Camp Bliss.. Bali | Part One

Deciding to go to Bali was based on a gut feeling.. it felt right when I reached out to Nirrimi early last year letting her know I was interested and later when I confirmed my place. I can't really explain it other way than this feeling that I needed to go. So for most of last year Bali became my target. Something I worked towards and used as motivation to push myself. I took on every photography job, weddings, second shooting, family sessions, anything that came my way all while still working full time and trying to keep up a semblance of personal work. By the time November came round weeks of weddings, editing, deadlines, travelling were taking their toll. I was exhausted, burnt out and more than ready for a month of calm and reflection. I needed space and stepping on that plane was the first step towards exactly that.

Over 20 hours and 7277 miles later, my first impressions of Bali came while being whisked to Ubud in the evening light. The roads were small and close filled with curves and life. I rolled my window down, drinking in the scenes with wide eyes.. the scents of incense and spices in the wind whispering a quiet hello.. a welcome to Bali. Millisecond glimpses reveal domestic scenes, dogs barking, children's laughter as they played games before the night falls, scooters racing past statues of Hindu gods and for a fleeting moment I feel as though I'm in India that is until I see the lines of beautifully dressed women in lace tops wandering past with artfully arranged fruit atop their heads, a sight I'd never seen and in a flash I'm back. The architecture here is different. A mix between Hindu, Chinese and Buddist. It's fascinating, there is history here. Bali, the predominately Hindu gem of all the Indonesian islands. I come from a Hindu background and am curious to see how the faith and culture is translated here. 

I see men assembling tall upright bamboo poles and decorated with palm leaves alongside the road, ‘it’s for the festival’ my driver told me. My heart beats fast. I’m racing towards a month of the unknown and far from feeling frightened I’m excited and anticipating the stories I’ll be making. The earliest memories are always the most vivid. The journey from the airport is long, my eyes keep drifting shut.. sleep finally catching up with me, wrapping itself around me like a soft blanket.  We reached the villa and I step out in a half dazed state. Tiredness.. the weight of it dragging my feet with every step. Within minutes I could hear pounding feet and laughter, two girls approach me with smiling eyes and I immediately recognise one as she comes closer. We’d never met but I would know her anywhere. Arms wide I was enveloped into a warm hug and Nirrimi introduced herself asking how my journey was. 'Long !' I laugh as we head upstairs. Kelsey helps me with my bags as my room is introduced to me. It's lovely and cosy. Wide awake now I wanted to catch up on all the time I missed which I tried to do until the call of a soft bed was too much to resist. 

The first few days were more about climatizing to the heat rather than anything else. I fell into friendship with the rest of the gang, a group of people so kind, like-minded and positive brought together almost too perfectly. It didn't feel real yet somehow we all connected so well. I'm glad to have these precious souls in my life. Days quickly became filled with walks, exploring the town and island, yoga, rain watching, enjoying the (rawesome) food, visiting beaches, pizzas, movie nights and don't get me started on the pool parties! 

I've decided to split this post into several parts.. too many pictures to share with you all :) 

The view from my room..
Our villa..
I eventually discovered that these elegant poles were called Penjors.
Kelsey :)
Sweet Alba 
Self portrait in the rice paddies in front of the villa
Getting to know the neighbourhood
and making friends along the way :)
At an entrance to a Balinese family compound
Outtake from a mini photo session with Amanda
The scenic walk towards Sari Organik
Dominique and Lilly
The friendliest dog who kept us company most of the way
Doll house
Nasi campur dish at Sari Organik
Echo beach on a HOT day !
Chrissie had the right idea ;)
Amanda and Alba
David and Savannah 
Lydia letting me attack her with flowers
Lovely Meli
Gorgeous Savannah 
Beauties.. Jess and Steph
I miss the fresh smoothies..
Meeting these two ladies. Brooke and Abigail

Thanks for reading :) Part II coming soon!


  1. Bali has been growing on me... Everytime I see photos of it I just get more and more wishful to go there. Like you, I will work in every way possible to make this dream come true. Beautiful photos!

    1. I understand.. it's a beautiful part of the world. Thank you Marta :)

  2. Ahhh, these are so beautiful! I love the words you wrote before the photos as well, they made me feel like I was or at least had experienced it with you. Hoping that I'll be able to attend a camp bliss with all of you wonderful people I've been dying to meet someday! And can't wait for part 2! :)

  3. Aww, Lilly looks so small and cute there :) this makes me so excited for Camp Bliss II in November, we can't wait to see you guys again! :D

  4. Your pictures and words are perfect! come to Hawaii soon. ;)

  5. I'm glad I came across your work today! You're so wonderful! I love your style. Your pictures and words give me the feeling I need to jump on a plane right now, to discover Bali too.

  6. I love your photography and especially wather portraits! They're gorgeous!

  7. Hello, your photos are so beautiful. We are heading to Bali in June with our one year old daughter. What area in ubud are these photos from? It looks incredible!