This June was a busy time for us - end of financial year, new stock was arriving, we had new clients who were launching new restaurants early Spring and wanted new team attire. I had an appointment in Bali with a hospitality group who wanted to see us, and I had thought to add on a few days for a quick holiday, but I didn’t feel like I could afford the time. I didn’t want to leave the studio for 10 days. I didn’t want to go, least of all to Bali where everyone else was going on holiday. I didn’t want to go.
Added to the month’s busyness I had also read recently that Entrepreneurs shouldn’t take holidays for at least 5 years after starting their businesses. Our business is 3.5 years strong. The budget for a holiday wasn’t really there. Gina, the new marketing manager had just started and I really didn’t feel good leaving. Also, I had visited Bali 20 years ago, and I wanted to remember it as I had experienced it then, raw, rural, and the lovely Balinese people pre tourism.
Ten days later, after meeting the welcoming Balinese hospitality group, doing a bit of island hopping, seeing awesome sustainable businesses in operation, and experiencing the wonderful culture of the Indonesian people - I didn’t want to come back home to Australia.
Coincidently, on my return I read Naomi Simpson’s post about the importance of taking a break from routine and every bit of what she said resonated with me. In May, my cat of 21 years passed away and my dearest darling dad passed away 2 weeks after that. I was sad, in an unhealthy routine of not exercising and not feeling very creative. Everything Naomi wrote I felt. If you’re feeling in rut, feeling uncreative and indispensable, perhaps you’d like to free your thoughts, and go for a little free thinking holiday.
And it really is so simple.
I won’t tempt you with the adventurous times we had, but I’d like to share just 2 things which you may find interesting. Firstly, have you heard what John Hardy, his wife Cynthia, his daughter Elora, and his son Orin are doing for sustainable hospitality?
John Hardy is a jeweler. Concerned about the impact his industry had had on the land by mining, he wanted to give back to the environment and so embarked on building Green Villages in Ubud, Bali. The best way to describe these massive homes that his team has made from bamboo is to say that they’re like giant nests hanging from the sky. They’re in the round, no box structures allowed, all flowing energy, organic shapes and spaces, all to encourage free flowing thought. Perhaps you’d like to visit them and stay a couple of nights. You can book them on AirBNB. Look for Green Village Ubud where there a few to choose from.
Or you can take a course at his workshop here to learn more about bamboo architecture. His latest venture is developing a more affordable, smaller scale house which appeals to me and the ‘Tiny House’ movement.
On our return to Ubud after island hopping around Indonesia, the owner of the place we were staying at suggested that as we identified with sustainable practices, that we visit Bambu Indah at sunset. We did. We experienced something magical and we didn’t want to leave. Bambu Inda is also in the Ubud area, high up the hill overlooking rice fields and pools below. Very few people visit this place and we were the only guests on the relaxing chairs overlooking the rice fields at sunset that day. It was pure magic. Bambu Indah is also owned by John and his family. It’s sustainable hospitality to a Tee. 12 Balinese bridal houses were purchased and brought to the property. These houses which you stay in, overlook the permacultured organic veggie garden which you walk through to reach your bridal home, the pond (read swimming pool) and lower down the natural pools, and in the distance the rice fields. Behind the bridal house is the massive Yoga platform and behind that the open air kitchen and open air restaurant. I had never seen anything like this before.
This is my dream business. To plant and eat off the land and to feed people real organic food in an awesome natural setting. Well done John and Co. you do it brilliantly. Perhaps you too would like to visit for a sun downer and stay forever?
And lastly - we think we’re so new age in creating plant based menus, but hello… the Hindu people have been doing this for centuries. No wonder they’re so lean in their stature, so gentle and so in tune with themselves.
Lastly, I’d like to recommend Chef Will Meyrick’s restaurant Hujan Locale ( not the other very popular ‘Locale’ restaurant at the moment). He and his team delivered an awesome food experience and so glad that we had this outstanding meal at the end of our trip as we then had a new respect for the Indonesian flavours and strong plant based dishes. It was such a great experience to be pampered by the impeccably trained staff and to sit gazing out of the large windows looking down on the Balinese architecture below. It was a lovely end to a truly memorable time in a new environment.
On the down side, the one issue Indonesia does need to address is that pollution is becoming a killer. Paradise truly does exist on earth. Lovely people still exist. And with some care and education, I believe that Indonesia could become the eco tourism paradise for future visitors as well. It just need some care takers.
This time away from the studio was not want I anticipated, but in hindsight I have realised how important is us for us to get out of our hum drum routines and travel to meet people and experience the warmth of other cultures and have free flowing creative ideas. This holiday I also conceptualise another eco friendly, sustainable business. I never anticipated that.
I wonder where and what at you’ll experience on your next ‘out of the box’ excursion.
I just wanted to add that none of this post is sponsored. Thankfully my travel buddies had heard about The Green Villages, and I thank a local resident suggested who suggested Bambu Indah and Hujan Locale.