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Bali

Four Places to Practice Mindfulness in Bali

Four Places to Practice Mindfulness in Bali

MOUNT BATUR 

MOUNT BATUR 

Bali is the Island of the Gods. There is no doubt about it, this is their home on earth.

The first time I learned about Bali was when I read Elizabeth Gilbert’s “Eat, Pray, Love. “ Cliché as it is, I became obsessed with the allure of Bali. I knew I had to make it here. It took me more than a decade.

Once my ticket was booked, I romanticized ideas of what my time in Bali would be like. Mind-altering yoga. Beauty at every turn. More love.

I had no idea what I was in for. The people were among the most harmonious I had ever met. The food tasted alive. The scenery looked straight out of a dream. The air hot, but fresh. What captured me was the way people lived, providing offerings to the gods multiple times of day. It made me stop to realize that nothing is more important in life than honoring the universe, the greater being that provides life to you. It was on the second day where I realized that Bali was also the home of mindfulness.

Here are four locations to practice being mindful in Bali.  

JATILUWIH RICE TERRACES: A WALK WITH THE GODS

JATILUWIH RICE TERRACES: A WALK WITH THE GODS

 

Jatiluwih Rice Terraces

A UNESCO World Heritage site, and a little far off the beaten path, Jatiluwih Rice Terraces reach as far as the eye can see. I was captivated driving through the paddies and humbled as I walked the paths. There was a pulse in the land. I felt as if the gods were walking beside me. If I was quiet enough I could hear a soft hum, like a mother calling her children home. I felt the spirits dance around me.

Travel hack: the journey is a little far so make sure you give yourself at least an hour before heading to Tanah Lot for sunset.

TANAH LOT- THE TEMPLE IN THE SEA

TANAH LOT- THE TEMPLE IN THE SEA

 

Tanah Lot

Among the most iconic temple in Bali, Tanah Lot is the Temple in the sea. As I walked around the bend, the temple came into view, and my breath was instantly taken away. Separated by the sea, I walked to the edge of the rocks. As the water crashed around me, I now understood why this temple was built for the God of the Sea. Even though non-Balinese people are not allowed to enter the Temple during low tide, I only needed to stand in its presence to feel the blessings of prosperity it can offer.

Travel hack: The grounds can get quite crowded so come early for the temple and stay later for sunset. A little harder to find quiet but the views are not to be missed.

SEBATU - SACRED WATERS TO PURIFY THE SOUL

SEBATU - SACRED WATERS TO PURIFY THE SOUL

 

Gunung Kawi Sebatu Temple, Tegallalang, Gianyar

The next stop was the Gunung Kawi Sebatu Temple, one of the least visited temples in Bali. The waters are believed to be sacred and cannot be touched by human hands unless permitted by the high priest, and after one has bestowed offerings to the gods. Staring at the statue of Sarasvati, in the water gave me chills. (Sarasvati is the the Hindu goddess of knowledge, art, and wisdom. A guide next to me told his group that he wishes to be re-born as a fish in the scared waters. His idea of what the best possible vision of his next life could be took me by surprise.  But the more I stared into the water, the clearer it became to me. It wasn’t the life of a fish he aimed for; the honor of living in these waters could only be bestowed upon the best among us. Maybe that is what the concept of the after-life is: honor.

Travel hack: you need to wear a sarong in order to enter and can save a couple dollars by borrowing the sarong from the Temple. If you bring an offering you may be blessed in the scared waters.

MOUNT BATUR AT SUNRISE

MOUNT BATUR AT SUNRISE

 

Mount Batur

The moment that made me feel the essence of mindfulness was climbing up Mount Batur with my Under30Experiences group to watch the sunrise. It was the hardest thing I have ever physically done by far. Reaching the top was an internal spiritual awakening; I proved to myself that I am strong enough to do anything I am asked to do. The reward? It was as if the gods had gifted the sky to me that morning.

Travel hack: You will want to start your hike by 4 am. You can’t hike up without a guide and make sure you have a flashlight. The top of the summit gets cold so ensure you have on pants and at least one warm layer and enjoy a cup of warm tea at the top too.

These experiences all provided me with a sense of mindfulness, of connectedness, one of peace. Throughout my 20’s I struggled with the concept of God, of religion, of there being something greater than myself out there. But here in Bali, there is no question that the gods live among us, that we are connected to the land and the spirits, and that all we need is to surrender ourselves to see it.

MALA BEADS

MALA BEADS

 

This week I custom made some mala beads for myself, complete with rose quartz as a reminder to always lead with love. I will wear my mala beads with the utmost reverence, a reminder to continue to stay connected and remain mindful.

This piece was written by Travel Expert, Jennifer DeSimone.  Reach out to Jennifer via Facebook or via email at Jennifer@theartofintentions.com

Why Partner Travel is the Next Big Thing

Why Partner Travel is the Next Big Thing

I lived the single girl dream. I had studied abroad in college, lived in various cities, and traveled on my own. I was – and still am – a HUGE proponent of single girl travel. With the world becoming more connected and easier to travel with apps and wifi almost everywhere, there’s no reason why anyone should deny themselves the gift of solo travel.

But all that changed when in December 2013, while traveling with Under30Experiences in Nicaragua, I met my now husband.  Falling in love with another traveler awarded us the opportunity to build our travel lifestyle together. In addition to various one off trips, we’ve lived in Costa Rica, got married in Nicaragua, and are now backpacking our way across Southeast Asia.

To say traveling with your partner is the best thing in the world is an understatement. Here are five reasons why:

1. Breaking Comfort Zones: It’s no secret that travel of any sorts pushes you outside of your comfort zone. But traveling with a partner brings it to a whole new level. When you travel with your partner, you find that you are willing to take steps outside your comfort zone that you may not have been able to do alone. Knowing you’re going to be caught no matter what and celebrating together after one of you conquers a fear? Priceless.

OVERCOMING MY FEAR OF ZIP LINING IN COSTA RICA

OVERCOMING MY FEAR OF ZIP LINING IN COSTA RICA

 

2. Experiencing Moments: Watching the sun set over the Indian Ocean with my husband is one of the most special memories I hold in my heart. Traveling with your partner provides you with experiences you otherwise would never have. You are sharing moments that you simply can’t describe to others, that you two alone own. You understand the impact on the other person without ever having to express one word. 

RICH IN EXPERIENCES - WATCHING THE SUN SET IN BALI 

RICH IN EXPERIENCES - WATCHING THE SUN SET IN BALI 

 

3. Learning About Each Other’s (Not so Wonderful) Qualities: Traveling with a partner teaches you more about one another than just living together does. My husband has learned that I require plans and will read 100 reviews before I settle on something and I have learned that he is content just going with flow. This spills over into other aspects of our relationship. When dealing with differences on the road, you have to face them – together. You only have each other so if you’re mad or annoyed, you better get over it fast. 

 

4. Creating Space Together: Traveling is exhausting – mentally, emotionally, and physically. As such, it’s important for travelers to create space for the mind, body, and spirit to decompress and rest. While we may be sharing a small AirBnb room, giving each other the space we both need to read, write, exercise, and rest is critical to ensure the long stretches on the road. Being able to selflessly give that space to your partner is truly a life skill.

GLACIER HIKING IN ICELAND

GLACIER HIKING IN ICELAND

 

5. Being Home is a State of Mind: Traveling with your parents makes you realize what’s important from the start. For us its actively listening, encouragement, giving each other the space to grow, patience, and always coming from a place of love. It’s the foundation of everything we do. It doesn’t matter if we are traveling or spending a week at home base; home is a state of being with the one you love.

Are you and your partner living a travel lifestyle or are thinking about traveling soon? I’d love to hear your perspective about partner travel.

HOME IS WHERE YOU MAKE IT - RANCHO MARGOT, COSTA RICA

HOME IS WHERE YOU MAKE IT - RANCHO MARGOT, COSTA RICA

 

This piece was written by Travel Expert, Jennifer DeSimone.  Reach out to Jennifer via Facebook or via email at Jennifer@theartofintentions