Soul-food with my soul-sister
I have just got back from the most soul-filling trip over to Bali to catch up with my bestie and fellow juicy team member, Caitlin, in her new-ish home (she and her partner moved there a year ago) of Canggu.
I didn’t realise it when I booked or even when I arrived but just letting go and trusting in the Universe and myself to literally go with my flow, showed me how much I honestly needed some quiet time for self-reflection and rest.
During the trip, I did three key things:
First up, I switched off, zoned out and went (kind-of) MIA. What I mean by this is that I stepped out of the usual routine of life, of having a schedule, having to be anywhere or do anything at a specific time. I stepped out from under the umbrella of “adulting”, as I call it. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE my life and I LOVE my work. This is not about escaping but rather giving myself the space to not think about cooking, cleaning, driving and to focus more on being, enjoying, and experiencing. To not be so readily available and also to simply be inspired, let my creative juices flow and indulge in the wonderful experiences that travels gifts me.
The second was spending time with someone who is my real soul sister. We all have them – that core group of people who just get you, who you vibe with and who fill your cup just by being in the same space as you. I am soooo proud of Caitlin for taking this juicy business to such amazing heights that she and her partner could jump ship to Bali and I really benefitted from living life the way she does for these five days.
The third was accepting without resentment a slight bump in the road (more on that below) and just acknowledging that it might have happened for good reason.
I am a complete Canggu newbie but thankfully, I had Caitlin to take me to her top tips for places to eat, drink, rest and exercise and oh-my did I love it. I cannot recommend highly enough the amazing mind-body value there is in getting away for a mini-break with your bestie and I hope that reading this will inspire you to make it happen for you too.
So… if you want to go check out Canggu on your mini-break, here’s my diary of my five days with some places I loved.
DAY ONE (EVENING)
Pretty much the second I arrived, we went for the perfect sunset kick-off at Old Mans (@oldmansbali). Right by the beach with great vibes, we left before the Beer Pong festivities took off but not before hoeing down on a surprisingly nourishing and tasty dinner in the form of a Japanese Poke Bowl. Next up, a cheeky Sangria at Peekaboo Canggu (@peekaboo_canggu) and I was set for an early night.
Early to bed, early to rise. 6am pit-stop for an espresso 20m up the road at You Belong Cafe (@youbelong.canggu – Caitlin’s new venture) and we were off to Avenue Fitness Canggu (@avenuefitnesscanggu) for a workout. Boasting three levels, I was super impressed with the size, the wide range of work-out machines and equipment, the quality and most of all the tunes! They have wifi access but no need to use it for music as they have you covered.
It was then time to fuel up back at You Belong. Call me bias, but their selection of smoothie bowls, chia overflows, coffees, teas, juices and health shots screams everything I need and want. I loaded up on a Mermaid Bowl (you can add my fave vanilla macro powder JP+ Complete to any bowl!) and Green Tea. I made myself at home (quite literally, as my book The Juicy Movement now belongs there, too!) before trotting back to the villa for a good few hours of work. If you need a coffee break, You Belong also makes a killer coffee with a choice of dairy and nut milks.
The afternoon was made for sun and surf at Echo Beach. Grab your buddy (or a book) and a bed or hire a board if you are keen to catch a wave. We then cruised on over to O’Three Beach Bar (@othreebeachbar) for a fresh coconut (the size of a grown man’s head!) before sipping on a wine over sunset. This is the place where the local Aussies congregate most afternoons/evenings to finish off their day via a surf, feed and beverage. My Kino Salad and raw tuna was generous in size and delicious, but not generous enough to stop me from indulging in my gelato obsession on the way home. Gaya Gelato (@gayagelatocanggu) offers dairy-free, gluten-free and nut-free flavours. I went with my simple but favourite flavour combo of coconut and dark chocolate.
Friday morning, apart from being greeted by the villa’s resident gecko jumping on my head, was a repeat of Thursday. Prime, espresso, workout and brekky at You Belong. Except this time, I went for the Berrylicious Bowl with some GF proteins balls (FYI the granola they serve isn’t GF but don’t worry as they happily substitute with other nuts, seeds and toppings of choice…winning!).
My office for that morning was Cassava Bali (@cassavabali) in the Chillhouse complex where I settled in on the upper story, where it feels like working from a very chilled and spacey tree-top cubby house. Then, Caitlin and I scooted over to Give More (@givemore) for a midday lunch/work break. This non-for-profit café and sister-location to popular spot Kynd Community (@kyndcommunity) offers a vegan take on local Indonesian cuisine and is also a great pit-stop for a coconut that reminds the customer to GIVE (take a look at the pic above and you’ll know what I mean ;p). After that, back to the villa for another hour’s work and it seemed only fitting to officially end my working week with a massage. We took ourselves (and a book) to the massage place next door for some foot, head and shoulder-loving.
Unfortunately, it turned pear shaped from here… That ‘off’ feeling was slowly making its way in and even after two toilet trips, my stubborn and all-dressed-up-with-somewhere-to-go self, refused to accept the obvious. Plus, the menu and décor of Aussie-owned Mason, where we were heading for dinner looked epic! (@mason.bali) The most I experienced in my 30 minutes there was a few mouthfuls of hand cut chips, green beans, a bird flying straight into my head (completely random and through no fault of the restaurant!) and the atmosphere of the toilet… which was lovely and clean. So straight back to the villa for bed and charcoal tablets for me whilst dreaming of the food I wished I could have eaten…
Saturday saw me well rested but not quite up to scratch. Therefore, apart from a quick venture to You Belong for a health shot of She Bites, (pineapple and turmeric) it was soon clear the day’s plans were out the window – including the anticipated brekky visit to Motion Café (@motioncafe).
Alas, we brought some of it to us (yes, they deliver!) where I chowed down on some plain but delicious and freshly made gluten-free toast with avocado. Then back to bed for a day spent napping in between girl chatting. My lesson here was to let go of whatever I wished the day could have looked like and just accept an entire day of nothing other than rest… And the fact that the rest may well have been the entire purpose of my trip, so I just lay back and let the universe do its thing.
By the afternoon, I felt good enough to take a walk, enjoy another massage and head to another local favourite Tropikale (@tropikalebali) for dinner. The décor was relaxed, funky and full of greenery and the service fantastic, with our waiter making multiple stops between myself and the chef to double and triple check any item I ordered to ensure it wouldn’t be classified as wheat. Over a strawberry mojito, I enjoyed a simple but tasty Spring Salad with a side of the best Portabello Mushroom I have ever tasted in my life!
Sunday, I awoke 100% back to myself (yi-ha!) and couldn’t wait to grab a morning vinyasa yoga class at The Chillhouse (@thechillhouse – FYI a fantastic option for a retreat) before indulging in a Pink Dragon smoothie bowl at You Belong.
Still on my to-do list was a visit to Matcha Café Bali (@matchacafebali) where every item on the extensive menu contains matcha. Full from brekky, I only tried the Vegan Matcha Ice Cream (yum!), so I’m eager to go back and try more next time.
Next, I was off to Seminyak to see my Dad (who also happened to be on a Bali break) via my first experience of a Go Jek. It’s like Uber for a scooter – brilliant! A cheeky cocktail at Chez Gado Gado (@chezgadogado) serenaded by the live acoustic band (as if plucked from Hawaii) and I was back to Canggu having my “dancing with you in the summer rain” moment… except I was sitting on the back of a scooter. Either way… I totally embraced it (not something I would do at home!).
Nothing left to do but another massage. Unfortunately, our place of choice, Espace Spa (@espacespabali), was fully booked (if you are looking for a top-end treatment this is apparently the place to go) so it was back to our regular.
The rain was kind enough to subside for a few hours as we scootered back down to O’Three Beach Bar for sunsets, Sangria, sushi and poke bowls. Then it was time to scoot home (ok, I may have stopped at Gaya Gelato again…the Matcha Latte with Black Sesame was AMAZING!), have a cup of tea and say goodnight to my Bali escapade. For now.
My biggest take-away?
There were so many, but what I keep coming back to is what the yoga teacher said one day. She said: “You are a human being, not a human doing”. We get too caught up in the doing sometimes and it takes experiences like these to remind us to slow down and be.
Let me know if you head to Canggu and where your favourite spots are as I will be going back!