I’ve recently returned from Bali for mum’s 70th birthday celebrations. It was a long time between visits – too long.
The last time I was there, was when the “love to hate it” 80s pop anthem I’ve been to Bali too was being played in Australia on rotation. An energetic pre-teen girl from the suburbs, on her first tropical Asian holiday with her family. I loved it. The colours, the differences, the weather.
Little did I know, another Melburnian’s life was being changed by Bali around the same time.
Her name is Janet DeNeefe, author, restaurant owner and Director of the annual Ubud Writers & Readers Festival – on now.
As Janet tells it, she met a Balinese man in 1984, and without much thought, moved to Ubud, a charming hillside town where she threw herself into a new life.
Thirty years later Janet, her husband and her four children call Ubud’s Honeymoon Guest House home and through her writing and her work, she continues to champion the charm and cultural wealth of Balinese life.
It was a great thrill to speak to Janet via Skype in the lead up to this year’s Ubud Writers & Readers Festival, and somewhat bittersweet having only just returned and wishing I could fly back again to be a part of it.
I’m hearing more and more about the Ubud Writers & Readers Festival – every week it seems – and I cannot wait to experience it for myself ASAP.