5 reasons why every broken-hearted gal should visit Bali

So I’m standing at the edge of a Titanic shaped dock at dusk, looking out over cascading rice paddy meets tropical forest, the smell of coffee beans roasting wafts through the air, when I actually catch myself mutter the words:

‘Maybe this is why it all happened…so I could be in Bali today.’


Me. The girl who wrote this.

The girl who, not three days ago, cried herself to sleep because of all she misses.

Me. A young, broken-hearted American gal, for a moment in time, felt dots connecting, worlds colliding, God healing, smile cementing, soul affirming. And it’s all because of Bali…

Every time I tell my dad, ‘oh, I love this place’ or ‘this might be my new favorite’ or ‘you have to add this to your bucket list’ he asks me ‘Why?’ ‘What makes it so special?’ Usually, I have some non-specific, but sensible answer.

When he asks me about Bali, I will have five answers, that all add up to one big answer.

So here we go, the easiest post I’ve yet to write…here are the top 5 reasons that every broken-hearted gal must visit Bali:

  1. It will let you eat your heart out. Let’s face it. I love food even when my heart is intact. But there’s some unwritten law in the book of heartbreak that states that food = necessary, couch-devouring guilty pleasure. We’ve all been there. And it usually sucks because nine times out of ten it’s a gallon of cheap grocery store ice cream and a tub of empty calories. Not in Bali. In Bali, you can eat to your little heart’s desire and not feel one ounce of guilt or stomach rot. The food is so real, so pure, so raw and organic, you can very literally taste the difference. From Kafe to Taco Casa, there are a million fresh food and juice options to blow a health-nut’s [[or broken heart’s]] mind. Never have I seen so many menus I want to devour. Raw cheesecakes, honey-roasted beet salads, almond-cacao-coconut smoothie galore. It’s foodie #InstaHeaven, yall. If a happy belly were ever to happy a heart, then Bali’s it.
  2. It will help you pamper yourself silly. As if it weren’t compelling enough to know that Balinese hands give the best massage I’ve ever known [[I swear, they get down so deep, they massage your heart and soul]]– a 60 minute massage here in Ubud will set you back less than a machine chair massage at the Airport. Maybe a slight exaggeration, but not by much. For 250,000 Indonesian Rupia [[approximately $20 U.S. Dollars]], I bought myself a ‘welcome to the Spa shower,’ a 60 minute Balinese massage [[this ain’t no Massage Envy massage either—though I love that place—this is a get-on-top-of-the-table-to-really-get-in-there / no-place-for-bashful-butt-and-chest-kneeding / scalp-gripping-hair-yanking kind of 60 minute sesh]], and the longest, most detailed pedicure of my life. Note to all broken hearts: when someone wants to send you to an overpriced-over-stuffy spa to help you feel good, kindly request that they reallocate that spend for a one-way-ticket to Bali + under-priced-stuffy-doesn’t-translate-Balinese spa [[it’s probably a wallet wash, anyway]]. Indulging never felt so good. Spoiling yourself never felt so guilt-free. In fact, I think I’ll opt in again today. Probably tomorrow too. When in Bali, right?
  3. It’ll turn you into a proper yogi. Now, I’ve said it before, yoga is good for me. I love yoga and weird as it may sound, yoga loves me too. It makes me feel good and think good. Though I’m certainly no Antonella, I try. And I grow. And it is a physical reminder [[demand, rather]] to give myself grace. Bali is the yoga capital of the world. And for good reason. Yoga Barn. I don’t even know how to describe it. I think Yoga Barn is the kind of place that could convert a linebacker into a downward-facing-dogger. At the end of a small [[slightly chlaustrophobic, even]] alley tucked into the heart of Ubud, you’ll find the quaint little Yoga Barn welcome desk. The beautiful Balinese gals will invite you in and show you the way. You’ll wind through a palm-tree-draped stair case, cut through a sweet little café [[serving mouth-watering-things found on point 1, above]] where yogis are lounging out on the big day-bed-looking benches, and then down one more flight of earthy stairs. Then you will subconsciously let out an audible ‘ommmm’ [[mygosh]] as the quaint opens up into a vast and proper yoga retreat. There is a huge, cabana-covered deck. And bungalows off to the side, where yoga teachers in training can hang their bolsters for weeks on end. And there is the yoga barn. A big barn looking structure with a dual staircase that leads up to the most awe-inspiring studio I’ve ever stepped foot in. The dark wooded beams and soft lights and British gal invite a room full of travelers to practice. To mediate and find yin. I cannot say enough things about yoga here, so I’ll just beg you broken-hearted gals to come treat your soul to yoga in Bali.
  4. It’ll make you wanna straddle a Balinese boy. No, no, no, not like that. But I’ve maybe never felt so grounded but free; so wreckless but solid; so wild but beautiful, as I did on the back of Jo’s motorbike. Kara and Paul warned me how utterly wonderful it feels to ride helmet-less through foreign streets with a foreigner [[who, if you pick a good one, will become a friend in no time]]. They were right. We found Jo at the Mini Mart on the main Ubud drag, rented a motorbike for the two pros and then rented Jo for me. I hopped on the back of that bike, with a Balinese boy between my legs, and felt every pent up inhibition melt away with each spin of the tire. As we tore through town [[only to be stopped by a funeral procession in which the entire village escorts the casket, in full traditional Hindu garb down the streets…sad as it was, it was absolutely beautiful]], throttled through the rice fields bordered by palm trees and pointed at every temple [[and every stunning home, so pretty it could have been a temple]], I felt myself smiling the hardest I’ve smiled in so, so long. I physically felt God touch my heart on the back of that motorbike. I smiled so hard, in fact, that a lone happy-tear fell on my cheek. Broken-hearted gals, straddle a Balinese boy and letter-rip. Just leave enough room for God.
  5. It’ll fill the crevices of your broken heart with relationship. In the absence of your relationship, you will find the new and treasure it forever. If you come alone [[which you can totally do. Lots of gals traveled here alone]], you will find relationship with the handsome British boy sitting in the café next to you [[hellooooo, Harry]]. Or you’ll find relationship with your Jo. Or sweet Pia and her sister Mar, and Mar’s boyfriend. You’ll meet people like Pia and Mar in a hotel and bond over breakfast and then send ‘see you later’s to later find out you’ll see them later that same afternoon in the middle of a rice paddy. I didn’t come to Bali alone, though. Yesterday afternoon, after a motorbike ride for the books, a rice paddy hike and a coffee farm tour that I will savour for life, Paul and Kara and I defined relationship. Not by words, but by our actions. We ate food together and drank two pitchers of margaritas together. We listened to Paul strum his guitar [[live, acoustic guitar, by the way, is without a doubt, the most broken-heart-steadying thing you can do. I know this because of Robbie]]. We played cards and talked about drugs and religion. We sat in our wall-less private villa family room [[when you come here, stay at Michael’s Modern Eco Villa. It makes me swoon]], watching the fish swim laps in our moat [[there is literally a moat]]. Three friends became family last night. Relationship, no matter what form it takes, will find you in Bali.Family

Put simply, Bali is the place where, for the first time since my heartbreak, I longed for absolutely nothingRice Paddies


Generosity abounds in Brisbane

While I’m intent on being mindfully present during this journey—not living in the past or the future—just sitting here and being here in the now, it’s painfully clear that I cannot wait to ‘pay it forward.’

It always amazes me how no time and no distance can distance those who really matter in life—you know, those friends and family who you can just slide right back into giggles and easy conversation. Those kinds are special. It’s probably one of my favorite life treasures—those kinds of people. They’re gems. And I’m swimming in those gems here in Oz.

We arrived in Brisbane on a sunny morning, where Jodi and Liz greeted us with those giggles and easy convos I find so simple and lovely. We sipped coffee on the top of Mount Kootha.

Mt Kootha

We catamaraned around the Brisbane River, walked around South Bank and caught up on the ins and outs of the Aussie / American rellies.

Then more rellie gems showed up at Rowan and Lynda’s for one of those ‘we only get together for a big family BBQ when an American Temme is in town.’ That people will just drop their plans, pitch in on a feast and spend a Friday night sipping Cab and swapping stories with two backpacking gals on the patio just warms my heart.

The parrots woke us bright and early, inspiring a quick 5k to the local Target—sounds so normal, so American, yeah? Except that flying foxes draped our pathway, our Target run was to collect various electronic adapters and breakfast was accompanied by one of those fancy flat whites that only a Truss home can whip up like it’s a simple brew. That, and our afternoon was filled with snapping selfies with old grey kangaroos and snuggling the eucalyptus-dazed koalas.

Lone Pine Sanctuary

Lone Pine Sanctuary

Lone Pine Sanctuary

We trekked out again the next day [no idea what day of the week that actually would have been…not a clue] to see the Natural Bridge where we likely could have spent the rest of the morning just sitting and watching that pretty waterfall crash into the cave below.


Lucky we didn’t though, as we also sauntered around the markets, snagged a few pies and watched surfers on the Gold Coast for the rest of the afternoon. Ohh, thank you for that indulgence—yall know I love sitting on the water. Just so ‘ahhh.’

As if that wasn’t enough, Jodi and Liz drove us up [or over or down??] to the lovely Hervey Bay where Kara and I spent a lavishly relaxing few days at Lyn and Warren’s sleek condo on the beach. Hot-tubbing on the deck overlooking the coast, riding our bikes along the windy boardwalk through town, getting caught in several pre-Cyclone Marcia storms, soaking up a different type of villa life, thanks to the Deputy PM and lots of home cooking could only be topped by a visit to Fraser Island.

Fraser Island was and remains one of my favorite places on the planet. As the largest island in the world made entirely of sand [with a lush rain forest populating the inner island]…

rainforest …a recognized beach highway [slash airport—yes, tiny prop planes, but planes nonetheless take tourists up for the birds-eye view of this World Heritage Site, using the packed sand as their runway]…it just is one of those places that you know God spent a little extra time with.

Fraser Island

Steve, our jolly tour-guide navigated us through the island in a big 4WD truck. Kara lucked out with the front seat, otherwise her birthday trip would have been a lot less glamorous and lot more vomit-y.

Fraser Island

I think these pics speak for themselves…not even a need to caption…this is just Fraser Island. And it makes me happy. I loved that we could celebrate a great 28 for my sweet Kare in this beautiful place.

Lots of pictures, lots of beach-time and relaxation, lots of beautiful.

The most beautiful was the generosity though…yes, I loved the real-time moments. But oh I cannot wait to pay it back to these precious, generous gems.

Sweet Like Sugar Cane

Like I said before, I miss people hard. That said, reunions are one of my purest joys. Waking up at 4:45am bright eyed and bushy tailed can only mean one thing in my world–it’s a sweet reunion day [[the near 20 hours of shut eye I snagged between plane naps and my own version of de-jet-lagging surely helped]].


Kara looks tan and strong and the most care-free, peaceful version of Kara I’ve ever seen [[you should prob check out her blog too!]]. Praying it rubs off on me sooner than later. She’s basically Fijian, now that I think about it, as that’s how I’d describe these beautiful locals too. Big toothy smiles, hearty laughs and a ‘slow down, it’s Fijian time’ attitude screams Fiji island life.

A two hour bus ride later, we landed at The Beach House…this place is where I’ll finish up my departure-week-detox, that I’m sure of. Hammocks galore swing from those palm trees I’ve missed. People–all kinds of people–British people and German people and Boston people are barefoot and happy. The beach is right there. I mean RIGHT there. ‘No Woman No Cry’ is blaring while those people are huddled up making coconut jewelry, waiting for the rains to pass, shooting pool and shooting the shit. It’s kind of heaven on earth–on a traveler’s budget.

This kind of living must do a soul good. I know for certain, actually, as a 90 year old man, born in the neighboring town took us on a jungle trek this morning. We stomped through orange mud for 2 hours, stopped for pictures with the pineapple crops and sucked on sweet, juicy sugar cane, tripping our way through lush greens just for a dip in the waterfalls. God must have known we were lovin it, cause he opened up the heavens for a second waterfall on the trek back home.


Soaked to the bone and not a care in the world…we are definitely not in Woodinville anymore.

Yep, this was a particularly sweet reunion… Sweet like sugar cane, even.


Cruising Altitude

I did it. I have no idea how, but I did it.

Sitting on my first leg of this journey, it dawned on me–I’m officially jobless, carless and homeless. To some, perhaps the definition of failure. To me, the definition of a triumphantly bittersweet starting line. At the finish line, however, I want to remember this moment with clarity—so here it goes. The things I’m thinking about from cruising altitude:

1. This week sucked. There is no tactful way to say it. It was brutal and overwhelming and emotionally / physically exhausting. It utterly kicked my butt. Moving my things out of the Villa and into a storage unit; soaking up a few more precious visits with the sweetest friends; phone call after phone call to bank after bank; a painstakingly slow chore to  check one to-do-item off my list at a time…I admit it. I broke down more than a handful of times. We’re talking huge crocodile tears with the pouty lip I didn’t even know you retained post-18-months old. But it’s over. Just as Jodi taught me to utter, ‘everything always gets done.’ Thanks, Jodi. You were right.

2. There are angels on my side. Not the glowing-haloed kinds, per se, but the real fleshy kinds that cushioned my blows, lifted my spirits, fueled my body and carried me through this week. The most precious part? I don’t even think they realize that they are in fact, real-life angels. From Kara’s pops who rescued my move when I finally accepted that I could not, against all of my mighty convictions, move my household goods by myself; to the sweet couple who bought my beloved Tucson and gave me every grace imaginable; to Kelli, who in the 12th hour grabbed my hands as I broke down in her shop [[hello, big crocodile tears]] and took in my wedding dress to help me sell it, or donate it or at this point, WHATEVER with it; to my girls and their hubbies who gave me a hot shower, a glass of wine, a vent-sesh and a good nights sleep; to my cousin Kristen, who delights my heart with her perfectly-timed thoughtfulness and grounds me in love and gratitude[[more to come on our story]]…yes, those are my angels, among many. Thank you Lord, for them.

3. My bags are heavy. Packing for 6 months or 9 months or somewhere in between is as challenging as you’d imagine. I hope I have everything I need, and not too much more. Get this—I fit every little thing in one backpack [thanks to one of my angels for the loan] and one tote. Two bags. Two small bags. LEGIT carry-on size bags. #Ridic.

4. I’m missing already. I miss my #VillaLife morning routine, my step-dog, Romes and my mountain of pillows. But, if you know me well, you know that I miss my people to the depths of my soul. I mean, I long for people that I love. I think it’s starting to hit me that I’m going to long for some people and comforts of normal life, but I imagine a Fijian drink, courtesy of my Kara [[cause home girl owes me a drink like nobody’s business]] might help. I’ll miss you. Yes, you. Please pick a place on the map and come visit.

5. I’m ready to write. It’s weird. I’m not that excited yet. I think I still have some departure-week-detox to do [[again, where Kara’s Fijian drink will likely come in handy]]. It still feels very surreal and not quite sure how or when it’ll hit me that it’s ok to be excited, but I am, weirdly, very much looking forward to writing. I have so many ideas and so many stories I want to reflect on during this growth and grace journey. Thank you for reading. It makes writing more fun.

Departure week is in the past and can’t even believe leg one is almost over. We’re descending past the clouds, falling from the cruising altitude and the hub-bub of Los Angeles is in sight. I guess that really only means one thing—next stop, Fiji.

Legit carry-ons
Legit carry-ons


As I sit on my couch with the fireplace roaring, blinds wide open, sipping my morning cup of coffee and looking out at a quiet morning fog roll across the gully, I cannot help but thank God for the millionth time for this place….this villa…this haven.

This has been home for 11 months. It impossibly seems like no time and forever.

We didn’t even want to move. We, being my sweet Kara and me [[‘my sweet Kara’ because any other description comes up short–not my roommate, not a best friend, not a sister, not a confidant or a crutch in life’s most weary moments–none of those terms do her justice….so for now she’ll just be ‘my Kara’]. We were happily settled in homes that we created with people we cared about. But that’s the funny thing about ‘settled’–sometimes I think God doesn’t want us to settle in the comfy places. So he pushed us out of the cozy and into the ‘oh.my.gosh.’

That my Kara and I had each other to lean on in this new ‘uncomfortable place’ was no accident. In fact, this is one of the greatest blessings I’ve yet to witness.

Enter, The Villa.

Stupidly overpriced, half the size of our previous homes, a crappy carpool and a half away from our city-offices, no yard for Romeo to run around in, [more to come on him]…This is The Villa.

But Villa Life? That’s a whole different story. Villa Life is nearly impossible to explain, for it’s actually a ‘feeling’ and not a ‘place.’ But here we go…to understand me, my Kara, and ‘growth and grace,’ you must first understand ‘Villa Life.’

This place is beautiful. It’s tiny and my beloved bedroom furniture doesn’t even fit in my own bedroom, but it.is.beautiful. The kitchen is a #cleaneats creator’s dream. The dark wood floors match our puppy’s brindle coat. Our furniture and decor blended beautifully to make it feel HGTV-ish. The floor-to-ceiling windows brings the outside in. Our grill and pallet furniture and herb garden make the front patio a Pinterest-inspired sanctuary. But the best part is the back deck. It’s about 10×15, with two simple lounge chairs and a fire pit. A small space, with a few key ingredients. Put simply, it makes Villa Life.

When my Kara and I are dancing around the kitchen prepping dinner, with red wine flowing and John Mayer crooning, with the french doors wide open and locals biking down the trail in our back yard, and the air smells like summer and your skin tingles from the sun beating down on our deck….that’s Villa Life.

When after dinner you sip on yet another glass of vino, lounging in those chairs [arguably the best investment of the year] and the Pacific Northwest sun starts to set on another summer night, and you drum up a baby fire in the fire pit [second best investment of the year] and swaddle up in comfy blankets with Chateau Ste Michelle’s nightly concert floating through the backyard….that’s Villa Life.

When you’d rather spend Memorial Day Weekend at home, than anywhere else. When you can hop the back fence and run for hourslove in either direction on the trail. When you can walk to more wineries than is even necessary. When you can watch bald eagles and hot air balloons from your deck. When your kitchen has a built in wine rack. When your friends, any random conglomeration of friends for that matter, can gather and play cards and laugh and make memories. When your favorite guitar player has weekly gigs in your back yard.

When home brings you back to earth, breathes life back into your soul and makes you feel just.plain.good….yeah…that’s #VillaLife.