2019 Holiday in Indonesia

Three years after our last trip to Indonesia for one leg of our honeymoon, Kev and I returned to spend Christmas 2019 and bring in the New Year. Normally we like traveling to different places, but since we wanted to go scuba diving again and Wakatobi’s Pelagian has been the best dive yacht we’ve ever stayed on with the most abundant and diverse small, colorful critters to see, we were both down to go back. We felt like we were back home in a sense because most of the same crew were there as well as our dive masters!

We were on the yacht for a week and we did 22 dives over a week, being underwater cumulatively for about 25 hours. We did 3-4 dives every day. Our days consisted of waking up around 5:30am, having coffee, going diving, having breakfast, doing some light yoga on the top deck, doing a second dive, having lunch and a light nap, doing a third dive, having a snack, doing a night dive, and then having dinner.

Eat, Nap, Dive, Repeat

We saw so many amazing critters including: sponge crab, decorated crab, scorpion fish, squid, octopuses, frog fish, sea horse, hairy lobster, shrimp, box fish, cuttlefish, many species of nudibranchs, flounder, spotted sting ray, clownfish, horned fish, mandarin fish, and of course my favorite orbicular burrfish.

Here’s a note in my journal that gave me a chuckle re-reading. Maybe I was slightly delirious or I was still in awe of everything I saw that day being underwater for over 4.5 hours – “I keep thinking how underrated fish are. When I see them underwater they are all unique and special in their shapes and colors, so that I think they’re all beautiful. However, when you take a fish out of water, they look dull and they all look the same.”

Wakatobi does not disappoint, we had amazing dives and great muck diving. Magic Pier is probably our favorite dive site ever to see the mating madarin fish which we recognize is rare and very special to see so many congregated in one area. The dive is almost overwhelming because there is so much to see including cuttlefish, crabs, eels in addition to trying to capture the madarin fish mating and making sure not to get pricked by a sea urchin. That’s my idea of an adventure!

After scuba diving for a week, I was looking forward to spending some time on land. Last time we stayed in Bali, we stayed at the Fairmont Sanur Beach Bali which was a beautiful resort, but we were there for such a short time that we never left. This time around we wanted to actually explore more of Bali. Kevin did his research and put us up in the most amazing luxury resort, Amandari, part of the Aman resort group.

Not only was the resort beautiful with amazing service, what I liked even more were the activities that were included with our itinerary. The first morning we were there we woke up at 2am (no joke) and climbed Mt. Abang. It was an hour drive to get to the base and then we hiked for 5 hours total to see the sunrise. We took the General Manager of the resort’s dog with us on the climb which was a lot of fun. She was a big, well behaved dog and she made me feel safe.

We were too tired to stay up for the New Years celebration that night but we got up early the next morning for another activity and I got to learn more about Balinese culture. We went to a family temple which I had never seen before. In America, many people have backyards with trees, bushes, or flowers but the Balinese people are very spiritual and have their own customs so their “backyards” are family temples filled with statues to pay respect to their Gods.

We went to an art school for children and bought some very pretty art to being back home. They paint everything free-hand and the proceeds of the art sales goes to the respective child who created it (hopefully). After we went to Kumulilir that had luwak coffee which is a coffee that consists of partially digested coffee cherries that have been eaten and defecated by the Asian palm civet. We were walked through the coffee making process and then got to try a tasty sampler of various flavored coffees and teas in addition to the luwak coffee. Our last stop that day was at a community temple which was very beautiful.

The next day was our last day before flying back home. We started the morning with a walk around the Amandari property and surrounding properties, through local neighborhoods, and through some rice fields. We made a spontaneous decision to check out the Ubud Monkey Forest before grabbing our stuff and heading to the airport. I’m really happy we squeezed it in because it was pretty cool. It was definitely a tourist trap but there were so many monkeys everywhere, it was awesome. They can get kind of aggressive so visitors are advised not to get too close, but you can still get pretty close to them since they’re used to people always being close by. They’re practically domesticated because there are large crates full of food so it’s like an all-you-can-eat 24/7 buffet for them. I got some great shots with my camera.

The flight to and from Indonesia was the worst, but it was SO worth the lost 2 days of travel to have the adventure we did. I love it there and can’t wait to go back and explore other parts.

Here is a link to view all of our Wakatobi pics.
Here is a link to view all of our Bali/Amandari pics.
(Though Kev would like to take credit for all of the good ones, these galleries are the compilation of photos that both Kevin and I took throughout the trip.)

Happy Thanksgiving 2017 – I am thankful for…

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Not to get too sentimental but there are a few things that I am particularly grateful for this whirlwind of a year; in order of priority–Kevin, Pants & Boots, NYC, and subscription services.

Kevin
I was lucky enough to marry Kev earlier this year. Everyone has been asking how married life is and it’s the same/great. We knew what we were signing up for and we’re both very happy with one another. We have a lot of fun together and I appreciate that, though I am typically the mastermind behind all of our adventures, he is always game and open minded to try something or go somewhere new. More importantly though, I love that he is my true partner. I am currently reading a book called Drop the Ball by Tiffany Dufu in which she describes her struggles during marriage of working a full time job in addition to running the household and baring the majority of the responsibilities and I feel lucky that Kev is willing to meet me halfway–he cooks, does dishes and laundry and is constantly doing sweet things. Thanks for being an awesome, progressive husband Kev Kev.

Pants & Boots
It is crazy how much I love these two fur critters. We got Pants as a kitten about five years ago. He was an amazing kitten and we had a lot of fun with him (lots of stories to share including him being obsessed with water and accidentally falling in the toilet and always perching on the edge of the tub whenever I’d take a bath) but he is also a sensitive little guy and truly loves attention and companionship, so when Kev and I started traveling more and more he literally became depressed. That’s when we got our girl Boots aka Botas aka Botalinas 🙂

Right away we could tell that Boots had a personality of her own. Truth be told, she was not quite as cute of a kitten as Pantsies (but according to the breeder Pants is actually close to show quality) but she was more playful and mischievous. Though she is a year younger than Pants and much more petite, she is the ruler of the two. And I feel so lucky that not only are they both sweet and have their own unique personalities but that they’ve also become the best of friends. Getting Boots as Pants’s companion was the best decision. They play with one another by chasing each other around the apartment and they sometimes cuddle next to one another. Wherever one is, the other is never too far.

I truly look forward to seeing them when I come home from work every day and they’re the best companions. When I am home they are never far from my side and whenever I am in bed they are quick to come lay beside me. <3

New York City
I love living in NYC so much but it is the times when I’m feeling frustrated with work or other things in my life that I feel even more grateful for the city. It can certainly be a tough place to live but it also helps bring me sanity. It provides so many opportunities–from work, to networking organizations, to being able to try so many cool new things like different boutique fitness gyms and different vegetarian restaurants–but it also keeps me entertained and stimulated. A bored Kayla is an unhappy Kayla and even if I’m bored or frustrated at work, having so many things to get involved in or to do in my spare time is what keeps me inspired and driven. So thank you NYC, you dirty but beautiful and inspiring, eclectic concrete jungle for challenging me, inspiring me, and opening my mind.

Subscription/Rental Services
This one may seem odd, but I am extremely grateful for subscription services for saving me both time and money. I want to give them a shout out and not take for granted the convenience they’ve brought to my life. Although some are concerned that Amazon is taking over the world, I am grateful for Amazon Prime for making it so easy to have all the little things I don’t necessarily have time to pick up during the week to be shipped to our apartment.

I am also thankful for clothing rental services like Rent the Runway Unlimited and Le Tote. I love clothes and I used to love shopping but it was taking up so much time and it was a waste of money going to a bunch of stores, wearing the item a few times and then donating it to Goodwill. I still do my fair share of shopping but I’ve definitely cut back on the amount of time spent shopping by just renting clothes through RTR and LT. That gives me more time on weekends to do more important things like spend more time with Kev, Pants & Boots, do activities around the city, and work out.

I have a lot to be thankful for and I will try not to take it for granted. I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving with their loved one.