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 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