Asia, Indonesia

Spending the Winter in Ubud

Asia Indonesia

About a year ago, I met up with some friends in Ubud, Bali to travel around for a couple weeks. On the last day of our trip, we were lounging on a bamboo couch sipping on green smoothies and my friend and I locked eyes and said, “Let’s make this real life. Let’s move here.”

We high-fived each other and it must have been infused with Bali magic, because less than 10 months later, we’d packed up our Western lives (her in Australia and me in Canada), switched over to working remotely, and now we’re both renting our own villas in the middle of rice fields in the beautiful Ubud, Bali. We are typical millennials – believing ‘anything is possible’. Well, it’s proving to be true.

So – what’s it like to spend the winter in Ubud, Bali? Is it as dreamy as the typical traveler’s Instagram account would suggest? Yes.

The Endless Adventure

I have a strict self-care rule that my weekends are for play and adventure with friends. Bali is an open playbook for each weekend’s adventure. One weekend, I climbed up Mount Batur volcano in the dark to watch the sunrise from the top. Another weekend, some friends and I took our scooters on the ferry (most expats and tourists drive scooters here) over to a nearby island, Nusa Penida, and spent the weekend exploring natural wonders and swimming with wild dolphins (without disturbing them).


Bali’s tourist moniker is the “Island of Gods” and upon landing here, I realized that this name holds true beyond the Eat, Pray, Love stereotype. You’ll feel the shift around you as soon as you land, with small flower offerings scattered everywhere and beautiful traditional temples every few buildings.

My favorite place to experience this powerful Balinese Hinduism as a tourist is the Tirta Empul water temple, where you wear a traditional sarong and are guided through a cleanse in the holy springs. Of course, Bali’s spirituality has also attracted a large Western personal development scene so there’s a boatload of yoga and breath work workshops to check out while you’re here too.

The Immediate Lifestyle Upgrade

The cost of living in Bali is very low, immediately giving you a luxury lifestyle you probably didn’t think you’d have for another decade. Massages, eating at organic restaurants daily, renting a villa with an infinite pool, you name it. I work hard during the week at the local co-working space and then treat myself to weekly massages, facials, and lavish vegan meals. If my friends and I are feeling some need for extra pampering, we’ll rent a villa on the beach for a couple nights and do the whole “wearing bathrobes, eating fruit in bed overlooking the ocean” scene.

The Health Foodie’s Dream

If you’re into a plant-based lifestyle, then Ubud will be your food mecca. I barely cook for myself because eating at the local, organic vegan restaurants is more delicious and healthier than what I’d end making for myself, and it’s cheaper than my weekly grocery bill back home. My daily eateries are Sayuri’s Healing Food, Alchemy Cafe, AA Juicery, and be sure to try the raw Banana Caramel Pie at Seeds of Life.

The Progressive Movements

There are a lot of alternative social and eco movements going on here that I’ve had the privilege of learning about. From the teen duo behind the Bye Bye Plastic Bags initiative to the ethical clothing store Nalu, and the completely alternative Green School, you’re bound to be inspired into a dream-doer.

I advise popping over to Ubud, Bali for a two week vacation and see if you can magically high-five your way into a more permanent version of the epic Bali lifestyle. It’s the perfect place to enjoy yourself while building your creative dreams.

Contributed by Victoria Bauman