Bali Travel Junkie Diary of

Reem Shaath

Saturday, May 4, 2013
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A travel junkie by default! Reem Shaath, founder of whywander.com, a one stop shop for travelers from the Middle East looking to plan trips that go beyond the regular tourist itineraries. Always keen to make Whywander.com a service that is outside the realm of anything typical and instead offer bespoke travel experiences complete with booking flights, hotels, and with the addition of restaurant recommendations, activities, shopping itineraries and ‘local experiences’.

Here is her diary

Destination Bali

I love being in the jungle in Bali – Ubud is so peaceful – I have a favorite spot that I always go to and I make it a point to recharge with positive energy every year.

Stayed at Como Shambhala

Como Shambhala has to be one of the best hotels I’ve  stayed in. Set in the midst of a gorgeous jungle, the Como Shambhala Estate in Bali is, like the old adage goes, just what the doctor ordered. For anyone looking to recharge and reconnect with nature, this holistic haven is a perfect example of rest and relaxation with an award winning spa, the finest cuisine and stunning natural vistas. The estate functions as both a resort or as part of a specific retreat with a variety of programs to choose from Rejuvenating, Get Fit, Ayurvedic, Stress Management, Cleansing, and Discover Como.
I stayed in a beautiful Estate Suite overlooking the jungle and undertook the same program I do every year.

Month February – low and rainy season but I love it. I love seeing the rain fall in the jungle – it’s like you’ve opened the faucet for about 15 minutes and then stopped.

In your suitcase Casual wear at its best – sweatpants, t-shirts and tennis shoes. This is where people come to relax, rejuvenate and get balance back into their lives – there’s absolutely no fashion shows here even though it is frequented by the likes of Donna Karan, Calvin Klein and Tony Blair!

Dined at Balinese cuisine is fantastic. On this trip, I discovered a restaurant called Sarong that serves fusion Balinese – if you like spicy you’ll love this place!

Shopped You’ll find plenty of souvenirs to take home with you but my favorite kind of shopping in Bali is for art and paintings… I came back with 3 paintings that hang on my Dubai apartment wall from this trip and about another 6 from a trip last year.

Diary A very active diary indeed – with never a dull moment! Wake up at 6am – meet my guide and head towards my first activity of the day the Estate Biathlon. Cycle for around 2 hours, then hike back to the estate through the jungle. Upon arrival, I had my personal assistant waiting for me with fresh coconut water to hydrate.  I relaxed at the pool for a bit, and headed for my massage. Had a delicious lunch, and then went for a healing session with the local healer in town Pak Man. After that, went to Ubud town for a bit of shopping and then headed back to the Estate… and that was my daily grind. I got the Get Fit program. The reason I always choose this program is because it combines some adventurous activities in the outdoors which I love – and some amazing massages to relieve the leg pain after a long day of hiking in the rice paddies, canyoning in the waterfalls and cycling between the villages.  Apart from that, the Estate offers yoga, Pilates and meditation to all guests as part of the program. The personal assistant that you are assigned might be one of the most genius ideas ever to be implemented in the hotel world – their job is to make sure you’re happy, remind you of your appointments, and basically make your stay as enjoyable as possible!
To top it all off, the estate has two restaurants that serve up fresh and inventive dishes that are organic, delicious and healthy!

Tips Bali is a very spiritual island – you’ll see plenty of ceremonies taking place all the time. The culture is a very ‘thankful’ culture – they have offerings on every door step thanking the ‘Gods’ for almost everything. There’s plenty to do – if you want to be in the midst of party town, there’s Kuta.  If you want more upscale restaurants and boutiques, there’s Seminyak. If you want art & culture and amazing jungle views, there’s Ubud. If you want beach and surfing there’s Canggu…This is a place for everyone.

Mode of travel I flew on Emirates to Jakarta and then took an internal flight to Bali.

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Travel Junkie Diary

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  • “If two points are meant to meet, the universe will always find a way to make the connection... even when all hope seems to be lost - the journeys we take will define who we are and who we become. Across space, across time, amongst paths we can never predict, nature always finds its way. Trust the universe - have a little faith “ 💞 
#TravelwithTJD #CreateYourReality
  • 7 days in Iceland and it was never enough! I can happily stay a lifetime here exploring and shooting. 
On our @travelwithtjd Iceland Series, we spent a couple of nights at @radissonblu1919 exploring Reykjavik during the day and the long nights!!
The rest of the week we spent on the road in different guest houses exploring many waterfalls, lagoons, volcanic landscapes, black beaches and tasted the Icelandic cuisine. 
We have few spaces left for our next @travelwithtjd trip in April 2020! Get in touch if you like to join us 😊#TravelwithTJD #CreateYourReality
  • Iceland was everything I ever hoped it would be. Our @travelwithtjd Mini Series in Iceland started with 10 incredible strangers and ended with new friendships. We’ve spent a week exploring the best of Iceland - sharing memories and lots of laughter. If you like to join our next TJD Iceland Series in April, get in touch, we still have very few spaces left! #TravelwithTJD #CreateYourReality
  • The older I get, the more I love the value of privacy, of cultivating your circle and only letting certain people in. You can be open, honest, and real while still understanding that not everyone deserves a seat at the table of your life... I hope you find someone who is always real with you, and a place where the chaos inside is understood-whether you are searching for them or not. Day 1 Iceland on our @travelwithtjd 💫
  • As we sometimes give all the love we have to others... we sometimes forget to love ourselves more. Most of the time, when I feel I’ve lost my alignment, it’s usually a reminder on how I need to take better care of me, and not be so hard on myself. 💫
  • Sometimes, I’m terrified of my heart, of its constant hunger for great things in this beautiful world. The way it stops & starts...
  • Would you go to furthermost place on earth? 
I’m so excited to announce our 5th destination release on @travelwithtjd 
Join us on the 1st-6th of May 2020 to the Northernmost Settlement on earth and explore the Norwegian archipelago between mainland Norway and the North Pole on an Arctic expedition. In this packed polar journey, we have the chance to encounter some arctic wildlife, Kayaking into the glorious glaciers, snowmobiling into the earth’s depends fjords, enjoy husky safari, taste the culinary Arctic experience and learn so much about our beautiful planet.
Few tips on the trip: 
During May, it will be the start of the midnight sun, and so, the sun will not set below the horizon
As flights on our packages are not included, I always suggest to find the best flight deals through @wegoarabia which will give you a range of flights to chose from, matches your budget and connecting flights
Please get in touch if you would like to join this expedition, also, keep in mind that you will need a certain fitness level to join. 
Due to safety circumstances, we can only have 6 guests in one group. 
#TravelwithTJD #CreateYourReality
Photo by @dennisstever
  • Svalbard is a Norwegian archipelago between mainland Norway and the North Pole. The archipelago is composed of nine main islands. 
We visited Pyramiden, 2 hours by boat from longyearbyen, and known as a Soviet Ghost Town, an abandoned Russians coal mine settlement sold to the Soviet Union back in 1927. When we arrived, they told us that they have seen few polar bears around and so had to stay close. 
Barentsburg, the second largest settlement in Svalbard with about 450 inhabitants, mostly, also, Russians... Some of the other islands have amongst scientist and researchers. Needless to say, Longyearbyen is the northernmost capital on earth.
I also want to thank the team at @arcticexpedition.no who were so incredible with us, it wouldn’t have been the same without them, despite me being a little afraid of walking out, they assured our safety ☺️ Make sure you join us on our next @travelwithtjd in May to Svalbard once again!#TravelwithTJD
  • With thousands of years of history frozen in time, the Arctic, for me, is as a place where we can freeze our former selves and visualize what we can achieve what’s found in stories,  books and inspiring people that made it this far. 
It’s just you, the land, and your thoughts, and you can't leave until you've wrestled with yourself and emerged a survivor. 
But then again, the light is much more intense up here and everything looks different because of it. The sun hasn’t set in a couple of months, and you can see things much more clearly when it is light all of the time. 
I’m addicted to the Arctic, it has been so for the past two years as @dennisstever and I set a mission to work together to conquer it on @travelwithTJD 
Thanks to @dennisstever for capturing this moment.
Thank you to the wonderful team @arcticexpedition.no for making this a memorable experience ❤️
  • Im at the Earth’s northernmost inhabited settlement and I made this happen!!
A Norwegian archipelago in the Arctic Ocean. Svalbard is home to the ‘King of the Arctic’, which is the Polar Bear, followed by whales, Arctic Fox, Birds, Seals, Walrus and Reindeers. Svalbard is 600 miles away from the North Pole, the farthest place on earth I have ever been. This is not a dream...I created this beautiful reality. #TravelwithTJD @travelwithtjd @visitsvalbard
  • I’m not sure I can’t explain in words exactly how I felt at that moment. Right, scratch that... I can, because I froze. 
In so many ways. 
Ive always felt that my moods could be best explained in photos (and music) and that’s why I’m drawn to photography because it allows me to portray what’s going on inside when words fail. 
@dennisstever and I spent a week in Finland for the midnight sun, exploring the summer season. He probably took a thousand shots of this moment and encouraged me to keep going despite the cold waves splashing on me. 
But, I’m thankful, because, after a while, the cold numbed me, so I caught my breath, looked around and realized how F*** amazing it is to feel alive!
  • Often, I am noticing more and more on social media highlighting what society identifies as their body flaws and how we are beautiful and ordinary because of it, categorizing it as ‘empowerment’. I’m all for positivity but, I feel it’s giving mixed signals and it’s becoming repetitive, focusing on body goals. Again. 
Loving yourself, or accepting yourself doesn’t start with just accepting your body or its ‘flaws’, that’s not how we become ‘ordinary’, and the constant focus on bodies is directing the false message, denoting how our looks comes first and preaching about it (constantly)is not ordinary. 
Whatever happened to beauty from within? Or education? 
Are we truly loving ourselves if we put our body ‘flaws’ constantly out there on social media waiting again, for others to approve and congratulate you?
Is that not just promoting more “What’s on the outside counts more than what’s on the inside?”
Acceptance and beauty is deeper than that, because, surely, a body’s ‘ordinary’ image, is not solely what we should or should not be celebrating. 
Imperfections comes from the inside... Our actions, reactions, our weaknesses, strengths, our challenges and triumphs, our anxieties.
Loving oneself is accepting our heart and mind’s inability to function today but still give tomorrow another chance. 
We are beautiful for how we make others feel, for being there for one another, for lifting each other, for forgiving, for loyalty, for being there for your children, for your family, for strangers and for those around you and definitely not because we have or have not accepted our bodies and those around us. 
Whoever you are... our ‘imperfections’ in our souls are what makes ordinary and learning to accept it, is what makes you beautiful, and that is what we need to be sharing. 
So let’s highlight what’s on the inside, instead of just purely focusing on the outside. Because, that’s the only way we can truly love ourself, and not by perfect or imperfect bodies.