Take a Virtual Vacation: Bali 2024

In which Laura leads 14 writers on a restorative, creative journey to explore the healing heart of Bali.

Well It’s Almost a Wrap

Today is the last full day of our retreat in Bali. I’m teaching my last writing class for this group right now—they’re busy writing—and after our final class, the day is free for people to do whatever they want to do with their last hours in Bali. I’m getting a two-hour massage, that includes a […]

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Since I’ve Come to Bali

This is a compilation of responses to final writing prompt of this first of two retreats. Those of us who have all been here for 15 days together are all going our separate ways today. We just had our final closing circle. I’m going to be resting for the next 4 days and then will

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Children Dancing

Today we took a break in writing class so we could watch the children’s dance class that meets on the hotel property. This is just one of the many things I love about Puri Lumbung. Turn up your sound to hear the music. Then the boys. The teacher invited those of us watching to join

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How many water blessings can you receive on one trip? Apparently, one more. Our third location, Munduk, is great for hiking. Here, we hike in the morning and write in the afternoon. Our first morning hike was to my favorite waterfall. Take a look.

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A News Free Zone

The very first day of our retreat, during our all-group orientation, one of the ground rules I laid out as a core group agreement was this: “One of the great things about being in Bali for 15 days is a break from the news. I know some of you—those from the United States—are looking forward

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The Work I Can’t Quit

Today, we transferred to Puri Lumbung, a beautiful hotel set in the rice fields in Munduk, the coffee growing region of western Bali. It’s my favorite stop on our tour, a deeply peaceful and natural place. After lunch, we met in our new writing space for the first time. And this was what we wrote

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This morning, we took a special excursion to south Bali to the compound of a High Priest and Priestess for a purification ceremony for each trip member. The most moving part for me were the high priest and priestess, an older couple who married each other late in life—the first marriage for both of them.

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Yesterday, we ended the first leg of our 15-day tour of Bali. We moved from Candidasa to Ubud, and travel/transition days are always stressful. We were leaving our idyllic beachside resort behind. I’d warned people in our orientation on Day #1 that people often get cranky during transition days. I see it on every trip,

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Teaching Writing in Bali

Here’s the thing about teaching writing in Bali. From day to day, moment to moment, I never know what we’re going to do. No wonder my pre-planning is useless. I don’t use a set curriculum. Especially not when teaching a group that’s traveling as a community, when writing is just one component of a multi-faceted

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Today we got to witness the cremation of Cokorda Istri, a member of the noble family of Ubud. As the time for the cremation procession approached, the street got fuller and fuller until it was teeming with people, some in ceremonial clothing, some in tourist garb, some in bright green or bright orange uniforms with

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The Art of Bargaining

Judy gave us a dramatic lesson in the art of bargaining this morning over breakfast. She began by saying, “Some of you may already be very good at bargaining from yard sales and flea markets. Others are terrified of bargaining, and think, ‘I’ll just pay the first price,’ but bargaining is expected in Bali.” This

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The Best Laid Plans

In our group orientation this morning, I stressed two qualities I wanted the group to embody: courage and flexibility. Courage has to do with taking risks and moving out of our comfort zone. I put it to the group this way: “What I’m going to ask you to do every day you’re on this trip,

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This tropical deluge woke me up today… Delightful. Turn up your sound. I guess we’re not going snorkeling this morning after all! Seems like an excellent morning to write!

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Coming of Age in Tenganan

While our remaining travelers were making their way to Lotus Bungalows in Candidasa today, Laurie, who arrived last night, and I headed to Tenganan Village to witness the Mekare-Kare Pandan Wars, an annual ritual for the boys and men of the village. Three hundred people live in Tenganan Village. They are an original aboriginal village,

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My Love Affair with WhatsApp

I have been a huge fan of WhatsApp for years. Having a daughter who travels and lives on the other side of the world makes me so grateful for this versatile communication app that lets you text, leave voice memos, send photos and videos, and make international phone calls, with video or without, all for

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