Let’s start with first steps, crawling really. A quick trip to Bali, only 1 ½ hours away. We had travelled there many times before, sometimes by ourselves, staying in lovely western styled resorts and several times with our kids for a quick family holiday. We both feel at home travelling in Asia and have had some amazing trips to various Asian destinations; we love the different cultures, the sights, the sounds & the amazing food.
My first ever trip overseas was when I was just 17 years old, my girlfriend and I went on a ten-day package holiday, visiting Malaysia & Singapore. I can’t remember the whole itinerary, but I remember we bused between Kuala Lumpur & Singapore stopping along the way to gawk at the wonderful sights and to enjoy food & views so very different from our very middle-class experiences from Perth circa 1975. I remember going to the original Boogie Street in Singapore – I had never seen a transgender person before (I’m not sure that I even knew what a transgender person was) and here was a street full of fun people mixing and sharing, openly displaying their fancy outfits and their different life choices. Apparently, the Government closed this area down only a few years later, calling the behaviour “lewd” and “shameful,” I just remember it as exciting, and the whole experience was so different from anything I had ever done before – after all, isn’t that what holidays are for!
Anyway back to our little trip to Bali – we deliberately decided to make our first trip after we both retired just a quick trip to somewhere close. Airfares are easy – check. Where to stay – we looked online; as you do, and then we realised we had a ‘life-line’ so we decided to ‘phone a friend.’ JB had been a friend for over 30 years, and nowadays he lives most of the time over in Bali. It turned out JB had just finished renovating his guest house, and it was going to be empty when we were planning on going to Bali. We quickly made plans and flew over to Bali for what was going to be the first of many holidays in this lovely guest house.
This holiday was different from any that had come before, let’s remember, going on holidays usually involves planning a holiday as a rest from normal life, fitting in as much as possible into the meagre time allowed. For the first time, we realised how much our lives had changed – holidays could be as often and as long as our finances would allow, yay!
Bali is a wonderful destination, and it offers travellers so many choices. Like many Asian tourist areas, there are many high-class Western/Asian resorts which offer the homogeneous tourist experience. Sandwiched between airport transfers you can find buffet breakfasts, minibar, sunbathing by the pool and carefully vetted hawkers who are allowed to sell local goods to the hotel guests, some resorts even have private beaches in front. For the more adventurous traveller, there are smaller villas and hotels which offer a more traditional experience. Our friend owns a Guest House with six ensuite rooms around a pool, plus a communal kitchen and sitting room – this wonderful house has become a favourite happy-place. For us Bali is close, cheap, friendly and familiar, we should probably go more because we always have a wonderful time.
We are very familiar with Bali, and we are fortunate enough to have the luxury of knowing some locals people. We love to stay at our friends quiet Guest House, the house is ideally situated – far enough away from the bustling tourist areas, but close enough so we can enjoy the parts of the experience that we choose to enjoy. We love to kick back around the pool, wander down the street to a large hotel establishment for afternoon cocktails and sample fabulous local restaurants and spa establishments.
Finding our Happy Places has become our thing – we’re so good at it I’d go so far as to say its our Mojo! … Autumn in Europe was our next trip