It was my intention to be filing live from the festival, but there are so many exciting sessions and so many interviews I can't help but attend them all!
In the meantime, I just wanted to throw up some snapshots of where I am staying, Svarga Loka Resort.
I had no idea when I checked in that it is a wellness retreat. I've always wanted to come to somewhere like this. It always sounds lovely ... a week getting "re-focused" and re-balanced."
Ubud is full of people who come here for just that. It probably says more about me, but I'd rather be at the Writers Festival than poolside. It's only Day 2 ...by the end of the week I'll be poolside for an afternoon for sure!
I feel completely inspired and rejuvenated listening to all the international speakers. So far I've enjoyed sessions, and then follow-up interviews, with lovely Irish experimental writer Eimear McBride, Icelandic mythical novelist Sjorn and International bestseller Zia Haider Rahman. I've also had a cheeky chat with delightful Melbourne lad Liam Pieper.
The only issue is that other than the first day, I haven't spent much time at Svarga Loka because I'm at the Ubud Writers and Readers Festival from 9 'till 9 every day! Worrying about internet connections and interview times. No matter, I've allowed myself a day at the end to ... er ... unwind!
In the name of research I did attend a yoga and meditation session where they encouraged me to meditate, chant and "look within to find my best self." In fact, you can enrol in hour-long classes of life coaching, wellness paths and a whole infrastructure for people to become more balanced, centred and "their best selves." I must admit I'm intrigued, but I reckon I need more than an hour to "look within" and nut out a plan. Maybe that's why people spend the week here! I probably need a year!
The pool, cafe and massage area are all staggered down the hill in open-air pavillions, overlooking the river. It is magical.
It is also possible to get yourself fit walking up and down hundreds of stairs at the resort. There are private meditation platforms at strategic points down the slope too, but they are equally useful for catching your breath when walking back up the hill.