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Hello, Ciao,안녕하세요, Hallo, Hola, Selamat tengahari! My name is Rachael and I am a travel enthusiast. Ever since I can remember, my parents have taken my brother, sister and I on good ol' American road trips. It's safe to say that was where my interest in new places, people and experiences was ignited. As my parents always encouraged my siblings and I to explore and ask questions, I developed a sincere curiosity for new adventures. In addition to seeing much of the United States with my favorite travel companions (my family), I had the opportunity to spend a semester in Rome, Italy, as well as a semester in Seoul, South Korea during my college career. Now, I am honored to be taking part in a Fulbright ETA Scholarship to Malaysia for a year! My family's favorite motto is "Life is all about the journey, not the destination." I invite you to join along in my journey of cultural exchange and mutual understanding in Malaysia! After all, the more, the merrier.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Bali, Indonesia

Rice paddies, palm trees and lush green was can be seen throughout every inch of Ubud, Bali.

In September 2012, my roommate Christina and I set off to experience what Bali had to offer!

Our longhouse that we stayed in during our time in Ubud.
We stayed twenty minutes outside of Ubud, Bali in a longhouse style lodge. It was surrounded by jungle terrain, as well as green, rolling rice paddies. During our entire stay there, I enjoyed the peace and tranquility of the open wooden doors and windows giving way to the wind that lightly blew the beautiful, white sheer mosquito net that surrounded my bed. For the five days we were there, we shared a house with a couple from Argentina. Every morning we would wake up and enjoy toast and jam with the couple. We chatted about the couple’s trip around the world. They had been on the go for over two years and still had about three years to go. Whenever they ran out of money, they would pick up little jobs and save up enough to set out to their next destination. It was fascinating to hear the story of how they were managing their trip and budgeting. In addition to their trip, they were blogging and in the process of writing a book.

This corridor gave way to a gorgeous view of Bali.
At this point, Christina and I had only about eight weeks left of our stint in Malaysia. Ubud, Bali was a good place to journal while reflecting on our year. In a sense, Bali reminds me of Rome. Instead of trying to hide and erase age and ‘fix’ ruin, it embraces it. It builds upon and around what remains from the past. There is such beauty and wonder to be seen from the ‘age’ in Ubud, Bali. As I stood along a stone wall, looking out at the scenery all around, I felt as though the ruin could tell stories of what was, and what will be.

The weathered facades of Ubud are unlike any other!
The Ubud, Bali Starbucks! (Yes, they had Starbucks!

In Ubud, there are worn, weathered facades of buildings and huge palm branches that hang over the tight, narrow roads. The rough roads are filled with scooters and cars, as well as many automobiles from the 50’s-70’s. Unlike other places I have traveled to, Bali feels and exudes a peaceful, calm and quiet demeanor that makes one want to simply write, read, take pictures and sip Indonesian coffee all day- which is precisely what I did.

My heart will forever adore Bali, because it is a city that fully embraces its roots, culture and especially, it’s age- an age that gives way to tremendous architecture, art and ruin. No doubt, I will return to Bali. I’m not finished with it yet. 

A small door I found during my walk through Ubud.
The garden entrance to an ancient temple.
Ubud, Bali has multiple layers and elevations. 

The vehicles in Bali made me feel as though I was in an adventure film,
or I had stepped back in time.
The peaceful scenery makes Ubud an easy place for a tourist to relax.

My nice, cozy bed that had large, open windows.
Since we were nestled within the rolling hills, it actually got
chilly at night.
An image that can be seen during a walk through Ubud.

A temple outlined by lilly pads.
We found tortilla chips in Bali, and boy oh boy, did we take advantage of that!
Rice paddies outlined by jungle terrain make Bali a unique place to visit.
A Balinese village outside of Ubud, Bali.

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