Dec 11, 2018

Single mum travelling Bali / Easy travel tips for Bali with kids (and the backstory for me)



SEMINYAK / UBUD

For years I felt too scared to leave the Country with my kids. Whether you're a single mum or not, travelling with kids takes a lot more thought to plan and do.

To give you a bit of a backstory, I had major anxiety a couple of years ago, it coincided with my cancer diagnosis and for ages I needed to cling on to a feeling of 'safety'. So travelling went out the window.

But you can't help your true passions shining through. A traveller and free spirit at heart I had spent a good few years travelling the world when I was younger. I mean I emigrated to Australia from the Uk by myself when I as 18. I love exploring. I love big cities and I also love remote villages in the middle of nowhere.

So when I hadn't left the country for 8 years, due to having babies, work schedules and then the old cancer diagnosis. I was left CRAVING travel. So much so that my passion for it far outweighed my fear of it.

After a horrendous Sydney to Brisbane flight 3 years ago, I developed a fear of flying. I was so sure I was plummeting to my death on that plane, due to its turbulence and fast decline (and the hangover of all hangovers rally didn't help) I started overthinking the whole thing ('how crazy to be in a metal tube flying through the air' 'what is the meaning of life' malarkey...) and vowed to never fly again. Except I needed to fly to you know, get anywhere else.

So began the mission to overcome my fear and leave the damn country for the first time in 8 years.

I watched youtube videos from people who had conquered their fear. I meditated a lot, my answer to everything (Got a headache? Meditate. Need more money? Meditate. Kids are out of control? Meditate). But the real kicker, was I started watching travel programs. The thing that pushed me over the edge? I watched Eat Pray Love.

I have always had a thing for Julia Roberts, loads of people used to tell me I looked like Julia Roberts when I was younger and you know, I was flattered and became obsessed with her. So I watched this movie whilst going through a very big 'self discovery' period and my mind was blown. There she was leaving her life behind, going to find herself. I thought, I could do that! Now I didn't have the budget for 4 months in India, Italy AND Bali. And you know, BABY STEPS.

And because I'm all about that instant gratification I thought, skip to Bali and maybe you'll even bag yourself a hot Brazilian whilst you're at it (Spoiler alert, I didn't)

I'm VERY easily marketed to and Julia had SOLD me the whole Bali experience. (Bear in mind Julia Roberts doesn't play a singe mum and have two kids in tow, but it didn't phase me) As luck would have it, and the wonderful way the universe works. I received a big commission and was able to book tickets whilst I still had the momentum for it.

FLIGHT

We flew with Jetstar on the way there and Virgin on the way bck. Both went smoothly and I was surprisingly calm. Thank God there was no delays or turbulence or anything that could set me off into a panicing mess. We had TV screens with Jetstar but had to pay extra (in hindsight I should have booked this in advance but never mind) I was happy to pay for the TV in a bid to stop the kids from their constant bickering (They're 7 and 8 and are either best friends or worse enemies depending on the moment. We had to get up at 4am for the flight so they were pretty moody, hence the bickering)
I was so focused on them, my book, the full library of podcasts I had downloaded and my snacks I was constantly distracted and didn't get any anxiety during the flight. That was actually  good technique I learned from some of the videos I watched, make sure you have lots of distractions and things that make you happy ie. new book, music playlist etc.

Bali is only a 6 hour flight from Brisbane and other than the perpetual 'You're on my side Matilda, it's my turn on the ipad, get off me...' I can't complain.

I booked my accommodation through booking.com like I always do, wherever I go. I found a great hotel for an affordable price. It had a pool, was quiet but close enough to Seminyak we could hit the shops/markets etc. But wouldn't be right in the hustle and bustle of it all. I wanted to relax, spend time with the kids and have everything we needed to be comfortable.

HOTEL 

The hotel I chose was called Pandawa All Suite Hotel in Seminyak and I couldn't have picked a better place. Everything from the people, the apartments and the restaurant were incredible. Also the price was very affordable, we had a buffet breakfast every morning and we ate there about 3 nights for dinner too.
We had an apartment that had a kitchen and liunge downstairs, 2 bathrooms and a king bedroom upstairs.







Our pool overlooked the rice paddies and I felt so blissed out on the days where we just lazed around by the pool. I read entire books, played with the kids and completely 'recharged my batteries' whilst sipping on fresh coconuts.


SEMINYAK

I was majorly paranoid about getting the dreaded Bali Belly or some kind of horrific food poisoning so I mainly ate the classic western food and was super cautious with everything, only buying bottled drinks etc. but I calmed down after a few days and we were all completely fine. I absolutely LOVED Seminyak! It is full of life, cafe after cafe and clothes shops, market stalls, massage parlours, all leading to the beach. When I'd calmed down over the whole food poisoning fear we started eating at some of the delicious cafes. There were so many vegan and organic options I couldn't believe it. And the best thing was the price. I was SO happy we cold eat out for every meal of the day, I didn't have to go grocery shopping or cook for an entire week, which for me is the number one best thing about a holiday.

In the central shopping centre, where was air conditioned, had gorgeous shops and where we would get a taxi aback to the hotel, I found THE most delicios smoothie bowl I've ever eaten and we kept going back for more.

My other two favourite places in Seminyak were

The White Peacock. Not only was it vegan and organic with gorgeous smoothies and raw cakes, it was an insta-freaking-dream and I wanted to move right in. It had all my fave things, white walls, blue and white tiles and bathed in golden sunshine. Donstairs is a gorgeous homeware and clothing shop. A must visit if you're in Seminyak honestly.

The White Peacock

TOURISTY ACTIVITIES

Of course Matilda wanted her braided and so when we came across a place in town that did it, I also seized the opportunity to get a half an hour back massage for 5 hours whilst we waited. Oscar got himself an icecream but wasn't that keen on getting the fish spa haha.


The blue lips are from the ice-cream!

UBUD AND TEGENUNGAN WATERFALL

I knew I wanted to visit Ubud after seeing so many beautiful pics of peoples visits on the gram but I also had a few friends staying there, so on our way up to visit them we had a day of fun adventures.
We had a guy take us on a tour for 8 hours, To Ubud and lots of destinations on the way. The whole tour only cost $80AUD and was packed full of awesome stuff.

I mentioned I liked tea and he took us to this incredible tea and coffee plantation where they make hundreds of types of tea, including the famous luwak tea (made from leaves pooed out by a luwak. I didn't try this one haha) They also have heaps of animals on site, the kids fell in love with cute deer and they had turtles, birds and monkeys. This was one of the highlights of the day. 

I can't find the exact one on google where we visited but there are hundreds in Bali and I would highly recommend going as it's fun for adults and kids and cost us nothing.





Tegenungan Waterfalls

This was the main attraction of the day. I t costs around $2AUD to go and see the falls. I had no idea that it would be so busy, or such a long steep walk. The kids managed it well though and surprising hardly moaned! Probably because they were distracted with the stunning views and on the way back up, the promise of an ice cream. 
I was more worried about my own physical fitness and the heat. I should have taken a couple of water bottels for us on the way down but I didn't realise it would be that hard. There are plenty of little restaurants and gelato stalls at the top and even on the way down actually so we were fine.
It's one of those places that makes you go 'wow' it's really beautiful! We were there at about 1pm which is when it's boiling hot and crawling with tourists, so I would say it might be better to get there early in the morning to avoid the crowds and doing that climb in the heat.

We did the tourist thing and paid around $15AUD to go on the swing, the kids thought it was absolutely brilliant, I of course, know a photo opportunity when I see one. I have to admit, I'm terrified of heights and felt a bit weird on the swing, even though it was only like 1.5 metres off the ground.


There's heaps of these 'nests' overlooking the falls, a perfect photo op too!

 MY BALI CONCLUSION

I absolutely loved the entire holiday. As a single woman travelling with two kids I was initially worried it may be unsafe. But I honestly felt safe 100% of the time. I'm sure there are dodgy areas and places but I researched a lot before we arrived and I had pre-booked our airport pickup too. We were met with the most wonderful guy who helped us out with other trips and even sent me a picture when his wife had her baby a few days later!

The people we met were friendly and helpful. The places we visited were beautiful and I definitely felt a very spiritual vibe about the place. Food and all activities were very cheap, although the markets and prices of clothing were definitely not (I was expecting them to be real cheap for some reason) and even haggling and bartering didn't get you a good *Mornningg priiiiiice'

But massages! Oh my God if I lived there, I'd have a massage a day, and manicures, pedicures, hair treatments, unbelievably cheap and amazing.

The only bad point from my point of view was the pollution was awful from litter everywhere you went to piles of rubbish washed in from the ocean, it was a massive wake up and could bring you to tears. I pray to God that their government will do something to reduce amount of waste and pollution. Also massive traffic, scooters, beeping and it took ages to get anywhere because of this. I also felt like I'd cheated a near death experience every time we crossed the road!

All in all, I was sad I didn't bag a Brazilian hottie like Julia Roberts but we had the best time, the kids got to experience a different culture, we swam, relaxed and ate delicious food but most importantly it reminded me how capable I actually am and that magic happens when you step out of your comfort zone!


When I came back I was so inspired and hadn't painted for a week. The first ting I did was paint Frida Kahlo. You see her image everywhere in Bali, from art at the markets to painted on the side of buildings. There were images of her at the White Peacock (the vegan cafe I was obsessed with) and I decided to paint her and incorporate the tiles into it too.




There are limited edition prints over on my website if you are interested :)












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