11 years ago by

The first week was rather interesting.
As I had been telling you jokingly before leaving, I was going to eat pray love, spend a week alone, with books, in a place that looked pretty close to heaven.

Keep the Eat, Pray, Love part in mind, okay? We’ll get back to that soon.

So after hours (hours!!!) on planes, there I was, time shocked, in my big room overlooking the Balinese jungle. Heaven? Hell yes. Even though I sort of…

Lost my religion.

Do I have to mention it?

I was obviously on tech rehab. That’s the thing to do right now, no?
Tech rehab is to the ’10’s what rehab was to the ’00’s.
Stop walking around with your head buried in your f&$@&g phone, G.

So, lets make a list. Tech rehab means:
No Instagram. No Twitter. No blog*. No emails. No Skype. No Snapchat. No Pinterest.
Phone okay, only for emergencies.

Well, as it turns out, there better be no emergencies: I lost my phone the minute I landed in Bali. Pffffff. I decided to take it with philosophical grandeur, took a deep breath and went on with my day.

It would be wrong to say that I didn’t experience serious withdrawal.
Every twenty minutes or so, a sort of intense pressure shook me. My hand wanted to move towards my pockets. I recognized it quick. The check-the-phone appeal. Wow. It took three good days to get rid of it.

Not alone at being alone.

I remember, one day, telling my long-time-single friend :
“But traveling alone, oh how wonderful it must be! Finally connecting with yourself, reading, writing, what a blessing!”
Believe me, I now realize what a condescending ass I must have sounded like.
I clearly remember her answer:
“Yeah well it’s good the first time, but after a while, reading and introspecting becomes a little repetitive, you know what I mean?”

Whatever she said, I needed to try.
A week alone, then a week with Scott, a safe way to have the experience.

So there I was, tech-free, my notebook and pens in hand, wandering in paradise.

Mmmm. I took a meditation class. I read my books. Swam in the clear waters. Sunbathed naked on my terrace. Got back in touch with my body. Took notes on random stuff like getting back in touch with my body (very, very random) and, pheeeeew, got each part of my body massaged.

Felt self conscious for being alone at the restaurant…

For about five minutes.

Eat, pray, love.
(Sorry I had to do that one)

See, I was not alone being alone.

Ubud, the city where I was staying, is the city where Eat, Pray, Love takes place.

I didn’t know that! But I was soon to understand the impact the movie had on the city.
EVERYTHING REMINDS YOU OF IT. Everybody talks about it. Everybody was an extra in the movie. Ugh. Sorry I made the stupid eat, pray, love jokes before I went.
This is serious.

Of course, I’d seen the movie. I’d find it entertaining. No more, no less.

Well, but here is the thing: It seems to have brought to the island an interesting breed of tourism. Women, alone, walking around with notebooks and pens.
Reminds you of something? Someone?

Yeah. Women looking for healers to tell them what’s wrong in their life, all the feel good, organic yoga yolo type of thing.
Just warning you right away. I didn’t see any healer. Gosh, I have my shrink for that.

So after freaking out for ten good minutes (a long freak-out time for the temple of cool that I am becoming thanks to my shrink) I decided that whatever, let them eat granola and keep on writing random thoughts and drawing in your notebook.
Everybody looks for something when traveling anyway.

Some look for a beach, others for a dance floor, some look for a wave, others look for healers, some want to meet people, others just want to be left alone…

Others thought they wanted to be left alone and after three days reconnecting with their bodies realize that they are deeply…


So fucking bored!
So bored I checked my emails.

I know guys.
I cheated.
Oh well. I give you the absolute right to judge me.

So, against your judgment, I opened my emails, and there she was.

A social animal is a social animal. Even in Bali.

Bella. The girl you saw here. Sent me an email. Was in Bali at the same time as I was. Wondered if I would want to meet for a coffee.


Bella came to pick me up at my hotel and we started a conversation that went on for days. Still going on actually. She had grown up in Bali. She knew it like the back of her hand and also she knew a lot of people, great people that live in Bali and hate Eat, Pray, Love, by the way. FAIR.

And that’s how my alone introspecting adventure turned into one of the most social vacaycays I’d had for a while. I met her friends, then Scott arrived, then we went all together on an island, ate, drank a lot, all the good stuff, no meditation needed.

Oh. I didn’t check my email. I was social without media. Good no? Am I getting back my points? I only had a poor attempt at Instagramming at a lost moment (to the hell with rehab!)(was I drunk?) but it didn’t even feel great. See? I am not an addict!!!

So now that we all know that you don’t have one spiritual fiber in your body and that the only thing you love to do is to drink with your friends, what about Bali?
Should you go there?


Bali is paradise with a hell of a lot of motorbikes.

Bella told me, as much as she loves her island, she doesn’t know if she would recommend anyone to go there for a vacation.

Because in Bali, whatever you do, you have to keep in mind the three T’s:

Tourists. Tourists are everywhere**, and women with a notebook may be the most aesthetic and pleasant of the bunch. There are a lot of French people (isn’t it annoying when you’re in faraway country and you hear people speaking your language every 5 seconds?) (answer: OUI), Australian surfers, who are extremely sweet on the eyes but very loud, a lot of Chinese tourists and, oh well you get it: the world decided to meet in Bali AND IT’S VERY ANNOYING TO NOT HAVE BEEN THE FIRST ONE TO HAVE THE IDEA OF COMING HERE.

Traffic. There is a lot of traffic and it’s totally eating up your vacation time***. Please give yourself three hours to get anywhere. Get some good music.

Trade. Ok, I mean shops but shops doesn’t have a “T” so Trade. Shops, shops, shops, millions of shops everywhere! You will feel absolutely dizzy if you don’t have a serious idea of where and what you want to shop for. Luckily, I had Bella and Cisco’s city guide (tested a lot of her addresses and they are really great) or else I would never have been able to figure out my way through the… Oh well, let’s say it: the crap.
And it would have been too bad because there is a lot of wonderful art, antiques and obviously, sa-sa-sarongs to buy.

Ew, I hear you saying. I’d never want to go there!
DON’T SAY THAT. You would be missing the point.

Bali is magic.

Island of gods.

It’s going to be hard to describe to you that deep feeling of happiness that followed me all through my Bali journey. As soon as you get away from the busy touristic centers, Bali is amazing, Bali is grand and beautiful and yes, Bali is mystical.

Cisco said it. No need for a healer. Just being there makes you serene and light, and for that, of course you have to thank the amazing beauty and magnetism of the place****, but above all, you have to thank the people.

It’s not only that they are genuinely welcoming and smiling even if you’re the 262526 white gal in sarong and Birkenstocks that they’ve seen during the day.

It’s watching them live that will make your heart sing (is that too cheesy an expression? Ok, that will lift your heart.)

Praying multiple times a day, as if they were (I think they are) instant messaging with the gods. Working hard but also hanging out a lot, sitting in their cool “bales,” sort of meeting places where they sit and talk for hours.
Seeing good and evil as two forces that complete each other and make the world go round.

Impossible not to fall in love with it.

Oh, also, they love to laugh about us, the Balinese. What? I didn’t say they were perfect!

They even walk around with their heads buried in their phones, sometimes.


*I would send my pictures to my team twice a week and that was that. To me, a travel photo diary is not a tech thing. It’s a true pleasure. I love to feed you my travel stories… Sorry!

**Please come to terms with being a tourist. Yes, you are ruining paradise at the same time you’re enriching it. I’ve got some sort of theory about that, if you have any interest I can develop it.

***Please come to terms with the fact that it’s tourist traffic that’s eating up the lives of Balinese people.

****Other magnetic places I’ve experienced and that I always want to go back to: Rio de Janeiro, Arizona, and, yes: Corsica. I’m trying to figure out the common ground between these places.


Add yours
  • Sounds like the perfect vacation, I know what you mean about being bored after being by yourself for some time. That’s why I’m hesitant about going on vacation alone. How cool to have meet Bella it’s always better to visit an area with a local. Happy you are back though. Have a great day! :)


  • i love alone time. i actually need it from time to time! :)

  • I still think this lust be a HELL of an experience (pun intended…)

    Xoxo Cory

  • please share your thoughts on tourism!! something that really fascinates me… i love thinking of alternative ways to travel and experience other countries… but sometimes it’s avoidable and we turn into “those people”…

  • David Foster Wallace has some really interesting insights and comments about tourism in his essay ‘Consider the Lobster’.

  • Comme quoi, prendre le temps pour soi, ne signifie pas pour autant faire l’huître..
    Très bon post, J’ai repensé à mon séjour en amoureux là bas, dans le confort du Como Shambhala Estate et du Hanging Gardens à Ubud, où les touristes restent finalement rares et le calme bien présent.

  • Hello Hello,

    I love it !

    À bientôt, Laëti

  • Christelle July, 15 2013, 9:33 / Reply

    ah oui super mitigé quand même comme compte-rendu :)
    faut dire que Bali fait partie des destinations “tendance” avec l’Islande, enfin en tout cas en ce moment à Paris. Finalement l’idée serait de partir dans un pays encore hors des grandes tendances, donc. j’ai fait le Pérou l’an dernier et à part au Macchu Picchu on n’a vu aucun touriste en deux semaines.
    Bali, ok, mais plus tard alors !
    merci oour ton point de vue en tout cas !

  • Jane with the noisy terrier July, 15 2013, 9:35 / Reply

    Such a great post! As always, your candor comes shining through and is much appreciated. And your timing is perfect as tomorrow night, at the stroke of midnight, I jet off the Paris for four weeks. Once again, I’m swapping with friends and staying in their apartment in St. Germain, near Bon Marche ( too near!). Last summer, an English friend came over for six days, I visited friends in Spain for five days, and two American friends came for almost a week. And even so, it felt like I spent a lot of time alone. This year, it’s just me, no visitors. I’m meeting up with three people for coffee for the first time, hoping to see two old friends. Not fluent in French at all (I can converse on the level of a dull six-year old.) I remember thinking last year, “when you keep company with just yourself, you better hope you find yourself to be interesting.” So while my adventure is more familiar, I think (hope) it will be as surprising and unexpected as your trip to Bali. Eat, shop, love.

  • jenny white July, 15 2013, 11:10

    you will have a lovely time….enjoy! I spend one week by myself every year in Paris…I find the shop keepers friendly and end up having little chats so I never feel alone….

  • This trip sounds amazing.
    I don’t think I’d be able to go on vacation alone, I’m too much a social person. I might last two days but definitely not anywhere close to a week or even five days.
    I’d love to go there someday. I was planning on going this fall but opted to plan a trip to Sri Lanka and the Maldives instead. Someday though, someday.
    xo Quinn

    Quinn Cooper Style

  • YES please do develop your theory about ruining paradise while enriching it at the same time. Or do you mean BEING enriched by it? I always struggle with resolving this conflict when I travel to “idyllic” places.

  • Excellent, ton post ! Je ne te jette pas la pierre sur ton côté “animal social”, car j’en suis un. ;)

    J’aime ton évocation très décalée du film Mange Prie Aime, d’autant plus que je ne l’ai pas vraiment apprécié quand il est sorti… très décevant sur le plan du scénario, malgré la superbe présence de Julia Roberts.

    Bref… J’ai d’autant plus apprécié ton billet que Bali est un endroit qui me titille depuis quelques années déjà. Je sais mieux à quoi m’en tenir et c’est très bien ainsi. Pas que je ne veuille plus y aller, mais c’est un voyage à bien préparer, c’est tout !

    En tout cas, quelle chance de retrouver une amie loin de chez soi… ça change complètement un voyage !

    Excellent retour,
    Et merci pour les belles photos !

  • I’ve almost devoured this post.
    I’ve been looking daily at all the photos you posted about Bali and keep waiting the final response and… well, I’m so happy to find you again so frank and open.
    I think this is one of (!) the secrets of your blog’s success: the ease to empathize with you.
    I love to put myself in your shoes.


  • asianfreak July, 15 2013, 10:01 / Reply

    Effectivement Bali en Août ça doit être l’enfer.
    En même temps pour un touriste lambda, la corse en Juillet c’est l’horreur.

    J’ai la chance de pouvoir partir hors saison, et Bali en Octobre, c’est fabuleux, beaucoup, mais alors beaucoup moins de touristes (hormis Ubud, et nous avons volontairement pas passé plus d’une journée à Seminyak).
    La corse fin mai, un enchantement que j’apprécie régulièrement.

    Bref, je pense qu’il y a un bon moment pour visiter les lieux, malheureusement Juillet-Août c’est souvent l’horreur de partout.


  • Bonjour Garance

    j’ai bien aimé ce post, car j’ai pensé un peu la même chose de ce lieu merveilleux… comme toute destination de voyage, il ne faut jamais oublier que nous avons la chance d’y aller et que a priori nous ne serons pas seules, ou alors pas à certaines époques de l’année.
    L’autre point que je partage est l’exploitation du “mange prie aime”… en effet cela a de quoi déconcerter et même faire carrément rire. Et en même temps, je me souviens avoir lu ce livre et pensé qu’il me correpondait tellement. J’ai adoré la démarche de son auteur, et pour être honnête, la partie que j’ai le plus aimé est celle de l’inde… En revanche, le film ne m’a guère plu, il n’avait rien de fidèle à ce que j’y ai trouvé. De ce fait, entre mon idée du livre, et le visage offert par Bali à ses lectrices il y a un monde!

    Par ailleurs, je partage ton point de vue sur la solitude et le fait de changer ses habitudes brutalement : en réalité c’est très dur! Je crois que j’ai vécu la même chose l’année passée pendant qqs jours en Bourgogne, et j’avais hâte de revoir mon homme au bout de 3 jours!

    Alors voilà ma conclusion : partir sans idéaliser, se laisser porter et transporter par ce que nous vivons plutôt que par ce que nous attendons, prendre le temps de respirer et accepter de se tromper. Evidemment si je pouvais le faire ce serait mieux :)

    merci pour ce post

  • Ce post était super. Même avec tout ce que tu as raconté sur les touristes et les femmes aux carnets, j’ai tout de même envie de tenter l’expérience (mais avec des gens ah!).

    Super ce post, j’ai adoré!

  • As the major contributor to a travel diary blog, I enjoyed every word of your piece today. It’s with mixed emotions that we disclose our discoveries and unlock the magical places that make Hawaii, San Francisco, the Sierra and Paris so special. Appreciaate your honesty Garance, well written post.


  • thank you for sharing garance :) cheers to travel adventures and time alone!

  • … The perfect holiday!!!

    Elisa – My Fantabulous World

  • great post, as always! i greatly enjoy hearing about all of your adventures, and would LOVE to hear your thoughts on tourism. when we travel we try to strike the balance between being tourists (which we are) and making sure we respect the culture. you travel a lot more than we do though, and i have no doubt that you have some striking insights! please share!

  • Ha ha, mais quelles vacances!!! Perso, le film Mange, prie, aime, je l’ai trouvé un con, parce que c’est le genre d’introspection ou de recherche que l’on fait à 30, pas 40 ans… Cela sonnait un peu faux et n’avait rien de vraiment bien révélateur. Pour avoir voyagé seule en Guyane quelques jours, j’ai trouvé ça super, mais très honnêtement, c’est quand même plus sympa de le partager! On peut avoir des moments de solitude choisie dans nos vies, c’est déjà pas mal!

  • Ton post me rappelle exactement les bons et les mauvais côté de Bali; mais ça n’empêche que c’est un gtendroit très spirituel, avec beaucouop de contrastes, qui donne un côté un peu magique à l’île.
    J’ai retrouvé ça au Ladakh sauf qu’il n’y avait presque pas de touristes, des paysages sublimes et des temples bouddhistes pour ceux qui veulent méditer, ou juste voir de belles choses. le bonheur absolu !

  • I have missed you… glad you’re back!!!! :))))

    Since when I travelled alone on holidays for a week, my destination was New York, I can’t say I was bored, not even a little bit… ;-D

  • Magnifique ton journal sur Bali.Les photos sont superbes,m’inspirent énormement.J’adore ta façon franche d’écrire et de raconter tes moments ,soit des gaitées,soit d’angoisse ou d’énnuis.Merci de nous prevenir que
    Bali n’est plus la même aprés “Manger,Prier et Aimer”……

  • Blandine July, 15 2013, 11:06 / Reply

    Sympa ton post, dans la liste des endroits magnétiques, je rajoute Istanbul !

  • I know about that urge to check the phone!

  • Love your blog!!!
    I’m posting looks from Los Angeles and accessories:

  • Rhaaa quel plaisir de te lire! Super compte-rendu! Mais pour être honnête ça ne me donne absolument pas envie d’y aller, je ne supporte plus ces lieux touristiques où je retrouve tout Paris sur place!

  • Fantastic Bali diary! Please, develop that teory of yours about turism, I want to read it!
    I’ve always wanted to visit Bali but my nonna (grandmother) made me promise I will never go there. She had read terrible stories about it and, well, I promised. Thank God you took pictures! That’s the only way I’m going to see Bali… in pictures. But it’s ok, I love my nonna. :)

  • Ah ! Ah ! Je me sens moins seule à avoir détesté la soupe qu’on essayait de nous faire avaler avec “mange, prie, aime”.

  • Emmanuelle July, 15 2013, 11:30 / Reply

    je disais donc : ma copine Naniek – qui connait si bien Bali – m’emmenait faire du shopping et on sortait le soir entre filles ! Les balinais sont adorables, ce n’est pas une légende, l’accueil est fantastique et même seule, l’endroit est vraiment sûr. J’aimerais y retourner maintenant que je suis mariée et maman ! Peut-être un jour ! Profite de l’endroit, c’est vraiment l’ile des dieux !

  • A wonderful read for this Monday morning. Truly inspiring for someone dreaming of a vacation <3

  • Thank you so much for sharing your story about travelling in Bali. I really enjoyed it!! And PLEASE share your theory about being a tourist!

  • This was SUCH a fantastic write-up! I loved how honest you were…I think you need to do one for most tourist destinations :). Can’t wait for more pictures!

  • j’adore! c’est la première fois que je laisse un commentaire sur ce blog. Après tant d’année à le lire ça peut paraître étrange… et le premier commentaire est sur un post pas fashion pour un sou. J’aime beaucoup le fait qu’au lieu de passer sous silence, ces moments d’ennui au paradis, tu les décrives, en expliquant tout bêtement que “ben, ouais, je me suis emmerdée”. Merci pour ces moments là.

  • love…thanks for a perfect monday morning read! xoxox

  • Emmanor July, 15 2013, 12:11 / Reply

    Tiens, je n’avais pas eu cette sensation de tourisme exagéré quand j’y suis allée mais il faut dire que c’était il y a 14 ans et que nous avions fui les stations balnéaires remplies d’australiens.
    J’avais retenu tout le côté apaisant et zen, la beauté des paysages et l’accueil des balinais.

  • “isn’t it annoying when you’re in faraway country and you hear people speaking your language every 5 seconds?”
    Can’t agree more.

  • Katarzyna July, 15 2013, 1:54

    … and that’s one of the great things of being a speaker of 2 million-people language. I am always extremely happy when I hear my language spoken at the other part of the world. :)

  • tes photos de Bali sont magnifiques, ca donne envie.

  • ça ne m’étonne pas les vacances toute seule c’est l’enfer;-) j’étais assez étonnée que tu fasses ce choix d’ailleurs!
    Mes meilleures vacances sont celles ou je passe mes journées sur un matelas à papoter avec mes copines et boire des cocktails!!!!

    Pour les endroits sans touristes je crois surtout qu’il faut éviter de voyager en juillet et aout.
    Bon courage pour le retour!

  • I really enjoyed reading this and this postcard is my favourite out of all Bali travel diary :)

    It all sounds so different and magical and I would love to visit it someday, just to see what the place feels like.

  • J’aime beaucoup l’idée des endroits magnétiques ! A Bali, où j’ai eu peu ou prou la même impression à Ubud (je n’avais pas vu mange prie aime), mais la puissance de la reconnexion et de la transfigurance des énergies (oui oui la transfigurance, qui rend beau nos propres énergies) en soi a été un vrai bonheur. je testerai la Corse à l’occasion.

  • Seems like it’s a dream-vacation! I’d love to go to Bali someday…


  • Please share your thoughts on tourism! Having felt both annoyed at tourists for disrupting the beauty of the place I’m in and very annoyed at myself for simultaneously being that tourist, I would like to hear your perspective on it all. And also, thanks for adding a little wanderlust to my Monday morning!

  • Merci Garance pr cet article!! C’est hallucinant comme tu colles à mes préoccupations…. apparemment à celles de millions d’autre filles aussi! Mais justement j’envisage un grand voyage seule (d’ici un an)…. je vais y investir du temps et de l’argent… et, a priori, je vais partir seule. Je ne sais pas ce que j’en attends mais, confusément, je sais que j’en attends qqch. J’ai peur d’être déçue mais pour investir autant j’ai besoin d’y croire. Et puis je ne serai pas seule, j’ai la danse :-)

  • Katarzyna July, 15 2013, 1:58 / Reply

    I’ve spent 2 weeks in Ubud 4 years ago, before the Eat pray love euphoria took place.
    Now I really wonder what kind of effect it had on the town. I wonder if I’d be dissapointed going there again.
    Is it really overwhelmed with tourists?

  • Garance, one day, you should come to Santa Cruz. It’s tropical and it’s beautiful.
    We do have magical spots which are so virgin because everybody only knows the Andes, nearly nobody comes to the tropical part of Bolivia, therefore the good spots are barely visited..

    Let’s see, it’s a good theme for my blog. I’ll show you some of them…..

    Enjoy Bali anyway thank God, you met Bella, it’s always good to know people of the place. Otherwise one never get to know the real good things.

    Abrazo from Santa Cruz

  • Ce texte me rappelle des voyages fabuleux au Mexique ou en Israel avec mon mari, le plus loin possible de la foule touristique et le plus pres possible des habitants mais sans les envahir. Nous avons des souvenirs imperissables que nous aimons nous rappeler et qui nous incitent a voyager plus.
    Ce reportage sur Bali nous a donne envie de nous y render mais nous sommes aussi attires par la Corse et l’Egypte et lorsqu’on habite dans le sud de la Floride, il faut prendre en consideration le temps et le cout de tels voyages. En attendant, on peut rever grace aux belles photos de Garance et de Scott qui a publie sa premiere photo de Bali. Superbe.

  • Hahahaha i laughed while reading this post. Yes, i know Bali can be a pain in the ass sometimes, especially if you go to Kuta and Seminyak! (oh well, and Ubud). But there are many ‘not-that-touristic’ places, as my friend said (he’s an ambassador of Indonesian tourism, if you’re not sure of the validity of my point here). Even cheap eateries! He took me to a place where we ate rice and chicken slices for only *grasp* IDR 5.000!!! Like WTF, right?!

    I can see you have found your way to enjoy your trip here. I love travelling alone and meeting new people that i’ve never known before. Meeting a person like Bella, in your case, is one of those unforgettable experiences (and you should write that on your notebook, perhaps).

    All in all, enjoy! ;)

  • Merci, ca fait du bien !! :D
    Je ne pars pas en vacances de l’année, alors un brin d’exotisme, d’humour, de franc pragmatisme et de retour aux sources (quoi un verre d’alcool autour d’une table ou d’un feu de camp), c’est coooooooool :)))))

  • I love how you describe your Bali holiday and I actually also love Bali after being there once, living in between beautiful rice marks and local people. And I agree, it’s good to try traveling alone but it’s even better to travel and hang out with the inspiring and good people you often meet when traveling. Thank you for an inspiring blog:) All the best, Luise

  • Bali is Bali! It’s a dream place ( with some chaos around sometimes)… I have been in Bali once… long time ago , it was in 2001… amazing place for reflection and thinking in many things… but you have to be in the correct place, not tourists at all….. good for you that you had the chance to be alone….travel alone has something magic…. now is my turn next month I will be alone in the south of France and Switzerland! my sister is going to be with me…. but I will be alone because I need to think and I need to take a decision…. yes…. my life is not easy right now ….
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts and your diary… you are great…

  • Carol Melo July, 15 2013, 6:04 / Reply

    Yes!!!! Good, I am not alone, I also hate Eat, Pray and Love!!!!

  • Garnace—I loved this post! You have my curiosity peaked about Az, Rio & Corsica and the possible “common ground” as u put it. I went to Sedona for a solo trip years ago and it was amazing. It was magical. What part of Az did you visit?

  • Your photos are peaceful and love the new presentation way of contracting on colours and bnw photos. My friends just came back from Bali too. Breath-takingly beautiful. x

  • We missed you! But it has been so lovely to look at your holiday pics in the interim :) Bali is not far away from here, but I’ve never desired to go there. We Australians seem to travel zillions of miles for our holidays… Maybe you changed my mind.

    BUT, have you been to BYRON BAY? This place and the areas around it are definitely magnetic (explains my frequent visits). This place has a vibe all of its own. I think you would love it there. And the surfers actually seem pretty quiet… he he

  • Nathalie July, 15 2013, 8:54 / Reply

    Bali Shmali….

    Les Maldives.

    Ca c’est le paradis.

    Et je deteste la mer, je deteste le soleil, je deteste le sable, j’aime pô les palmiers, j’aime pô les couchers du soleil, j’aime pô les bateaux, j’aime pô les (gros) poissons.

    Mais les Maldives. C’est….à faire au moins une fois dans la vie.

    On ne s’en remet jamais.

  • i feel so similarly about my time spent in bali. it engenders such a love hate relationship and it makes you wish you could go back in time and be one of the first tourists to such an amazing place. and my list of favorite places is quite similar. i don’t want to speak for you, but for me it’s filled with places that feel endless: islands, deserts, and beaches. i love being in vast, expansive places because when you no longer see boundaries around you your heart gets lighter and your reflection turns inward.


  • As an anthropologist in training, a lover of photography, and someone of more than one ethnic background, I have traveled unnoticed in many locations and lived a whole life in Brazil. This is where I got to know myself, find my mate, and understand there will always be the self and the other . When we hold up a mirror we may just truly get to know who we are. On your journey it seems you disconnected with the tech and reconnected with another human being and place. In today’s global world of the tech obsessed, I too now have the tech twitch at times. Bali caught my heart many years ago with one quote from an old documentary where a Balinese person interviewed said something along the lines of “art makes us human”….Bali and its people have been through a lot and filtered through many lenses. Your critical eye on the situation was refreshing.

  • I loved this post! I would love to visit Bali one day and I loved hearing your adventures and real thoughts on what your trip was like. I am actually thinking to myself as well if I could vacation alone, I am not sure if I can, but I would like to go to Italy next summer and don’t have a travel buddy, so I might just do it on my own! Thanks for sharing your beautiful trip!


  • SO in for you developing your theory on tourists!
    Great post btw. ;)

  • I am having a hard time reconciling the idea of ruining paradise while enriching it-would love to see you elaborate on this. I always say I loved Maui before the malls and meth showed up… This post makes me think about being a “conscious tourist”. Welcome back, we missed you!

  • Arizona! Have you been during monsoon season? It is gorgeous. Let me know if you ever decide to come visit Tucson . . .

  • Tee hee!

    If the locals were laughing at you in the photos you took? Ya just couldn’t tell — Hmmm — maybe that is good! Did you end up with anything in your notebook?

  • esmeralda July, 16 2013, 12:16 / Reply

    ben du coup tu donnes pas du tout envie d’y aller a Bali, on a même l’impression que tu te retiens de pas en dire plus… merci beaucoup pour ton honnêteté :-)

  • How wonderful! Nothing better than serendipitous and unexpected friendships. That’s the best part of traveling alone in my opinion. You’re much more likely to be open and reach out to strangers.


  • merci pour cette franchise rafraichissante . bel été

  • Ms Jane July, 16 2013, 2:27 / Reply

    Try Lombok next time. Just next door and felt like I had come home as soon as my feet hit the ground. It’s Muslim so a different vibe from Bali but the people are amazing and really welcoming x

  • Agustine July, 16 2013, 2:38 / Reply

    Hi Garance,
    I’m an Indonesian & avid reader of your blog ever since i was in college.
    Very nice to know that you’re enjoying your time in Bali..
    it is a very amazing island. You should sometimes try spend a night or two in Gili Trawangan you know.
    as beautiful as Bali, and the sea is sooo clear.

    Anyway, happy holiday Garance!!

  • Contente de te relire.
    C’est là que je me rend compte que je suis très contente d’avoir connu Ubud avant que ce film soit sorti. Je ne l’ai pas particulièrement aimé non plus… sauf la partie ou il est question de manger, va savoir pourquoi !
    J’ai visité l’ile en plein mois d’avril, hors Pâques et je n’ai pas vu autant de touristes, quel bonheur. Et puis il y a à Bali des coins très touristiques comme Kuta (l’horreur) et des coins paisibles et magnifiques comme Ahmed.
    En tout cas tes photos son magnifiques.

  • Salut Garance
    Merci pour ce post qui te ressemble tellement : bourré d’humour et très lucide.
    On m’a dit que les Philippines ressemblaient beaucoup à Bali, mais sans les touristes (enfin, pour le moment). Tes photos sont splendides.
    Bon retour à la vie new yorkaise (que je découvrirais pour plusieurs mois fin aout !!)

  • C’est vrai que Bali en juillet et en aout ce n’est pas le Bali que je connais. Il faut sortir des sentiers battus, il faut rencontrer les vrais Balinais, il faut fuir ces plages bondées de touristes, il faut sentir, respirer, vivre. Mais seule, c’est vrai que c’est pas toujours facile !

  • I was thinking about going on a short trip alone. Reconsidering it now :-). Great piece Garance!

  • Merci Garance tu me rassures! Non mais sérieusement je suis admirative des gens qui vivent en solitaire… Je ne suis pas toujours entourée d’amis en continue, ni de mon téléphone et d’internet, mais franchement j’ai besoin de quelqu’un, de mon amoureux, d’un(e) très bon(ne) ami(e), d’une de mes soeurs… Sinon c’est pas possible, je m’ennuie très profondément et j’ai un grand besoin de partager mes émotions!
    Mais parfois je pense aussi qu’il est plus facile de faire des rencontres quand on est seul, car sinon on reste dans notre confort habituel et on ne regarde pas autour (à moins d’être hyper sociable et d’avoir un sens inné du contact! Si, si mon amie Cristina elle est comme ça!), donc il serait grand temps que je sois capable d’être toute seule, seule, seule!


  • Garance this is an amazing post you wrote there!!! Loved the photos you posted and i really really want to visit Bali myself! But not by my self! I am not at all a solitary type of person and although I can spend time on my own it’s not my way of having fun, i absolutely love the time withmy boyfriend and my friends! looking forward to your next posts! Have a wonderful day! xxx

  • Florence July, 16 2013, 5:51 / Reply

    Je suis partie un mois a Bali, toute seule. C’etait 3 mois apres la sortie de mange prie aime. Je l’avais meme pas lu. Ubud était deja pris d’assaut par les meme hordes de filles, un carnet a la main et le matelas de yoga dans le dos. La solitude des premiers jours, l’ennui et tout ca, je reconnais. Je suis meme allee dans un cyber cafe pour regarder mon facebook… Je m’attendais absolument pas a ça.
    Et puis finalement j’ai atterri a Lovina. J’y suis restee 3 semaines. J’ai rencontre une francaise la bas avec qui je suis encore en contacte. On a fait la java. J’ai decouvert la plongée et des sites magiques, des paysages ahurissants, des gens adorables…

  • Brooklyn Malicka July, 16 2013, 6:09 / Reply

    Morte de rire. J’ai adorer! please pourrais-tu mettre plus de photos de bali?

    merci xx

  • Wow, sounds like an amazing holiday! Bali really does sound magical and I loved seeing some photo’s from your trip. The people sound genuinely pleasant (even if they do find tourists amusing). Will you be posting any more photo’s from your holiday?

  • Great post! What books did you end up reading? Would you recommend any?

  • This post cracked me up, Garance. I lived in Bali for 5 months, thinking beforehand that I would never want to leave. But I agree with you – it’s never nice to feel that you are the last person on the bandwagon! Loved the food, smells, and sunsets, but hated all the tourists and the realization that I would never NOT feel like a tourist. Thanks for sharing your pics!

  • Andrea July, 16 2013, 7:37 / Reply

    Merci pour cet avis personnel. Disons que c’est tellement loin en avion qu’il faudrait que ce soit mieux que ça pour se taper le trajet. J’espère quand même y aller un jour mais avec des escales.
    Mange, prie, aime, j’ai franchement trouvé ça nul comme film…
    Maintenant l’histoire de solitude. Suis allée une fois à LA seule pour une semaine. Au tout début où j’y allais. Les seules personnes avec qui j’ai discutté c’était les portiers de mon hôtel. Personne ne m’adressait la parole Partout seule: Rodeo Drive seule, Getty museum seule, manger seule, marcher dans la rue seule…j’attendais avec impatience les coups de fils de mes parents qui m’appelaient tous les jours. Maintenant la différence entre nous deux c’est que vous attirez les gens comme un aimant et que vous ne pouvez pas être seule longtemps car il se trouvera toujours quelqu’un pour vous tenir companie. Je pensais encore à vous ce matin en me disant que vous êtes commes certaines petites filles que j’observais fascinée, en colo. Elles étaient entourées d’une nuée de copines qui leur couraient après. Je me demandais toujours qu’est-ce qu’elles avaient de plus que les autres pour attirer ainsi les amies et je n’ai jamais trouvé. Avec le temps j’ai compris que cela avait pas mal à voir avec le signe du zodiac. Certaines personnes sont popular plus que d’autres sans avoir à faire plus. C’est très intéressant. Alors voilà Garance: vous êtes popular…

  • Margarida July, 16 2013, 7:45 / Reply

    You must come to Azores. Still at that limbo where tourists melt in to the landscape. Second best eco island destination according to national geo magazine. And only 4h from NY direct flight.

  • C’est sûr qu’en terme de destination peu touristique, on peut dire que Bali ne soit pas forcément dans le haut de la liste ;)), et la saison de voyage aussi y contribue, mais il y a tant de destinations exotiques encore assez tranquilles (Nicaragua, nord Sri Lanka, etc )
    En tous les cas tes photos ne reflètent pas forcément ton diary et c’est tant mieux!!!


  • Hello Garance,
    Tu as eu completement raison.
    Je n’ai pas eu l’occasion de visiter des temples à Bali mais l’année prochaine OUI OUI OUI
    Effectivement à Bali il y a une grande vie sociale et les parisiens sont everywhere à Bali.
    Next time Africa? Please Please please

  • Hi Garance,

    Once someone told me that loneliness is the most important instrument we have to get in touch with our soul, but I have always found quite harming this one-to-one relationship. Especially during this type of travels. I need friends and sharing in order to be happy, a recipe not as obvious as it seems. I felt reassured that my thoughts have found a similar companion in yours during your Bali vacation.

    Thanks for this blog, actually it is more than a mere blog to me.



  • That must have been such an amazing experience! I would love to go sometime. All the photos from the past few weeks have been absolutely magical.

  • Amazing Garance! Your text was magnetic, as much as how you describe Bali.
    Being a born and raised carioca, I am glad to see you mention my beautiful Rio de Janeiro, hometwon I miss most dearly.
    I am going to Bali with my partner in December and January and, although it will be my first time there, I somehow have the very same ideas about there, as greatly described by you.
    Welcome back! You were surely missed here.
    Beijos brasileiros

  • Garance, I’m so glad you are having a lovely vacation. Bali is one of my favorite escapes (minus all of the negatives you mentioned). I do hear you when it comes to being bored. I’m so used to being active that a week in Bali is more than enough relaxation for me. I just can’t chill out for two long without being anxious and bored. Two weeks is just too much of a beach vacation for me.

  • I am happy that you had a nice stay at Bali. I am also kind of glad that you say you became bored being alone. I do not know how people do it, going on vacation alone and actually enjoying it. Must have been great to meet Bella, I think the best way to see the country is with some local person. We are thinking of going to Thailand in November but we were also thinking of Bali, so who knows…

    P.S. Also liked the part about technical rehab. I feel like going buried with my head in the phone, pinting and instagraming (not a word I guess :0) and thinking about facebook or blog posts all the time.

  • Ahaha ca c’est du post garance doré que j’aime, de l’humour, de la vérité…J’adore!
    Bali me donne envie, mais le côté tès touristique m’ennuie, je pense que j’irai dans des coins moins touristique (si un jour j’ai la chance d’y poser les pieds!), et j’essaierai de plus entrer en contact avec son peuple, comprendre leur préoccupation actuel etc…

  • Dear Garance, your charm and humor jump through the screen and grab me constantly. Your cuteness is inescapable :). Love this! Thank you for sharing. You are possibly even more likable than Elizabeth Gilbert in your writing.


  • Ma théorie sur le tourisme c’est que je ne vois pas pourquoi on paierait le même prix que des gens qui ont un pouvoir d’achat 10 fois moins élevé.
    Et que lorsque j’entends les gens se plaindre de payer plus que les locaux, j’ai envie de leur dire : prends le niveau de vie qui va avec toute l’année et on en reparlera

    et aussi, si j’entends, lis, une fois de plus quelqu’un dire qu’il a “fait” un pays, je hurle.
    “J’ai faut le Brésil”.
    Etre un touriste, c’est une pauvre condition sociale, c’est pas reluisant, mais c’est quand même un bonheur d’avoir la chance de voyager.

  • For me the common ground between the places you feel the most deeply about is the profundity of the nature. The landscapes in each places are transformative. The environment effects the human soul, behavior, culture; we are changed.

  • Cheryl July, 17 2013, 7:14 / Reply

    Next time come to the Philippine Islands, Garance! Less tourists, cheaper, but so much more pristine and serene. :)

  • Garance, you always have me in stitches. I discovered Eat, Pray, Love in Ubud too when i went to Bali with my boyfriend last September for a holiday : ) I think whilst it is good to spend some time alone and cherish your own company, i’m way too sociable to be alone for long periods of time! Great article, i’m glad you had good company, got the chance to be alone for a while and captured the beauty! Bisous, Lou

  • Merci pour ce joli post. J’ai vécu la même chose récemment au Japon sans pour autant chercher à déconnecter de mon blog et des réseaux sociaux. Ce serait illusoire de croire qu’aujourd’hui on peut voyager comme au début du XXe siècle. L’important est de garder les yeux ouverts et de trouver la beauté et l’authenticité malgré le modernisme et la mondialisation. Ce que tu fais merveilleusement bien avec tes photos.

  • C’est marrant comme on pense qu’un voyage toute seul est destiné à une introspection. Je voyage toujours toute seule. De Bali à l’Australie, du Pérou aux Etats-Unis, et pour moi ce n’est pas une question de se retrouver avec sois-même, mais plus important, les rencontres que l’on fait et que l’on se ferais pas si on était avec quelqu’un de familié !! Et d’ailleurs tu as nettement plus apprécié une fois retrouvé Bella :)
    En tout cas, c’est un très bon post !!

  • Ravie de te retrouver ! J’avais trouver ce film si niais…et j’ai la même théorie selon laquelle l’homme est un animal sociable, la vie n’est intéressante que dans le partage (dans le même genre, un de mes films préférés est into the wild). Bref je te rejoins complétement :-)

  • I also recently travelled to Bali for near 2 weeks. It was bliss! I would love you to check out my posts on my trip as I write a blog too! Bises!

  • I’m dying to hear your tourism/paradise theory! It’s a problem I’ve struggled with, too.

    I’m really happy you’re not an EPL nuthead. I was worried, G. It’s all well and good, but that sort of thing gets a bit much after a while, especially when it’s taken as doctrinally as many people do. I dunno, since the last Arrested Development season it’s just always made me think of Lindsey Bluth with ostriches.

    Your vacation sounds like it was the perfect blend of tranquil and social.

  • I travelled for around 4 months alone, I loved it. However, I guess that’s not entirely the truth because I met a lot of people along the way. I think that it made my trip more enjoyable, being able to do exactly what I wanted to do, and I probably wouldn’t have made as many friends. When you are alone, you are almost forced to meet people I guess. But then again, traveling with someone is also really nice. Being able to come back from your adventure and share your amazing memories.

  • Sarasvati July, 19 2013, 3:24 / Reply

    Bon, rigolo ce papier mais…..!!!!!!! Bien sur qu’il y a des touristes, des Français imbus de leur personne, des Autraliens surfeurs et foireurs mais dans des endroits bien stratégiques , Kuta, Seminyak et ailleurs….
    Comment peut on s’imaginer aujourd’hui être seul (e) curieux (e) sur cette île ?

    C’est simple, juste une question de sagesse et d’introspection et d’être prêt (e) a ne voir que les Balinais et leur vie, faire abstraction de tout le reste et SURTOUT éviter Kuta si cela n’est pour faire du shopping , Seminyak l’endroit squatté par nos compatriote, ne voir que les sourires des Balinais, n’entendre que le son des Gamelans, n’observer que leurs rituels et cérémonies , c’est possible!

    Pourquoi voulez vous qu’ils aillent à pieds travailler ( ça c’est pour les 2 roues) c’est le seul moyen à la portée d’une famille souvent 4 de se déplacer ) quand aux 4 roues ça aussi pourquoi pas eux et les touristes ne sont pas d’accord de marcher sur le bord de la route….venons à la camelote , c’est comme à Lourde ou le Mt St. Michel pourquoi pas? Ils en vivent, mais ils y a aussi les rizières, les villages de pêcheurs , la cueillette des algues, la récolte du sel marin, la confection des offrandes et j’en passe et tout cela avec le sourire….en remerciant les Dieux qu’ils aient eut la bonne idée d’envoyer des touristes parcequ’ils en vivent…

    Je connais bien Bali, certainement idéaliste? rêveuse? non tombée en amour comme disent les Canadiens et puis l’âge probablement, quand je survole cette île en vue d’atterrissage je ne saurai expliquer mon sentiment , mon être tout entier est pénétré de paix de sérénité et d’amour pour ce bout de terre et de ses habitants, je ne vois qu’eux et n’entends qu’eux , n’est ce pas ce que nous cherchons tous? l’ailleurs, l’endroit magique, la bulle…..

    Les Balinais ont raisons nous ne sommes que microcosmes dans le macrocosme, ils disent aussi il n’y a pas de problèmes il y a des situations….essayez cela vaut la peine….

    Om Santih Santih Santih Om

  • Chère Garance,
    J’avais lu votre post avant votre départ et j’appréhendais un peu votre retour pour savoir ce que vous en aviez vraiment pensé. Je vais à Bali depuis que je suis petite et je pars justement mardi qui vient pour 3 semaines. Mon frère a aussi ouvert une gelateria (Dolce Frutti) à Petitenget et nous habitons à Echo Beach.

    J’adore “L’ile des dieux” parce que c’est un endroit très spirituel et idyllique, riche en traditions et un havre de tranquillité .Parcontre, j’ai trouvé qu’au fil des années (j’ai aussi changé biensur) la situation s’était bcp dégradée et surtout un gros manque d’hygiène et d’éducation en terme d’écologie ce qui est fort dommage. Je vois des rizières diminuer à vue d’oeil et des maisons modernes pousser comme des champignons et çà me fend le coeur :(((
    Et OUI, le coup des 3 Ts (Tourists, Trade, Traffic) n’arrange pas la situation.
    L’eau est complètement polluée et il y’a malheureusement un gros problème avec les chiens errants (la rage).J’espère vraiment que le gouvernement, ainsi que les communautés étrangères qui se sont installées et qui en ont beaucoup profité (Australienne et Française) s’impliqueront plus que çà…

    Mais c’est partout pareil, n’est ce pas?
    En tout cas, vos photos sont sublimes et j’étais toute excitée de savoir que vous y étiez, j’aurais adoré vous croiser (et faire ma Française!lol)!!!


  • Moi je serai curieuse que nous fasse partager tes théories sur les touristes, qui ruinent le paradis et l’enrichissent en même temps, ça m’intéresse!

  • I grew up in Indonesia and I still go to Bali a lot and YES YES YES to EVERYTHING you said in this post. Especially your observations on the eat, pray, love crowd. I loved the book but goddamn Ubud is becoming a little bit ridiculous.

  • Ixchel M. July, 28 2013, 10:21 / Reply

    Love this post! I also read the book and feel inspired, Almost obligated to do something as wild :)

  • This sounds great, despite the emphasis on the awful tourism… This was interesting to read before my own hop over to Bali in a few days :P

  • Did you sleep better in Bali? I did, where I can’t anywhere else even at home in Jakarta. I agree with all of your account of the island, good thing you have a ‘localized’ friend who knows non touristy place in Bali.

    Then again I think its also good to see both side of the paradise island (negative vs positive effect of tourism” sometimes. As you said “good and evil seen as two forces that complete each other and make the world go round”.

    Many thanks for blogging our beloved island properly :)

  • Hi! I had lived on Lombok island – the neighbour island of Bali and I cam with my 2 friends to Bali – Ubud for a week. We stayed in Ubud in some bungalows, which owner was a family. We had some experience about living in Indonesia and how to dress properly what to say – we also speak Bahasa Indonesia.
    What we saw it was that only we were dresed properly going into the temples and at night when they Hindu had their ceremonies we were only 3 white people who could go into the temple. It was magic – sitting in the temple at the night and observe they even gave as water to wash our faces and put the rice on the forehead.

    AAAn I love this traffic there – when you are on the scooter it was incredible for me to drive there with everyone.

    Ubud is very touristic but yes, if you go out of the city there are a beutifull landscapes, temples, smiling people and it is MAGIC as you said.

    I described everything on my blog and there are some pictures.

  • Just found this post. I know it has been a while since you wrote it, but I just had a laugh. In some countries it is easy and even fun to travel alone. But I wouldn’t be able to have much fun alone in Bali. Somehow you want to share the things you see and experience. It must be the continuous beauty you see everywhere….except the Kuta area (yes, Ubud is heading there) where development kind of lost control.
    You have to leave the crowd and head to the central, north or east of Bali. There is still a lot of Traffic but far less Tourists and Trades!

  • Putri Erdisa J December, 27 2013, 8:37 / Reply

    Whoaaa what an amazing experience you got there in Bali! You should come back to Indonesia and enjoy a lot of other cool destinations here such as Derawan Island, Lombok, and Raja Ampat. You could visit for updated information about traveling in Indonesia! Cheers!

  • Visit another interesting places in Bali with a very competitive price

  • Looks like you’ve enjoyed your solo Bali-tour. Yes I agree, the place is somewhat congested with tourists all year round. Despite of pros and cons about the city, I believe that everyone of us has our own reasons why we should enjoy Bali. Probably for me, I’d love to spend my time along the beaches and coastal areas to feel relaxed. Some people would enjoy the night life or probably go around the shops and buy some wall paintings as souvenirs.

  • Je constate que l’Indonésie est une ile magnifique, Bali regorge de différents paysages tels que des temples, des rizières … Les balinais sont très gentils et souriants, ils sauront vous aider. Vous passerez des vacances de rêve sur une ile paradisiaque ! Faites confiance aux agences qui vous proposeront des villas incroyables et des activités formidables telles que du rafting, de la plongée, des ballades a dos d’éléphants …

  • Bali, un vrai petit havre de paix, j’ai eu l’occasion de découvrir cette ile magnifique et pour ceux qui souhaitent s’y rendre je vous dirais simplement: Foncez ! Si ça peut vous aider je vous recommande l’agence de location de villa Balijetaime, leur staff est très pro et toujours disponible, n’hésitez pas a faire un tour sur leur site web. Je vous souhaite a tous de découvrir ce petit bout de paradis nichée dans l’Océan Indien.

  • Nice article, I also have new tourist object in Bali. Maybe this will help you when you want a vacation to bali :)

  • Bali is a beautiful place to vacation

    i like bali,i love indonesia

  • So impressive the effort you put into this post! Sounds like you packed a lot of fun into this short trip. We are planning to pick one of this itineraries Can you help us which one to pick? Thanks!

  • Quelle chance : j’ai adoré Bali… C’est tellement beau et à la fois sauvage… J’ai vraiment beaucoup aimé ce séjour !

  • great vacations love it, hope ill catch you for another

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