Last weekend we received our official Welcome Ceremony at the Narara Eco Village, an hour north of Sydney. A long time has passed since I have written regularly, partially due to more time spend turning inwards, partially due to lots of yoga teaching, retreats and workshops which – together with the homeschooling of my three, a sailing boat to loath and love, freelance writing commitment and, yes, believe it or not, time to meditate and dance – left my blogging tank empty.
Right now, however, I’m feeling a new wave of sharing enthusiasm as the sangha, my community, whether in yoga, at the Village, amongst fellow sailors and far out into this world with you, is after all something that gives me energy and joy. As such, let me share the beautiful poem we were welcomed with at Narara as we walked through the welcoming spiral. I hope it makes your heart beat faster, just like it did with mine.
Namaste, soul greetings – Dini.
Another beautiful interview, this time with the amazing Shevonne Hunt from Kinderling Radio in Sydney. She’s found her passion and when it comes to her interviews and podcasts, you know Shevonne’s found her Dharma, her path in life, as not only her eyes, but every cell of her body sparkles. Encounters like that make me happy. Thanks Shevonne and everyone else, enjoy the short and sweet 10 minute interview.
Most of you will know that one way I substitute our no-roots travelling life is by writing articles. I’ve always loved writing and had my first gig when I was 14, writing for the local newspaper’s youth page. I’m happy to say that I am writing for a dwindling number of ‘real’ (as opposed to online) magazines as when it comes to reading I’m rather old-fashioned and like to feel the paper in my hands.
Most of my most recent articles on sailing, travelling, destinations, parenting and more you can find a copy of on our Media Page, but here’s one I wanted to outline as it’s something I wish I had read before we went sailing – as published in the recent edition of Australia’s Cruising Helmsmen: Little things which make a big difference on a boat and how to not spend a fortune on them… Enjoy the read. Comments welcome – especially if you can add to the list and/or have experienced any of the recommended products.
Ubud, Bali’s cultural heart, if full of a flabbergasting array of places to eat, pray and love;) But it’s also full of tourist traps and robbers. Hopefully the list below of some of our favourite places will help you cherish the former and avoid the latter. On that, our #1 tip must be, BE VERY WARY OF CREDIT AND DEBIT CARD SKIMMING. It’s happened to us, on top of our villa’s cleaner stealing cash stashed away in a bag for the journey back home.
- Don’t ever let any waiter or other wander of with your card.
- Ask around for skim-save(er) ATMs applying common sense precaution when you withdraw money. Look for an ATM with security camera.
- You can buy a card device that protect your card from skimming. Investigate (then let us know!).
- Get an insurance, for when the shit hits the fan. We were lucky and got all of the over 500 A$ which were stolen back from our bank.
Now that the dirty linen is out of the way, let’s talk about all the good stuff. FYI, our kids were aged 0, 3 and 5 when we were in Bali.
Our favourite places to eat
Dragonfly – on the way to Sari Organic Farm this oasis of peace and tranquillity is all vegan, conscious, well thought through and simply gorgeous. There are also huts to stay, a pool and spa and yoga shala for retreats. One of the best vegan places I’ve eaten at.
Swasti Eco Village – a beautiful hippies haven tucked away behind the hustle and bustle of Ubud’s centre. Delicious raw cakes and a wonderful conscious kitchen sourced right from the little farm on the grounds. Rooms and villas to stay in also available, as well as two open air yoga spaces, pool and gardens. We loved hanging here and once were even lucky enough to catch a traditional Balinese dance performance which a resident yoga retreat had organised.
Cafe Vespa – best chai (apart from my own) in the world, ok raw cakes, though totally expat but good vibes. Fusion of a bit of everything, all made with love and conscious thought. Coffee is great and coffee art at times impressive. If your budget drops to local level (like our’s did after a few days indulgence only) right around the corner is …
TJ’s Warung which serves delicious, local dishes at 1/4 of the price. A word of caution on the little veggie shop opposite, it totally screwed us over, charging 10 times the usual price and only putting half of the produce we paid for in the bags.
Moksa – this came strongly recommended by a friend. Once again, vegan fusion, sourced from own gardens. Amazing presentation, but personally we found it slightly over-prised under under-tasty, but I left feeling we should have given it another try.
Yellow Flower Cafe – Tucked away little oasis spot past Intuitive Yoga Flow Yoga. Perfect stop for ok priced, food prepared with love.
Our favourite walks
Rice paddie walk to Sari Organic – the tiny farm itself we found slightly over-marketed, but the walk is easy to access from the entrance to Ubud’s main street, beautiful and has many great value-places of all kinds on the way to stop, including my highly recommendable Vedic Astrologer, and our favourite tiny, low key Cafe right next door. In the latter, an old Balinese guy makes the most freshly pressed delicious Coocnut Oil your skin and taste buds will ever have felt and tasted. Dragonfly Village, the resort and vegan restaurant mentioned above, is also on this strip.
Campuhan Ridge Walk – quite a bit longer and less cruisy than the other one, yet also much less full-on than we expected. And we did it on a hot day with three under 5s! Once you are past the water-temple, the ridge part of the walk is breath-taking jungle like. Then about half an hour later you get back into art-vendor and Cafe zone but much more chilled out than in Ubud’s centre. Stop for a juice, fresh coconut or lunch. Easy to spend half a day.
Our favourite places to visit
Saraswati Water Temple – beautiful beyond words. Not massive, but the (for us much less impressive) royal palace of Ubud, as well as the famous arts museum Puri Lukisan are right next door to make it a full morning, or even a day if you add a few Cafes, ponders and wanders in between.
Monkey Forest – although it’s commercial and touristy, those little fellows are just the cutest. If you apply common sense, you’ll be safe of bites too.
Danau Beratan Water Temple – one-of-its kind scenery water temple an hour and a bit north of Ubud.
Tegenungan Waterfall – a hop away from Ubud and, although once again touristy, the natural beauty and display of Mother Nature’s force is simply breath-taking (the walk past choppa-block parkings and hassling tourist traps not so much).
Museo Blanco – a fascinating journey on a Spanish artist’s intriguing path into Bali’s heart.
Here we are again in the Blue Mountains. It was meant to be a weekend on the South Coast until a severe weather warning had it otherwise. Despite my disappointment of missing out on Seven Miles Beach it almost made me smile. Going with the weather and having everything changed around last minute just as you think you got it all… that’s the reality of cruising.
Now although I appreciate Sydney in general and Bondi in particular – with all its beauty and all its flaws – there’s something to say about a change of scenery. The air is fresher, everything more relaxed, no to-dos to attend to, no classes to teach (as much as I love them, a break is nice). Pure family time. The days seem longer. Patience more stretched. The rushing stops. Pretending doesn’t exist. The “g’days” are more real. Everyone smiles. The sun shines brighter despite the rain.
Is it Bondi’s cat-walk vibe, where everything seems to have to be perfect all the time? Where letting go is not an option? Where yoga slogans are mostly pure feel-good empty words? And where people are constantly chasing the latest diet, fashion and property deal hoping for a happier them ‘when’… Or is it no matter where, my brain gets tired and my heart aching for constant change. Not wanting to belong? Not able to belong? Or simply longing to be a stranger, always?
I do admit to the fringe benefit of being able to walk away, not having to confront other people’s shit over and over again. But still, that is not the reason I am a voyager. There is more to it. Like Moana’s longing for the sea, so the ocean calls me, too, to maybe one day find my own Te Ka. To maybe one day save the world in my own little way. Or for the very least to spend my life trying. That, I know I have to do. I will perish long before I die if I stay still, finding comfort in the easiness of settled life. My life is not meant to be a short-cut. It’s the ‘long-cut’ as one of my kids calls it. It’s the harder way. The more beautiful way. The path where challenges force you to grow. Always. It’s the path of my heart and I feel that whilst I’m not following it, I’m already half dead.
From the still content of yet another cosy living room – a short-cut for a little while, until my crew is ready to take the long-cut with me again. And in that, honouring, integrating and living the yogic notion of ‘santosha’, contentment. Contentment in where and how we are right now. Nothing could be more perfect – in this short-cut on my long-cut journey through life and this world. Both or either so fragile and short-lived.
Fair winds fellow sailors. My heart is always with you. I miss my family out there. You who know, know who you are.
With prema, Dini