Archive for December, 2012

Living in Paradise

It’s been a few months since my last blog posting from Italy. I recently tallied my year of travels and visited 46 cities/towns in seven countries, staying in 70 different hotels/homes! So you can understand my desire to hunker down and be still for awhile.

In October, I returned to Bali to settle down at long last. My first few days back in Ubud, Bali, I looked at 20 different homes, and it was easy to select my sweet little studio. My living space is 450 square feet, with half my living area outdoors. The second story balcony includes an outdoor kitchen, dining table/desk and chairs; all overlooking a serene rice paddy field. In Southeast Asia, the hum of motorbike and car traffic is incessant. However, my house is on a quiet footpath with occasional dogs barking and the hum of insects. I fall asleep to croaking frogs and wake up to roosters crowing. And my rent is only $300/month, including housekeeping twice a week! My neighborhood is a 30-minute walk into the city center, or just a $1 moped ride from my always-available landlord. Many days pass without leaving my pedestrian-friendly neighborhood since we have a yoga studio, delicious restaurants and many of my friends live nearby. At a minimum, I travel into town for my weekly massage (90 minutes for $11!).

I’ve adopted a simple lifestyle and didn’t even have wifi my first six weeks back in Bali. My refrigerator is stocked full of fruits, vegetables and tofu, and would make my mother proud. I cook two meals a day, whereas in Seattle, I was lucky to cook one meal a week! Yoga four times a week, weekly massages, meals with friends, and only 5-10 hours a week of work. People are always asking me what I do with all my free time and I somehow manage to never be bored (okay, I have learned to be totally entertained by watching the ducks frolick in my rice paddy field).

The past few weeks, I’ve had different friends from Seattle visiting, and it’s been such a joy to share with them my small slice of Bali. We have visited beaches, temples, healers, attended ceremonies, practiced yoga and sang karaoke. They have all remarked on the special nature of Bali, and the personal transformation they have experienced during their time here. One friend related that I’m so much more open in Bali then I ever was in Seattle. And it’s true. I was very happy in Seattle and hope to return there someday. But Bali nurtures this soft, easy, open side of myself – just an unleashed Annie!

Every day, I meet people and they ask me where I’m from and I practically jump up and down with excitement, loudly proclaiming, “I LIVE HERE!” Tourists look at me jealously, while expats sometimes remark that I’m on my honeymoon. Bali instills a constant feeling of gratitude in my life. I hope to never lose this feeling of excitement and joy about my paradise.


Read Full Post »