THE TRAVEL EDIT, VILLA STAYS
One of the things I love most about Bali is that you never know what you are going to find behind a closed door. The old adage "Never judge a book by its cover" certainly had Bali in mind when it was stated way back when.
The beauty that exists in Bali is hidden behind many a closed beautiful door. Villas that are strewn now from one end of the country to the other set up for the westerners to enjoy sit nobly behind them. The positives and the negatives are omnipresent.
On arriving in Bali we were picked up by our super cool driver called "Gede". As with all Balinese you are met with an enormous smile that is totally infectious and driven Bali style to our Villa in Canguu, a coastal village approx 40 minutes from the airport.
It is always exciting when staying in a new place in Bali as you generally arrive late at night, it isn't until the morning on rising that the location reveals it's true self to you and you get the visual feast of the place in full light.
The morning light always brings beautiful surprises, the sounds of the roosters crowing, the faint smell of burning fires, the sea of green from the tropical gardens and if you are lucky, the rice paddy view from a pocket somewhere in the villa. And if you are lucky enough to stay in a beautiful place such as where we stayed, the interior styling reiterates, that you really are not at home any more.
Our villa of choice for the beginning of this stay was with The White House Bali, Canguu and it does not disappoint. As with most Villa's in Bali the bedrooms and bathrooms are locked away and the living area and kitchen are open to the elements; I love this style of living and with the temperature mostly warm and humid throughout the year, it fits.
These charming three bedrooms were just what we needed, however we only utilised the downstairs two; we were perfectly at home in this relaxed space. Michele, the Australian owner has thought of every last detail and that always makes a stay, especially in Bali, so much sweeter. The eclectic mix of furnishings about the space connect you to the fact that you are in Bali, a colourful vibrant mix of textiles and fabrics reminiscent of travelling gypsies. Michele has pieced it all together so perfectly that you can sense that love is the best element amongst the treasures.
Michele, like many other people living and working in Bali, has fallen in love. Michele's love affair started in her teens when she was swept away by the lushness, beauty and of course the Balinese people.
"I'm truly inspired by the complexity of the culture... the layer upon layer".
And what Michele says is true, it is a complex culture in one sense, yet delicately simple in another.
"Every time I think I have an understanding the next layer appears. I love that even in the midst of chaos, something will catch my attention either for it's beauty or it's absurdity! A smile from a family on a motorbike, a random ceremony, an offering on the street".
And sometimes it is totally absurd, these moments of beauty that you see, I know I often find myself smiling in a moment that no one else has seen, a split second that only I have been witness to, this fleeting moment of beauty, the kind of moment that connects to your heart and warms it and you just know that this place is truly magical.
It is not until you experience this for yourself that you will completely understand the spell that holds you to this place. And I urge you to take a moment to go, discover, explore and enjoy the wonder that has so many of us coming back for more over and over again.
If you do feel the call to Bali and believe me you know when you do, she doesn't let up, then please check out The White House Bali. Michele and her gorgeous team would love to have you come explore and visit. Or to follow Michele's Bali journey you can follow her on Instagram; but you have been warned, you will be wishing you were there too.