In an age where digital landscapes are what matter, we found a place that got us to put our phones down 50 percent of the time. It just as liberating as my long no-bra-days to follow as I trekked in the heat of Bali. *Insert worshipping hands emoji here*
The first time we flew into this tiny Indonesian island about a year ago, I was blown away. The second time, I was speechless. Uluwatu’s water left me in awe. But Ubud’s forest and greeneries and deep culture had me wooed into this climactic healing of some sort. I felt renewed. Ubud has quietly overachieved every expectation an instagrammable trip had to offer. Though ironically, she really knows how to make you put your phone away just as well as I found myself mingling with the sensory experiences that its jungle had to offer.
With open arms, Kamandalu welcomed us. I can’t even begin to explain the intensity of what Indonesian hospitality is like. So here are photos to somewhat leave some mystery to it.
But it’s not Kamandalu’s infinity pools reaching into the heart of the jungle that enchanted my experience (though it did play a huge role), nor is it the outdoor forest spa that made me feel one with nature. It was their team’s warm hospitality that earned my love.
Ubud grabs your senses like no other. She is selfish in ways of attention. She seeks you in every form, almost like a lover.
From corners filled with carefully handcrafted woven baskets overflowing with floral offerings, to colorful marketplaces bustling with every produce you can possibly imagine. All fresh to death. She leaves you realizing how far away from home you are yet leaves you with an overwhelming feeling like you never left.
No fumes, no noise. Just Mother Earth speaking through of nature coming to life. Forces so strong that you can’t help but tuck your phone away, sit at the edge and with such sweet surrender to just let go.
Along the way, we stopped by to visit our friends at John Hardy. The best thing about the Factory visit wasn’t the exclusive, luxe, private tour the head of public relations enchanted us with, that made us feel like part of the John Hardy family. It was the modesty and kindness they left us with, throughout the experience. I have never seen a family of almost 500, work together in unison to create one of a kind handmade pieces with so much love, passion and smiles (lots of smiles).
Their factory is nothing like the ones you’re most likely imagining in your head. Everything is grown in-house, there are no hierarchies. Everyone plants, cooks, cleans and works together. If I hadn’t known any better, I would think this was an “eat, pray, love” retreat getaway.
Part of our trek was to visit Escape Nomad where we were welcomed by traditional Balinese dancers. Escape Nomad believes that you should be able to connect with your surroundings while living. That nothing should separate you from nature and it’s kindness.
We enjoyed afternoon tea along the Ayung river whilst experiencing foot washing and a healing massage as well. Living a life with no walls while being so used to getting boxed in was unshackling.
The humility we can learn from other cultures, only if we immersed ourselves into them more often than not, would change us a great deal as individuals, and even better: As a nation. America has yet to learn a good bit from these wall-less parts of the world just as I have left Bali learning to reduce these digitals walls that our generation has been caged in.
On a side note: I get asked a lot on how I find the time to enjoy my trips while managing to cover as much content for the brands as possible. The truth is, if you incorporate the brands and embed them into your every lifestyle, the rest will follow. Delving more into a 101 class on this very soon.