By just scrolling through your Instagram feed, you know for a fact: Bali definitely is a little slice of paradise. From its dreamy beaches, to the lush ricefields and how about all of those healthy, trendy restaurants that are a foodie’s absolute dream.
Bali, however, is so much more than a surfer’s paradise and certainly much more than a beach club jam-packed island. And it also offers you more than lavish resorts and pretty smoothie bowls (although their smoothie bowls ARE pretty amazing!).
The rich and diverse culture, which is entrenched in spirituality, and the island’s generous and warm inhabitants, are the true essence of Bali.
Bali holds a special place in the hearts of millions of people, including myself. Whether it’s the sense of freedom the island evokes, or the blend of culture, nature and tropical beach vibes. It’s cherished by so many for numerous and individual reasons.
I asked Calandria, owner of Studio Revoir, what makes Bali so special for her. Studio Revoir is Calandria’s online sanctuary. On her online platform, she shares her experiences and creations. Whether it’s a delicious recipe or an unforgettable place she traveled to – you will find it on Studio Revoir. In this guest blog for bali bliss, Calandria shares with us some of her rich experiences in the beautiful island paradise that is Bali.
‘When thinking of Bali, it warms my heart. Being on the island is like coming home. Being both Dutch and Indonesian comes with beautiful perks. The appreciation for both countries and cultures is huge. Although I live in The Netherlands, I dream about a second home on the beloved island of Bali.’
Back in the days
‘As a little girl my parents would often take my younger sister and I to spend our summer breaks in Indonesia. Not just for a regular holiday in the sun, but mostly to visit my mom’s family in different parts of the country. They all live in Indonesia and it is our home away from home. Especially for my mom, who moved to The Netherlands when she was only 18 years old at the time.’
‘It might be one of the greatest feelings, when family welcomes you back with open arms, because they have missed you so much. It’s just pure bliss. We would spend almost 2 months a year in Indonesia. I am happy I get to know my heritage even better through traveling. The culture, the people, the food, the language and the beauty of its nature.’
Two worlds collide
‘We mostly ended our travels in Bali, before we headed back to our home in The Netherlands. I’m very grateful my parents love to travel and explore as much as I do, and because of that we were able to see so much of the world. There aren’t many places that capture my heart fully, but Bali did and still does. Being both Dutch and Indonesian and getting to know the personal meaning of it while growing up, I didn’t feel more Dutch than I did Indonesian or the other way around. Just a beautiful mix of both. When I’m on the island of Bali I feel proud having character traits such as the warmth and humbleness which the Indonesian people are known for. But also for staying true to their traditions and always being kind. At the same time, I love my ‘modern European perspective’ I have developed by living in Europe. And all of these aspects come together on the island of Bali.’
Things I like, things I love
‘The things I love to do most when I’m in Bali are the simplest of things. And by that I mean, ‘the art of doing nothing’: to spend hours on the beach reading or writing, going for long walks, just sitting by myself watching the sunset and being more content with it than ever. Watching the local people come to the beach when it gets colder at the end of the afternoon or start of the evening. Seeing kids play with their kites, run around and having fun with their families. It sincerely makes me so happy.
But for some reason I feel it’s more difficult to do the simplest of things back at home in The Netherlands.
I don’t want to be another ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ cliché, but being in these moments makes me see the irony of certain aspects in life. I’m a thinker and being on the island makes me appreciate the silence instead of the amount of noise we experience in our hectic Western world. Well, it takes noise to appreciate the silence, right? 😉
Besides being my own ‘guru’, I love to practice surfing on the infamous Bali waves and end up on the beach eating sate, pisang goreng or other snacks from the local stands. No fancy stuff, not at all. And I would lie if I’d say I hate shopping in Bali! I don’t really like shopping in The Netherlands, but I do love to shop at the little local markets in Bali. Beautiful handcrafted products to bring back home. I get so happy if I find an interior item or an accessory that I can take home with me.’
The eye of the beholder
‘As traveling to the island became more and more popular over the years, lots of other people wanted to become a part of that popularity. Some say it ruined the island, but it also kept the island – and its people – alive. Nowadays you can find tons of new hotspots on the island and they’re a part of Bali now. When traveling to Bali, people set certain expectations for themselves and might get disappointed when they feel like it isn’t as ‘fantastic’ as they might have idealized. It all depends on what your travel purpose is, because trust me, it still has lots of beauty that you and I haven’t seen or heard of yet. It just needs to be discovered.’