Barre Pilates. Several solo classes with energy shooting out from my head and my hips throughout the flowy routines and concluding body scans moving from the soles of my feet to my soft eyelids, soft jawline and soft tongue!
Superloco Birthday. Quickly becoming a new favourite go-to-dinner-spot, the Mexican restaurant at the water-facing end of Customs House serves as background for the first party of the week – Monday evening birthday celebrations. A party of two, the birthday girl and me. She’s Danish too, and before we order our freshly squeezed pineapple juice and taco chips with delicious spicy dips, soft tacos with snapper and chicken as well as sea bass ceviche to share, I hand her a gift from myself (book about Singapore curiosities and a gift certificate for a feather-shaped tattoo) and from her parents (who messaged me to ask me to please purchase a basket full of chocolate, flowers, wine and other treats – so sweet).
Visitors from Copenhagen! Taking turns at hanging out with their 3-months-old daughter and going scuba diving (well, actually, after a few days they felt comfortable accepting the eager local women’s babysitting offers so that they could jump in the water together), a couple of friends of mine have been holidaying for a month in Bali and are now stopping over in Singapore all of this week on their way home. A naval officer, sailing on missions from Somalia to Greenland, and a journalist, covering stories of Danish expats all over the world, they are both passionate travellers. Having a baby daughter hasn’t stopped their globetrotting adventures. I know him from when we both lived in the historic Nyboder, 5-6 years ago, and I became close friends with her when we both lived in Shoreditch, 4-5 years ago. Haven’t seen them since Christmas, and now they’re staying in Link Hotel for the week. First old-world-witnesses to my new life, apart from my parents, and they enjoy the city so much – so they show and say, as we meet for various meals in Tiong Bahru (PS, 40 Hands, my flat), Robertson Quay (Soi 60 and a korean joint) and the Marina Bay (Spago) throughout the week. They leave saying that it’s good to see how happy I am, and that they totally understand why I’ve chosen Singapore as my current home. That’s a heart-warming thing to hear from caring friends when you’ve moved somewhere new.
Visitor from London! Also around this week is a friend and colleague from London, who’s bringing a bag full of treats (raw chocolate, passion fruit lip balm, flowery notepad and a cute little glass of organic peanutbutter) for a week full of adventures – in Singapore and Bali. We last saw each other for hipster coffee and my mum’s homemade vegan cacao cake in the sun on Soho Square and hot yoga in Covent Garden a few weeks back, and now we continue our pleasurable quest for everything flavourful, healthy and well-designed circa 11,000km away from London: an introductory wander around Tiong Bahru, superfood salad and homemade passion fruit sorbet at PS Petit, açaí bowl and cold brew morning coffee at the Daily Roundup, pretty pedestrian commutes through Tanjong Pagar and Chinatown, filter coffee over a few hours of work at Jewel Coffee, heavenly rainbow lunch bowls at A Poke Theory and takeaway-dinner from Grain Traders to eat at Changi.
Bali Villa. We arrive late on Friday to an absolute beaut of a villa in central Seminyak. White, bright and so airy that only the high-ceilinged, panorama-windowed bedrooms have been defined by both roof and walls. The livingroom opens up to the patio and pool, and the bathrooms are virtual jungles of palm branches under the blue sky and rainforest shower head. Tasteful rustic furniture and fluffy, flowy white textiles. Hardly here during our packed weekend, we do have a few memorable experiences at this lovely tropical base: romantic and refreshing late night and early morning dips in the pool after coming home or before setting off, and a divine 90-minutes Thai massage on adjacent mattresses by the pool as it’s getting dark and thunderous on Saturday night.
Semmy Morning. Morning swim. Walk along roads, drinking in sights and noises and smells – intricate patterns of old ornamented temples, minimalistic modern shophouses and wooden shacks, couples on scooters, flower petal offerings with burning incense on the pavements, the occasional lack of pavement, the flowy, flowery attire. Bali! Ah! The breakfast of the hottest of healthy, colourful dreams at Cafe Organic, followed by a stormy beach walk with waves crashing down at our side. My friend is as excited and at peace at the same time as me, and her combined appreciation, curiosity, energy and calmness makes it a treat to be back on the island to revisit some treasures and experience some more. Sharing my old solitary experiences with someone like-minded and exploring new vibey things together. A weekend of wandering along busy streets, beaches and rice paddies, of observing people, architecture, waves and surfers, of sweaty runs and yoga, of zoning out on long, slow taxi drives (a mix of gazing out the windows, sleeping and editing pictures), of photographing, capturing and online-sharing our experiences, of munching on clean, healthy food, and of fun, deep and comfortably silent company. Having only gotten to know each other throughout the past year of working together at a travel company, we are as good travel buddies as we’d both expected, or hoped.
Ubud. Just a quick spin, a small alluring bite of the fabled hippie happy spot, straight to the Yoga Barn for an acro yoga session with a cool Mexican instructor, some raw biodynamic food and fancy new yoga pants in the most peaceful, nourishing, harmonious surroundings imaginable, followed by a wander around the wild monkey trail and the most touristy of the lush and lauded rice terraces, Tegalalang. Can’t wait to be back for more at the end of the year!
Uluwatu. Another quick taster: an afternoon by the beautiful white beaches and steep cliffs framing the southern tip of the island. A smoothie bowl with a paradisiac view at the hip surfer hangout, Single Fin, followed by a steep climb down the natural limestone formations along narrow paths to the smooth sand of Uluwatu and Suluban Beaches for a cooling dip in the azure ocean. The current is so strong it feels like a hardcore exercise class to maintain a chilled static floating position in the clear, shallow water.
Ayana. Viewing the stunning sunset from the catalogue flashy resort atop those west-turned cliff faces. A fig infused gin and tonic garnished with three dried figs to enjoy at the Rock Bar as we watch the colours of the sky changing in front of our eyes.
Seminyak Nourishment. Great design, great flavours, great health factor. Mama San – walking in the rain to get to this carefully designed peep of colonial Britain in 1920’s Shanghai. Lovely dinner of shared dishes eaten with red wooden chopsticks. Earth Cafe – raw treats. Alchemy – green snack and fine wooden lines. Revolver – pink flowery walls and dark wooden corners. And great coffee. Grocer and Grind – easy, likable and airy. Sistersfield – blue and beautiful.
Potato Head. Day bed, front row, pool and beach, light softening towards sunset, really nice crowd, low-key, hip and classy, amazing cocktails, music, chat…
Canggu Morning Magic. Invigorating morning swim, hot, humid and liberatingly challenging run along beach, thrilling kundalini yoga driving large amounts of oxygen to the brain at the idyllic eco village of Desa Seni, refreshing shower at Old Man’s…
Canggu Nourishment. Cabin idyll at Betelnut Cafe, garden idyll at Milk and Madu, and the absurd if not tempting offer of a free cigarette with a flask of flavourful, refreshing cold brew coffee from cool Bootstrap.
Travel. Travel documentation. Experience documentation. Perspective, distance, intimacy, inputs, creating. Why do you travel? To tick boxes or add to a curated digital feed? To challenge yourself? For business? To see something new and desirable? Or something new and foreign? Holiday, vacation, voyage, leisure, exploration, materialistic, spiritual, cultural, meditative, resetting, alone or together, sharing in one way or the other or not at all. Capturing moments or storing memories or not – feeling the need – which kind of media, benefitting whom? Staged vs. natural. Making the most of the moment; a bit of a paradox in relation to photographing, writing about and searching for it. Approaches, angles, motivations, inclinations. Doing nothing or everything properly. Burning out and needing a retreat from your normal passionate creative cycle. Navigating. I want to enjoy the moment, but I highly appreciate the talent of the best travel bloggers I know – photo quality, originality, bandwidth, sources of inspiration, strategic consistency. Creative contributions. Calling vs. job. Curiosity; staying curious. What comes natural and what is forced or nurtured in vain. Drinking in light, enlightenment, impressions, architecture and exciting sights, languages, flavours, textures, design, running, yoga, swimming. I quickly feel that focusing on one thing becomes too narrow – I might be too much of a generalist. The danger of enjoying too many things too superficially. My friends are doing various exciting things at the moment. Crashing weddings and wakeboading in Mexico; shooting aesthetically pleasing and intellectually stimulating films in South Africa and Greenland; pursuing groundbreaking exhibitions and events everywhere from Sydney to San Francisco. From luxury travel to charity. Embracing, capturing, presenting, processing and mastering it. The spectrum from showing off to inspiring people. Not mutually exclusive. Persistence. Soaking it all up and noticing details. Through a lens. A variety of types of lenses. I want to just go to places and enjoy the present and the company. Most of my photos are rushed and in imperfect lighting or angles because I do not take the time to get it right because I feel it goes against enjoying the moment. Which goes against my natural attention to detail. Superficial. Genuine. What is a good creative outlet. A healthy one. Commercial appeal. Inspiring. Inspirational. Helpful. Helping out where and when you can, but without stretched yourself too far. Contribution. Kindness. Immediate proximity, or from afar.