Hi friends, happy Friday! It feels so good to be back on the blog today- big thanks to Peggi for taking over on Wednesday… did you see her mushroom lamp post? You know I love a fun light fixture. I realize everyone is in Halloween and Holiday mode right now, but I had a few requests to share some images from my recent trip to Indonesia- plus selfishly, I enjoy documenting our travels here to look back on. I figured I’d pull together a quick photo journal post for you today, in case you missed the snippets I shared in real time on Instagram. Emmett & I try to plan one scuba diving trip each year (a must for divers who live landlocked!), and this year we joined our dive buddies in Labuan Bajo on the island of Flores. Given the travel time was 36+ hours, we spent a full two weeks exploring Bali (Ubud, Canggu, Uluwatu, Seminyak, Tulamben, etc), to make our travel worth the long trek. Click through for a glimpse at our time spent there and to catch up…
We flew from SLC > LA > SYDNEY > BALI … it was a lonnng two day journey with a 14 hour time difference. Needless to say, I’m still readjusting- and we got home late last Sunday. Emmett & I have been waking up at three each morning, ready to start the day. Oof! I am glad we decided to stay in Indonesia for at least two weeks, because believe me when I say- it’s a haul and there was plenty of inspiration to be found.
This was both mine and Emmett’s first time to Asia and we both absolutely loved it. We’ll definitely be back… just as soon as we’ve had enough time to forget how agonizing that long flight was. Ha! We explored the ocean, the jungle, cities, and villages. It felt like the perfect vacation packed with both adventure & relaxation. The food was amazing, the people were incredible & SO so kind, and the diving is the best we’ve seen yet. The exchange rate also worked to our advantage making things extremely affordable- I’m talking $8 massages and $2 beers (I think we’ve had enough Bintang to last us awhile).
We visited temples, hiked in the humidity, trekked mossy stairs in the jungle, relaxed at spas, admired the beautiful architecture, took in the amazing culture, ate delicious food, enjoyed gorgeously designed hotels, and even met some professional Indonesian dancers after their phenomenal performance. It’s safe to say it was one of our best vacations!
Our travel & dive buddies also got engaged on the trip (during our layover in Australia), so it was extra special to celebrate with them. I won’t list their names, in case they have more friends & family to share the news with, but I’m sending another congratulations their way here on the blog! We are so happy for them and it made our time away even more memorable. Emmett & I knew the plan in advance, so I was able to take some sneaky photos for them, people were cheering, and it was pretty much the sweetest thing I’ve seen in a long time. It turned into two weeks of celebrating!
Of course the designer in me was snapping lots of furniture, architecture, and material photos. There were so many intricately woven textures I just couldn’t get enough of, and already being a fan of Asian inspired design- this trip felt very inspiring from a creative perspective.
The jungle pleasantly surprised me. Despite the insane humidity and relentless mosquitos, the vegetation and vibrant green color palette was stunning… seriously something out of a fairytale. Do you spy Emmett down there on the lounge chair, pictured below?
Every where you look, there is beauty to be found. I constantly had my phone in my hand snapping photos. The sunrises & sunsets in Labuan Bajo were my favorite. We were up early for diving to catch the sunrise, and the sun sets early- so we could easily catch and photograph both.
My biggest worry going into the trip was food because I have a severe shellfish allergy and can be picky about certain seafood. I carried my EpiPen everywhere with me and had zero issues. I mostly stuck to vegetarian dishes, which were all fantastic- they have a much better selection than here at home. Being on antibiotics for RMSP the entire trip, eating healthy made me feel better and was delicious. I can’t say enough good things about the cuisine- I had no reason to worry! Everything I ate was fabulous and filling.
Speaking of food, my favorite restaurants (the four of us agreed!) was Gooseberry closely followed by Yuki. Both require reservations, and the decor was spot on at each restaurant. Good food & good design- that’s a major win in my book! Take a peek below…
I also fell in love with these chairs at Hotel Viceroy (below)… such a pretty shape and finish! At this particular stop (we switched hotels five times, hopping around during our trip), the hotel owner’s poodle LOVED us. The staff kept apologizing because “Bobo” kept following us around, which totally made our day. We were all about the dog cuddles. We always miss Cash & Cros while traveling.
Another highlight was taking motorbikes around the city. We visited the rice fields, Monkey Forest, local temples, and markets. I brought home some cool ceramics, and met a few local artists- I’d love to try to arrange a collaboration for our Tuesday Made shop!
Per usual, Emmett & I also got tattoos, ha. His is huge (he’s trying to finish his upper sleeve), mine is small- but my favorite so far. Bali has some seriously talented tattoo artists.
One topic I did want to address is responsible tourism. Have any of you watched this documentary? It’s a good one and worth a watch. We try to spend our money in local places, support ethical & family owned businesses, and make sure our vacation money is going back into the community. We also try to leave the places we visit as we found them- I’d love to do an ocean cleanup or coral restoration dive for our next trip. Much like the “leave no trace” outdoor rules here in the states, we practice that on vacation as well. Two things really saddened me on this trip… 1) the amount of trash floating in the ocean & on the shoreline, and 2) seeing some animals in very bad situations. I’ll share more below…
I know you’re probably wondering what I mean by number two, so I’ll elaborate on that (surprisingly, it’s not stray or abandoned dogs… although there were plenty I wanted to bring home with me). I’m actually referring to the dragons at Komodo National Park. We specifically avoided elephant “sanctuaries” after digging deeper. We also had planned to go kayaking or rafting and ended up scrapping that idea altogether after we found out the company that looked pretty legitimate also ran a shady elephant business. Back to Komodo Park though… despite reading about conservation efforts at Komodo- on paper it seemed like a safe bet and something fun to do on our decompression day (you can’t fly the day after diving). The park visit didn’t go very well and the dragons looked sedated & drugged. It was honestly a very sad situation for many reasons. Maybe I’ll copy my google review in the comment section below, if you’re curious about the details. It’s something I’d definitely avoid next time. I was pretty bummed we spent our money there, which basically felt like a tourist trap. I’d recommend skipping it- even though it’s quite popular. That was really my only complaint of the entire trip. Everything else we did and contributed toward was magical & memorable!
On a happier topic… the diving was absolutely unbelievable! We saw turtles, rays, sharks, coral, macro marine life, larger ocean inhabitants, pretty much a little of everything. It was the best and most challenging diving I’ve ever experienced. I knew we were in for a treat when our Australian dive guide told us the currents were SAVAGE. I wasn’t sure if it was an Aussie thing or if he was being serious. It turns out, he was serious.
I’m glad Emmett & I decided to practice our skills and get our advanced certification over the summer. This spring, we’re going to level up again and become rescue divers. We both enjoy it so much! Tattoo hint… Emmett’s is dive related. Should I hop on IG and show you both of ours today?
Ok, I promise I’m done talking about summery topics and travel for awhile… at least until another seriously cheap flight deal comes along (get my tips for snagging those here). I’m halfway joking! We need to save up and get some house projects done. I hope everyone has a fun Halloween weekend ahead! We’re hosting our annual party (I’ll try to share photos) and my birthday is on Sunday, so it’s sure to be an eventful weekend. Scorpio season is in full swing! Next week on the blog, I’m digging into all things holiday- so it will be there for you whenever you’re ready… it’s actually kind of nice to tackle it early, so I can enjoy the holidays once they roll around- rather than working crazy hours. Anyway, cheers to a wonderful weekend ahead! Please let me know if you have any questions about our travels in Indonesia. I’d be happy to answer any questions and chat in the comment section below… thanks for reading!