IMG_0200It’s been nearly two weeks since my return from Bali and my ever so slightly tanned décolletage and shoulders have faded back to their natural milky white.  I haven’t sunbathed for years and didn’t really do any while I was away.  So how did I get a sort-of tan, I hear you ask?  By getting around on the back of a motorbike as often as possible, of course!  In the high season streets of Ubud choked with cars it was the fastest, cheapest, easiest (and most gloriously liberating) way to get from A to B.  Or as in my case, just back to A again.  It wasn’t all fun and games though.  After a kind stranger in a little backstreet agreed to run a quite lost and late me over to my tailor I made the beginner’s mistake of burning my leg on the atomically hot exhaust of a  Harley, something I’m in no hurry to repeat!

IMG_0229Since I’ve come back from Bali I’ve noticed lots of things have changed. Some consciously, but many just as a result of having a decent change of scene.  Something I highly recommend for anyone stuck in a rut or generally just o-v-a-h everything. For starters I’ve kicked the daily hefty peanut butter toast habit I’d previously been powerless to deny and haven’t been eating as much sweet stuff or downing gallons of coffee each day either. On a more esoteric note though, I am more appreciative of the little things and less bothered by previously annoying things too. For example, I appreciate footpaths that are clean and kept in good order as well as working and abundant street lights! I also am far less bothered by bad drivers, heavy traffic and general ignorance of others. Although I do get a huge kick out of the 15km bumper-to-bumper traffic jam travelling in the opposite direction to me each morning as I make my way to work!

i heart BaliOr did I?  I had a wonderful time in Bali and was completely seduced by the place, the people and the food.  Coming back hasn’t been as bad as I imagined.  Back to winter, back to work, back to everything – not so bad, not great, mind, but bearable.  While away I did pretty much nothing – on purpose – as I didn’t want to do anything uber touristy.  A few years ago I tutored at university on a subject called ‘Cultural Tourism’ and one thing we looked at in detail was the dilution of special cultural rituals or ceremonies for the purposes of tourists, often outside the calendar of when these would otherwise occur.  It really struck a chord with me and made me ashamed of how I’d perhaps travelled in the past partaking in these with gusto.  So I promised myself I wouldn’t do that again, and I didn’t.  Even my regular (and brilliant) taxi driver Ketut got the point in the end.  He would often say to me in his own english, “I understand you, nooo temples and Bali only”, referring to my preference to support local family businesses.   Consequently he took me to some great local artisans and producers and I was happy to buy their handmade goods over the mass produced Javanese imports.  In my effort to really slow down and not do much I was drinking and eating much more than my normal fill.  But then (in cliched fashion) I ate a dodgy prawn at the mid-point of the holiday and that put an end to pretty much all my exotic eating and drinking adventures.  Just as well, as I was doing it for Australia the first week so any weight I’d put on was lost in the second!  If you’ve ever dreamed of or hesitated to go to Bali, my advice is to just go.  Go away from the tourist traps, but just go.  Do try and remember to come home, tough though it is!

latte at ApteI’m off to Bali this weekend for 11 gloooorious days in an attempt to thaw out my bones.  For the past few days I have been very busy slapping on the fake tan so as not to frighten the other tourists with my luminescent skin.  So far so good, no streaks to speak of (touch plastic).  I was aiming for turning my skin from blue-white to a warm shade caramel but I think the best I can manage in the time I have left will be a double double non-fat no foam weak latte.  Sadly.  Oh well! 

Rest assured I’ll come back with plenty of adventures and photos to share.  And I promise to have a cocktail or 20 for you too!

byo hottie in Winter

byo hottie in Winter

Now this might seem like a direct contradiction of my previous post about embracing financial responsibility but I swear bought this stuff before I read How to Give Up Shopping.  So it’s allowed, so ner.  But I digress…

I reckon I hate shopping for swimwear as much as any woman does.  I have wobbly bits I’d rather hide and I’m perennially pale-skinned.  But you see, I also have a very long torso (read general Gigantor-ness, as a friend once said). Now some of you may think I should feel blessed but let me tell you, everytime I hunt down a suitable maillot and wrestle my way into it only for it to bite me back with a giant wedgie I feel anything but.

Imagine my delight to recently find swimwear long enough AND on sale (I know, I know, sales are not my friend sales are not my friend).  Whenever I find shoes, jeans, bras or swimwear that fit me I tend to buy in bulk because experience has shown me there can be a long drought until I find any of it again!

prepping Winter skin for the beach is never easy

prepping Winter skin for the beach is never easy

Cold weather and I are not friends.  More like acquaintances who tolerate each other by way of an amicable truce.  For a few years now I’ve only dreamt of escaping Melbourne’s drawn out Winter blues for somewhere warmer to thaw my bones.  And I’m sure I’m not the only one wishing this year after year!  After two particularly brutal Winters I have decided to take the plunge and go to Bali.  This will be my first decent holiday in five years and to say I am excited is putting it mildly!  I’ve lined up some exciting stuff but left enough room for spontenaity too.  There are cooking classes, some photo excursions, yoga as well as a bike tour through villages and a butterfly farm planned but the rest of the time I plan to wing it (or sit on my bum and read books).  Ahhh, I can feel the serenity already!

Only trouble is I have no swimwear for my tropical paradise getaway and should probably start troweling on the fake tan now in readiness for my departure in t-minus 25 sleeps!

choose a colour and your future awaits

choose a colour and your future awaits

In my real day job I mostly shuffle paper, in black and white.  All the while I do this I’m day-dreaming in colour.  To help me walk the line between the two I joined a Global Corporate Challenge and was randomly put in a team with some other colleagues.  The goal is to monitor our step activity for 125 days and become more active in the process.  Truth be told, I just wanted the free pedometer and the motivation to get in shape for my mid-winter escape to Bali. 

 

Today is day 34 and so far I’ve done 2304 steps, which ain’t half bad considering I’ve been sitting at my desk most of the day!  Today is also day 15 of trying to find a new home, day 361 of feeling queasy and day 3 of my new direction to actively live, make and play.  Wish me luck!