I’ve lived in Bali, barely visiting America, for five years. Or any other places for that matter. I mean, I’ve done five weeks motorcycling around Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos, getting robbed, stealing my report papers back from communist police with machine guns, eating bowls and bowls and bowls of Pho Ga with the most flavorful tangy herbs on earth and picking my way around old land mines on bush hikes, and buying aluminum land mine bangles. I’ve followed good-looking and frivolous lovers to Bondi, Sydney only to be walked in on in the shower by angry drunk roommates and be weirded out by the clean public transport. I guess I did go on a boat trip to the Maldives, overgrown sand bars to the horizon with fun windy waves, the western definition of a very instagrammable place to honeymoon or spend a week, where women still get lashed for “honor crimes.” That’s the kind of world we live in, but we also live in one in which people heal and bloom, find love everyday, find freedom every second and generally live out their dreams. I guess I did find love in New York City, the area of the world where I’m from, but that seems like the most exotic mega metropolis amusement park destination on earth. Found a love that I never assumed existed.
But like I said, I don’t often leave the Seminyak-Umalas-Canggu area. It’s the center of my world, with a gravitational pull rivaling the smaller planets in our solar system. English with twangs of Indonesian and Australian abide, and so do villas popping up like mushrooms with cement dust spores. And new Balinese temples as well, and with it the knowledge that they’re going to sacrifice the poor pup at the end of the street, the sweet tan one with the black markings, once the new house temple is completed.
But every once in a while, maybe once every couple of months, I like to take a little day trip away from surfing the Echo Beach sand bar and drinking cappuccinos. Almost every time I go up to Ubud, in between my appointment for Shamanic healings, I hit up the Artist’s Walk. It’s a meandering path through the rice padis that goes for three miles north of the town center, where you can buy paintings, things whittled out of wood, and generally just chat with people, locals or tourists or anything in between. It’s also my favorite place to source sarongs to pair with oversized tees, and to see dilapidated spirit houses straight out of True Detective Season One. And yes, one of my favorite places to actually walk, considering I take my motorbike to the boucheron 100 meters down the road. The Artist’s Walk is magical.
So in between dips in the villa pool and taking photos of sunsets I have to recommend getting at least a little lost once in a while.
Directions: Follow the Ubud Main Road away from the palace and central market heading west out of town. After passing Bisma Street or Jalan Bisma on your left, follow the sign for Abangan Bungalows and turn right up a steep incline. Park just at the start of the small cobblestone paved path up into the rice padi.
Alternatively, the path ends to the north, off a side road from Jalan Suweta, in Kelabang Moding village. Although difficult to find the unmarked trail head, it is possible to walk out, just take a right off the trail and follow the road till Jalan Suweta- another good kilometer or so. Taxis may be hard to find but the villagers can help. Just say “Saya mau cari taxi,” “I want to find a taxi.”