The last year and a half have been rough for everyone regardless of where you are in the world, but some places were perhaps a little less rough — and Bali is at the top of the list. With long stretches of private beach that circumnavigate the island, an abundance of blissful Bali-style spiritual and wellness practices, rich Hindu-Buddhist inspired culture and Balinese customs around every corner, and beautiful weather year-round — even extreme isolation on the Island of the Gods is a welcome way to spend a long year at home. The island has turned a lot of night owls and party animals into a new breed of pandemic-inspired wellness warriors — and Lauren Lane is one of them.
“After coming here for what I expected would be three months, eight months have now gone by — I feel so grateful for this time to get to know this magical island and the beautiful culture rich with ancient traditions I have never experienced living in US or Ibiza. Not only are the Balinese people so warm and welcoming, but there is also a diverse population of people from all over the world living here as well. Especially while there aren't tourists here, it has given people a chance to build a sense of community in a time when people really need it.”
After having spent the better part of the year here, Lauren has fully immersed herself into everything but the nightclubs, and instead found comfort in culture instead.
“I love getting to know so many diverse cultures and especially the Balinese who have taught me so much about devotion to their communities, families and their spiritual practices. I loved learning about their holidays like Nyepi which is a day of 24 hours of silence & meditation followed by Ngembak Geni (which is like New Year's Day) where families and friends gather to ask forgiveness from one another and perform rituals dating as far back as 78AD. I realised these cultural and religious traditions touched me very deeply and I now meditate daily and also learned how to make a Canang sari —a handmade offering.”
“I came to Bali to surf, practise yoga and enjoy yummy healthy food and I've experienced so much beyond that,” she added.
Thinking about making the trip yourself? “Beware,” says Lauren. “If you come here you may not want to leave.”
Here are Lauren Lane’s tips and tricks to enjoying an alternative Bali experience.
"A surfer's paradise catering to any level from absolute beginner to top pros ripping through the big waves that Bali is known for. There are also great waves for people who just started surfing this past year like I did (perfect pandemic activity) and for longboarders. I have found the perfect small waves at 'Baby Padang' in Uluwatu and the well-known longboarding wave, 'Old Man's' to be great for me and some days also get so big it scares me out of the water.... until the next morning. It's truly become a passion and addiction. Surfing is the one thing that has turned me from a night person into a morning person."
"After accidentally stumbling into Shervin Boloorian's Sound Journey one Wednesday evening at Yoga Barn in Ubud, I was instantly captivated. As a DJ I experience and create 'sound journeys' all the time but this was new and different. Feeling inspired to ignite my creativity with new instruments and in a different setting, I decided to attend a week-long training. What I got out of it was much more than inspiration but a new connection to sound and vibration in a non-linear way. The healing benefits went so much deeper than I expected — I would recommend giving it a try with a experienced healer."
"From sound healing to traditional Balinese healers to Osteopaths to Blood analysis to even the most taboo types of healers, you can find it here. I can say I have dabbled while here because I find the island to be an incredibly healing place itself and it fosters the environment for this transformational healing to take place. The most interesting healing method I have encountered was with a woman who I like to call Electric Lady. She has electrical currents running through her hands and she uses these healing zaps while massaging and scanning your body. I have to say she was very spot on with my diagnosis and treatment. She even healed my rib that I aggravate from too much surfing...until I decide to start surfing too much again. I was so shocked (pun intended) when I looked under the table and she wasn't hooked up to some type of power source."
"There are so many astonishing natural wonders in Bali. Hiking to the top of active volcano Mt. Batur in the dark to see the sunrise from the peak was a highlight for me. I also felt a deep connection to the forests in Ubud where you can hike into the forest next to a river that leads to a sacred water temple. The cliffs of Uluwatu with their stunning views of the Indian Ocean, all the way up the east coast for sunset scenes and winding roads stretching north through farms that meet the beach on the road towards Medewi. Usually every evening I love meandering through the ride paddies at sunset as the sky changes to candy colour bliss and 100s of kites fly overhead."
"This has been the biggest issue I have learned about since coming to Bali. Sungai Watch which is an organization that collects TONS of plastic daily from rivers in their barriers, stopping it before it goes into the ocean, catalogues and sorts every single piece at their own facility. They recently rallied 1,000 military soldiers to clean 22 hectares of mangroves that were 1 meter deep in plastic. Their efforts do not stop there, they are figuring out where the trash is coming from so they can educate the people of the villages to stop polluting and stop using plastic. Their work inspires me so much and I will continue to share their tireless efforts in the hopes of inspiring more people to STOP USING PLASTIC and RETHINK, REUSE, RECYCLE. Another really cool thing happening in Bali is companies like Indosole (who makes really cool sandals out of recycled tires) and Slab Interiors (which uses plastic bottles to make "eco-crete" into tiles and pots from plants) stepping up the way people are creating products with upcycled materials."