How-to: plan a balanced Bali holiday
Before we booked our recent trip to Bali, AJ and I were discussing how exactly we wanted to travel, and what our next holiday would look like.
I told him that I did — I truly loved being cooped up in a caravan with him, travelling down the Great Ocean Road in the middle of winter.
But now, I said, it’s time to actually relax.
I knew I needed a break. I needed to come back from a holiday feeling more rejuvenated than when I left. And because on previous trips I’d either worked, or absolutely filled my schedule with activities, I knew something needed to change about the way I planned such a trip.
If you’re reading this, I’m assuming you are, or you have been, in the same position. In any case, this is exactly how we executed a balanced holiday in Bali.
To offer some context, I was determined to create a lifestyle while I was there. To mix an abundance of exploration, with nothingness, with every honest way I love to spend my time.
If it were my own holistic lifestyle retreat, I would have highlighted the following pillars: wellness, fitness and adventure.
Let’s start with the most important element of all.
Bali is the perfect holiday destination, if you’re looking to indulge in wellness practices like yoga, spa treatments, and essentially anything therapeutic, mindfulness or beauty-related.
But we’ll get to that. First thing’s first, my ability to relax started with where I was staying. After being so committed to work, business and blog growth in 2019, I had absolutely no hesitations about treating myself this trip. It hadn’t happened in a long time.
As mentioned in my previous post, I selected Villa Gembira through Villa Finder (photographed above) for the greater part of my stay. Complete with a poolside balé and an indoor/outdoor living area, it was impossible not to be charmed by this villa.
For two reasons, I made it a mission to actually spend time there. It was unlike anywhere I’d ever stayed. It only made sense to maximise it. What’s more, I was intent on avoiding the same mistake I always seem to make on holiday.
I book a stunning hotel, just to spend every minute outside of it. This time, I wanted to be okay with staying home. I wanted to learn that I didn’t always need to be somewhere.
And what better place to embrace this lesson than in the heart of Villa Gembira, the most welcoming home of all.
It was here where we delighted in breakfast every morning. We dipped in the pool a countless number of times. We lay in the sun, we laughed on the couch, we took multiple outdoor showers. I found myself more mindful, more present and more calm than I’d felt in months. I couldn’t have asked for a better destination than Villa Gembira to facilitate the feeling.
This was only the beginning.
We used slow days at the villa to peruse Villa Finder’s Sesame guidebook, a compilation of Balinese hotspots. We took our pick of some of the most recommended wellness destinations in the local vicinity. To name a few of our top experiences: a couples’ facial and massage at Terra spa, and later, the signature massage treatment at Body Temple Spa.
AJ and I left both treatments feeling like different humans. Thank goodness we’d organised transport home through Villa Finder’s concierge service (all included in our booking). There was no way that our drowsy, stress-free bodies were taking on anything. Not even the mere task of walking.
Back in Melbourne, it’s extremely expensive to undergo wellness treatments on a regular basis. It can be hard to justify in your own head, when and why you deserve one.
In a beautiful destination like Bali, where you’ve travelled quite exclusively for rejuvenation purposes, you’ll find every reason under the sun. With Villa Finder’s unique discounts and offers, you’ll find even more.
Just say the word (or in this case, say two: Villa Finder, followed by your villa booking number).
Not only will fitness solidify itself as part of my career this year, I train most days every week for the sake of my physical and mental health.
Over the past year or so, I’ve worked towards a level of fitness that I’ve never attained before, and also, that I hope to maintain for as long as I can. If there’s one thing I can vouch: I will live to see my body reach it’s true potential. I’ve absolutely loved the journey so far, and I’m quite sure there’s much of it left to go.
These days, I feel out of sorts if I don’t move my body. It feels like there’s something missing. I don’t have the same energy, the same positivity, and the same connection with myself. For these reasons, it felt really important that I find a way to carry across my active lifestyle to Bali.
Prior to this holiday, I’d relied on movement like walking and running to maintain my fitness abroad. This time, I wanted to do it differently. I desired to create a routine. To live as if Bali were my home for the next two weeks.
I sought out several different fitness destinations. This way, I would discover how another part of the world translates it. I would find myself immersed within a like-minded community, despite being far from home.
I couldn’t be more glad with my decision. It was a great way to maintain routine, to re-inspire my passion for learning and growing in fitness. And also, to discover new destinations that I’ll return to during my next visit.
A few of my favourites included: F45 Training Seminyak, Wanderlust Fitness Canggu and Kompact Fitness (also in Seminyak).
I can now confirm: if I lived in Bali, I would indeed hit a 6am gym session at one of these venues. I’d awaken alongside the sun, the stalls and a sea of scooters. I’d run home and I’d jump straight in the pool. I’d sit down for a slow breakfast, before finally announcing the beginning of a new day.
My ideal morning looks much the same, whether I’m on holiday or back at home. Moving my body is an integral part of this gratitude practice.
Trying new classes, meeting new people, pushing myself in a new climate. And even, experimenting with additions, like a cool morning swim. All these things made me reflect on how I could enhance my daily habits back home.
Up-keeping my fitness aided my return to Melbourne in many ways. A stint of Bali belly aside, I had no reason to fall massively off track. I didn’t lose the progress I’d long worked hard for.
By the time I came home, I was ready and I was determined. I’d discovered a new-found appreciation and mindset around movement.
Of course, you can’t possibly go to a destination like Bali, and remain in the bounds of your villa (as easy as that could be at Villa Gembira). Much as we wanted to minimise day trips (in order to avoid a busy schedule), we did plan just a few. These were equally important to fulfilling a holistic getaway.
I have Bali Fredy to thank for opening our eyes beyond Seminyak and Canggu — to the Bali that lies beyond. We ventured through Ubud, passing by the Tegenungan Waterfall. It was a cooler day, the water was freezing, but when in Bali, right? We dove right in.
I could have spent hours more at the Monkey Forest, watching the way they climbed all over each other. Sprawling from branch to trunk to ground, and all over again. I love how they navigate life. I resonate with the way they eat food (all. day. long.).
I was glad to take the time out of my day, to observe how another creature lives theirs. Moments like this remind us that the world is far bigger than you and me. That we do share it with so many powerful beings. We ought to respect and cherish the space we each occupy.
Now, I must admit floating breakfast at Tanah Gajah reinforced little but the notion that anything in water is more fun. All other adventurous activities went slightly further: they gave me new-found perspective on life and the things that bring me concern or worry back home.
When I returned to Villa Gembira, I had a lot to reflect on. And when I finally returned home, I had so much to apply. Confirmation of the way I love to spend my time. Recognition for ways I could do so far better.
I landed in Melbourne, feeling well-rested and re-inspired. For once, I was not so far removed from routine, that I’d spend weeks trying to find it. In fact, I was just close enough that I could make changes before I did.
If like me, you care about maximising your everyday as much as your getaway, why not take a balanced approach to your next Bali visit? I can guarantee, you’ll feel just as primed as I was for kick-starting a new chapter. Hello 2020, I’m finally ready for you.
*This post was created in affiliation with Villa Finder.*