I’ll start this post with a little bit of a confession: I sometimes hate holidays. You know, the time you take off work to truly enjoy yourself, relax or explore or seek adventure? To come back and tell all of your friends what an awesome time you had? Well, yeah. Sometimes I hate them. I find it impossible to switch off, and I’m quite the home bird, so I really do hate being away for too long.
Long hauls always hit me the worst. It’s not the 14+ hour plane journeys that ruin it (although I have really bad plane anxiety so that certainly doesn’t help!) – in fact, it’s sometimes hard to pinpoint why it all goes wrong. On three out of the four previous trips I’ve taken to Asia I found myself panic-searching sky scanner for earlier flights home. Maybe my expectations are too high to be met – all of the #goals instagram posts I see are tarnished by a reality that can’t quite compare? Maybe it was the company I kept (crazy lady 10 years my senior with several complexes, seeking to exclude me and stir drama in my relationship where she can, and a male friend I visited who turned out to be a bit of an insufferable misogynist…) or where I’ve stayed (hostels and dodgy resorts on remote islands aren’t my vibe…)
But my recent trip to Bali? I fell in love with it. You know most people get that sinking feeling on the last day of their holiday because they know it’s coming to an end and they have to go back to reality? I never used to get that. I used to get excited to get back to reality. But not this time. That sinking feeling of the holiday coming to an end was so strong it almost ruined my last day! But Bali… it was something special. The vibe was incredible. Everyone was so friendly, there was almost an LA aesthetic with totally unique, individual shops and Instagram-worthy hotspots on every corner, but without the pretentiousness that LA is known for. Throw in a tropical climate and you’ve basically got heaven on earth.
It may come as a huge shock to you, but I actually usually underpack for my holiday. That is, I usually get to the airport and think “oh hell I know I’ve forgotten X, Y, and Z” – but luckily I got to do a quick dash to Accessorize at Heathrow’s Terminal 3 before boarding our flight. It wasn’t just all the gorgeous #ootd outfit-completers – bags, sunglasses and hats etc – but they actually had a killer selection of dreamy beach-ready clothing, like gorgeous breezy kaftans and embroidered cover-ups that looked as though they were thrifted at a unique vintage market stall. It can easily be your one-stop shop pre-holiday whether you’ve packed your case and made it through security, or if you’re just heading to your local high street. Plus, it’s a perfect way to spend that extra time waiting before you hop on your flight!
Social media, and being an influencer, can make holidays a tricky one to navigate. You spend way too long worrying about your wardrobe and then spend the majority of your holiday trying to get #goals content that you often forget to have a good time. But that’s why we tried to treat this holiday as a H O L I D A Y. Yes, switching off can be a total issue when your content antennae is constantly turned on, and your eyes are always trying to view everything through a lens and filter. Getting the shot isn’t always a challenge, it’s actually trying to detach yourself from content-mode which can be problematic. But it’s doable. To anyone who’s trying to find that balance, just get up, have breakfast, take some photos for a couple of hours and then just r e l a x. It’s a job done. And if you don’t feel like that, then pack a couple of cute things in your beach bag (the bonus with beachwear and summer clothes is it is super lightweight) and if you come across a few amazing locations, do a quick outfit swap and just shoot as you go along. The latter is what we did, and we just organically came across the most adorable and instagrammable locations in the Gili’s.
We were only there for around 9 full nights, so the trip was limited on what we could do! So stayed in Seminyak for the first three nights, which is definitely more of a fun party scene vibe. It has everything you need to find the right balance – clubs, bars, amazing restaurants and cute cafes, gorgeous shops and literally so much more. I’ve heard good things of Canggu and Uluwatu but we just ran out of time to go there! We head to Gili T, a gorgeous picturesque island where there are no cars – so I hope you’re accustomed to riding your bike! Take it out and explore all the stunning beach bars and quiet beaches. Eat at Kayu Café and check out the night market down by the seafront for an incredibly cheap and authentic dinner from the vendors! Casa Vintage Beach is also an incredible place (I shot some of the photos here) so get some snaps for the gram there as well as some delicious local cuisine.
After Gili T, we head back to Seminyak. You absolutely MUST party at La Favela – it’s the coolest club that’s like an abandoned Jumanji-esque mansion, with jungle foliage growing all over the place and a Chris the Redeemer statue on the rooftop. Motel Mexicola issa vibe (as well as delicious food. Eat at Kynd Community (a vegan café that make THE BEST smoothie bowls) and Shelter Café, Lacalaca, Café Organic, Café Bali, Ginger Moon, The Library, and La Plancha down on the beach to name just a few.
What are your plans for the summer? And where is your next adventure?