Dear Diary #5: Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore + more!
It is so hard to believe that Christmas has come and gone already!! I hope that everyone had a wonderful holiday and was able to spend some quality time with friends + family! Zach and I were pretty sad to not be with our families for Christmas, but we ended up having such a great tropical Christmas here in Bali! We went to the Christmas Eve and Christmas Day services at our church, Hillsong Bali, and then had lunch with some friends that have really made Bali feel like home for us. And we went and saw the new Star Wars! Seeing a movie on Christmas made us both feel right at home. :) It was such a special day, and we really loved creating new traditions and making the best of our Christmas across the world! And now, we are getting ready for Zach's brother, Caleb, and his beautiful wife, Kath, to come and visit us!!!! AHHH we can hardly wait to see some family and show them around our new temporary home! They are currently en route and land in Bali tomorrow evening. We are literally counting down the hours!! ((32 hrs and 3 minutes from when they land... just FYI...))
Alright, so let me catch up guys up on some of my recent highlights as I've been sharing lately in my Dear Diary posts— I really hope that you guys have been enjoying keeping up with our journey and following along as we navigate this new season of life! :)
1. KOH LIPE, THAILAND:
Pineapple fried rice, pad thai, and massaman curry on repeat… have I mentioned how much I absolutely love Thailand?! It was our first time exploring the tiny island of Koh Lipe, and it was every bit as amazing as I hoped it would be! We basically couldn't put our camera down the entire trip, and you will totally see why after looking at some of our pics! I never wanted to leave this island! We stayed 4 nights and 5 days at a gorgeous house with some friends, and I will share the airbnb link below in case you’re ever planning a trip here! :) We loved our stay at Cashew Nut Cove and it had plenty of room for an entire family or a group of friends. We were there with 3 of our friends and still had tons of room! It was the perfect house to stay in with the most amazing view overlooking our own private beach! We took a longtail boat island hopping to explore several of the even tinier islands around the area, and we even found a stunning and remote waterfall that took our breath away! The memories we made in Koh Lipe I will cherish for a very long time!
- Cashew Nut Cove House: Airbnb
2. LANGKAWI, MALAYSIA:
So Zach and I are both pretty spontaneous, and sometimes it is the best quality that we share and sometimes not so much...haha! At the last minute, we decided to take a boat from Koh Lipe to Langkawi, and honestly it was a bit of a bummer after leaving Thailand. We were also horrible planners and did not plan our Langkawi trip whatsoever, so we are mostly the ones to blame for the let down. The more you travel, the more you learn about the things that you love the most and what makes or breaks a trip for you. Of course we try and find the beauty in all of our adventures, but we definitely learned from our mistakes when it came to this last minute Malaysian adventure. We did make some beautiful memories here in Langkawi and saw some killer sunsets, but it also looked a lot like walking up and down the beach desperately searching for an affordable + available room to stay in, and getting kicked out of cafes because we were working there too long on our laptops, haha! You win some and you lose some, and I always love keeping it real with you guys. Note to self: when staying several nights in a foreign country, plan your stay ahead of time and do a little bit of research! ;)
I literally cannot say enough great things about Singapore! What a truly beautiful, clean, and fascinating city! First of all, it was so much fun for us to be back in a metropolitan city for a few days, finding our way around the gridlock streets, and learning a new subway system. We always love city vibes, and Singapore did not disappoint. We were there for 3 nights, and stayed at 3 different hotels— ha! We are crazy, I know... but we had such an amazing experience at each of them, so I wanted to link them all below for you to check out for yourself! Also, we shared about each of our Hotel Jen experiences on League Travels! Singapore has some of the best shopping I've ever seen, with MASSIVE malls on just about every corner! It was also so special to us because the entire city was decked out in Christmas decorations, so it finally got us into the Christmas spirit! We got to experience their 'Christmas Wonderland' at Gardens by the Bay, walked the streets of Chinatown, shopped on Orchard Road, and even made it to the Chinese Gardens! There is so much to see + do ((+ eat!!)) in Singapore, so we will definitely be back soon to experience even more of what this city has to offer-- it is so close to Bali!
4. HOUSE HUNTING:
As I mentioned in my last post, we finally got our long term visas in Singapore, so we can officially stay in Bali for one year! WHOOHOO! We were so thankful to finally receive them!! That has definitely helped us to feel a bit more settled, and the search for our own place has continued... We haven't found anything "permanent" yet, but we did find the most perfect room to stay in for a bit while we continue our search. We are currently living at a guesthouse in Canggu, and we actually love staying in a guesthouse! We have our own room + bathroom, and share a kitchen, dining/living area, and pool. This guesthouse even has 2 rooftop areas that give us all the Brooklyn vibes. We love it! There are many reasons why we would prefer our own home in Bali, but as much as we travel, it seems a little unnecessary to invest in a home for such a short amount of time. Also, for all rentals in Bali, you have to pay for the full year upfront— and paying monthly is definitely ideal for us with so much uncertainty as to where we will be each and every month for the next year. So anyways, that is where we are at with our house hunting process in case you have been following along with that. Thanks for all of you who have been checking in with us and asking questions about it! :)
5. BALI LIFE
As soon as we got back to Bali from our visa trip, we went straight into a collaboration with Awarta— which at this point, feels like a second home to us. It felt so nice to be back in Bali, back in Nusa Dua, and back with so many familiar faces at Awarta. Spending any amount of time at this stunning resort always feels like a breath of fresh air, and we were so thankful to spend 2 nights there after our initial stay when we first landed in Bali. We then had another collab up north in Bali, the furthest North we have been actually, and were so surprised at the weather!! First of all, it was actually cold! And second of all, it was sooo incredibly rainy. We were at a stunning resort in the mountains called Munduk Moding Plantation, but were basically in a cloud the whole time, haha! We are learning how important sunshine is to us these days, and have been getting a little stir crazy during rainy season... Some people say it rains every day until April, some say March, and today someone told us until May!! Either way, as much as we love Bali, we are all about chasing the sunshine so we are currently planning a little getaway for January to escape the worst of rainy season here in Bali… so stay tuned! :)
6. NEW TATTOOOOS:
Zach and I didn't really do presents this year since our financial situation is so different right now. Instead, we decided our presents to each other would be new tattoos!!! Both of us have been dying for new ink for a while now, and knew exactly what we wanted to get. I have been wanting a palm tree for forever, but I wanted it to look different than a basic palm tree. I wanted it to be quirky and unusual, and I am so happy with how it turned out! Palm trees have a lot of meaning to me... I love how they are strong enough to endure all kinds of storms, and can bend without breaking. Also, I am originally from South Carolina and the flag for my state is a palmetto tree which is a type of palm tree. My mom is an art teacher and her signature lesson is a palm tree drawing that I grew up drawing all the time, and of course now that I live in Bali, palm trees are that much more significant to me! Zach got 'TARA' and a small cross tattooed on his knuckles... I don't think that one needs any explanation, haha! We love our tattoos and the place that we got them done, which is called Be No Square. It's pretty incredible because it is only female tattoo artist and they are all so BA. It was such a cool experience with some of our closest friends here in Bali! Here are some pics of the final results:
December has been a pretty big month for us in this new adventure and we have gone through so many emotions this month. What an incredible year it's been, and as 2017 quickly comes to an end, I can't help but look back and be so thankful for all that we've been through. The good, the bad, and the ugly... Everything has brought us to where we are now, and I couldn't be more excited for 2018 and the new opportunities + adventure that are waiting for us ((and YOU!)) just around the corner!
What are you guys looking forward to the most in 2018?! I would love to hear about your expectations or goals in the comments below! Thanks for following along!!