2022 was a YEAR, and I ended it feeling exhausted and overwhelmed. I knew that, for my very own psychological well being, I couldn’t go on like this. I felt I wanted to take a pause and reset my expectations on myself and my life.
So, ofc, I began researching retreats in Bali. In spite of everything, it’s dubbed “Island of the Gods.” And if there’s one place on Planet Earth the place I might discover some peace inside, I figured it should be there. I landed on Goddess Retreats, an all-female, seven-day retreat in Ubud that the evaluations touted because the “eat, pray, love expertise”— equal components tradition, self-care, and spirituality. And actually, I used to be actually craving some consuming, some praying, and a few self-loving.
And so began my journey.
I invited two expensive pals alongside, Michelle Scanga (it’s possible you’ll keep in mind her as an OG Pooshie) and Juliet Angus (my final roomie ever and certainly one of my favourite American expats). Though we traveled as a trio, the retreat is ideal for a solo expertise too. In truth, the opposite 4 ladies have been all embarking on this journey alone.
After 25-plus hours of touring and a traffic-jammed journey from the airport, we turned down an unassuming slender street and entered a magical property surrounded by lush rice fields. My first impression of the Goddess Retreat’s property was that I might lastly exhale.
As Juliet stated, “It’s like an enormous hug in your soul.”
There’s a sacred temple on the property we might go to to put an providing, pray, or just learn a ebook. I swear, the magical power we felt each time we entered the outsized picket doorways of the retreat will be partially attributed to this particular area, together with the kindest employees now we have ever met.
Each want was catered to with a loving smile and an inviting power that made our keep that rather more distinctive. The rooms have been minimal and stylish with air conditioned bedrooms. (My villa had a non-public pool and an enormous kitchen/lounge. I wished to maneuver in!)
The frequent area had a pool, a yoga space, a sauna and chilly plunge, and a big desk the place the group got here collectively for all of our meals. Talking of meals, the meals was among the greatest I’ve ever had. I selected the plant-based choice, Michelle selected meat and fish, and Juliet opted for pescatarian.
The in-house chef created spectacular, Balinese-inspired dishes with contemporary vegetables and fruit from the permaculture backyard that surrounded the property. No two meals have been ever the identical, so we have been in a position to pattern a plethora of various plates and flavors. We truly had the chance to forage and choose papayas, basil, mint, apples, and a wide range of different farm-to-table choices that went instantly into our meals and drinks (together with blue pea tea—learn all about it right here.)
The retreat included limitless spa companies (severely), from mani pedis to sizzling stone massages to hair masks. And that was just the start.
We additionally loved a two-hour physique therapeutic session with a Balinese healer (who checked out my palm and warranted me a number of instances that sure, I’ll get married), an hour-and-a-half power therapeutic session, every day yoga (together with restorative and vinyasa stream), and a one-hour sound therapeutic on the Pyramids of Chi inside a pyramid.
Cultural outings led us to Instagrammable Ubud moments just like the swing over rice paddies, the monkey forest, a stroll to certainly one of Bali’s most well-known waterfalls, and a go to to Pura Tirta Tawar. There, we skilled a water purification ritual within the holy water and a blessing within the ornate, magnificent outside temple. Really, probably the most transferring moments of my journey.
A part of the retreat is a Bliss Day the place we selected from a wide range of extra cultural and religious actions similar to a Balinese cooking class and a motorbike tour by rural villages and rice paddy fields.
IS THIS HEAVEN?! It certain felt prefer it.
Juliet, Michelle, and I launched into the bike tour the place we visited the compound of a Balinese household and even stopped for a snack in entrance of some cool, off-the-beaten-path temples and ruins, a la Lara Croft: Tomb Raider.
In fact, we needed to discover the city of Ubud and do some purchasing the place wicker luggage, hats, and crochet-everything have been aplenty. We even tasted native fare at a scrumptious restaurant referred to as Herb Library. One other evening, we ventured over to The 4 Seasons Ubud for drinks and dinner and met a Dutch lady with a drone. She supplied to take the compulsory aerial video from the rooftop terrace (IYKYK).
However each night, after we walked by the doorways into the retreat’s property (which we had now dubbed “the womb”), previous the plethora of choices, it was as if all stress and anxiousness simply melted away. I can’t specific sufficient how a lot this expertise made my spirit smile, and it was precisely the reset I craved.
After magical Ubud, we drove to a surf city on the southern tip of Bali referred to as Uluwatu. We stayed in a powerful, mid-century-esque home on the native stomping floor often called Uluwatu Surf Villas. The city is filled with expats, largely from Australia, and professional surfers trying to find a neater lifestyle. The Uluwatu Surf Villas is inside strolling distance of probably the most well-known surf spots in Bali. However even from the highest of the cliff, the views have been stellar. Mala, the resort’s restaurant, had the very best kimchi rolls I’ve ever tasted. Drool-worthy.
And the sundown? Nothing wanting celestial with its pink and purple sky.
One night, we ventured to the famed Uluwatu Temple to look at a Balinese Kecak and Fireplace Dance present consisting of fifty males chanting and dancing in a theatrical efficiency. It was actually an occasion to marvel at.
We completed our ultimate evening in Bali with dinner on the town at Alchemy, the good vegan restaurant with the very best reside music I’ve heard in ages. There was such a vibe, we ended up staying till closing (which was fairly early, round 9:30 to 10:00 pm).
The next day was a wet one, and it was additionally the day of our departure. I joked that Bali didn’t need us to go away. However alas—our eat, pray, self-love, and surf (though none of us truly surfed) journey had come to an finish.
What I discovered:
What I discovered from Bali and its beautiful, form individuals is that happiness is straightforward at its core. Made, a neighborhood village priest and certainly one of our drivers at Goddess Retreats, taught me extra about life in half-hour than the final 3 years of self-help books and remedy.
I requested him if he believes in heaven and hell and his response was, “From what I perceive, heaven is right here on earth, and so is hell.”
Rattling. That schooled me.
Different Made nuggets of knowledge included, “Do now and do good,” which I imagine meant “Be current and be an excellent particular person.” He additionally enlightened us on his thought of happiness. I’m paraphrasing right here, however it was one thing alongside the traces of this:
In terms of happiness (a search many people discover ourselves in Bali to find), the important thing parts are wholesome relationships—this may be towards ourselves, nature, and others—and that means. Are we residing a significant life? Are we giving again? Are we fulfilling our function?
These are the questions that plague me late at evening when my “monkey thoughts” races, and I can’t appear to get myself to sleep.
Made defined the 4 targets of life, often called puruṣārtha (which interprets to the target of man) in Hinduism:
Dharma – main a righteous and simply life
Artha – materials objects and success
Kama – the pursuit of enjoyment, together with love
Moksha – the last word freedom and religious enlightenment
I left Bali for Los Angeles feeling restored, refreshed, and energized. All of life’s most urgent questions appeared so tangible now. I’m right here to be comfortable. Happiness comes from a wholesome physique and thoughts and residing a simply, form life.
Nothing—and I imply NOTHING—is value agitating the core cause for being positioned on this earth presently. Benefit from the little issues. Smile at everybody who crosses your path. And reside as if your physique is borrowed however your soul is with you without end.
The place to go:
In the event you plan to go to Bali, I extremely recommend going inland first to Ubud earlier than ending your journey with a jaunt on the seashore. You’ll get the very best of what Bali has to supply—spirituality, mystical temples, after which white sand subsequent to turquoise water.
What to put on:
We visited Bali throughout what is taken into account the wet season, which naturally means much less vacationers and extra rain. However actually, it was so sizzling and humid, I couldn’t think about being there with out a every day rain bathe. It felt refreshing and cleaning, which appeared to mirror the Balinese essence.
Apart from an umbrella, apparel was mainly that of any tropical locale, maybe a bit much less fancy.
A number of swimsuits as a result of, sure, the solar nonetheless comes out nearly every day in the course of the wet season, and there are many alternatives to sunbathe. Ethereal cover-ups (all of us wore Present Me Your Mumu button-downs as cover-ups that doubled as a lightweight reprieve from the every day late afternoon/ night rains). We wore yoga gear, some breezy clothes, a pair of closed-toe sneakers for biking and climbing, sandals, sarongs, and some “nighttime” outfits—though this isn’t necessary as the complete island is fairly low key.
However you realize—picture opps.
What magnificence prods to pack:
I by no means did my hair and solely wore make-up on two events. In any other case, it was all about sunscreen and clear skincare for that no-makeup, glow-from-within trip look. (I opted for Cacaye’s cleaning oil and fermented oil to maintain my pores and skin wholesome and glowing. This, together with the humidity, was like a facial each single day!)
Store A Few Of Our Seems to be:
Store our appears to be like under
Store our appears to be like under
Store our appears to be like under
Store each bit on Sarah: Rothy’s Sneaker ($119); J.Crew Straw Hat ($70); White Classic Ray-Bans ($199); Rosanna Mini Gown ($129); Present Me Your Mumu Prime ($138); Cuyana Panama Hat ($128); J.Crew Summer time Straw Hat ($45)
Store each bit on Juliet:
Poupette St Barth Satin Kaftan ($331); Juliet Sun shades ($165); Present Me Your Mumu Button Down Shirt ($138); Web-A-Porter Maxi Gown ($875); Cuyana Panama Hat ($118)
Store each bit on Michelle:
Splits59 Biker Shorts ($68); Splits59 Cami Prime ($48); Oseree Mini Gown ($456); Present Me Your Mumu Button Down Shirt ($138); Emma Mulholland On Vacation Bikini Prime ($40); Emma Mulholland On Vacation Bikini Backside ($40); Juillet Bikini Prime ($68)
Store Sarah’s Seems to be:
Store each bit: Oseree Lumière Two Piece ($207); Present Me Your Mumu Mini Slip Gown ($148); Free Folks Shirt ($58); Triangl Vinca Marty Bikini ($89); Triangl Maia Cefa Bikini ($99); With Jean Mimi Gown ($169); Free Folks Set ($108); Monday Swimwear St. Tropez Sarong ($55)
*This publish was sponsored by Goddess Retreats, Uluwatu Surf Villas, Present Me Your Mumu and Cacaye
To learn extra from our Journey Diary sequence, attempt:
Journey Diary: Kenya
Journey Diary: Finland
Journey Diary: Paris