I’m one of the lucky buggers.  I’ve been on leave for nearly a week already.  Yes I’d hate me too if I was you.  But take heart, this is how I’m spending most of my days.  And at the end of it all, I’ll be the one with the big bum and not you.

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!

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!