Bali Lookbook: A Paradise & A Love Story

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I know that I, and anyone else who seeks it, will always find love in Bali.

Bali is a parallel universe.

There’s a reason that despite being one of the most clichéd vacation destinations in the world, the island continues to capture the imagination of visitors year after year.

Bali is a lot of things. It’s hyper-touristy. It’s glitzy. It’s boho. It’s basic. It’s a trap for digital nomads and Instagram models. It’s underdeveloped in some places and super luxe in others. Wherever you look, it’s fucking beautiful. And above all, Bali is a place that can’t be forgotten by anybody who has ever been there.

I went to Bali almost exactly a year ago, and it was one of the most formative trips I’ll ever experience in my life. After enduring a week of overwhelming stress, anxiety and traffic in Jakarta, arriving in the calm, lush island was a godsend. I was a 24-year-old backpacker and I came to Bali looking for sexy beaches where I could lounge and surf and do nothing. Bali gave me all of this and exponentially more than what I’d originally expected to gain from this trip.

I fell in love in Bali. I fell in love every single day with people, landscapes and the life that I was carving for myself there.

I met a tall dark handsome Indonesian boy my third day there. He played bass guitar in a local blues band and I had an immediate crush on him. He drove me around on his scooter all over the island, from Canggu to Ubud to Uluwatu to Amed, and we saw nothing but drop dead beautiful sights while we fell for each other without any apprehension over how long it would last or what would happen after I left.

I also met thoughtful and inspiring friends who I love to death, who I hope to remain friends with for the rest of my life. At Surfers House and In Da Surf School in Canggu, I stayed and worked for eight weeks and had the pleasure of spending time with many profound individuals every day. We surfed, talked, traveled and went out looking for trouble together. We dreamed beautiful lives and futures for one another, with the silent hope that one day we’ll all end up being in Bali together forever.

I left Bali for the first time after a month of being there and it fucking destroyed me. I couldn’t breathe without thinking about everything that I’d left behind. So I cut my Thailand trip short and flew back to Denpasar as soon as I could to spend another 10 days there.

Leaving Bali is like trying to get over the greatest high you’ve ever had in your life, which you know you’ll never find again anywhere else. In Bali, life is sweeter than you could’ve ever imagined and everything is in Technicolor as you whip through jungles, rice fields and seashores on a motorbike. I felt as though I was living my life at its pinnacle and that nothing that came afterward would ever be as satisfying.

The second time I left Bali, for good, it felt as though I was being ripped apart in half as I sat on the plane. When I arrived back home, I cried for months as I continued talking to my Indo boy and desperately looked for any way to go back and stay.

I can’t believe it’s been a full year since I left already. Literally not a day goes by that I don’t miss Bali and think about the people who are still waiting for me to come back. Bali is a vivid, delirious and seductive dream that’s impossible to fully wake up from.

I know I’ll go back for sure some day. It’ll most likely be a day when I feel that my life is lacking color, beauty, creativity and love. Because if I’m ever looking for love, I know that I, and anyone else who seeks it, will always find love in Bali.

Photos: Nadia Cho

Are you planning a trip to Bali? Ask our team questions in the comments below.

Nadia Cho

Communications Associate

Nadia reps Team JST traveling the world in search of exclusive features and online via JST's social media platforms. You can find her exploring metropolitan cities or lounging on tropical beaches.

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