Paradise Awaits

June 3, 2021

PhotographyBobby Bense

Model/Styling/EditingHelen Janneson Bense

LocationSix Senses Resort – Uluwatu | Villa Saba 10 | W Hotels Seminyak – Bali, Indonesia

While it may still be a long while for Australians to get back to their favourite paradise locations, for me the memories still hold a special place in my heart and will not be forgotten when the time comes to safely venture once again.

It’s been awhile since this trip to Indonesia, but I finally have the time now to reflect upon this incredible experience. One rich with colour, culture and connection. And a whole lot of beauty and relaxation.

It was September 2018 and we journeyed from Seminyak, the bustling heart of Bali, to the majestic cliff-sides of Uluwatu, one of my favourite parts of Bali. Our holiday began at the wonderful Villa Saba 10. A quiet, private luxurious 5 bed villa, equipped with our own chef and team of staff to help with any of our needs. It was such a fun, laid back family vibe; floating in the pool, listening to music, soaking up that glorious Balinese sun, sitting by the fire at night and chatting all day long.

From here we were ready for a more lively Balinese vibe at W Hotels in Seminyak. Situated right on the beach we had the privilege of watching many of those magical Indonesian sunsets that seem to go on forever in every shade of pink, peach and purple. We absolutely loved our 2 bed pool villa with everything we could ever need for the most comfortable and luxurious stay.

We always leave Uluwatu as the last leg of our trips to Bali. It has all the quiet nature vibes we crave.

We stayed at the immaculate Six Senses Resort, a luxury hotel perched upon the cliff, overlooking the ocean. It feels as though you are at the end of the earth with these breathtaking ocean and sunset views. It’s truly a place to unwind and decompress with ease. There were seated massages awaiting us at reception, an all you can eat ice cream parlour (with vegan options), and the most dreamy infinity pool!

The resort was only just opened when we stayed, so more work was still needed finishing off more villas and gardening. Even still, we found it to be a seamless stay. Such a great sign for a resort. Our plant based needs were catered for with ease, which is so often the way staying at Six Senses resorts. We have now stayed at 3 Six Senses resorts through south east Asia and I’m certain it won’t be our last. They are above and beyond some of the best quality resorts we have had the privilege of experiencing.

While this trip was utter bliss, I did sadly pick up a really serious flu on the plane on the the way home. It’s been difficult to remember these paradise days prior, as the following experience was one of the scariest of my life. It came hard and fast once I returned home. I was in bed for 5 days with a raging 40 degree fever and the worst body aches of my life. I kept thinking I’ll ride it out, I’ll be better tomorrow. By day 5 I honestly felt like I was going to die. My worried husband, Bobby, managed to get me to my doctor, who immediately sent me to hospital. She looked at me, wondering why I wasn’t already there. I had no idea the flu could be this bad. I was hospitalised for a further 5 days, and unwell for weeks. They did loads of blood tests thinking I had picked something up in Bali, to finally discover I just had the flu. My white blood cell count and my blood pressure both fell dangerously low while in hospital. I had never felt so ill, so helpless, I couldn’t even go to the toilet, and I finally understood how people die from the flu. I was out of action for a solid month recovering. The doctors left me with a strong warning that I needed to be especially careful with all viruses in future given my severe reaction and my history. I realised that almost every other time I had been in hospital it was always due to a virus. While all of this was scary, I started to piece together a better health picture which has helped me ever since. My immune system has been vulnerable since I was a child. I was frequently ill, on antibiotics more times per year than I could count. Coupled with trauma which also impacts the immune system, I have lived most of my life at the mercy of viral infections. This is one of the reasons why I’m so careful with my health now, and also partly why I was drawn to Naturopathy for work. When you have vulnerabilities and challenges in life you are able to tap into compassion to those suffering and in need. It’s also why I take Covid so seriously, and have so much compassion and empathy for anyone affected, and families who have lost loved ones. My heart goes out to you.

So while it was an aftermath and half, I am still so grateful for the paradise I was lucky enough to experience before this. Since this trip I have taken numerous precautions to protect myself and maintain top notch health on all my travels. I have an arsenal of natural anti-virals, immune modulating herbs/nutrients, stress management techniques and ongoing trauma work, long term positive health impacts of a plant based diet, and hindsight to help me in future. Now I’m looking forward to visiting paradise once again, when it’s safe to do so.

With love and gratitude,

Helen xx

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