Ubud, Indonesia | Tirta Empul

All Rights ReservedMy last day in Bali was truly magical. It left me feeling inspired, connected, and overall extremely grateful for moments that fill my soul. I was staying at The Onion Collective in Ubud and the host Mark offered to take me on an adventure on my last day. How could I refuse? I had no idea where we were going, only that we were getting there by scooter. Here we go! Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetOur first stop is the Bumi Sehat Birthing Center. An amazing foundation providing women with access to quality, loving care. The following is taken from their website: At our Bumi Sehat clinics you will find a blend of allopathic and holistic medicine, which effectively reduces suffering. Research has proven that our children’s first classroom is the womb. Each baby’s capacity to love and trust is built at birth and in the first two hours of life. By protecting pregnancy, birth, postpartum and breastfeeding, we are advocating for optimal humanity, health, intelligence and consciousness. Last year alone, the recorded human services provided by Bumi Sehat totaled more than 50,000.

I knew just by this first stop that Mark, though merely strangers, understood what I was about. I knew I was in for some memorable, authentic experiences. All Rights ReservedAfter a quick visit, we headed to his favorite salad spot, Alchemy. Bali's first 100% raw vegan cafe & juice bar. For a minute, I thought I was in Venice. It was delicious. TIRTA_3 All Rights ReservedAfter we were properly fueled for the day, Mark tells me we are off to a temple with holy water springs. Sign me up! On the way, we pass through several mesmerizing rice paddies and we get caught in an amazing procession in the street. My camera is loving it. The colors of tradition are beautiful.All Rights Reserved All Rights Reserved All Rights Reserved All Rights Reserved All Rights Reserved All Rights Reserved All Rights ReservedWe eventually get to the Hindu temple Tirta Empul, where people come to purify themselves in the holy water. Mark provides me with a lesson on Hindu offerings and prayer which I find beautiful in tradition and intention. You see offerings all over Bali, but it was the first time that I actually partook in an offering which had me feeling connected to the universe in a deep and profound way. You have to wear a sarong to enter the temple and I quickly felt the magic of the place. Mark looks at me and says, "Want to go in? Is there is something you want to work through?" With the gravity of what this year has granted me, I am quick to exclaim "YES!"

We both decide to go in.

You have to change into another set of sarongs and leave your belongings in a locker. I don't have any pictures of my dip because I was without a camera, and perhaps something so spiritual only needed documentation within. I slid into the water surrounded by koi fish and visited each of the 12 fountains that are fed by the sacred spring. It felt other worldly. The purity and beauty of the moment was so overwhelming that it often left me on the verge of tears. What's more is as we were finishing up, Mark and I realize that the procession we had just gotten lost in has now found their way to the temple. We had no idea they would end up here. Mark tells me I must have some special connection to this village. I felt like I was in the vortex of spiritual beauty. The temple is suddenly filled with traditional dances, music, offerings. We look at each other in awe and barely have the words to explain what is happening. "Where are we?"All Rights Reserved All Rights Reserved TIRTA_14 All Rights Reserved TIRTA_16 TIRTA_17 All Rights Reserved All Rights Reserved TIRTA_20 TIRTA_21 All Rights Reserved TIRTA_23 All Rights Reserved TIRTA_25 TIRTA_26 TIRTA_28 All Rights Reserved All Rights Reserved All Rights Reserved All Rights Reserved All Rights Reserved All Rights Reserved All Rights Reserved All Rights Reserved TIRTA_37 All Rights Reserved TIRTA_39 All Rights ReservedThere is also another pool packed with koi and cute kids...All Rights Reserved TIRTA_42 All Rights ReservedWe then see a path that leads up the hill and we make our way up the side. As we marvel at the view, an older women appears and offers us fruit that was blessed and I am feeling truly blessed at this point. She hands it to us and is on her way. It's a beautiful transaction from quite a beautiful face.TIRTA_44 All Rights Reserved TIRTA_46 All Rights Reserved All Rights Reserved TIRTA_49After all of this, I am almost dizzy with awe. We hop back on the scooter and as the day is nearing the end, I am left with powerful images that fill my heart. I couldn't think of a better way to end my stint in Indonesia. Blessed is me. All Rights Reserved All Rights Reserved All Rights Reserved All Rights Reserved All Rights ReservedThank you Mark.

UBUD, Bali | Indonesia

All Rights ReservedI'm just going to say it. I love Ubud. It's true. I'm not sure you can do anything but love it. There is a real sense of spirituality that you don't find anywhere else. It's full of artists, creativity, and spirituality. I was particularly interested in the handicrafts. While there is a large market in the center of town with several stalls, nearby streets also are chock full of amazing finds. Put on your bargaining hat.

And if you are staying in Ubud, or just visiting for the day, there are plenty of activities to fill your time. Looking for the perfect place to stay in Bali? Check out these amazing listings on Luxe Nomad. All Rights Reserved UBUD_CITY_3 UBUD_CITY_4 All Rights Reserved UBUD_CITY_6 All Rights Reserved UBUD_CITY_8 UBUD_CITY_9 UBUD_CITY_10 All Rights Reserved UBUD_CITY_12 All Rights Reserved UBUD_CITY_14 All Rights Reserved All Rights Reserved UBUD_CITY_25 All Rights Reserved UBUD_CITY_27What does after school pick up look like? There no minivans in sight. Only scooters. All Rights Reserved UBUD_CITY_17 All Rights Reserved All Rights Reserved All Rights Reserved All Rights Reserved

Dear Ubud, I can't wait to see you again.


All Rights ReservedMy stay in Ubud was incredible, in part because I was staying at The Onion Collective in their 'Love Shack.' While I was there on my own, I was romancing the self and loving every moment of it. The Onion Collective is currently comprised of 3 rooms that can be booked via airbnb. There is also a restaurant and workspace with the fastest internet I had found to date in Indonesia. Mark, the host, was fantastic, attentive, and he really caters to a creative vibe. The Love Shack as you can see below is super cute. It's a two story stone cottage meets tree house. The downstairs is the bathroom and upstairs is the bedroom and balcony. Dreamy!ONION_2 ONION_3 All Rights Reserved ONION_5 ONION_6 All Rights Reserved ONION_8The restaurant not only has tasty items on the menu, but caters to a great space should you need to hop on your laptop and get some work done. ONION_9 All Rights Reserved ONION_12 There are also certain nights with live music and other special events depending on the week. Lots of great creativity happening here!

And beyond all that, The Onion Collective is the perfect location within Ubud. It's just down the street from the famous Yoga Barn should you want to take a class, or snag a bite at the popular Taco Casa or Bebek Bengil. Also within walking distance is Monkey Forest and all the other great shops and restaurants in Ubud proper.

With a price tag of $25 USD/night for the Love Shack, you can't go wrong at The Onion Collective.All Rights Reserved Follow them on facebook and instagram (@theonionco).


All Rights ReservedAfter braving the monkey forest, it was time to do some exploring and a little bit of exercising. Insert cycle tour. The beginning of the tour started with a stop at a spice garden for a coffee and tea tasting. All signs pointed to delicious.UBUD_2 All Rights Reserved All Rights Reserved All Rights Reserved UBUD_6After sipping on some delicious refreshments, we stopped for breakfast complete with amazing view of Mount Batur which is an active volcano. It was important we get some energy in us because I had no idea we were about to embark on a such a serious mountain biking tour. 12 miles to be exact. All Rights Reserved All Rights Reserved UBUD_9 The tour started all downhill. Easy, breezy. We stopped at a local family home to experience Balinese living. UBUD_10 UBUD_11 UBUD_12 UBUD_13 Now this is where things start to get challenging. Uphill, downhill, narrow paths, gear changes etc. I was sweating like a mad woman but gladly tearing into the exercise. All Rights Reserved All Rights Reserved We stop at an area where they are cleaning up from a cremation ceremony from days past. We hike down into the mountainside where there are ancient ruins covered in earth and moss. A lovely sight.

The clean up is still smoldering as decorations are being dismantled. UBUD_16 UBUD_17 All Rights Reserved UBUD_19 All Rights Reserved UBUD_21 After a lot of gear changing, the landscape began to even out as we cycled through rice paddies. We stopped along the way to get up close and personal to those working the fields. UBUD_22 UBUD_23 All Rights Reserved UBUD_25 All Rights Reserved UBUD_27 All Rights Reserved UBUD_29 All Rights Reserved The tour ended with lunch where after having worked up a good sweat, I happily threw back another es campur dessert drink. All Rights Reserved As if the day wasn't already filled with amazing adventure and experiences, the day ended with heading over to see a live performance of the Kecak. All Rights Reserved UBUD_33 All Rights Reserved UBUD_35 All Rights Reserved All Rights Reserved All Rights Reserved All Rights Reserved

Basically this was one of the most amazing days.

UBUD, Indonesia | Monkey Forest

All Rights ReservedAs a child, I feared the Monkey Forest in Ubud. I have memories of monkeys jumping on my mom, crying out of fear that they might attack me, and nightmares that they would sink their teeth into me. So let's just say, I was a little hesitant to enter the monkey kingdom. Would they jump on me? Take my camera? Rifle through my bag? Help! Let's just say, none of those things happened. Phew. The five year old in me grew up and while I had tense moments, overall the experience had me feeling like I had conquered a childhood fear. Yes! monkeyforest_2 All Rights Reserved All Rights Reserved monkeyforest_5 All Rights Reserved All Rights Reserved All Rights Reserved monkeyforest_9 All Rights Reserved monkeyforest_11 All Rights Reserved monkeyforest_13 monkeyforest_14 All Rights Reserved monkeyforest_16 monkeyforest_17 monkeyforest_18 All Rights Reserved All Rights Reserved Now if you like monkeys all over you, bring bananas.

Bali, Indonesia | Part 1 | Tanah Lot

All Rights ReservedWhile Bali is touristy and certain tourist spots are often met with crowds, there is always still a magic quality about them when it comes to Bali. Here we visit Tanah Lot, a beautiful temple which I have visited several times as a child. Even as an adult, I am always impressed by it. Should you choose to take the stairs on the rock formation, you must wait in line and be blessed with holy water before entering. Watch out for the poisonous snakes that live at the base of the temple.All Rights Reserved All Rights ReservedAll Rights ReservedTANAHLOT_5TANAHLOT_6TANAHLOT_7All Rights ReservedTANAHLOT_9All Rights Reserved Don't forget to check out the local outdoor market at the temple entrance to find some good bargains as well as good local eats.

Speaking of local eats, what is my favorite Indonesian treat? Es Campur.

Es campur literally means ‘mixed ice' and although you may expect an ice cream cone or a sorbet, the ice in this sweet little dish stands for ice cubes. The ice cubes float in a mangkok (bowl) filled with milk, coconut shavings, avocado, nangka (jackfruit) and several kinds of jelly. All Rights ReservedAfter Tanah Lot, a drink at the W Hotel in Seminyak was the perfect ending. All Rights Reserved All Rights Reserved


The Gili Islands win for my first turtle snorkel spotting. The four of us hired a boat for a day, which took us to nearby waters around Gili Air and Gili Meno. The coral was fantastic and there was plenty of fish (plus a couple turtles) to appease the eyes. While we explored the ocean, my sister and I also explored the land. While most of the excitement is on the coast of the island, my sister and I decided to cut across the island to get to the other side instead of following the shoreline. We had a map that was of little use because the roads mapped out were near impossible to find. Instead, we found the island covered in dirt, unmarked paths. So we got lost. Happily lost. We passed through a small village, beautiful palm tree groves, and eventually found our way to the ocean again. Amazing.

GILI_17 GILI_18 GILI_19 GILI_20 All Rights Reserved All Rights Reserved GILI_23 GILI_24 All Rights Reserved All Rights Reserved GILI_27 All Rights Reserved All Rights Reserved All Rights Reserved GILI_31 All Rights Reserved All Rights Reserved All Rights Reserved All Rights Reserved All Rights Reserved All Rights Reserved All Rights Reserved We opted for the speedboat back to Bali which was a smoother ride, though the boarding process looked like this... GILI_39

Next up? The magic of Bali.

Gili Trawangan | Part 1

All Rights ReservedAfter lounging around Lombok, we headed over to Gili Trawangan. We booked a boat from a local agent in Lombok and the transportation was as follows: 1. Van to a restaurant. (Huh?)

2. Horse carriage from the restaurant to the ferry landing.

3. Local boat that was near tipping over. (See below)

Conclusion? Splurge for the speedboat.

Tip: Wear shorts and sandals as you will be likely boarding and disembarking in shallow waters.

There are no cars or motorbikes on the island, only horse carriages, so take this into consideration when booking accommodations. You will either have to walk or hail down a horse. There is a definite backpacker feel around the pier landing which makes it feel a little less authentic but with a backpacker culture usually comes a proper coffee, so in this instance, I was okay with it. However, it seems like there are way more tourists than locals. I was missing the wild, untouched nature of Lombok.

The island is small enough that you only need a few days. We rented bikes and circled the island no problem. There are several restaurants and bars right on the sand and the beaches are pretty decent for snorkeling. Also, if you are into scuba, this is your jam.

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Lombok, Indonesia | Part 2

As we continued our quest to find the perfect beach in Lombok, we got on our scooters and headed east to Tanjung Aan Beach. It was fantastic. I couldn't decide if I preferred Mawun or Tanjung Aan. They are both pretty spectacular. While the water was clear and perfect for swimming, there was also an abandoned building nearby and if you've been following the blog for awhile, you probably already know that I love beauty and decay. We spent the day brother/sister bonding with little crowds on the beach which made for a serene day. Also, as you can tell from below, we also made some friends on the beach. All Rights Reserved

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All Rights ReservedAfter Tasikmalaya, my sister and I flew to Bali to meet her boyfriend and his brother. Brother/sister adventure! We spent just a few days there before we flew to Lombok. Since we returned to Bali after some island hopping, I'm going to do all Bali posts together and dive right into Lombok. First of all, Lombok is much less developed than Bali. We stayed in the south in Kuta and I was immediately drawn to the wild feel of Lombok. It lacked the dense tourism of Bali and proved to have the most amazing beaches! What's the best way to see Lombok? Scooter of course. We rented two scooters to explore the southern beaches and survived without a scratch. Phew. Here's day 1! All Rights Reserved All Rights Reserved All Rights Reserved LOMBOK_5We headed to Mawun Beach which was about a 30 minute ride. The drive proved to be fantastic! Hilly, empty, and all together beautiful. Once arriving, we found only a few tourists on the beach and crystal clear waters. It was incredible. I walked to one end of the beach where there was a tiny fishing village and lucky me, I caught them as they were just arriving back from sea, nets full of fish.All Rights Reserved LOMBOK_8 All Rights Reserved All Rights Reserved All Rights Reserved All Rights Reserved All Rights Reserved LOMBOK_14 All Rights Reserved All Rights Reserved All Rights Reserved LOMBOK_19After spending the morning in near paradise, we went further west to check out Selong Blanak Beach. Beware, the roads to this beach are a bit more treacherous, so scooter riders beware! Though dusty and bumpy, the ride is 100% worth it.All Rights Reserved All Rights Reserved All Rights Reserved All Rights Reserved All Rights Reserved LOMBOK_25 All Rights Reserved LOMBOK_27 All Rights Reserved All Rights Reserved All Rights Reserved All Rights Reserved All Rights Reserved All Rights Reserved All Rights Reserved All Rights Reserved All Rights Reserved All Rights ReservedSo the day ended with buffalo on the beach, a sore bum from bumpy roads, and a glowing tan. Day 1 in Lombok was absolutely incredible and I couldn't wait to do a little more exploring.

Tasikmalaya | Part 3

So now you know that Tasikmalaya is colorful during the day. Well the night is just as robust with color and character. My family was feeding my sister and I until our clothes grew tight and this particular night was no exception. I started wearing the least form fitting outfits in anticipation of what felt like double the amount of meals I was used to. After eating two dinners, we headed to a street food cart that served up a delicious ginger dessert and promptly continued to stuff our faces. Why not? All Rights Reserved Tasik-night_2 All Rights Reserved Tasik-night_4 All Rights Reserved Tasik-night_6 All Rights Reserved Tasik-night_8 Tasik-night_9 All Rights ReservedTasik-night_11 All Rights Reserved All Rights Reserved All Rights Reserved Tasik-night_15 All Rights Reserved Tasik-night_17 All Rights Reserved All Rights Reserved All Rights ReservedWhat's next? Time to island hop! Lombok, Gili Islands, & Bali!

Tasikmalaya | Part 2

Sorry it's been a little quiet recently. I was island hopping with my sister with poor internet! Now I'm back in Bali solo and exploring Ubud! If you missed it, I recently did an instagram takeover for Mosey and I am currently in the middle of taking over Fathom's instagram. Follow the adventure!

Now let's get caught up!

Vising my family in Tasikmalaya was fantastic. As mentioned, Tasikmalaya is quite a a great place for photographs. There is so much life and character to take in. Below is just about the coolest 80+ year old woman who is the mother of my cousin's wife. She raised 8 kids on her own, was an entrepreneur, woman ahead of her time who drove a jeep, and my favorite part is that she still rocks jeans at 82 years old.

She took us out for lunch and I of course brought my camera along.

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Tasikmalaya, Indonesia | Part 1

All Rights ReservedAfter a few days in Jakarta, my sister joined me in Jakarta and we traveled to my dad's hometown Tasikmalaya to visit the family! It's been seven years since the last time I visited so I was eager to return!Screen Shot 2014-09-05 at 9.24.26 PMWe were both excited about seeing our family and eating our way into food comas. Which by the way, we did successfully. Tasikmalaya is full of color as well as tasty food. I'm pretty sure we both gained a few pounds as we downed what felt like about 10k meals.

TASIK_2 All Rights Reserved All Rights Reserved TASIK_5 All Rights ReservedAs I continued on my mission to take photos of my family across the world, I enjoyed shooting the following faces to add to the collection. How amazing are my aunts? Those faces!TASIK_7 All Rights Reserved TASIK_9 All Rights ReservedThe city is alive and always full of photographic moments. There are so many moments that I'm posting about Tasikmalaya over the course of several posts. The people are as bright as the colors around them and on them. All Rights Reserved All Rights Reserved TASIK_13 All Rights Reserved All Rights Reserved All Rights Reserved All Rights Reserved All Rights Reserved TASIK_19 All Rights Reserved All Rights Reserved All Rights Reserved All Rights Reserved All Rights Reserved TASIK_25 TASIK_26Did I tell you that Indonesians have the best smiles?


KOTA TUA | Jakarta, Indonesia

After exploring Petak 9 Market and chowing down on some street noodles, we headed to Kota Tua, also known as Old Jakarta. You can surely see the Dutch influence in the architecture in the area. The artist that she is, Fransisca brought me to the local post office where there is an art gallery upstairs. She tells me that art galleries are not so prominent in the area and Kota Tua is rapidly changing and pioneering the resurgence of the art community. KOTATUA_1 KOTATUA_2 All Rights Reserved All Rights Reserved All Rights ReservedAfter seeing the "new" Kota Tua, it was time to stroll around and see remnants of history. The area is full of old buildings. Some in disrepair, some in the middle of reconstruction, and all really photographically interesting. Upon seeing a building that is literally falling apart and noticing that four families share the space, Fransisca asks if we can enter to take pictures. The families welcome us in and I am again reminded of the openness and kindness of Indonesian people.

All Rights Reserved KOTATUA_8 KOTATUA_9 KOTATUA_10 All Rights Reserved KOTATUA_12 KOTATUA_13 KOTATUA_14After snapping a few photos of these beautiful people, we headed to another abandoned building that had tones of Angkor Wat. Since I am obsessed with beauty and decay, this was right up my alley.

KOTATUA_15 KOTATUA_16 KOTATUA_17 KOTATUA_18Across the way was another building that was just as impressive. Abandoned and beautiful.

All Rights Reserved KOTATUA_20 All Rights Reserved KOTATUA_22 All Rights Reserved All Rights Reserved KOTATUA_25 KOTATUA_26 All Rights Reserved All Rights Reserved All Rights Reserved All Rights ReservedAfter Kota Tua, we headed to another shopping strip called Pasar Baru where we hit up a thrift store where I scored a dress, a skirt, and a top! Yes!

When I ask Fransisca where people go to hang out, she tells me everyone goes to the mall. Apparently malls are THE place to go. I couldn't help myself. We ended the day at Grand Indonesia Mall where we ate ice cream at the Magnum Cafe that boasted a view of the city.

All Rights ReservedUpon reflecting on the day, I am so grateful for the randomness of the internet. It's only through the web that Fransisca found me and I am reminded how being open to people will grant you amazing experiences. Fransisca is a twenty-one year old wise beyond her years. I especially loved asking her cultural questions and exchanging world views. I'm leaving you with a recording where I ask her about the challenges of being a woman in Indonesia as well as what it means to be Indonesian. Take a listen. Thanks Fransisca, you are amazing!

[audio mp3="http://www.nomadic-habit.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/Sisca.mp3"][/audio]

Jakarta - Petak 9 Market

All Rights ReservedThe morning I was leaving for Jakarta I woke to an email from Fransisca Angela. She had stumbled across my interview on Need Supply and saw that I was coming to Indonesia. As a freelance photographer, she offered up her tour guide services to show me around Jakarta. I happily obliged. After viewing her website and portfolio, I knew I was in good hands. Jakarta has always been a city in passing when I've previously visited Indonesia and I really felt like I didn't know Jakarta. I was eager for the grand tour. She picks me up at 7:30am and we end up spending the entire day together. I'm splitting up the adventure into two posts because there are just too many amazing photos from the day. She said after reviewing my blog, she thought I'd love Petak 9 Market which is sort of like the Chinatown. of Jakarta. Upon arriving, I knew this was a girl after my own heart. My camera was in pure bliss. The narrow alleys were ripe with photo opportunities and lovely, lovely people.

PETANG9_2 All Rights Reserved PETANG9_4 PETANG9_5 All Rights Reserved PETANG9_7 All Rights Reserved PETANG9_9 All Rights Reserved PETANG9_11 PETANG9_12 PETANG9_13 All Rights Reserved PETANG9_15 PETANG9_16 All Rights Reserved PETANG9_18 PETANG9_19 All Rights ReservedAll Rights Reserved PETANG9_22 PETANG9_23 All Rights Reserved All Rights Reserved PETANG9_26 PETANG9_27 All Rights Reserved PETANG9_29 PETANG9_30 PETANG9_31 PETANG9_32 PETANG9_34 PETANG9_35 All Rights Reserved All Rights Reserved PETANG9_38 All Rights Reserved All Rights ReservedAll Rights Reserved All Rights Reserved PETANG9_43 PETANG9_44PETANG9_45 All Rights Reserved PETANG9_47 All Rights Reserved PETANG9_49 PETANG9_50 PETANG9_51 PETANG9_52 All Rights Reserved PETANG9_54 PETANG9_55 All Rights Reserved All Rights ReservedIt was for the first time, that I felt like I was really getting to know Jakarta and the locals. Fransisca brought me through the alleys with ease, connecting with people along the way. She took me to Bakmi Gang Kemenangan, known for the best noodles in the area and I was loving hanging out at the table with the locals. I was moved by the honesty and warm nature of the people. Having traveled extensively with camera in hand, I was more than pleased to find the people so willing and excited to have their picture taken. Petak 9 was only the first stop of the day. Just wait until you see where else we went!

Photo below by Fransisca Angela.

fransisca_mariBoy it feels good to be back on the road!