We just finished our second annual 10 day Bali Bliss Adventure! With one year under our belts our adventure this time around was smooth and cruisey. Bali is a truly magical and charged island, even in all of its hustle and bustle. Spirit and the sacred, peaceful and the serene, are all woven into aspects of everyday life on the island. The Baliense people have consistently offered us the warmest and most sincere welcome. We are truly grateful for the gift to travel and experience, to connect and share across cultures and oceans. What an opportunity for growth and perspective. Thank you Bali for all the lessons you have gracefully shared~
We had a beautiful crew on this adventure. Eight intrepid travellers, including our first ever Instagram contest winner! By sharing her dedicated yoga practice with us, Maria won the grand prize of our Instagram competition, a discounted Bali trip! Maria joined us on the adventure which was also her first solo trip and travelling yoga retreat! Ya Maria!
*** Check out our Instagram page @papayagals_ for more contests, photos and good time vibes in 2016***
The rest of the crew included Danielle and Sarah, return guests of Papaya Wellness. Sarah recently quit her job and was in that beautiful, open hearted place of being at the start of a travel adventure. Danielle took a well deserved break from her fast paced New York City life and job, making time to relax and reconnect with herself! Catherine and Gui also joined us from New York. Thank you Gui, for your patience and good nature, hanging with all of us chicas for the week! Thank you Catherine for your commitment to a balanced state of health and wellness, your energy was contagious! We had another New Yorker in our mix, Sofia. Sofia is a talented photographer and all around stylie chica, whom we met a few years ago on a retreat in Nicaragua. Rounding out the crew were Maddy and Lisa. Maddy is a fierce and hilarious Canadian chica, who was determined to conquer the waves. Lisa from Santa Barbara was already a rock star in the surf, and blessed us with her good vibes and easy going nature!
Thank you again amigos!!!!!
We started our adventure on Bali’s beautiful and serene north-west coast. We spent our first seven nights in a sleepy fishing village, Balian (which means a sacred river). We were hosted by Shankari, a gorgeous Balienese style retreat centre set in the hills, a short jungle walk down to the ocean. This was our second year visiting Balian and for good reason! The place has the feel of an un-chartered gem, still sparkling quietly on an otherwise busy coastline. The wave in Balian offers optimal conditions for learning how to surf and the overall vibes are cool and relaxed. The natural beauty and slow pace were the perfect environment for us to unwind and let go. The whole crew improved heaps on their surfing, fully got into the island lifestyle and drank their weight in fresh coconuts!
We got into jungle living and made friends with jungle creatures! Frogs in the sink anyone? Only in the tropics... On our first night we were blown away by an incredible Balienese welcome dance performed by local students. Baliense style of dance is unique and extremely precise. The levels of movement are layered and subtle. The dancers tell their stories by using hundreds of mudras (hand and finger positions), facial expressions, foot positions, and even choreographed eye movements. Watching these young students perform this ancient and beautiful tradition was a true gift and a warm welcome to their beautiful island!
And... the blessings continued! The following day the Shankari staff brought us to their local Crocodile Water Temple for a water blessing ceremony. We drove into the jungle on a narrow and winding road ending at a clearing nestled in the hills beside a river. A few small alters spread across the clearing and a beautiful natural spring trickled from the side of the mountain. We sat in peace with the sun shining on us through the space between the leafy trees that danced above our heads. In this peaceful space we listened to a traditional Hindu prayer for purification. After the prayer each one of us stood up and the local priestess blessed us with sacred spring water on our heads and bodies. We left feeling connected, refreshed and renewed. The ritual of mindfulness and devotion is so strong and tangible in any act or form. That intention and spirit transcends all language and cultural barriers and leaves all with a renewed sense of peace.
We surfed daily, and dove in deep with twice daily yoga practices in various traditions. We even practiced some yoga under the tallest waterfall in Bali, found on the northern most point of the island, where the climate and flora seemed more like northern California than a tropical island. A nice respite from the heat of the coast!
For our final three nights on the island we headed over to the cultural center of the island, Ubud. We stayed in a private villa with a pool and unique art on every wall. We had the most amazing host Ketut, our cook, entertainer, driver and so much more. We were further blessed in Ubud by the presence of the wise and wonderful Michelle Baker, who walked us through a contemplative Full Moon Ceremony on our first evening. Check out all of Michelle's adventures and insights here: http://www.michellebakerwellness.com
We visited a local coffee farm where we tried out amazing tea and coffee concoctions with a local flare (aka lots of sugar). We walked through the oldest rice paddy in Bali which is an integral part of the Balinese culture and history. We luxuriated in Ubud's many spas and bartered for deals in the colourful and exotic markets. During the national celebration for goddess Saraswati we visited another holy water temple, where we did not get in the water but marvelled as hundreds of locals lined up in procession to be blessed.
We will always treasure the moments, laughter and adventures shared on this trip. Ultimately, the bonds and friendships created are the biggest blessing of all! Thank you to everyone who shared in this adventure with us, and to the magical island of Bali for your ever gracious hosting!
Until next time! Namaste!