Travel Writing Tip #6: The twin pillars of travel writing are people and place. Aside from the topography, the beautiful rice fields, the incredibly fresh food, the staggering art work, one of the things I love most about Bali are the Balinese people themselves. Every opportunity I had to meet a local person and learn about his or her life was like unwrapping a beautiful gift. I loved learning about their culture, their families, and their way of life. And they were generous and gracious in opening their lives and hearts to us. As a writer, I loved the opportunity to tell their stories and share some of their joys and challenges. Because one of our guides, Made Surya is Balilnese, and yet lives half the year in ... [Continue Reading]
Travel Writing Tip #4: Nothing takes the place of direct observation. The second of three places we visit in Bali during the Write, Travel, Transform trip is Ubud, the arts capital of Bali. In addition to eating in great restaurants, seeing Balinese dance, shopping at the local market, and of course, writing and yoga, we also had the wonderful opportunity to stroll through the monkey forest. Before we entered, our intrepid guide, Judy Slattum, warned us to take off anything we were wearing that was shiny because the monkeys might snatch at it. She told us not to feed them banana sold by hawkers all along the pathway, calling out, ... [Continue Reading]
Travel Writing Tip #3: Follow your natural curiosity. Five years ago, on my first trip to Bali, while we were waiting for the rest of the group to arrive, my daughter Eliza and I climbed on the back of two scooters to go on a non-touristy adventure. Our guide Toto said to me, "I was told you do not want to go to the touristic places, that you want to see the real Bali. Do you want to go to the market where the local people shop?" "Yes!" "Do you want to see the most beautiful rice paddy in all of Bali?" "Yes!" "Do you want to see a Brahmin silver village and a blacksmith?" "Yes!" He could have said anything and I would have said yes. Yes! Yes! Yes! And so we were off. Turn on your images to go ... [Continue Reading]
Travel Writing Tip #2: Always look for something you can be fascinated by. During past trips to Bali, we've been able to see two of the critical rituals in the lives of the Balinese: a coming of age ritual for adolescent boys and a mass cremation ceremony. When you travel with our guides, Judy and Surya, you open the door to all kinds of possibilities - including the spontaneous opportunity to witness such rituals. Rituals hold together the fabric of Balinese life. There is much less alienation in Bali because everyone in the culture has their place and the ceremonies that mark the stage of life keep everyone in their rightful place. Everyone belongs and everyone is part of an interwoven community. There are ... [Continue Reading]
Join Me for the Opportunity of a Lifetime: Come to the Magic Isle of Bali Next July!
It’s our last morning in Florida. I booked a late afternoon plane so we could get a direct flight home—and not have to rouse Temme for an early morning flight. This morning, Uncle Ben had to go to dialysis and I knew he'd be there for five hours, so I knew I had to say goodbye to him this morning. We shared an awkward hug—I didn’t want to knock him over—I thanked him for his hospitality and told him I loved him. Then I watched him walk with his lopsided gait slowly to the car, listening to the tap-tap of his cane all the way down the long cement pathway. Ben carried a worn insulated lunch bag, the same one he’s carried three ... [Continue Reading]
By the time we were up and had eaten breakfast and Mom had finished her two morning naps, it was 1:00 PM and I was really needing an outing. Lucy was working again today, so she agreed to drive Esther and Mom and I to one of the many pools gracing this complex. I put on my bathing suit and threw a pair of shorts and mesh coverup on top. Then I pulled out Mom's old bathing suit from the bottom of her suitcase. I wasn't sure I could manage getting her in the water, but I wanted to. Mom and Esther had grown up going to the beach at Coney Island, and I'd grown up at the Jersey shore. Our family spent summers at the beach and I associated Mom with a big wide brimmed hat, a bathing suit with a matching ... [Continue Reading]
Mom woke up disoriented today, certain we were party-crashing her sister’s house, that we shouldn’t be there, that we were imposing, and that she was ready to go home. I wondered if I should give her a dose of the Ativan I'd brought along, but by the time my cousins Judi and Stuart showed up from their hotel, Mom had calmed down and we were all eating breakfast together—Jewish east coast foods not in my diet anymore—bagels and cream cheese and lox (I had fruit and half a bagel and peanut butter), orange juice and coffee. Mom slept through much of the day. She konked out on the couch after breakfast and when we took our one outing of the day to the Clubhouse across the street—a big excursion ... [Continue Reading]