So people keep asking me
‘Why do you go to Bali so much?’
Simple answer, it’s where I can chill out, get a whole heap of work done, and get really well looked after.
I run a house, a business and have a very full life here in Perth, and LOVE it. But when I was looking at putting some moolah into an office here in Perth, I realised that the same amount would get me a whole villa in Bali – so that’s what I’ve done. I love it there, and because I keep getting asked ‘but why Bali?’, I thought it was time to explain. (and yes, there’s a spare room if you fancy a visit … keep reading!)
WARNING: you may find yourself looking for airline tickets by the end of this article. My top tip is to get onto the website http://iknowthepilot.com.au. Stupidly cheap airfares. Anyway, I digress. Ubud. Bali. Let me tell you a little more about my little piece of paradise.
I’d been thinking about getting a place for a few months when a villa I’ve house-sat for a number of times became available and so I jumped at the opportunity. It’s gorgeous. It’s located 1.5kms north of the main road in Ubud – Jalan Raya Ubud so it’s a little more elevated, cooler, not in the thick of everything down town. It’s a 5 minute scooter ride or 25 minute walk into town, along a winding road that takes you up through villages and rice paddies. Yep, fireflies at night, and gorgeous quiet roads to walk along to see them on your way to and from dinner (if you feel like leaving the house that is).
The villa has 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, and a central living space with fully equipped kitchen, dining/work space (dedicated fibre optic internet connection with download speeds of 9.88 Mbps – way better than my Australian connection!) and relaxed covered outdoor patio surrounded by a lush Balinese garden. You often have chickens walking through the yard and the elders come daily to place blessings, incense and offerings in the outdoor altars that surround the property. (Not at all an invasion of privacy, more a silent, consistent delivery of goodwill to your doorstep. What a blessing in itself!)
The pictures above and below are the views from the main bedroom, when you’re sat at your work desk – over to the valley, and across the front yard. Daydreaming yet?
So what’s that about being looked after?
Let me introduce Gusti, who is my dedicated house angel and comes for at least 4 hours a day to do whatever is needed around the house – all the cleaning, food preparation, errand running or grocery shopping, SIM card top up, anything you need really ?
Nothing quite like waking up to piles of fresh sliced fruit and no mess to clean up! She can also drop off and pick up your laundry for ridiculously cheap (about $0.7c/kilo) – 24 hour turn around, comes back clean, ironed, ready to wear. Bliss! All hail Gusti!
Another thing I love doing here, is taking clothes to be copied. All you need is a few swaths of fabric and a dress to copy, and it comes back a few days later – DONE! Alterations, copies, anything you like really, my tailor Gog has made me bed covers, dresses, bags, trousers, tops, you name it! There’s an abundance of material here too if you’d prefer to go on a shopping expedition to the materials markets too.
Feeling a bit frazzled?
There’s a pool about an 8 minute walk away where you can pay the grand entry fee of $2 – and if it takes your fancy, order food while you sip cooling cocktails by the pool, overlooking a gorgeous rice paddy/river valley type outlook. (See the image of Kym and Dave below, who are in said pool!)
Next door to that, there’s an amazing spa ($15, full hour, traditional Balinese massage that leaves you FLOATING), which also does all types of massages, milk baths, self care heaven. So relaxing, so cheap, seriously this place rocks.
If you’re after a bit more of a pamper, there’s an amazing place called the Tjampuhan Hotel and Spa, which has an amazing hot and cold water spring bath, in a grotto like structure overlooking a lush valley with a river running through it. AU$12 will get you a half day pass where you can rotate between the hot pool, cold pool, sauna and steam rooms – and if that’s all a bit too much, you can just lounge by the above ground pool while you read, and have your lunch delivered to you. Getting harder and harder to handle – right?
I’ve got another whole post on recommended places to eat, drink, and chill out though, let’s not digress! Back to why I love my ‘other’ home.
Need some adventure?
Too easy. I have an awesome driver, Nyoman, who also runs a side business taking people on photographic tours – he knows all the best spots off the beaten track to get awesome shots of the real Bali, not just what the regular tourists see. It’s called ‘Hidden Corners of Ubud‘ and you can get a sneak peak of what you can see in this gorgeous shot of a farmer going to work – more on that in the next article on things to see and do in Ubud though. If photography isn’t your thing, you can also go white water rafting, trekking, mountain climbing, snorkelling, surfing, scuba diving, you name it, Bali has it. Might not be IN Ubud, but it’s not at all difficult to arrange any of those side trips while you’re there. Nyoman also does all the airport transfers so really just is a case of book flights. Arrive. Remember departure date. Everything else is taken care of.
So back to the villa.
It’s a fully furnished and equipped home, not a hotel, and has all the little things you need to make life extra comfortable. Mossie nets for the queen size beds (not that you really need them – I never use them as I prefer to sleep under the full force of the ceiling fan), Australian power boards, hot/cold water filter, comfortable furniture with shared and private spaces so you really can do whatever you need to do.
Read, chill, watch movies, order in food, write your next novel, smash out that Course writing you’ve been meaning to do, whatever you feel called to do while you’re there. Both bedrooms have simple work desks that look out over the lush tropical garden and there’s a beautiful gentle breeze that comes through, throughout the day.
Bliss. It’s even got a fully equipped kitchen, with things like a Vitamix (if you’re in to making your own fresh smoothies every day) and small counter top oven (as if you’d bother cooking but anyway)…
Amazing restaurants deliver directly to the door as well so whatever you DO feel like eating, it can be delivered within half hour to an hour usually – fresh Mexican, organic raw food, pork ribs and rice, pizza, whatever takes your fancy; chat on the porch while you munch down or be cilivilsed (*aHem*) and sit at the 8 seater dining table inside.
I get this question a lot:
So what do you DO all day up there?
Most days you’ll find me doing one or all of these things:
- working, obviously! and in my down time,
- going to a local ashram, Taman Hati, for yoga sessions run by the son of a Balinese High Priest (this is NOT a cliche either – it’s the most powerful yoga I’ve ever been to – the teacher is an absolute soul brother who makes you cry, laugh then cry from laughter – his way of motivating me to hold a hard pose is to cry out “Maria Mercedes YOU CAN DO IT” in the middle of a class, or yell out “SISTAAAAA what are you DOOOOOing?” if you’re out of alignment. Hilarious. He also tells you to “send love to your knees”, “remember to smile”, “yoga is to heal you, to cleanse you, to make your mind and body strong”. Delightful, inspiring, and with a scrumptious $3 lunch next door afterwards, I’m at that studio 4 times a week minimum. #yogabody2017 bring it on!
- eating ridiculously cheap, healthy food that’s delivered to my door for under $10/meal
- drinking freshly squeezed juices and Jamu (healing tumeric juice like nothing else on earth)
- getting one hour $10 massages, manicures, pedicures, facials, body scrubs, you name it
- scooting around on a Vespa, Vario or Scoopy (they take their scooters seriously) that costs about $2 for a week of fuel
- popping into the local Padang style restaurant (pick whatever you want out of the window) and getting a full plate $3 feast of fresh, locally sourced veg and meat dishes
- reading on the porch
- typing away on a book I’m writing
- kicking back with good friends, in a magical garden, solving the world’s problems
- connecting with people in Australia on the villa’s dedicated fibre optic internet connection (Australian internet, take a leaf out of Indonesia’s book – with download speeds of 9.88 Mbps, think uninterrupted video calls or movie streaming – bliss!)
- perusing through the 87 TV channels, or free movie on demand service (think Netflix equivalent, for free),
- sorting out my photos on a HD 27″ external screen (for anyone who actually does feel like doing something creative or productive, this screen is the BOMB)
Here’s what you won’t find me doing:
- grocery shopping
- cooking (hardly any point, cheaper and quicker to order in)
- running errands
- running around like a blue-arsed fly
- stressing out – about anything really.
Here’s what recent visitors had to say about staying with me at Warsi House:
Staying at ‘Villa Maria’ was the highlight of our trip to Bali. We were welcomed in with open arms to this magical place, entering the Villa through the cute little rustic gate into this magnificent peaceful lush inviting garden, with a stepping stone path leading to a beautiful al-fresco area with comfy cane outdoor furniture, perfect to sit on and have an afternoon drink
or morning coffee, or to lean back and chat or read a book and relax.
Entering the villa we were faced with a lovely big work space and well equipped kitchen, from which fantastic smoothies were made for breakfast. In the elegant and spacious bedroom with beautiful high ceilings and huge glass windows on 2 sides overlooking the stunning gardens, was a luxurious 4-poster bed with super comfy mattress and pillows. Coming off the bedroom was a lovely bathroom with a stone bath and all the creature comforts you would expect.
The accommodation is magnificent, however the best feature is the personal attention, friendly nature, caring attitude and extensive knowledge of Bali in general and Ubud and surrounding areas that Maria so generously shared with us. Her command of the local language makes life so much easier, especially when bartering with locals or ordering meals at restaurants, and Maria took us to the most fantastic restaurants which were not only very reasonable but had amazing ambiences and exceptional food.
Everything we needed, such as transport, laundry, manicures, massages etc. were organised quickly and with no fuss.
Because Maria has spent so much time in Bali she is aware of the best spots and her recommendation that we visit Amed for a few nights was the best advice and we had an amazing time there. She is the ultimate hostess who considers her guests’ needs and goes out of her way to make your stay a pleasure
Kym and Dave
April 2017, from Perth, Australia
From a few different clients who came up for some work and some R7R…
Maria, thanks so much for such an awesome stay at Warsi House. It was great to nut out some content with you, have some R&R and breathe in the peaceful way of life in Ubud. I adjusted to ‘slow’ and found it easier to get in flow. The blog post I wrote there was easier to write than most (and has garnered the most likes so far!). You were the consummate host and made everything easy and fun, in a brilliant location with amazing food (important fuel!) I look forward to returning, for more work, rest and play… 🙂
Founder, Career Wisdom, Author of “Make Your Move”
July 2017, from Perth, Australia
When I signed up for Maria’s coaching package, I wanted to take my online health program and turn it into an offering that was more engaging, and that would provide a better customer experience. Maria helped me to do just that. It’s like she goes into your head, draws out the outcomes you want, and shows you how to restructure your course to ensure success. I now have a premium online program that I’m proud of and confident in selling!
And where better to do this project than in a beautiful tropical setting (with none of the usual home/life/housework/family distractions!). Warsi House is the perfect combo of holiday-vibes and entrepreneur-friendly get-shit-done space. I punched out my work in the mornings, and then spent the afternoons exploring beautiful Ubud and all that it has to offer.
Maria is THE go-to person when it comes to knowing where to eat and what to do in your spare time. So make sure you pick her brains when creating your Ubud bucket list (I highly recommend the mani-pedi – just ask her!). She’s also the perfect hostess, throwing in those extra special touches that make you feel right at home.
Would I go back? Absolutely! It’s a no brainer – I’m already planning the next one. Thanks Maria for one of the most epic weeks ever!
September 2017, from Bryon Bay, Australia
If I could get on a plane now to go back, I would. I got more work done in 5 short 3 hour bursts, than I got done in a month of hours of hard slog. I was highly productive without being stressed, which is the polar opposite to my everyday life! It was easy to be in touch with anyone in Australia that I needed to be in-touch with because the wifi was flawless.
It’s the kind of place that would be equally as fabulous with your partner or without – you can come as an individual and not need the security of a travel buddy – you’ve got Maria! If you really want to experience what Bali has to offer, it’s for you – if you want AC poolside resort style service, it’s not for you. Book into Seminyak.
If you’re wanting to get a huge amount of work done – start up, business, study, whatever you need to do – everything is online, everything is a click away, and your brain is on fire – you’re honed – because you’ve got nothing else to think about except for the massage you’ve got booked 4 hours later.
It’s a really genuine way to experience Bali – as some who is living the life – not just buying a package holiday. You’re living in an environment where you know the locals aren’t taking advantage of you – it’s a symbotioc relationship that feels good to be part of.
I thought I’d want pool and aircon, because that’s my previous Bali experience, but I missed neither and when I was given the opportunity of a swim, I honestly didn’t feel the need. Ubud is different to Kuta or Seminyak and the thing is, if you want a pool, it’s a 5 minute trip away – opposite a salon where you can get the best massages this side of Bali. It’s just easy. SO easy; to eat beautiful food going out, or ringing a number and having it home delivered. If you want a few hours of “tourist ubud”, it’s a 5 minutes scooter ride away. If you want shopping that’s not ‘touristified’ where you can get things for 10% of the price, it’s a 5 minute scooter ride away. If you want to meet genuinely nice people, Maria has surrounded herself with locals who are not there to exploit you, but just to enjoy your company as you enjoy theirs.
Gusti, Maria’s house keeper extra-ordinaire, Nyoman, Maria’s driver/local restaurant and his fabulous wife Sri, and other locals who know and love Maria at restaurants and shops wherever we went. If you want to yoga yourself silly you can, if you want to chill out you can, its easy to do whatever you want to do. Honestly, I’d be back there in a heartbeat!”
Lisa CW, Teacher, Perth, Australia, May 2017
Fancy coming for a visit?
Hoorah! Read a book, get some work done, have some focused time with your partner (business or better half ha!), visit some healers or work with me on your content creation – it’s the perfect place to get anything done (unless you were planning on being at the beach everyday).
If you’re thinking about staying at Warsi House, start by checking your dates here.
These are the dates at least one of the rooms will be free. If you’re more into a place that has AC and a pool, check out AirBnb – so many options in this area! Either way, if you’re thinking about getting some content creation done while you’re here, fill in the form on this page and I’ll be in touch within 48 hours with a Fact Sheet for Warsi House and Ubud in general, that has the low down on pricing, the best times to come, etc.
Stay as little or as long as you need – I’ll be here in Bali approximately 4 weeks out of every 6, so there’s a fair chance I’ll be here when you come! My team can also organise airport transfers, a SIM card if you need it, a bike or scooter, and anything else you need done while you’re here, no stress needed whatsoever.
If you’re planning on staying a bit longer, check this article out – all about how to find long term accommodation in Ubud – written by someone who has been on the hunt and learnt the hard way – it’s an awesome intro to what you need to know!
Looking forward to seeing you up here soon! Here’s some fresh young coconut love for you in the mean time 🙂