CLIFF-SIDE VIEWS > On my first evening, I decided to check out Ulu Cliffhouse (ulucliffhouse.com) beach club. Sitting with a chilled coconut on the Ocean Deck, which hovers halfway down the cliff face above the sea, I let my phone stay where it was. Usually, I’d be rushing to snap the swatches of pink and orange painting the skies at sunset – and then racking my brain to come up with a clever caption – but instead, I just enjoyed the moment… and it felt pretty damn zen. The next morning, after a butler-made breakfast in the villa, complete with a pastry- loaded tiered tray and caviar-sprinkled salmon, I headed to Uluwatu Temple. Set on a cliff 70 metres up, with waves crashing at its feet and pesky monkeys perched along its cliffwalk, this Balinese Hindu temple is captivating. A photo here would’ve given me that token #culture shot – essential to gaining travel ‘gramming cred. But I’d made it this far, why stop now? FROM BEACH TO COCKTAIL HOUR > Instead of hanging around waiting for the perfect temple photo, I soaked up the spiritual vibe then headed to Karma Beach Club (karmagroup.com) for a cool drink and a bite. Arriving at its clifftop (yep, another one) entrance, my jaw dropped at what was beyond. A rustic collection of beach shacks nestled in a tiny cove dotted with paddleboards, its shallow reef showcasing every shade of blue. The steep cable car ride down to the beachfront provided highly covetable Insta photo-ops but I resisted. Instead, I simply delighted in the views. It was getting easier, taking in what was in front of me rather than carefully constructing a #breathtaking square shot in my head. I was beginning to see details instead of photo opportunities and that, in turn, made me feel a lot more present and relaxed than I had in a long time. But all that mindfulness – and perhaps two Espresso Martinis and a cabana siesta – made me late for watching the sunset at seaside restaurant and bar Single Fin (singlefinbali.com) – it’s an Uluwatu must-do. Unfortunately, by the time the Go-JEK (Indonesia’s rideshare service) dropped me off at the restaurant, it was already dark and the sunset show was over. Normally, I would’ve been kicking myself for missing the money shot but this time I wasn’t fazed.
As I dug into a plate of nachos at a candlelit table on the bar’s outdoor deck, I felt a pang of isolation – no one knew where I was or what I was doing on this trip. Then that pang morphed into excitement and liberation: no one knew what I was doing. Being Insta-free on holidays helped me experience Uluwatu more authentically than I have other destinations where I’ve spent the whole time stressing about snapping. I was reminded of how important it is to live in the moment and create and preserve real memories. Will I go Insta-free on holiday again? I’m not sure. I quite like getting and giving my #travelinspo on Instagram. But will I get anxious about social media posting? Never again. Because this trip taught me that even though I didn’t ‘gram it, yes it did happen. And it was amazing.
NOTE: SADLY, NONE OF THESE IMAGES WERE SHARED ON SOCIAL MEDIA
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