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Guest House

@Yunnis Guest House

sunny 80 °F

Guest House

This human being is a guest house
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.
Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.
- Rumi


Posted by rachaelob 19:12 Archived in Indonesia Tagged bali indonesia guesthouse yoga heart open ubud spirituality rumi backbend Comments (0)

Perrtthhh Australian Adventures

When nothing is sure, anything is possible.

sunny 80 °F

When I first started traveling around Bali, I became increasingly upset that I already have a return flight home. Because Kelly and Stephen if you're reading, as excited as I am for your wedding, every hostel I Goto friends are planning their next move, or getting their Australia work visas and then they ask me 'what's after bali?' And I reply, back home to New Jersey.. Even if I wanted to go somewhere else I really should make my departing flight out of Denspasar, I felt stuck, in this plan. And I felt like it was silly that I came half way around the world, to see one small island and nowhere else around here.
When I had my issue with my visa, that's when it occurred to me, I'm not stuck. All my time in between that return flight other than my training is free . I can go anywhere I want. I am in charge of my life ! And that visa issue was giving me my chance, it was the universe saying just go Ya big dummy!

But of course as I am trying to escape one visa issue, I run right into another. We booked pretty last minute and tried online to get a visa for AU and the website was giving us all sorts of issues. Not sure if if was the site or Bali Guest Houses shitty wifi, we had to just show up and wing it. When checking my bag for my flight at 3 am I was told I cannot get a visa upon arrival and must have one before I board the plane. This led to last minute rushing of calling Australian officials, online applications, and running in the airports to get to the gate with one minute to spare.
These types of stressful situations almost entertain me now. The challenge makes me feel like I've accomplished or learned more. And like my old swim coach Mr. Wakely used to tell me, I work well under pressure. (Literally he'd tell me to go up to the blocks and that I was signed up for a race two minutes before it started and then laugh at me as I scambled.) Sometimes I can plan Too much and I need to be thrown into spontaneous, last minute, stressful situations like that. Anyway
I am so so happy that Jen, Kelsey and I decided to book our flight to Perth, Australia! Not only would I get to see a state outside of Bali, but a whole new continent!! Perth is the fourth largest city in Australia and the largest city in WA (the state of Western Australia ).
The minute I walked around the city I felt like I was in San Diego, and many locals told me they've heard that comparison before as well. Whilst being a big city, with big buildings and its own airport and what not, Perth still isn't that populated and is apparently quite low key compared to Sydney and Melbourne. The city is on a harbor and is very clean and I don't know how to explain it really, it just feels like San Diego. Similarly, the city has some cool parks and it's nice to walk around, but the cafes aren't as cheap or healthy as Id always like and instead I prefer the beachy, surfy, suburbs surrounding it.
Throughout our stay we checked out areas such as Marmion Marine Park , Hillary's, Scarbourough ( Scabra ) beach and Swan Valley.
Our first day there was spent in the hospital as Kelsey has been having some stomach issues, this gave me and Jen an opportunity to walk around and explore the harbour, the bell tower, and the candy selection.
Yes that's right candy selection, I try to keep it healthy yes, but I am a sucker for trying new things in different countries that I know we don't have at home even if it isn't that good for me. I'm also a sucker for Kit Kats, they're my favorite candy. I'm pretty Convinced that the Kit Kat must be the official candy of Australia as I have never seen so many different types and flavors. That and the awesome Perth international night food market right next to our place, leaves me feeling in need for a few days of yoga detoxification in Ubud.
We stayed in a hostel just outside the city, it was walkable to most places but when exploring other areas we could get a day pass for trains and buses and transportation was incredibly easy. In fact everything felt incredibly easy. Everything was in English, online, punctual, and they even have a count down at the free bus stop telling you exactly how many minutes until it arrives. It feels just like home. The only differences being the awesome accents, overwhelming friendliness of local Australians , and the overwhelming allure of Australian men. 😁🙈.
Anyway I was feeling quite spoiled once again being able to drink tap water yet forgot that I am once again in a real country and will be carded at bars. I forgot my ID everywhere (pulling a linny west) . Which was extremely necessary at night (most bars wouldn't even accept my license and wanted my passport! ) because it is the Aussies busy long Labor Day Weekend. Not a big deal, just less expensive beers for me. But it was interesting to catch another Labor Day in March and see how their summer season is just winding down as our spring at home is barely starting up ! I was able to enjoy this Labor Day instead of working the beach all weekend ;)

Another difference is the overwhelming Australian sun. The weather was gorgeous. Hot beach weather but not as hot, humid and buggy as Bali. There was usually a nice breeze and it cooled down at night. But this makes it even easier to get sunburnt and due to the huge hole in the ozone layer AUs UV index is off the charts.
Also Australians are coffee snobs, apparently Melbourne has one of the best coffees in the world and Starbucks is the only American franchise that never made it here! . McDonald's, Target, 7/11, they're all here, but the Starbucks have all been shut down. "They know sheet coffee when they see it." I thought that was pretty cool and interesting but This came as a big disappointment to Kelsey who as she travels, collects Starbucks mugs from different cities, yes probably the most ridiculous and inconvenient collections a traveler could have, but Ya gotta love her.
My favorite day was spent in Swan Valley and Freemantel, we started our way up north at Cavershath Because Kelsey wanted to Goto the Wild Life Park, Jen and I opted out and toured the free woodland reserve instead to avoid the entrance fee and get a more natural experience. We were just sauntering around behind the gates of the Wild Life Park walking in the trees and admiring the ostriches from afar when boom! We saw about 6 Kangaroos! It was my first experience seeing roos in the wild and I was very amused seeing them hop about, but I am pretty sure to Australians this is about as common and unexcitng as seeing a deer on the road back in Jersey.
Regardless, Jen and I took plenty a pictures of the baby Kangaroos and were ecstatic to have caught them in their natural environment rather than paying. Kelsey was still in the park so Jen and I wanted to head to Swan Valley to wine taste. We had missed the 20 Min shuttle that takes you back to the parking lot area by 5 minutes so we decided to walk.
It was quite hot and I figured this little path would be a safe area to have my first hitch hiking experience . It was just a little path and all people leaving the wild life park. I know, I know it can be dangerous, but we were kind of desperate, didn't have much money to spend on cabs and transportation isn't as easy outside the city. Plus I wasn't alone and I think it's something everyone must do at some point in life!
This experience worked out so well that we not only got a ride all the way out of the park but straight to the door of our first winery, which was pretty far north and we hadn't realized how long it would take to walk. Oh the kindness of the Aussies!
I was pleasantly surprised at our first delectable wine tasting only being 2 Australian dollars. Granted it wasn't as big and fancy as some I had done in Sonoma Valley, but to taste 7 wines for about 1.60$ American? I'm thrilled. The second one we went to was free! Followed by another short hitch hike we made it to a third and favorite wine tasting of the day. This one had two adorable "wine dogs", the most kind owner, was free, and we did a free olive oil tasting! Oh the life we live!! We made such good friends with the girl working and she happened to be just getting off work at 5 as we were leaving and gave us a free ride to the train station. In return of all the hospitality we experienced there, and off a high of this wonderful cost free day, we bought our favorite wine we had tasted there and brought it down to Freemantel beach. We enjoyed it while watching a beach sunset with a jazz, art and food festival behind us. It was one of the best days of my loyfe for sure. I almost Croyed tears of grattitude.
All in all it was a truly awesome experience my first one in Australia. And if I had booked every night in Bali a head of time, I'm not sure if it would have been possible! They say that when nothing is sure, anything is possible. And I am still free every day I am here! Sometimes it's good to not plan, to be open, because if you always choose what you think you want ahead of time, you could loose something even better that was waiting for you.

So now I head back to Bali and I just am so excited! As great as Australia was, to me it's more of a place to move rather than travel, it's so easy and accommodating and similar to the U.S.! I love the challenge and different culture Bali brings. I actually miss rice and everyone asking me if I need 'transport?' , the street markets and mostly how cheap everything is!! I don't think I realized how much I love Bali until I left it. And that's how we humans are with most things, not necessarily taking them for granted, but just not understanding a true appreciation for something until you are separated from it. And so I feel so much gratitude for the opportunity to get away and come back ready to experience Bali all over again with a new eye!
UBUD here I come!




Posted by rachaelob 01:56 Archived in Australia Tagged food travel australia wine au wa yoga perth swan_valley spirituality wanderlust Comments (0)


Lombak, and the Gillies. Power outages in Paradise.

storm 89 °F

Throughout my week on the islands life was very different from what I am used too wether it be trees growing in water, hospitality service, types of transport, or a little wind gust putting the power out. I had to drop my ideas of normal and need to control, and instead learn to be yielding and accept what comes.

The first island I visited was
Our driver friend Bj picked Trey and I up in Padang Padang and drove us to Padang Bai to catch the ferry to Lombok. On the way he took us to his favorite non touristy local Warung. Then we got to Padang Bai. We could have paid hundreds of thousands of rupiah for a fast boat from Padang Bai or Sanur but we went with mostly locals on a 5 hour ferry for about 2$.
Taking the road less traveled :) .

After almost a full day of traveling we got to Kuta,Lombok and started to question if it would be worth the cost and hassel of getting there. But it most definitely was and Kuta, Lombok is nothing like Kuta, Bali. Lombok is the quitest place in Indo I have been yet. There are wild cats, dogs, goats, and cows everywhere and little wooden shack beach bars lined up right across the road from our place. The first night we went to 'the original beach bar' which was a truck run by a very youthful looking chap named Oyook. Oyook is 20 and runs the little beach truck for his uncle in exchange for living with him and although he doesn't make money, he is able to practice his English with foreigners like us. His sparking positive attitude, the character of this truck, and the cheaper drink prices, led us to stay there instead of the busier more touristy beach bar across the way. We made good friends with Oyook and he would let us play our own i pods on his sound system . We jammed out to reggae tunes and took over the bar. He even got a generator going just for us when the power went out and we were the only ones at the bar.
Even nights when we went to the big psychedelic, packed party beach bar across the way we always pregamed with Oyook first.
My days in Lombook consisted of some light running or hut yoga, and afternoons of motor biking to Gurupak the local surf spot. We paid to be taken out to some pretty awesome breaks and big waves (by my standards) by boat . I would try driving the motor bike a bit on the way home because it is so quiet there . (Don't worry dad I was very careful). I once again feel like I met my comfort zone, challenged my surfing ability and tried something new and for those opportunities I am grateful.

The islands are much less crowded and it is more common to see a horse and buggy rather than a car. In fact on the Gilly Islands, which are small islands that are a part of Lombok, there are no motor vehicles whatsoever instead bikes around the whole island.
This made me more likely to take the time to pause and look up at the sky at night, with less people and cars, we can we more engulfed in the truly beautiful magical nature around us.


Gilly A had a good amount of yogis and a whole lot of divers. The island is so small I ran around the whole thing in 45 minutes. The hostel I stayed in was not my favorite but each place along the beach had a beautiful salt pool with multiple levels for water diving trainings.
I've actually never paid for a professional massage in my entire life, and don't get nearly as much body work done as I should for being so active.
So one rainy afternoon I treated myself to a traditional Balinese Massage /Aloe Treatment at the Blue Lotus Spa to try to get rid of this sun burn some more and 10$ an hour isn't too bad.
I did a bit of yoga, some sunset watching, snorkeling, and I even found a slackline! I slacked with the local kids who are so cute and talented and that was probably the high light of Gilly A. Very chill place.


Gilly Trawangan;
Gilly T is known as the party island, there wasn't as much to do during the day and most places are focused around night life. It has cool late night markets and almost zero police officers on the entire island. Our hostel had no quiet hours and 24 hour free pancakes.
We took part in lots of dancing, ladies nights, and live music, but luckily the two ladies I am with were on the same page as me. We'd usually rather enjoy our days than party untill 4 am spending money we won't remember.
All of the islands had lots of power outages, but Gilly T was the worst.
A huge tree fell across the road right next to our hostel crushing the woman's house next door and putting the power out for days. The weather to me just seemed like a windy rainy day, but to bali this is quite rare.
When we got there we had about two hours of a nice air conditioned room, and then for the next three days it was mostly off, no wifi, no running water and it was very very hot.
We made do by buying hand fans, showering with buckets, and lots of giggles at flash light puppet shows and whatever other dumb things we did to entertain ourselves.
A power outage is a great chance to let go. Because no matter how much you complain about the situation, the power is still out. So instead we let go of the way we thought the world is supposed to be and work in our 21st century minds. Letting go is a scary enterprise for those of is who believe that the world revolves only because it has a handle on top of it which we personally turn, and that if we drop this handle even for a moment well that would be the end of the universe. But when you try dropping it. You can sit back with your head in your hands and let things be as they are, you can actually relax. You can sit quietly in the now and cease your relentless participation. Watch what happens. The birds do not crash dead out of the sky in mid flight, after all. The trees do not wither and die, rivers do not run red with blood. Life continues to go on. Im not sure why we think our micromanagement of every moment in this whole world is so essential.

My days consisted of allot of walking, some beautiful sunsets (if we're lucky at a sunset swing) and lots of dancing and laughing. There was a yoga place right across from our hostel and I tried to eat as healthy as possible, but options were limited, and the free pancakes were pretty good 😁.
I think the girls would agree that the one day we didn't have power alll day we laughed harder than we had in a long time. We had to make our own fun and actually talk to each other instead of being on Instagram!! Can you imagine?
Something I love to see about the young kids here is how they can have the biggest smile on their faces just by playing with leaves. There's no I pads or phones or TVs. This time without electricity really brought us back to realizing how privileged we are and how sometimes having these technological advantages can be a bad thing taking us away from the moment we are really in. (I say this as I type my blog on my smart phone.)

At night I found myself taking even more time to be gazing at the stars rather than down at a phone. It made me think of this quote by Mahatma Ghandi; When I admire the wonders of a sunset or the beauty of the moon, my soul expands in the worship of the creator.

Feeling very full, adventurous, grateful, beautiful, and connected.


Posted by rachaelob 00:48 Archived in Indonesia Tagged islands bali indonesia travel surf fun party power lombok yoga fitness heat outage inspiration wanderlust gillys gillya gillyt Comments (0)


Padang Padang, surfing, Uluwatu, Pendawa Beach, and pushing comfort zones.

sunny 88 °F

My friend Trey and I journeyed down to the Bukit Penninsula in search of some surf.
The ride down was a bit tough with my stomach still aching from the day before but later in the afternoon is settled down.
Trey knew a driver who took us down the coast and we found a nice place to stay in Padang Padang. A very nice place , with my own room no longer dorm style bunks! Our own bathroom, beautiful gardens and a gorgeous clean very private pool. All for about 8$ a night. We don't have A/C but I have a fan, and there's a nice outside shower too.

Right down the road is a yummy cafe called Buddha Soul with an amazing amazing chic pea feta salad but the first day I couldn't eat any solid food yet so I ordered some fresh green tea kombucha and iced ginger tea drink. The perfect hangover or sickness cure.

I thought Valentines Day was a commercial Americanized Holiday but right across the street from us the restaurants are decked out. We decided to explore the area and rented a motor bike and get away from all that nonsense. This area of Bali is much more spread out than Sanur and Seminyak and Trey knows his way on a bike so I put my helmet on and trusted him and all is well.

The first day we explored Pendawa Beach Balis best kept secret. It actually had some good surf, epic views, and lime stone statues everywhere of Hindu Gods. Throughout our stay in this area we found an awesome cheap local Warung to eat at (Warung means 'place to eat' but usually means a place with authentic local indonesian food for very very cheap) .
Throughout the week we surfed another beach right next to Pendawa, Padang Padang, and Uluwatu. I didn't think I was going to surf any of these areas but this week the swell is pretty small for Bali and I woke up every day and checked it and didn't count myself out. I even surfed at Uluwatu and all we had was a 6'2 tiny short board (which I never ever ride) and I went out there in a super crowded line up and hung in. I know to some of you surfers I sound like a total dork right now, but I'm very proud of my willingness and progress in my surfing abilities :). But more surf and time in the water means more sun, and sometimes my body is too burnt and worn out to be as fully dedicated to my yoga practice as I should be. I am brushing it off because the last two weeks of my trip should be yoga non stop.
One day was pretty small and we rented a SUP to surf and do some yoga on and did some snorkeling.
I like to challenge my practice on the SUP because poses that normally I take for granted and can always do are suddenly so much harder. Head stand was quickly accessible for me, forearm stand took a while longer but I am now comfortable with, and I am still getting used to the handstand. But it's still quite scary because if you drop back into wheel you can slip and slam your back on the board, which I've done and it hurts. But fear does not prevent death it prevents life! Right? So I kept trying And that day I did catch more hang time on the SUP than I ever have. My falls are getting more graceful, but I did take one that some limbs landed on the board and that's when I called it a day haha.

In this area you can get caught up in the single surfer almost club like scene and spend a whole lot of money or you can motor bike around and find the chill surfer vibe. After paying for a watermelon mixed drink at the Single Fin Uluwatu that cost more than the place I am staying, we decided to stick with the Warungs.

Haven't done much yoga in the past few days because I am so sun burnt from surfing, but I must say this area has been my favorite thus far.
One of our last nights here We put on our purple sarongs to cover our knees in the sweltering heat and caught a beautiful sunset at the infamous Uluwatu Temple. This temple was smaller than Tanahlot but it was more about the view, a long walk on giant cliffs over the ocean. If the breath taking view wasn't enough this temple gets its character from those meditating around it and the little monkeys running around that look and act so human it reminds you how much we are all connected. We shared some quiet moments with the monkeys as we all watched the sun the energy source that supports us all, lower over the Indian Ocean.
I said thanks to the sun for all the energy I am given, for growing our food and providing us warmth and light. Feeling so grateful for the life I am given but also proud of myself for choosing to live it. For choosing to go out in the water, to come to Asia alone, to follow a spiritual path and sometimes dare to be different than the average. Because life is not happening to us, it's responding to us, and only I can create the life I want to live. I must be true to myself and what I want. And respect others and what they want to do. Because in the end we are all connected by the same sun that warms us all and the same love that we all seek.














Posted by rachaelob 03:51 Archived in Indonesia Tagged monkeys bali nature indonesia temple meditation surfing snorkel yoga uluwatu sup connection spirituality bukit_penninsula pendawa_beach buddha_soul padang_padang Comments (0)

Bali Background


So I've realized after my visa nightmare post I've probably made bali sound so horrible. So here is just some background and history on the beautiful island that it is.

Bali is a tiny Hindu island, only about the size of Delaware, in the middle of a two thousand mile long Indonesian archipelago. This specific stretch of islands constitutes the most populous Muslim nation on the earth. It is so picturesque and immaculate it could almost be a painted backdrop. It has rice paddies tripping down hillsides like giant steps, volcanoes soaring up through the clouds, dense tropical jungles, long sandy beaches, warm blue water, crashing surf everywhere and friendly people who don't just have a culture but actually live it.

Mostly everyone speaks English to help you, the westerner with the credit cards, be served more easily. Which is a relief because although I reviewed a few words I would have no chance speaking Balinese, a language more foreign to me than Martian. There's no parallels like say Spanish or Italian. I mean the only similarity is Yes is Ya. No- is Tidak. Like what?? Plus there's two types of language , Indonesian and Baha Indonesia which makes it all the more confusing. I'm also meeting lots of Australians, Canadians and other westerners on the way. It's actually crazy how everyone speaks English. I feel so grateful yet spoiled. I mean we show up to other countries and then expect them to speak our language to us. It makes me wonder how long it will be untill all of these smaller languages just fade out, which is sad because they are all so beautiful.

But anyway The Balinese are very kind and want to make you as comfy and safe as possible. Their economy suffered for years after a bombing about 11 years ago in kuta killed Australian tourists so they know the importance of us visiting here to them and our safety to their economy.

In Bali spirits come out to play in the moonlight, and offerings and prayers are put out by the local women every morning. It is estimated that a Balinese woman spends 1/3 of her life preparing for, participating in and cleaning up after ceremonies. There's a strew of 8 temples along the coast dedicated to various dietys supposedly making a wall to protect from evil spirits where monthly odalan (temple festivals ) are held.

The islands Hinduism was exported from India by way of Java. In the 16th century a violent Islamic uprising swept across the nation and the shiva worshipping Hindu royalty escaped to Java fleeing to Bali. The high class Javanese Brought with them only the royal families, the highest craftsmen and priests. So basically everyone in Bali is a descendent of some kind of royalty, religious figure or artist and you can feel this as you wander the streets rich with art and spirit.

It's the perfect balance of fun and partying, with surfing and chill spots, yet filled with yoga and spirituality. And just enough chaos that I feel like I'm getting a good travel experience.
Feeling so grateful for my time here.

Aho. Xo. Namaste . Rachael


Posted by rachaelob 07:09 Archived in Indonesia Tagged bali indonesia travel yoga sup spirituality wanderlust Comments (0)

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