I think my most unexpected trip of 2017 was Havana. It’s not that Cuba wasn’t on my list of places to go (because everywhere is on my list). But it just didn’t seem feasible, so it was on the list, just not the TOP of the list. I knew I wanted to go to Asia in 2017 (I made it to Bali) but I had no idea I’d end up in Cuba. This trip was actually a family trip and we had two days in Havana via a cruise from Tampa.
If you don’t know much about South East Asia, you might not know that with the American dollar exchange rate, it’s a pretty cheap destination over all (other than the initial plane ticket). When I was searching for places to stay in Ubud, I found hostels that were only FIVE dollars a night. Yes, you read that right. But if I was going to fly 24+ hours to get to Bali, I wanted to stay somewhere a little nicer than $5 a night. So began the search of where to stay in Ubud on a budget.
If I had a dollar for how many times I got asked how I afford to travel I could probably fly around the world for free! I get it – travel seems expensive. It doesn’t have to be. I spent a week in Bali and only spent $1,000 including my flight. Want to know my secret for going to Bali on a budget?
If you’ve ever been thrown out of your comfort zone in another country, you know it’s not always an easy experience. When in Bali, we stayed in Ubud but knew we had to make it to the beach at least one day of our trip. The problem? The coast can be over an hour away from our hotel and there was no way we were going to drive that. Luckily, hiring a driver for the day in Bali is not only super easy but very inexpensive in comparison to the US. We hired a driver the morning of for a total of ten hours at only $40.00 for the whole day. Now that we had the driver, where did we end up? The Sundays Beach Club in Uluwatu for an easy beach day in Bali.
By far one of my favorite things we did in Bali was take a cooking class. It really allowed us to speak with Balinese people about their culture, ask questions and experience the class from the chef’s home. Plus, we made some really delicious food. There is not a shortage of cooking classes on the island but we picked Lobong Culinary Experience and I couldn’t recommend it enough.
It would be impossible for me to tell you about my trip to Bali in one blog post. It might even be impossible for me to tell you about my trip to Bali in five blog posts. But Bali was a 2017 goal for me and I want to share it with you – so the first way I’m going to do that is by giving you snapshots from Bali.
I can’t give you any direction in this post. I can’t tell you how to spend the best 48 hours in NYC, though surely I have ideas. As much as I want to tell you about the wonders of the world in every single post, the journey isn’t always picturesque or dreamy. Sometimes the journey is exhilerating and wild and free. Sometimes the journey is hazy, a blur of weeks, a daze. It’s uncertainty.
You guys, I can’t honestly believe that I have lived the majority of my adult life without TSA PreCheck. Time and time again I ended up in the airport security line envying all of the travelers by passing the long, non PreCheck lines. They’d breeze their way through the checkpoints, shoes and liquids intact. I’d like to refer to my life before TSA PreCheck as the “dark ages” of my life. Now that I have it, I can’t imagine why I didn’t have it before. And so begins the tale of how TSA PreCheck led me to In and Out Burger.
Have you ever just stepped into a new place and immediately you felt at home? That’s how I felt when I got to Seattle and it’s how I felt when I spent a long weekend in Portland. What can I say? The Pacific Northwest was calling, and I had to go!
I turned 24 in January of 2016. I was ready to turn 24. I thought 23 hadn’t been that great (nobody likes you when you’re 23) and surely 24 would be better. The morning before I turned 24 I ended up in the ER with a really painful infection. I couldn’t travel to see the twin for our birthday. I could only stay in bed and let the pain meds ease the discomfort.
While I was living it, I thought that morning of excruciating pain was a farewell. A wave goodbye as I swiftly began my twenty-fourth year. I see those days differently now. Looking back, I don’t think twenty three was saying goodbye to me at all.
I think she was warning me.