a little bit of everything and a whole lot of film

23 Nov 2018

My Secret Bali: Sideman

It was a last minute thing, my going to Bali. It had been on my bucket list for quite a long time now, sure, but in my head, I had visions of dancing in the moonlight by the beaches of Seminyak, getting lost amongst the handmade treasures in Ubud market; of stuffing my face with nasi goreng, maybe squeezing in a few traditional dances or two and obvs, taking the obligatory photos at Lempuyang Temple and the Bali swing, both quite far from each other, might I add. I was thinking of the Bali that every other person on Instagram had.

But fate had other plans. None of my visions materialised, well, except for the nasi goreng. And I wouldn't have had it any other way.

While most would dismiss Sideman as a sleepy, little mountain village, those in the know - backpackers and luxury travelers alike - have long been enamoured by its sweet tranquility. Budget hotels and resorts tipping the higher end of the spectrum dot the the mountainside; not too many that it's stuffy and not too little of them that you would feel as though you were the only ones there. The pace of life is slow, deliberate, purposeful. Women leave at 3 every morning to go on their daily trek to the markets, baskets of either vegetables, flowers or handicrafts balanced perfectly on their heads. Both men and women can be seen working the fields of mostly rice and marigolds (flowers favoured by their revered deities) from sunrise to sunset. There is a small town vibe to Sideman and there really is not much to do - and that's the beauty of it. Take a long walk through the village (be sure to bring some cash because you might want to buy a sarong and a pair of earrings or two) and drop by at one of the many warungs for some nasi goreng and satay. Go for a yoga class in full view of the lush rice fields, or maybe get a 3 hour full body Balinese massage, this time in full view of the stunning mountains. If you're lucky enough to score a private pool, by all means go swimming naked and sunbathe in the nude whilst sipping on some ice cold Bintang. Then take a long nap, rinse and repeat.

I have only ever been to a (very tiny) handful of countries but every single time, a piece of my heart stays and gets replaced with what I like to think is a totem of that particular place's effect on me - one that I shall carry for all the rest of my days. I think I am beginning to understand why travelers give out so much of themselves and their very lives to living out their dreams of exploring every corner of the globe. I think I finally can hear the winds calling, in fact, I think we all do - nomads that we really are - but we don't all have the luxury to just drop everything and go. But listen, every once in a while, give in. I promise you, it will be worth it. As for me, I still have a long, long way to go.

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