A holiday in Bali is one that is based on senses. It starts with my dogs sensing that something is about to change in their predictable world. They sniff and circle my suitcase, unsure what the arrival of this big box is for.
On these cooler spring days, I delight in filling my travelling box with flimsy summer and sheer fabrics, sparkly thongs and bathers. Anticipating the delicious warmth that I am about to head to.
Stepping off the plane in Denpasar, I am shielded from the evening heat as the new Balinese airport has well functioning air conditioning, and is very modern. I could have disembarked in any city in the world. It is late. I am tired and disorientated with this unfamiliar welcoming.
As I pass through Indonesian customs and head out of the airport, my senses are quickly assaulted. The heat hits me like opening the oven door, the noise of rows and rows of people waiting to collect their passengers, all calling and waving signs with the constant din of cars and motorbikes moving and beeping behind them. I know I am no longer at home and feel strangely alive and welcome in this bustling city.
Despite it now being after midnight, the roads are still busy with traffic, we join the moving thrum, motorbikes weave around us. My heart skips a beat as a crazy, shirtless, helmetless Caucasian flies past at a sickening pace. Our driver expects that he is Australian and drunk. I expect that he is a temporary Australian and a soon to be statistic in overseas death. I take a moment to wish I could wrap my teenage sons that I have left at home, in cotton wool. Then I remember that they would never be so stupid. I am on edge hoping that I don't see the motorcyclist laying in mangled wait around the next bend. I feel uneasy.
We reach our hotel, and after a quick shower I melt into the welcoming bed. I am sleeping on clouds. My senses shutdown, lights out.
I stir with light filling the unfamiliar room. A short but sound sleep has me ready to start the day. I head to the beckoning pool just outside the door and plunge into a weightless and refreshing swim. I stop and exhale. I have no where to be, no timelines to keep. Time for once is irrelevant. The stress I have carried with me like excess baggage starts to lift. Am I confusing my weightless aquatic state with feeling less stressed? I hope not.
After a walk and breakfast, content now sets in. I haven't checked the time since I woke, I walked at a leisurely pace with no fear of being late for anything. My husband and I book in for a ninety minute body massage. With every stroke of masseur's unfamiliar touch, I feel my muscles start to relax and allow the flowing oily strokes to work it's magic. My breaths are short and shallow, I tune into my breathing and slow them down. With every deeper and longer inspiration, I counter with a long and deep expiration. The toxic, negative thoughts and overwhelming invisible pressure spews from body with every exhale. Be gone badness and angry from my soul, be replaced with pure and clean calmness. I relax into the decadent enjoyment of being nurtured.
We find fresh and alive food to ingest and enjoy. The stress of not having to source and transport food ingredients to my kitchen, to plan, prepare and cook food that not everyone receiving the products of my labours will enjoy and be grateful for. While I love to cook, I don't enjoy the never ending production of food with time constraints. To simply sit back and be presented with such delicious tastes, that all I have to do is eat what I have chosen from a menu. Food that suits my particular tastes at that very moment is a pure treat. As I contemplate the cocktail menu, a gentle breeze is welcomed and skims over my bare spray tanned shoulders that are heavily scented with my favourite duty free body cream. I look up at my best friend and husband of twenty two years to see the halo created from the fairy lights that dangle from the aromatic frangipani trees around us, framing his face. At almost fifty now, the soft lighting etches away the wrinkles and hardness on his face that have crept in with time and life. He looks once again like the twenty one year old man that I originally met. His kind eyes twinkle as he smiles. We say nothing just then, take in the moment of just enjoying being present in each other's company. The moment passes as life does and we get back to the important task of choosing our first cocktail for the night. Predictably we order the same drink as each other. I like predictable. Exhale, I let my tense guard down, inhale the frangipani and incense infused warm air works its way to the bottom of my lungs, and infuses my soul. The next few days are a swirl of wake, swim, eat, massage, read, eat, drink and sleep. Repeat. Each day my highly strung stress coils loosen. I slowly start to feel myself again.
In the late afternoons, everyone starts to slowly gather and trickle into the sandy outdoor arena, the beach. They settle onto mulicoured bean bags or beach chairs and order exotic and colorful cocktails and ice cold beers that turn lukewarm in minutes. The only remedy is to drink them quickly to avoid them getting hot.I happily oblige.
Funky, DJ mixed, bass infused tunes ooze out of large speakers into the evening air. The throbbing tribal melodies make bare footed toes tap in the grey volcanic sand.
The growing crowd eagerly await the star of the show to arrive. The golden ball of firey sun shows up on time and makes its floaty graceful descent to the horizon. The array of golden, oranges, yellows and reds, blend into pinks, mauves and indigo after the sun has bid farewell and sunk below the horizon.
A perfect Bali sunset is just the icing on this holiday cake.
It only took four days for my body and mind to let down it's guard. To relent to the Indonesian charms that serve pleasure to each of my senses. The feeling that I experience are ones of enjoyment and delight. I sleep long and deeply. Waking rested and looking forward to the day ahead. To take time to enjoy all that is around and with me, nurturing the person that I am, the person I wish to be, and the person with me. My favourite part is that I start to blend back in sync with my husband. The beat of our own drums that our own distinct and strong personalities march too, fall into step again. That a silent and single tear falls heavy from my eye as I watch my husband speed off in the taxi that has taken me to the airport. He is staying longer for and end of season swimming trip with friends. I head home alone and wait a long week until we are together once more.
I am calm, rested and at peace. My senses rested and revived. My sense of coping with people and situations that challenge me has returned and I look forward to being with my sons and our special place that I call home. A sense of lucky overwhelms me.
ABOUTH THE AUTHOR:
is born and bred West Australian and live in Perth with her husband, Gavin, two teenage sons and a couple of crazy dogs. You will often find her Mum visiting too. It is a lively household.
She runs her own company, Caroline's Angels - Baby Sleep Specialists, with her business partner, Caroline Radford. They work with families all over the world helping to improve their baby's sleep, settling and behaviour. They are currently writing our first book together. Caroline is a Registered Nurse and Midwife.
"I had my first book "Blue Hydrangeas' published in 2014, and regularly write about the times with my family and friends, that give me so much joy. I have had my articles published on Mamamia andMotherpedia."
Being Mothers themselves, they understand the pressures, the expectations, and the tiredness that many parents face. To get help, please visit www.carolinesangels.com.au and www.http://mumorablemoments.wix.com/lifestyle-blog