Part 2…A visit to new friend’s home in Sumbersari…A walk along the beach to more visions of paradise…Interior photos today…See yesterday’s post for exterior photos…

Private outdoor massage space at Pia & Thomas’ house, often used when a massage therapist visits the house several times a week.
“Sightings on the Beach in Bali”
On the walk along the beach to Pia and Thomas’ home we spotted these two coconut shells. The one with the water had mosquitoes prospering in its contents and the other?  Who knows what may be living therein?

Today, as you read this post you’ll notice it was posted earlier than usual since soon we’ll be on the two hour road trip to Lovina where we’ll spend four nights in a one of the most highly rated hotels in the area, the Puri Bagus Lovina. We’ll be posting photos of our room, the hotel and highlights of Lovina over the next several days.

We couldn’t get over Pia and Thomas’ outdoor kitchen and the fact there was no indoor kitchen, a unique feature that only a climate such as found in Bali allowing this ideal scenario. It’s easy to imagine the pleasure of dining at this handcrafted table.

Returning to the villa on Friday afternoon, after the five day visa extension process, hopefully we’ll have the visa extensions in hand.  We’d intended to leave early this morning. However, yesterday I hadn’t completed the two comprehensive posts (click here for exterior photos) for our new friend’s, Pia and Thomas home on the beach. Thus, we decided to leave a little later while I finished the post as Tom watched the Minnesota Vikings football game.

Granite countertops and built-in grill.

As it turned out, we spent more time packing for this four night trip than we usually do when packing for our final departure in any location. Picking through our limited wardrobes, packing toiletries, computers, digital equipment, power adapter, HDMI and extension cords proved to take more time than expected.

The Balinese styled cabinets are a special touch.

Yesterday, alone in the villa all day with the staff off on Sundays, we had a wonderful day although it rained off and on. During a short period of sunshine, we swam in the pool and later chatted seated under the cabana thoroughly enjoying each other’s companionship. Gosh, we’re lucky we never tire of hanging out together! We never seem to run short of playfulness or topics of conversation!

Balinese statues welcome guests as they enter the side of the property from the front entrance.

We observed this same type of companionship, love and devotion between Pia and Thomas. They, too, love spending time together reveling in the joys of their daily lives, never failing to appreciate the gifts each day brings. 

We fell in love with the open air master bathroom.

In a few years, Thomas will retire and their lives will not be too different from ours, except that they plan to stay put in Bali for part of the year, traveling from time to time. 

Décor in the master bathroom.

As much as we loved their house, easily seeing we’d enjoy such surroundings, neither of us ever thought for one moment, that we wished for a house we could call our own even as a part time “home.” We like, no we love life just as we’ve chosen to live it on the move every few months or so, just as it is now.

The tastefully appointed master bedroom.

A few days ago while speaking to daughter-in-law Camille, she asked how long we may be traveling as we are. Admittedly, we miss family very much and also bear a certain degree of guilt for being away. That’s to be expected. As we all so well know, we can’t live our lives motivated by guilt or regret. Passion and joy must be the common denominator to attain great happiness.

The second level living room/lounge.  We sat on this comfy sofa while we chatted, enjoying the ocean breezes that cooled the humid air.

But, we’re indescribably happy, incredibly happy. How does one change what is working so well, so blissfully when life, so fleeting, so unexpected, often has other plans for us?

Inviting guest room with mosquito netting for breezy nights with windows wide open.

When that time comes, we’ll make changes to accommodate whatever fate has befallen us and move on to the next chapter, whatever that may be. How can one predict? How can one answer when asked what our long range plans may be? We don’t have all the answers.

Another view of the guest room. It would be easy to be a guest in this home!

Spending these past wonderful hours with Pia and Thomas further reminded us that we are hardly alone in our quest for personal growth and discovery in this distant life we live, not intended as a means to be “away” from those we love but to continue on a path we’ve chosen which befits our desires at this time. They, too, experience similar feelings. 

Each space is decorated to perfection.

As we make our way to Lovina during the two hour drive, once again we’ll find ourselves engaged in animated conversation, never failing for a moment to express gratitude for this magical life and the unexpected treasures we continue to encounter along the way.

Another well decorated area in the living room/lounge area.

It’s not always easy. It’s not always exciting.

At times, it’s downright frustrating. But, collectively, it’s a life we wouldn’t trade for anything in the world, as long as we’re healthy and committed to carrying on.

The closet is the size of a bedroom, neatly arranged with clothes they leave behind when they travel to other countries. They only haul carry on luggage when flying to Thailand or Germany.

We’ll be back within 24 hours with all new photos of our “holiday within a holiday,” our “vacation within a vacation,” sharing morsels we find interesting and entertaining along the way.

Happy day to all!

Photo from one year ago today, September 26, 2015:

A photo from our visit to a local “egg lady.” while living in Fiji. As we approached this pair atop this table, they turned away from us while others curiously meandered toward us. For more photos, please click here.

Part 1…A visit to new friend’s home in Sumbersari…A walk along the beach to more visions of paradise…Exterior photos today…Interior tomorrow…

As we approached the fascinating villa of Pia and Thomas which fully employs the concept of outdoor living.
Among the many views from the veranda. Wow!

“Sightings on the Beach in Bali”

  Does a crab utilize this coconut as an extra form of shelter as well as the hole in the sand?

When our new friends Pia and Thomas invited us to their home, a 10 minute walk along the beach, we were anxious to get on our way after we uploaded yesterday’s post. 

Pia found this adorable piece of wood on the beach that resembles an animal head.

We had no idea as to the beauty were we about to experience as we searched for a path toward the house which is set back a short distance from the beach. Thomas had described the landmarks which would easily steer us in the right direction with several villas scattered along the shore… many umbrellas.

Crystal-clear infinity pool with large veranda and fully equipped indoor kitchen, the only necessary kitchen on this charming property. More pictures of the open-air kitchen from tomorrow’s post.
All areas of the park have natural surroundings and yet have a well-planned ambience with Balinese culture in mind.

It was easy to locate. Finding the shortest route easily, we avoided maneuvering through dense vegetation. Within moments we’d entered a veritable paradise of beautiful grounds, flowers, trees adorned with traditional Balinese/Hindu décor and religious artifacts as we were warmly greeted with a kiss on each check from our lovely hostess Pia and then Thomas moments later.

A simple outdoor shower.
Driveway at the entrance to the street of the estate.

As we made our way toward Thomas, who was on the veranda finishing up a business meeting, Pia gave us the tour of the grounds, including the Balinese hut they’d built for an additional authentic feel, called “lumbung.”

Pia and Thomas built this lumbung on their property which can be used for guests as needed.
Ocean view from the lumbung.

They had designed the exquisite main house on a computer and gave it life several years ago, realizing a dream of a lifetime. As we wandered toward the house from the gardens, we knew we were in for a special visit, not only to engage with their delightful personalities but also with the opportunity to see their unique home. 

View of the sea from the interior of the lumbung.
Detailed roof in the lumbung done by local workers.

When they described their house to us a few days ago during their visit to the villa, we expected a simple Balinese style mansion.  How modest they had been in sharing the few details of their estate! 

Tom walks through the Pia and Thomas’ garden. 
Plants, trees and flowers adorn the grounds.

From the outdoor-only modern granite kitchen with full stainless steel appliances and local wood handcrafted cabinets to the upper level with expansive views of the sea, nothing was spared in design, décor and accoutrements in creating a supremely comfortable, functional and eye appealing living environment.

Fresh flower arrangement on the veranda.
Flowering plants and Buddha head similar to that our villa.

Each room as shown in our photos over the next few days has a unique persona and inviting presence, causing us to swoon with delight. How smart they’d been in their ideas and subsequent execution. 

View from the second story.

Often people dream of such a home in a tropical paradise and never are able to bring it to fruition. This determined couple did everything possible to make it happen even with a diligent budget in place.

Another ocean view from the veranda area.

As we slowly perused the house admiring each enticing element, we finally settled in the upper level lounge/living room where cooling ocean breezes dried the moisture on our skin as the result of the humid rainy day. Pia commented on the disappointment of the cloudy day wishing we’d been able to take sunny day photos.

A shack in the sea used to repopulate small fish and possibly rebuild some of the coral.

To our surprise, the clouds didn’t seem to have too much of an impact on the clarity and presentation of our photos. Of course, we always prefer sunshine, but with Pia and Thomas return to Thailand in a few days, yesterday was the only opportunity for us.

Additional view from the second level.

We wished we’d met them sooner, but, they were only here a few weeks this trip when Thomas’ work in Thailand (they’re younger than us and he’s yet to retire) necessitates his return.

Both German citizens, they have a smaller home in a quaint town in Germany where they stay when they visit from time to time.

A sunny day would have been all the more beautiful, but we were happy to see their special home.

They, too, left everyone they love behind to follow a dream. This mutual connection precipitated a considerable conversation that kept the four of us chatting enthusiastically for the hours we spent together.

Flowers blooming in their yard. Its hard to grow grass in most of Bali due to the sandy ground, lack of rain at times and the heat.

Tomorrow’s post will include more photos of Pia and Thomas’ island paradise aptly name uToPia (notice that the Tom and Pia are in the name!) and more on our enjoyable visit, conversation highlights and return walk along the beach as a storm was brewing.

The name of Pia and Thomas’ retreat in Bali,” uToPia,” is carved in the stone in the front the home.

Be well.  Be happy.

Photo from one year ago today, September 25, 2015:

The views from the second vacation home we rented in Tasmania  for six weeks referred to as Anchorage Waterfront (no relation to Alaska). For more photos, please click here.

Sometimes it hurts…

Awakening at 5:50 am after a fitful night, feeling exhausted from “running” in one confusing dream upon another, a wave of sorrow ran through me.  

This past Sunday was the memorial service for our beloved friend Chip. I wrote about him in my June 1, 2012 post (please see the archives) and was honored to be asked by his wife and our friend, Sue, to share that post during the service, with the many devoted family members and friends in attendance to say their last goodbyes to this very fine man. 

Lying in bed, thinking about Chip no longer being four doors away, that involuntary rush of tears filled my eyes. Deciding to distract myself, I ventured to “read my phone,” a habit I’ve acquired since first owning a smart phone; read my email, peruse last night’s texts arriving after we’d gone to bed, check out my newest Facebook blurbs and scan through Engadget‘s daily updates for the latest advances in technology.

Spotting a lengthy text from my dear younger sister Julie, a Hollywood TV producer, I breezed through the usual, saving her message for last. She plans to make her last visit here soon to once again celebrate her birthday. I was touched by her words, “Your home has been my haven, my peaceful place to go to recoup, to recover, to celebrate so many times in my life.” The tears flowed freely.

I was reminded how hard it must be, not only for us, but for all of our loved ones, to no longer have access to this comfortable home, surrounded by water, abounding with the gifts from Mother Nature and often overpowered by the aroma of loving prepared home cooked food.

It wasn’t perfect. It never is. But, it was our home for many years. We did our best to make it “home” for a little while to whomever graced our door, to send them home with returnable containers filled with food, always hoping they’d return soon to fill them once again. And they did.

While I allowed a little sob to escape my lips, determinedly I jumped out of bed, anxious to tackle the day’s tasks, so many of which lately revolved around the “preparations,” a seemingly endless list that must be accomplished in 3 months and 8 days from today, the day we leave.

WorldWideWille, a fine dog 

Scurrying around the house, bath water running, I emptied the dishwasher, filled and fired up the tea pot (still not drinking coffee!), neatly made the bed, and stopped to take a deep breath while staring out the window.  

My eyes fixated on the tiny headstone, a gift from a dog loving friend, where our little Australian Terrier WorldWideWillie was laid to rest only 15 long months ago. 

(If you are a dog lover, click the above link to his blog, written from his perspective, over the last days of his life. Please scroll the archives to get to the beginning). 

The tears, not quite gone, reappeared with a sob, for a moment, sucking the air out of my lungs.  Willie was named for our interest and love for the wealth of information provided by the Internet so long ago, as this blog was named as a tribute to him, for our interest and love for him. 

Ah, life is so complex, yet so simple, so joyful, yet so sad. We lose the ones we love, both human and animal, maybe now, maybe later, grasping each moment as a gift, as a memory that we behold wherever we may go for however long we may have.

The house and the things in it, the ambiance created by its warmth and charm, the breathtaking views surrounding it, is merely the tools that we used to build the memories. When the tools are gone, the memories will remain, forever in our hearts and minds.

A half hour later, ready for the day, my tears dried, a second cup of tea in hand, I heard a knock at the door. There stood my next door neighbor and friend, smiling from ear to ear, just in time for me to whip up a low carb breakfast of gluten free, Portobello mushroom, Vidalia onion, and spicy pepperoni omelets laced with shredded mozzarella cheese.

Life is good.