Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Loving life on Lembongan

Loving life on Nusa Lembongan

WOW. Where to begin? This little island has changed my World. It was as if all of 2013 was planned in such a way that brought me to exactly where I needed to be. As soon as I arrived onto the island I knew that I had found my home :)

Instantly I wanted to put my backpack down and just settle a while. How exactly does that happen? They say to trust the universe and the journey even if you don't understand it. I guess I needed to learn to have a little bit more faith ;)

Nusa Lembongan. The tiny island that rocked my world. Located 30 minutes by boat from the beautiful island of Bali. Somewhere which has always held a special place within my heart, so how wonderful it is to me that Indonesia should become home. I shouldn't be surprised really given my love affair with Lembeh last year, and just how much time I ended up spending in Indonesia during 2013, always feeling a sense of loss when I had to leave. I just sat down and realised that I actually spent 6 months of the year between Lembeh, Bali and Lembongan last year.

Everything just fell into place from the moment I arrived.  Within a week I suddenly was catching up with friends I hadn't seen in years, who all emailed me saying they were making their way also to Nusa Lembongan or Bali within the coming months and would I be there to say hey and hang out. Nora and Marcelo, Liz and Brendan, our diet coke crush from the office in Bermuda did some surfing off Bali, Amarjeet and Owen, Debs and Neil, Rohan and Carys, Theresia, Imi. And even stranger than that, within days of arriving it became clear that the scuba/yoga connection was there and I was meeting new friends who knew my existing friends and so the plot thickened....

Ok so I knew it was going to be an easy arrival. I had deliberately chosen to come to the island to spend my birthday with Theresia, my good friend who I had left behind in Lembeh earlier in the year. Why spend your birthday alone when you can be on a paradise island with fab company and amazing diving?! Duh. My good friend Jase had told me to get in touch with Yoga Shack Lembongan and his friend Tim when I arrived as well, so I knew I was in good hands. Yet still it surprised me how easily the pieces fell into place.

My first day on the island was my birthday, which I spent doing handstands and eating Dunkin Donuts with Theresia and the boys at Two Fish Divers.  Shortly after being upside down I went across the street and introduced myself to Tim at Yoga Shack Lembongan and found we had a great connection. He showed me the yoga shack and I instantly fell in love with the yoga space, and the beautiful garden and great vibes surrounding the shack. He told me they could use a part time yoga teacher and I immediately accepted the opportunity to teach there each week!! Day two saw me diving with the lovely Theresia and meeting face to face the fabulously amazing mola mola!! Just love them, it had been 7 years since I was lucky enough to last see one. SO exciting! Having accepted the job as part time yoga teacher, I was invited out to join the Big Fish diving crew (the yoga shack is located in the gardens surrounding Big Fish) for a typical Friday night in Lembongan to celebrate my birthday in style! And celebrate we did...wow what a funny evening, talk about going with the flow and accepting what comes into your World unexpectedly and embracing it :) I knew there and then that life would never be the same again.

I quickly moved from my short term accommodation into the most beautiful little bungalow in a place called Puri Kirana, with the most lovely local owners ever. I had found my new 'island parents'. It is a beautiful setting with a gorgeous garden and an even more fabulous swimming pool. So easy to spend my days chilling out here between dives and yoga classes. On Christmas eve we upgraded to a slightly bigger bungalow even closer to the swimming pool :) Lucky girl! That's my bungalow in the background of above pic :)

I also quickly adopted a beautiful yoga pup called Cha Cha. Cha Cha belongs to the owner of Secret Garden Bungalows and Big Fish Diving but enjoyed lots of cuddles and time with me in the yoga shack. I love how he comes running in and sit at the end of my yoga mat and watch the yogis getting their yoga on! The customers adore him too! He's my new favourite thing in my world. SO much unconditional love. How could you not fall in love with this pup?

Nearer Christmas things took an even better turn and I was offered the full time yoga position which I grabbed with both hands and a huge smile on my face! It was official, I was making Nusa Lembongan my full time home. For the first time in a whole year I had a home, a pup, wonderful friends, happiness and love around me, and a full time job - not just any job but a job that made me love even more the life I live. How lucky am I? They say you have to be open to life, to opportunities in life. I guess I must have been living my life in such a way that good things just kept throwing themselves my way :) I earn a fraction of what I did in Bermuda, but you can't even compare the lifestyle and how happy I am right now to back then. Life is just awesome, and it seems to get better and better every single day.

I LOVE TEACHING YOGA!!! Never before have I felt so content, so at ease in life, so happy. I get to live my dream every single day on a beautiful paradise island. The people who come through are just wonderful - a really nice mix of total beginners, and hardcore yoga junkies, so teaching is always fun and always a different challenge every single day. I get to make a really good connection with people who stay for a good period of time, and help them to get the best from their yoga practice. Every single day I learn something new about myself and my teaching from my students and customers. It really is living the dream. So grateful and so lucky :)

I have had a ridiculous amount of visitors coming through the island since I arrived. Nora and Marcelo who I worked with in Lanta years ago came to visit for some diving. Liz and Brendan arrived to give a Shark Guardian presentation. It was so nice to spend more time together after a brief encounter in Bangkok earlier in 2013. A good friend of mine from LA who I met in Borneo introduced me to her best friend Michelle who was a fellow yogi who came to stay for a while as well. Amarjeet and Owen who I met in Vietnam while traveling came and spent NYE with me on my lovely island. So special to have her here. Debs and Neil came to stay and we did some diving with manta rays. Rohan and Carys unexpectedly stopped by for some diving too! Brilliant to see and spend time with everyone again! I have also had the chance to make some amazing friends who have just been so good to have around, amazing energy - Olli, Laura, Martin, Anna, Megs, Max, Lilli, Mary to name but a few.

Friday nights are Blue Corner party nights. I really enjoy the way we work through the week and get to celebrate the weekends in the same way as back n Bermuda. Although Saturday mornings are proving to be a little tough ;)

This island is just beautiful. I haven't seen all of it yet and I have been here for months. So small, yet so special. I have started to ride a scooter again after some initial fears, and have a bicycle to get around as well. Mary and I took a mangroves tour which was stunning. Such a peaceful place. Tim and I took paddleboards through there one day too, that was a lot of fun! On my days off you can typically find me chilling out at the Bali Eco Deli, The Deck with an iced coffee and incredible views, at Sandy Bay enjoying the 5 star luxury lunch and infinity pool or chilling by the pool at Puri Kirana :) Special times!

If I get island fever then it is only a 30 minute boat ride to the mainland, well if we call Bali a mainland ;)

Christmas day was spent with friends. I enjoyed a champagne (kind of...) breakfast with the lovely Theresia, and briefly with the wonderful Megs and Max (my new life saving friends!) at The Deck overlooking the island on the most beautiful sunny day after days and days of rain! Everyone enjoyed lunch at my favorite spot at Sandy Bay Beach Club, and then retired to Secret Garden for secret santa and a whole evening of slack lining fun and laughs! Such a great day! NYE was spent cruising between a couple of bars and ending up at Blue Corner for lots of drinking and dancing, such a great and slightly wet evening. I could not move the next morning...that's how much fun I had!! Good times. Even better to have Amarjeet with me to share the evening and following days :)

The diving has been incredible. When I first arrived I was working part time teaching yoga, and was getting low on money after 9 months of travels throughout South East Asia and a little bit of flash packing ;) Funny how things work out, because literally the day I ran out of money was the day I was offered freelance work as a divemaster for a french dive shop on the island. Someone had once told me not to worry about the money, money will always come your way when you need it. I always found that expression such an odd one, and now I totally get it. It's true. Back to the dive job - although a slightly different work experience than I was used to as a DM, I thoroughly enjoyed the month of work that they offered me before the yoga job became full time. I was out diving for free - being paid even - every single damn day. I dived with the coolest customers and was lucky enough to see a whole heap of manta rays up close and personal and 4 mola molas on different occasions!! It just got better and better! This island totally rocks - I get to teach yoga every single day and then dive with these beautiful creatures on my days off! Life is great :)

Did I mention how unbelievably amazing the sunsets are here? The best of my entire travel adventure :)

Handstand heaven - found a handstand queen in my good friend Lillian who is just adorable. Each day we practice our handstands and video or take pics of each other. I am way way behind on the challenge but totally back into it now so watch this space :)

How quickly your life can change. It amuses me endlessly how just a short while ago I was living out of my backpack, making brief friendships before always moving on, growing more and more tired and unsure of what would come next and then suddenly here I am in this whole new life and loving it. I realise now how open I was to finding a home and just settling a while, learning to enjoy just being in the moment and appreciating life. Trusting the universe. Being open to whatever came my way next and embracing it. Not alway searching for the 'where next' moment or ticking off another country or tourist attraction.

LIVE THE LIFE YOU LOVE my wonderful friends. I cannot recommend it enough :) Love and smiles xxx