Diary from a Vispassana retreat reject

What is a Vipassana retreat?

For those that haven’t heard what a Vipassana retreat / silent retreat / noble silence is all about, I’ll give you a brief explanation:

Vipassana = to see things as they really are.

 To self transform.

Firstly, please note that not all Vipassana retreats are created equal, nor is everyone’s Vipassana experience identical.


Brahma Vihara Arama entrance


Rules of Vipassana retreat / Silent retreat / Noble silence

The plan is; to be silent, reflective and completely present and mindful for 10 days straight. Without distraction.

A few days before this silent retreat started we were all sent a very extensive list of conditions to abide by.



Communication what-so-ever.


Music… No Music?… NO MUSIIIC!?


Writing (oops)

Talking (to self or others)

Eye contact (again, with others or self – insert cross-eyed emoji here)


Yoga or any exercise

Smoking (Incl. internal combustion?)

Murdering of any living being

Food after 12pm

Shorts, singlets (or anything that allows heat to be released from our bodies, basically)


There are more rules, but I’m sure you get the idea. There is to be nothingness.

Sounds like a walk in the park, right?! I believe this to be the most extreme version of Vipassana retreat / Noble Silence / Silent retreat.



silent retreat

Buddha & Bodhi tree





Silent retreat diary entries verbatim

This Vipassana retreat was from 16th -25th November 2019.

You know me, always rebellious from the start….These are my (retyped) hand written notes below.


Day 1: 16th Nov 2019

Arrived for the silent retreat registration at Brahma Vihara Arama in Lovina, Bali at 4pm. Scootered there by my very kind friend, Surya. I really want to call him Namaskar. (Yoga joke) I left my arrival as late as possible because I was actually nervous and questioning “Why The Fk?” someone would willingly do this Noble silence / Silent retreat / Vipassana retreat.

Why was I so nervous about coming here?

Is my concern about not coming out of this Vipassana retreat the same person I went in as? If that’s all it is, then why did you come here Dufus?!

Vipassana retreats should be about an inner, mindful journey – that I believe I have already been embarking on for a few years now.

The weather is, surprisingly, pretty darn hot up here in the hills. Maybe only a touch cooler – possibly because it’s nearing dusk and there’s a breeze. (Clearly gave me a false sense of security)

Katja and I are roommates and we have made the most of the time we have left to use our voices. We covered all the important details – literally talking at each other – where we are from, do we snore/fart, why the hell we are doing this.. etc. How grateful I am having met this wonderfully mindful German lady – who also is a solo female traveller.

We are offered some food at registration – as we all reluctantly hand over any communication devices to the temple staff. Then we are treated to an opening ceremony with the Burmese Buddhist Monk – Pembling Sayadaw U Oshada – we shall call him U-O from now on. At this stage we are given more rules and how to’s. 

Then….. Silence.

Will Katja and I not talk at all?

Include no airconditioning or fan in our tiny box room with 2 single beds and it’s better than a gym steam room.

It feels odd knowing that I’ll not be talking to any friends and family back home or abroad.



Noble silence

Brahma Vihara Arama gates overlooking Lovina – Also where I was told not to sit during walking meditation



Day 2: 17th November 2019


It’s 3:50am – we are up, Katja and I, but we haven’t heard the wake up bell yet. Maybe, when we were told that a bell will sound 5 times at 3:45am to wake us ready for first meditation, was all a big in-joke made by the buddhist monks.

Fingers crossed that these weary legs will get used to sitting for so long each day.

Last night was a severe case of Monkey Brain (termed by U-O as erratic thoughts) as I attempted to drift off to sleep – unaided by reading, music or meditation sounds. Got there eventually.

First up we walk around in silence, the slower the better. Already I’m giggling internally at how we all look like a bunch of brown (sarong) and white (shirt) zombies – quietly, aimlessly, meandering the temple.

Yes, it’s a 4am start. At least the Balinese roosters that never sleep are making us feel as though we should actually be awake at this hour – without alcohol and party music.




It’s the first full day of our Vipassana retreat and I couldn’t complete it. I hobbled away at 7:30pm.


Ok, here’s how our days are supposed to go;

Wake at 3:45am

Walking meditation at 4am for 1 hour (walking really REALLY slow – focussing on our foot movements only)

Sitting meditation in the stupa for one hour (no movements unless absolutely necessary)

Breakfast from 6-7am

Walking meditation

Sitting meditation

Blah blah blah

Lunch at 11am – 12pm… No eating AT ALL from midday until the following day’s breakfast.


Sitting etc etc

4pm Dhamma talks (or listening rather) with U-O – plus more rules to abide by



Finish at 9:30pm

In other words, we are awake 19 out of 24 hours each day. 2 of those hours taken up with food.. the rest is sitting and walking in silence. Do you want me to do the math for you?

8 hours sitting cross legged – because anything aside from that is considered impolite.

8 hours walking like a bunch of Thunderbirds.

That other hour is for laundry, bathing, teeth brushing, bug extraction and trying to still the mind without any help and getting to sleep ASAP.


We are allotted time to talk to the monk to discuss our progress every second day. Can you imagine all the verbal diarrhoea that we’ve all pent up in our silence?

Not feeling the love from my achilles and knee right now.

Nicotine patches start on the shoulder, seem to be locating them in my underwear around midday due to excessive heat (mainly) and menopausal sweat.

There’s a Justin Bieber look alike as one of the fellow zombies here. Hey Biebs! 



Noble Silence

Wise words



Day 3: 18th November 2019


Is today classified as the evil “day 2” blues day I’ve read about in other blogs about silent retreats / noble silences? Or was that yesterday?

My mindset is really happy and positive, but my friggen knee and achilles have something else in mind.

I can feel my heart rate has gone crazy high. Actually hit my target 2000 calories burnt before 7am according to my Fitbit Versa. (upon further research, it appears that my Fitbit conniption caused my heart increase, so don’t panic Ma.)

Couldn’t eat breakfast this morning, lacking appetite – even though my belly was rumbling like a mini earth tremor.

Mutant cockroach extracted by broom from bathroom. Poor Katja looked horrified or terrified – too hard to tell without words.


What am I doing here?

I’m still not getting the whole “Focus on the pain” – “Pain will lead us to Nibbana” (which I assume means Nirvana)

WTAF?! I don’t understand.

Oh! I was mildly lectured for two things yesterday… 

  1. Resting during walking meditation. Nun: “this is walking meditation, not sitting.” Ali to self: it’s at least 40 degrees plus I’m fully clothed, hot-flashing, without a beach and piña colada in sight, luv.”
  2. Walking outside the (unmarked) female only territory. 

C’monnnn! I’m just trying to escape…. V e r y   S  L  O  W  L  Y.  

Walking meditation

I’ve decided that walking meditation during noble silence now looks like a bunch of Cadbury’s Top Deck (chocolate) brides that are rehearsing walking dramatically slow down the aisle towards her future husband… while someone messes with the slow motion function on the TV remote.

Focus on the foot, not the hilarity of chocolate brides, Al.

Why is it we have to do so many hours of mindfulness?

Is this as simple as just being in the NOW? If so, I think I’m ok on that one, thanks – well, most of the time.

First interview with U-O today. I just know he’s going to tell me to focus on the pain without moving. FUCK THAT!! I was in tears last night because I’m not allowed to move this knee. (I’m laughing as I type this btw, so don’t feel sorry for me)

Today I’m walking like an 80 year old.

Did I mention the heat yesterday? Add to this some impromptu menopausal hot flushes at inconvenient sitting meditation times. Lost about 5kgs in sweat alone today. Geez I’d hate to be underwear for a middle aged woman.


5 Things I’m grateful for:

Learning meditation from a buddhist monk from Myanmar

My rebellious nature creating funnies

Filtered water


Getting through this 10 days


silent retreat

Brahma Vihara Arama shrine


Vipassana interview with Guru was at 9am. I wanted to unleash verbal chaos, but found I had little to say or ask. 

I have to focus on the pain. (Laugh and insert eye roll here)

Now, I know he’s said that numerous times already, however, I really tried it – it actually seems to work. My concentration… hey butterfly. Hey frog. Shhhhh. Did Beibs just look over here?…. Maybe needs some more work.

During one of the sitting meditations I had full comedic movies and funny cartoons playing in my mind. How did I not laugh out loud? Must go back to primary focus – observing the belly rise and fall with the breath… or the pain.

Fitbit having another conniption – complete loss of time knowledge and whether my heart is still beating.





Silent retreat

Oh! You’re quiet now, aren’t you! 😉

Day something… 19th November 2019



I have no concept of time right now…

“And on the third day” they brought in the dogs and flies at breakfast to test our slow, mindful eating practices for our Vipassana retreat. Add the whining, needy cats and I think that gives you a clear understanding about how we’re feeling this morning.

I’m still internally chuckling at the slow walks, especially with the post-apocalyptic sunrises whilst watching the poo-brown-sarongs and white shirted zombies silently searching for brains. Perhaps it’s our own brain we are in search of? Have we lost them already? Here’s hoping.

So far this Vipassana isn’t at all what I anticipated. I know, I know – no expectation, Dufus.

Even though I am mildly amused and understand the required practice of being in the moment – I’m feeling that this Noble silence may be a tad primitive and very strict.

All previous thoughts I had about becoming a Buddhist Nun – GONE!

I can’t be fucked being mindful today. (Bahahahahaha)

Do I opt for a post breakfast nap – or save that for the heat of the day… or ditch the farken hot daylight completely today?

Currently sitting outside our room, mindfully snacking on my contraband sunflower seeds and cashews whilst breaking the rules of writing.

Ok, so maybe the mind is clearer? I feel like bursting with laughter at nothing. Maybe this is deliriousness or is it hysteria? Wasn’t the remedy for hysteria a vibrator centuries ago? You’re right, monkey brain hasn’t quite left me… yet.

Seriously, the slightest thing could trigger an outburst of uncontrollable laughter right now.

Tried to feed a grasshopper my breakfast prawn cracker. He’s not a fan either.

Mutant, tropical (human hand-sized) spidey in the bathroom is, so far, the only creepy that we haven’t extracted from our room. I think I’ll name him Wazza.

It’s so hard getting the flies to mindfully fuck off. Must. Not. Murder. Beasties.

I think my elbow bites have subsided a bit today. Unfortunately no escape via hospital visit today.

I wish I didn’t have hair.


Vipassana retreat

The detail at these temples ❤

5 Things I’m grateful for:

I’m still alive

Having rebellious whisper chats with Katja (I think our meeting was the reason we are both here – of which I couldn’t be more grateful) – we even got those “must-be-quiet-uncontrollable-giggles.”

Contraband snacks

Exceptional sunrises at the temple (that I shouldn’t be watching because I’m supposed to be indoors pretending I’m a pretzel, meditating)

3 or 4 days done already



I humbly apologise to anyone I may have spiritually distracted during noble silence meditation today. Seems the creative juices are flowing and I don’t want to stem that flow.



Vipassana retreat

Buddha & Pineapple



Questions about Silent retreats:

So what is the point of all this mindfulness?

Is it to open up our intuitive receptors?

Am I a silent pineapple?

Is it to have that control over everything in our sub & conscious minds?

To slow down everything?

To become completely present?

Observation and not reacting to our feelings? 

Learning loving kindness?

Is that silent guy really Justin Bieber?

Am I prettier when I don’t talk?




Diary Cont..

Katja and I are obviously trail blazers because I caught a few others not going to class and opting for sneaky whisper chats across beds.

As for this fasting bizzo to enhance our mindful eating… pffft! Don’t they realise they’re trying to stop a cow from what it does naturally?

Food definitely tastes better. Or is it that I appreciate it more due to lack of availability?

OH! Last night I dreamt I was a fighter pilot!!!! Not just your average flying dream. You may call me Maverick.

Before the retreat we also received a list of items that were recommended to be brought to the silent retreat.. One of the critically notable items to mention is toilet paper. This poses the question:

How much toilet paper does one person need over 10 days? Answer will be confirmed at the end of 10 days.

Can people hear me munching on my choc chip cookies right now?

Is the Nun going to send another of her creepy crawly army into our room to punish me? (as I sit here editing whilst indulging after midday, there’s just one fly testing my mindful eating – nearly 2 weeks later)

What do Monks and Nuns wear under their robes? Personally, I hope they are like the Scots with their kilts. And is this how all the bowing started – trying to get a sneak peak of what’s underneath?

“Initiate. Peel. Lift. Forward. Drop” (this is the mental mantra for each step as we gaze mindlessly 6ft in front of us) Every. Single. Step. Eight+. Hours. Per. Day.

Groundhog Day/hour/minute/second


Noble Silence

Brahma Vihara Arama

Another day begins… 20th November 2019


My earworms upon waking are back. “I wanna walk with you on a cloudy day. In fields where the yellow grass grows knee high” Nora Jones. (Hello my Grangamite – that is my beloved Grandmother’s song)

Dream: In a resort/car fix place. I jumped into the tiny pool and was blamed by a very cranky female owner that I emptied the pool of too much water from my bomb. She used a folded towel to show me how much the water level had dropped. 

I’m guessing this has something to do with being in a delirious dehydration. 

New earworm: “Would I try a little tobacco, would I keep on hiking up my skirt?” “EVERYTHING’S FIIIINE!” – Tracey Bonham

I’m completely convinced that I’m done here. Perhaps I’ll talk to U-O to find out the full purpose of this Vipassana retreat / silent retreat.

Last night the large red ants crawling all over my bed was the last straw. I actually feel great mentally – physically not so much, but I’m ok with that.

I’ve realised a few things:

Hinduism is officially my favourite now.

There’s no chance I’ll be a buddhist nun.

I enjoy not talking/no phone/fasting.

Super rapt I met Katja – she’s hilarious, quietly – of course.

Nobody looks or “feels” happy here.

I’m better equipped to deal with pain now. Maybe this was my lesson.

Will they allow me to quietly escape?

I’m a non-conformist. I’ll continue my path of research to come to my own conclusions about living mindfully (and spiritually & mentally happy) instead of following a particular crowd.

I spoke with U-O and impressed him with my limited Burmese lingo. He tried to convince me to focus on the heat… DUDE! That’s all I am doing. Not helpful in this instance. Just ask my saturated clothing.

Just realised why there’s underwire in bras… fluid collection during crazy inner and external heat.



I escaped…. SLOWLY.

I didn’t get the answer to the most important query – being how much toilet paper does one human need over 10 days of noble silence… but after 4 days I was well on my way to finishing the first roll.

Maybe Katja can provide the answer? I left her what was remaining of my poo tickets..

Answer: A vague recollection, a few weeks post-retreat has us thinking that 3 rolls of toilet paper between two of us over 10 days was just about right.. possibly only because I left early though. 



In addition, I wasn’t the only one that attempted or succeeded in escaping.



silent retreat

Looking out from the sitting temple.. just longing for aircon



How a Vipassana retreat should work

Do I need to mention that I meditate 2-3 hours every day? It’s not like this quietness and solitude is new to me.

If it takes 21 days to make or break a habit… so, why is it 10 days of noble silence?

According to Dhamma.org; “the prescribed code of discipline is to learn the basics of meditation and to practice sufficiently to experience its beneficial results.”

To learn abstination from:

  • killing
  • Stealing
  • Sexual activity
  • Speaking falsely
  • Intoxicants


The cost of Noble Silence / Vipassana retreat

We weren’t charged to do this silent retreat / Vipassana retreat, however we were encouraged to leave a donation.

  1. For the temple for accom & food
  2. For U-O and his mean nun


What now?

Above all else, (and post further research), it seems as though I feel most of the above practices are my every day life. I know I could do more, but I’m actually happy where I’m currently at – for now.

I will do another silent retreat, just maybe not as strict or hot or full of creepies.

Perhaps a visit back to Incredible India is on the cards.


It’s all about being zen as fuck, living in the present and being skinny… or something like that. 


Please talk with me about your experiences with Vipassana

Are there any other mid-life women out there that have tried this version of Vipassana retreat? Please tell me your thoughts.


F*ck Bali!

“Bali? Gawd no! I’ll never go there.”

It’s always been my mantra. Not founded on anything other than waaaay too many Australians go there… and usually cashed up bogans (red necks with money). I’m not saying I’m any better or worse, I just know that when I travel I want to be out of my comfort zone, so spending time with many fellow Australians isn’t my ideal holiday experience.

Stay with me though…

Here I am. That place I said I’d never go.

Only 5 days in and I’m yet to completely change that Fuck Bali attitude. However, many of my favourite people swear by Bali’s awesomeness and their enthusiasm towards this isle is infectious so I’ll give it my three chance policy.

Booked accomodation two nights before my arrival and they cancelled on the day of my flight here. Booked another one which, upon landing at Denpasar airport (easily navigated, albeit crazy busy), also cancelled. At least Nadi from Bella Apartments called me and apologised profusely then offered me a free dinner at her restaurant when she returned. So that’s two cancellations. Had to book an expensive villa in Seminyak because, due to Ramadan, nearly everywhere was booked out – in my price range anyway.

My ‘taksi’ driver from the airport charged me double what I should have been charged too (should have been around 200,000 IDR). I was informed to get a Bluebird taxi from the airport – turns out there are naughty charlatans dressed in blue with Bluebird lanyards waiting for unsuspecting newbies to rip off.

To add to the disdain I can’t seem to locate my Australian sim which I had swapped for a local Telkomsel sim… so if you need me grab a flight or whatsapp me.

Three chances done by this stage, right?! And it’s only day 1.

SEMINYAK – Another Australian town

Baby Melon Villas (lurve the name – it’s a few words explaining child birth, so I’m told) – is a special place. Wonderful, kind, gracious hosts (I say gracious because there wasn’t any judgement or complaint after they had to change my bedding when my superbly inebriated friend came to stay and pee’d the bed) and the accomodation with its stunning tropical gardens, grand open plan, minimalistic kitchen plus a pool, that I only had to share with a leopard speedo wearing permanent resident.. didn’t see those leopard budgie smugglers on said resi, sadly – I only saved them from blowing off the balcony. And I was surrounded by 4 gorgeous dogs and 3 cats – one cat looked like she belonged to Batman’s entourage.

Assuming I don’t waste all my money on cheap Haviana’s (thongs/flip flops) and Bintang, I’m coming back here.

I guess it’s not all bad here, I mean, I got to catch up with some of my favourite family members here. We spent nearly a whole day by the pool playing with mini humans and it was truly grounding. Don’t get excited Ma, I’m not coming home or having babies.

Travelling solo has its perks, but nothing beats quality family time.



I’ve left Seminyak for Jimbaran and things appear to feel much better. Accomodation (Bali Breezz Hotel) is much cheaper here compared to Seminyak and less traffic thankfully.

I’m surprised at the lack of Australians and the influx of Chinese and Japanese people… well, it is a seafood Mecca, so I shouldn’t be that surprised.

I’m currently sitting here romantically involved with my iPad (whilst I flick flying creepies off the screen) – the two of us at a beachside table watching the planes appear to land on water as the sun sets over mirror-esque sea – I appreciate exactly where I am in the here and now.

This week’s lessons:

1. Never say never

2. Be in the present because it’s all you have

Finally a move to Jimbaran Bay restores a little faith in Bali. Sadly I’m not much of a seafood feaster, but for those that love to indulge, this is THE place to go. Spectacular view directly at the sunset over calm water as you sit in plastic chairs on the sand whilst being waited on hand and foot by the Balinese waiters. The Balinese people, as I get further away from that ‘other part of Australia’, are becoming friendlier and kinder.

Taking my trusty two wheeled steed back into Seminyak in an attempt to locate my missing sim was interesting. With the amount of unseasonal rain that pelted down for an hour (I hid undercover) it would have been quicker to don the floaties and swim the 16kms. Already I ride like a granny, so as I avoided puddles the size of Olympic swimming pools I think I annoyed the locals – its difficult to tell if honks are aggressive or a warning of “I’m coming through”. I’m learning that the advantage of age is not giving a crap about the traffic behind… can’t wait to do this when I’m 70!

Booked an extra night at Bali Breezz Hotel, Jimbaran Bay, so that I can explore. Today I cruised all around Uluwatu area and I’m in lurve. I really must re-learn to surf because I could easily live here, do yoga, teach Photography and/or English and surf.


SANUR – Yawn

This is only a transitional stop whilst I decide whether to go to Ubud or Amed and Gili islands. Private car from Jimbaran to Sanur is only 250,000 rupiah and took an hour – 100,000 rupiah = approx $10 AUD. Considering it’s the same distance from Seminyak to Jimbaran I’m ok with the price – the previous trip cost me 400,000 rupiah. One learns pretty quickly which drivers to deal with in future. Always check the price before the trip, compare with others if you can and BARTER HARD people, be tough!

Arrived at Puri Kelapa Garden Cottages about 3hrs earlier than check in , but the helpful hosts have allowed me into my room early. A huge tick in my travel books. On top of allowing an early check in, these fantastic hosts (and my super friend, Ashy) helped me with urgent sim replacement from Australia. Well done kids!

A beautifully gardened locale close to the beach and shops a short walk.. this place is really peaceful… you know, other than the gale force winds and planes overhead.

Sanur is a bit quieter than Seminyak but I think the beach is better at Jimbaran. I guess the eternal winds here in Sanur don’t help the beach goers much.

UBUD – Hippie heaven

I’ve been looking forward to heading up into the hills of Ubud for health, relaxation, fun stuff and most important – yoga.

Accommodation: Krisna House for 9 days

Strangely I’m comparing Ubud to Rishikesh and not the very similar Chaing Mai in Thailand.. it’s still pretty hectic here, but somehow I find the people and traffic harder to deal with compared to India.

Saraswati yoga studio – absolutely brilliant! Small classes and really knowledgable teachers. All teachers were tremendous at adjustments, variations and explanations. A ‘real’ yoga experience, not just for Insta posers.

So a few escapes from the town into the hills are required. Little ‘Scoopy’ (scooter) and I head inland. I think we actually made it right into the middle of Bali one day. I love going through villages that wonder what this white person (and I am very white – nobody would believe I’ve been in summer weather for 8 months) is doing in their little lanes.


The views of Mt Batur are spectacular as was the temple further up on a hill top – Pura Ulun Danu Batur is substantial in size and intricate detail.



View over to Mt Batur and trusty Scoops.


Pura Ulun Danu Batur

When I returned l’il Scoopy to her rightful owners I confessed to the hire guy that I went to the middle of Bali and showed where on a map. His eyes popped out of his head and he asked “on THAT?” Referring to Scoops.

The luscious green rice fields and volcanoes make for such beautiful viewing whilst Scooting on the backroads. Dodging roosters, that clearly have no idea when dawn is here in Bali (they crow any time, day or night and its constant).



On my way to middle earth my eyes appeared to be attracting a lot of dust that somehow made it between my helmet and sunglasses.. I cursed the trucks, cars and motorbikes I was behind, until I was alone on roads and it was still happening. Lightbulb moment: that pesky volcano, Mt Agung, has been flexing her fiery muscles of late, so it must be her ash in my eyeballs. Volcanic ash is good for the complexion, yes? Airport closed for a day due to this ash.


Mt Agung flexing.

Note to scooter riders; don’t smile whilst riding. The dust/volcanic ash in your teeth for hours after your ride is like chewing flies.

I had the privilege to learn authentic Batik painting from a young man at Nyoman Warta Batik Class.. sadly the main guru painter was busy organising a big cremation at the monkey forest (oooh, fingers crossed it’s an evil monkey removal strategy), thankfully, yet sadly, I met him after I’d finished my masterpiece because I’ve heard he adds some beautiful, creative finishing touches. There are plenty of options to have this meditative and cultural experience in Ubud. I can highly recommend this place and its helpful, kind and warm family.

Ubud is quite fantastic.. another organic, vegetarian and vegan haven with spas and yoga studios everywhere.

ULUWATU – The surf capitol

Left Ubud for a trip back to Uluwatu to catch up with my buddy, Ashy, visiting from Torquay on his first ever trip overseas. Klapa Resort in Dreamland Beach a stock standard, stale place devoid of personality… but loaded with a rooftop pool and bar show casing 270 degree views over some serious surf wonderland.


We found these tiny laneways around the cliffs that lead to Pecatu/Padang beach. These beaches are astonishingly special and beyond my dismal vocabularistic capabilities. I think it’s Bali’s version of Greece’s cliffs filled with wonderful hidden restaurants, B&B’s and bars that you can only get to via foot through narrow lanes and nasty stairs… My pick: Kelly’s Warung, Bingin – the perfect place for sundowners. What a sublime little area.

Bali is winning me over! Shhhhhhhh!

We witnessed a cleansing ceremony at one of Uluwatu beaches. Apparently a Balinese gentleman has had such bad luck in his life that they needed to remove all the negativity surrounding him by chanting, burning incense, flicking water from a holy bowl, blessing a juvenile duck and baby chicken (we were so worried they were going to be sacrificed that we seriously contemplated freeing our feathered friends), surrounding themselves with flowers and gifting their god with previously cooked roast duck and other pretty things.


Man with a life of bad luck in the middle holding a black duck. (??)

I surprised my buddy with a trip into Legian to watch live Midget Boxing – thanks to the Cuz (Ryan) for the info on this craziness. FUNNIEST. NIGHT. EVER! If you haven’t heard or seen the footage and photos, I highly recommend looking here – Facebook; Blinked Travel. I had the absolute privilege of being a “Round 2” card holding bimbo and I kissed every single little ‘un on my 3 laps around the ring. Having a little person madly dry hump me when I went to hug him made my life feel worthwhile. My face and belly muscles had a better workout than my month in Rishikesh doing yoga.


Side note; these little people are shunned in Balinese society, so the boxing gig is how they make money and survive everyday life in Bali. Every cent from door sales plus donations go directly to them. I think it’s quite gracious of the Y Bar owners to do this for a minority (groan).  If you’re in Bali, go find them at the Y Bar (pronounced ‘E Bar’ by locals and taxi drivers) in Legian and book well in advance because it is packed out! They’re on every Tues, Thurs and Sunday nights.

AMED – Ahhhhhh

4 hour drive North East from Uluwatu to Amed.. what an exquisite place. Black, volcanic stone/sand beaches lead you into pristine clear turquoise water with feisty Mt Agung as a backdrop.

We went snorkelling around an under water temple, saw plenty of fish and popped my head above water just in time to see Mt Agung puff some ash into the atmosphere – she’s normally covered in cloud but for this moment she was perfectly visible and gently flexing, as though she was pretending to nonchalantly lift her wine to her lips but showing off those fit limbs to all the boys. I’m crushing on this magnificent volcano, I believe there’s some exceptionally positive energy surrounding her.

Perfectly serene accommodation at Double One Villas. Chose the beach villa which overlooked the pool and beach. Doing Yoga poolside as our life giving fire ball appeared above the horizon each morning is spectacular.

My regular motorcycling buddy tried to get the little vesper (plus two of us) up the side of a large hill on dirt tracks while attempting to locate a different view of Mt Batur was an interesting field trip. Turns out, vespers aren’t made for off road biking.

GILI AIR – Perfection


Oh! Hellooooo Gili Air! A tiny blip off the larger Lombok Island. I was in a rush to book a ferry over to the island and in such haste neglected to check reviews before hitting the ‘pay now’ button. Why did I think it was a good idea to check the reviews after the fact?? No glowing feedback whatsoever! Uh-oh. This put the wind up both of us – even my regular sea faring buddy.

Patcha Express… you did a marvellous job! First of the 3 express boats over to the islands, safely and without issue (at this point we haven’t returned to Bali, but receiving thumbs up for now).

Aaaaah, the serenity. It’s warm, it’s remarkable, white beaches encircled by the cleanest aqua, and it’s not full of loud Aussies. She’s only little and there isn’t anything motorised here, just horse and cart or pedal power to get around.. and one lap took us a couple of hours – I’m guessing a lap could take about 25 mins if there were sealed roads and not large patches of sand.

Staying at Colour Cottages on the East side of our islet and already my ever happy and friendly buddy has created a special bond with one of the locals, Sahrul. Sahrul has helped us with many touristy options without asking for a cent. Gotta love that want to just be kind for no reason.


Unedited iPhone images. Impressive sunset (with Mt Agung in the background).

Snorkelling – some of the best I’ve encountered. Yup, better than Great Barrier Reef as far as visibility and diversity of swimming critters seen. Swam with a huge loggerhead turtle and I think some green turtles. How they appeared to swim so slowly against the current was bizarre to watch. They appear to just float without flapping their flippers and still overtake me as I madly kicked my fins to keep up with them – all this against the current. Show-offs!

Gili Air has it all. Fitness, serenity, pristine waters, bike riding, making life friends with the locals (and a fantastic Aussie couple – they travel, not holiday). ❤️

Return trip on Patcha Express… I’m still recovering 6 hours later. My goodness, Mother Nature put on a “swell” show on the way back to Bali. 🤮 Two travel calm and tissue in my ear wasn’t enough to stop the nausea.. no barf, but it was touch and go. Turns out, this was the last day of ferry travel for two weeks! Thanks again Ma Nature.

Big shout out to Ashy for his unwavering kindness and happiness in everything and everyone he approaches. He not only helped bring me a replacement sim, after doing all the running around with Telstra back in Australia, and at the expense of movie time with his son (that only cost me a t-Rex suit – can’t wait for footage, Seth), he brought me my fave biscuits and other gifts. His eagerness to embrace my way of travel, always smiling and talking to (mostly at) locals and new friends is infectious. Always offering to help carry my many bags and generally just wanting to be kind to everyone anytime, anyhow. He gave up some of his favourite clothing items to the staff at Colour Cottages just because they needed them more than he did. What a great trait to have.

I know I was hard on him by asking him to shoosh and internalise quite often, but he listened and stayed happy about it. (INSERT “SHHH” HAND GESTURE HERE)

Ashy, you’re an absolute gem! Thank you for everything and welcome to the travel bug.


He looks a tad nervous.


Another Asian nation and proof that everything is fluid. Buildings and pavement go around living things.. traffic – albeit chaotic in appearance – flows without aggression.. many waterways and of course mostly surrounded by beaches.. then there’s the people, ever kind, giving and free. The new Asian slogan – Asia, it’s fluid.

A lot of negatives I’ve said about Bali are in jest mainly because of my attitude pre-arrival. It’s proof that you manifest what you think. Honestly, if you don’t mind a shitload of Australians, nice beaches, cheap shopping, cheap food and warmth.. you’ll do just fine here. If you’re anything like me, then stay away from from Seminyak, Kuta, Legian.. and maybe even Ubud. Blaze your own paths my friends, it’s worth it. Meeting locals that will give you better advice than most holidayers is worth its weight in gold.

Stay tuned for the long awaited comparison between Thailand and Bali.. I finally have some decent knowledge to discuss the two fave Aussie destinations.

For anyone looking at travelling soon, I have a link to accommodation discounts with booking.com here.

Please tell me about your Indonesian “must do’s and see’s”… Because I’m going back!