From an Ecolodge in Bali
So here I am a month and a half of living in the mountains of Bali, Indonesia working at the beautiful Sarinbuana Ecolodge. Sometimes I have to pinch myself that I'm actually here as I feel so incredibly fortunate to have this opportunity to experience, learn, grow and help at the lodge.
I first heard of Sarinbuana Eco Lodge months back when I was looking up different ecotourism ventures in Indonesia online. I was in complete awe of all the sustainable tourism practices and ethics the ecolodge incorporated into all they do and felt totally drawn to reach out and contact the owners, Linda and Norm. This place truly 'walks the talk' when it comes to being environmentally conscious and embodying sustainable tourism - supporting the local community and economy, eating food predominately sourced 20 km from the lodge and most times 90% from their own organic garden, a responsible waste management system, toxin free cleaning supplies, building structures mindfully to enhance rather than destroy the natural environment, various community projects, and continually striving to learn and include more conscious acts to incorporate into their work. Sarinbuana truly is a special place and something I am so proud to be apart of.
One of the most amazing parts of my experience here is feeling that everything is reciprocated with a mutual admiration and output of positive action. The ecolodge holds an indescribable and infectious energy which is recognized by everyone and further built on to giving back in one way or another. The staff are always so genuinely happy, hard working, and giving their all to the ecolodge because they feel this place has given them so much. The guests are very pro-active in the ecotourism activities and workshops, adopting the environmentally conscious practices and supporting the local community and environment because they recognize the benefit of the ecolodge and wish to continue the trend. I include myself into this fully, as I feel so nourishing by this place and continually strive to do all I can for the lodge, community, environment, and travellers that pass through as well.
Slightly unrelated but worth mentioning is the utterly amazing food at the lodge. I couldn't write about my experience at the lodge without including how incredible Iluh, Made, Kade, Putu and Rio are in the kitchen and share how nourishing and delicious their local plant-powered meals and creations are. Tropical smoothie bowls and strong Balinese coffee for breakfast, massive salads for lunch that they go out mid-morning to pick all the greens freshly from the garden, set Balinese-style dinners with various homemade sambals and tempeh that will blow your mind, and the creamiest vegan ice cream made with local coconut milk. The vegan food here is easily the best food I have ever tasted. every. single. meal.
With all that said, I thought I would give a bit of an update as to what it is I'm doing during my time at the ecolodge as many family and friends back home just see I'm at some 'eco-place in a jungle'. So after spending two months in India, I headed to Bali to continue my travels. As mentioned, I came across Sarinbuana Ecolodge months prior and after reaching out to Linda, I discovered they were looking for help during their family travels to Europe this summer. From there everything just kind of fell into place.
It's pretty funny how things work themselves out. While I was in Japan for the winter, I was planning to take my 200 hour yoga teacher training in India prior to knowing anything about my work at the ecolodge. As most know, I didn't ever plan to teach (as I took the training for my own practice) but sometimes life works in unexpected ways and now that is one of the hats I wear here at the lodge. Although I started out feeling quite anxious about teaching in front of people, I can now quite simply say it's been such an amazing experience to share this practice out in nature with people from all around the world.
Along with teaching yoga every morning, I spend my days with the travellers coming through, answering any questions and helping to organize activities and workshops for their stay. I also spend time with emails, bookings and handling the social media, helping the other staff with odd jobs, and caring for (basically adopting) Linda and Norm's three adorable dogs, Saski, Cruzer and Ellie.
Aside from the work I do around the lodge, it's also been such a great experience to meet and connect with so many beautiful people. Specifically, getting to build relationships with the local staff at the lodge - joking around, hanging out and becoming part of the little Balinese work family. I won't begin to explain how hilarious, genuine, and just plain spectacular all of the people I work with are. It has certainly made my time here all the more special. I also have the opportunity to meet and hangout with such wonderful guests that come through the ecolodge. It's been unreal connecting with people from all walks of life and having the chance to join in many of the treks, bike rides, and workshops with the guests. It's been such a wonderful chance for me to both connect with the travellers during these activities and also continue to adventure through and learn more of the Balinese culture myself.
This opportunity has also gifted me the freedom to enjoy more space and time for myself. I've been spending an ample amount of time discovering and running new trails, biking the local country roads, joining guests during the various workshops, treks and bike rides, playing with the dogs, reading new books, and relaxing with a few too many massages from our lovely masseuse's, Putu, Russi, and Meisia. While at the lodge, I've also been putting more focus and energy into my online Holistic Nutrition course, which is something I've been stoked to dive deeper into and explore. Another little project I've been so incredibly excited (a total understatement) of getting back into is brewing Kombucha! I was fortunate enough to get my hands on a little SCOBY baby from Ebu, a lady from the neighbouring village, to start brewing fresh patches of the tasty fermented goodness. I was stoked to learn the fermentation time here is a lot shorter than back in Canada due to the environment the yeast is living in, so I'm able to brew at a much quicker rate and enjoy my 'buch' even more. Laugh if you will, but this was easily one of the saddest things to give up when I left Canada to travel last year (of course I mean aside from my family and friends haha). It's definitely been a wonderful change of pace living here.
Sarinbuana Ecolodge is genuinely so nourishing and truly cares for the people who pass through. All this time out here has also pushed me to put more energy and focus on diving deeper into uncovered parts of myself, facing fears, and working through barriers I've set in my own life. As I'm sure most would agree, this process is never easy. However, I know like any struggle or changes we go through in life, when we stay open and really put in the work, it ultimately leads to growth, new discoveries and understanding. I also believe actively working through these parts of my life, while mindfully immersing myself so fully with my natural environment has been so powerful and beneficial to my over all well-being. I'll reframe from going on a big tangent on the power of nature therapy, forest bathing, and the health benefits of being outside but it truly is remarkable and something that continues to shape who I am. Nature continues to ground, inspire, and calm me, challenge my perceptions and thoughts, be some of my highest expressions of gratitude, and provide nourishment and growth in my overall health.
So as I continue working at the lodge - meeting new friendly faces and helping guests, learning more of Balinese culture, ecotourism and sustainability, practicing yoga, trail running, cycling and training, eating nourishing foods, building relationships with the local community, reading and writing, working through my holistic nutrition course, and discovering various parts of myself, I will remain grateful for every part of this experience. Continuing to take in all of the surrounding environment and beautiful nature, diving deeper into all of these learning opportunities and personal growth, and truly relishing in the beautiful connections I have the chance to create during my time here.
It's been a wild ride so far and I look forward to continuing the journey here at Sarinbuana.