And so it is after about three weeks of chill I think that the big questions start to come. What am I doing with my life? What is it all about? Is Sydney life really it? Am I really meant to sit in an office? I’m not sure what the answer is, but I know if I was a digital nomad, I’d have to have something to sell, and I’d have to have more decent wifi. It’s taken sooo long, two beers and three different locations to write this post. So it will be back to the office for me for now.
A holiday this is not and I have not even touched the sides of all the things I wanted to read, because the training has been so hectic! Amazing but hectic. I have really improved my diving feeling super comfortable and increasing my depth each day. I have met a new family of freediver friends here in Amed to come back and visit, my original fears of changing schools were really unfounded. Last week rounded up the end of a five day workshop with Frederic Lemaitre. I was sooo exhausted by the end of it, and so were the instructors.
A shot from Freediving last week with Frederic Lemaitre. Credit Kwabana.
They gave us three dry days out of the water, so today we did some fun diving to the USAT Liberty Shipwreck today. USAT is 104 meters of shipwreck that was pushed off the beach and covered in volcanic ash. The bow is in about 5 meters of water and the stern goes down to about 20 meters. So many fish and fun swim throughs. This time I could get the courage up to do the 15m ones. Plus… Ginger Hunk! Here is some footage from today.
Ginger Hunk arrived on Friday and we had a great weekend chilling with friends who were up visiting from down south.
I can’t believe tomorrow I would have been away from Australia for 3 weeks and it will be the arrival of The Ginger Hunk. The time has gone really fast for me but I know it’s been hard for him at home in the cold. I am so excited to see him and show him my new underwater tricks. I’m at the half way point of my course now, have sorted my ears and am well into the swing of my freediving training. A holiday it is not, I can barely keep my eyes open to read a book. Mind you, everyone in the course must be 25 and I am the elderly nanna of the group. It’s great though, a mixed bunch of humans from all walks. This week, I have been lucky enough to join in a five-day physiology workshop run by Apneista and Frederic Lemaitre, a freediver and scientist who has written forty something papers on apnea (breath hold). I am at day four and utterly exhausted but utterly happy. The workshop has consisted each day yoga, 3 hours of diving, followed by two hours of theory, and another hour of yoga and meditation to end off the day. I’ve been falling asleep at 8pm every night into a deep, deep sleep. Not really looking forward to sitting in an office again. Continue Reading…
My freedive master course officially started on Monday and mother nature has had other plans. One thing you learn very fast with this sport is not to push. Ever. After a three-day warm up with one of the Apneista instructors, Anna, I was super happy doing easy dives to 23m by Friday afternoon. No ear problems. I felt super relaxed. Did some fun diving with Dad on the weekend to Tulumben wreck before he left which was sooo beautiful. So many strange fishies! Monday brought the rain, and the rubbish to the water. And the current was so strong when we hit the water on Monday afternoon. We started our dive and did some 15m warm ups, which were more diagonal than anything else, and then the jelly fish came. Me and another guy left the water straight away, because I come out in hives from those things.
Tuesday I woke up bright as a bee and eager to dive but with much pain and water in my left ear. Continue Reading…
If you’re travelling to Ubud for some chilled out relaxing time, then you’re going to be in shock. The centre of Ubud is well, a shock if you’re expecting tranquility. Row after row of souvenir shops, question after question about tours, transport and the like, yoga in a class full of 50 people. Your planned trip to paradise can feel a little hectic. But it can still be possible to find peace in Ubud if you look further afield. One word, Penestanan. Penestanan is an artist’s village about a 15 minute walk from central Ubud. It is how I imagined Ubud used to be. Rice fields, little pathways, hidden cafes and yoga studios. If you’re in for chill then this is the place to be. I’ve been lucky to visit here twice now so I would love to share my tips with you. This post is not sponsored by the way. Just sharing the love for everything you need for a Do-It-Yourself retreat in Penestanan.
There are quite a few options for accommodation in this area. You can look for a hotel (Booking.Com has some here). You can find a homestay or meander the paths yourself. You’ll no doubt see “room for rent” signs about and people outside of houses and villas waiting for you to negotiate. I found my treasure on AirBnB and I’ve stayed at Kuntia’s place twice now. The room is a short walk to Yellow Flower Cafe, Intuitive Flow Yoga, and has perfect lofty feel, there is even a day bed on the balcony where you can while away a day and read. It is the perfect place to a lot or nothing.
Penestanan is foodies heaven. In particular if you are into raw/organic/vegan/health foods, you do not need to travel far to eat in some of the best places in Ubud. At the bottom of the village, is Alchemy. This place set the standard for raw and vegan food in Ubud and is hard to top. I had the raw cannelloni above and it was amazing. I’ve also tried the bounty slice for dessert with a glass of organic red wine. Up the middle of the ridge is Yellow Flower Cafe, a hip hang out for yogi’s. Yellow Flower has a great vegan and organic food menu, a Sunday Buffet, and a range of flavoured soda waters for when you’ve walked up a sweat making it up the hill. Across the other side of the road from the Bintang Supermarket on Jalan Raya Campuan is The Elephant which might just be my favourite. A top spot for having a wine while the sun sets over the rice fields. The 100% menu has so much on offer, for even the ‘non-vegetarian’ types, such a Gyoza, Laksa, Rice Paper Rolls and more. If you come here, the dessert is a must. Check out this dairy free cheesecake. OMG. For some great local food Lala & Lili Warung is fantastic and set around a lovely garden with a pond. Continue Reading…
Have I really been away 11 days already? It has been a bit of a blur. I’m delayed with my posts because I had a nightmare with my site, somehow it reverted back to old fonts, and my old settings did not work. So I’ve had a delightful time, trying to re-code the fonts here in the Balinese WIFI. Anyway, if something is weird, do tell me.
So I spent the first four days of my trip winding down in Penestanan, Ubud. Caught up with some friends, walked in rice fields, practiced some yoga and ate a lot of wonderful vegetarian food. I’ll share my tips here in a separate post. I also spent about four hours one day visiting Villa Kitty Bali, again, a separate post. I was truly amazed at the dedication of one woman to bring animal rights to Bali. It is really sad what happens to the little kittens here, anyway, I will save that tail (get it, tail?) for another time.
On Tuesday I arrived in Amed, and felt the sigh of relief to be in a slower paced quiet environment. I was a little bit anxious to not have the familiarity of my old dive instructor and my old freedive school but on turning up at my homestay and Apneista I knew I had nothing to worry about.
On Wednesday, I met my new freediving family and was delighted to find out the owner’s wife is a mad cat lady, and they have five cats in their home. I had three warm up sessions in beautiful Jemeluk Bay, where the visibility was so awesome we could see and touch the sand from the 25m line. After my anxiety about getting in the water, my previous equalisation troubles, I was astounded to get to free immersion at 23m on day three. Continue Reading…
Ideally, I’d like to go on all my adventures with The Ginger Hunk. Actually, that’s kind a lie. (But I would like him geographically closer than he is now.) In my thirty something years I realised how much I relish time alone and have realised the benefits of travelling solo when you’re in a relationship. I need it to re-charge my soul. And the fact is that The Ginger Hunk and I like very different things. He likes to be high in the sky and I prefer more ground based or water based activities. Usually when we go on holidays together, we negotiate locations which have a bit of everything, paragliding, water and yoga. But when I said I wanted to go to Bali for six weeks to do my freediving Master course The Ginger Hunk wasn’t up for it. He had bigger fish to fry than dreaming about freediving. Recovering from surgery, thinking about re-starting his business and getting his physical and mental health back to 100 per cent.
A six week holiday was not on the cards. Continue Reading…