i’m sitting in my gorgeous room at the most lovely Kailash guest house’, a half hour outside of Ubud near the Tegenungan Waterfalls. Booked last minute on booking.com i’m here for only a fraction more of the price per night than downtown. About that – i made a mistake, i booked for a month, i’m pleading with air b&b for a refund, besides there was also no lock on the door to the cabin, no hot tub as advertised, no bedding and a crazy air conditioning unit. The lovely host was gorgeous and understood it wasn’t for me and agreed to a refund, saying the room will re-book straight away, but she has to wait for air b&b to approve this apparently. I really could do with that refund don’t get me wrong but i knew i couldn’t stay there. I didn’t feel safe, i know this whole trip is so far out of my safety zone that its off the map but i also know i need to feel safe, held, loved and heard. So i let myself off the hook and trust that all will be well.
So now for the good bit, i landed on my feet. Kailash guest house has maybe 12 rooms, 2 very small pools, and it is a beautiful Balinese architecture show piece built around the family house. It even has its own temple just off the courtyard. Its so peaceful and the bed is so comfortable, i slept like a wee small baby.
There are dogs that live here, but not the biting types, just the cutest dogs you could ever meet. There is Mollie the pug, Miko and Kimi the blonde pekinese, and Houki and Keeku the adorabe cross-breeds who have been rescued by tourists.
So i’m resting, arriving, breathing, stretching, getting over the guilt, giving myself what i need (that feels strange) and getting wet! Did i say it was the rainy season? Well tropical rain is just intense, it feels so wrong to an English person, like the roof is going to come in. Last night there was a dramatic storm, and i’m not only scared of biting dogs, unlocked doors at night in city’s, but also lighting. So i was so pleased to be at Kailash with the dogs and good company of fellow guests that were also loving the family feel. On the subject of tropical rain, well there’s a whole new level to getting wet, when i arrived at Tegenungan Falls today i just jumped straight into the natural spring water bath in the rocks on the way down as i was already soaked to the skin. Note to self – buy umbrella. BUT ITS WARM RAIN. Not that sideways freezing cold rain i’m so familiar with.