UBUD, Indonesia — It’s one thing to imagine living somewhere so accomodating. It’s quite another to see a friend actually do it.
Revi, whom I had met in my days of organizing happy-hour socials in San Francisco, moved to Bali with her husband and newborn baby a few months ago.
I happened to learn of a few of these developments shortly before leaving for Indonesia. Revi had sent a newsletter update to an old e-mail address of mine, which I fortunately checked within days of embarking on my trip.
Revi had always been something of an inspiration. Managing to have a life filled with interesting people, creative endeavors, far-flung travels and a trueness of self, Revi never ceased to amaze with her verve and her zeal for, well, living. (Practical as she was, Revi also showed me that it was possible – and could be profitable – to own a home and sublet an apartment.)
We spoke briefly via my Skype account while I was still in the Kuta area, and she gave me strange-sounding directions.
Once in Ubud, I related these directions — which included a street name and a house name but no number — to a taxi driver.
We drove back and forth along this street dotted with rice fields just outside Ubud’s hustle and bustle, with the driver asking me, “This one?”
Each time, we both chuckled as I said, “I don’t know. I haven’t been here before.”
A little over an hour late, I finally saw the telltale clue: The house’s name on a small sign we somehow missed repeatedly.
Revi’s temporary home was a sight to behold. An open living room area on the ground floor held couches and a coffee table, from where the couple worked on their Mac laptops and entertained 3-month-old Anais.
Lush foliage on the perimeter provided the privacy normally afforded by walls. A shiny tile floor gave the toddler ample space to roam.
Upstairs, a balcony boasted views of the surrounding paddies, and wooden shutters closed the sleeping quarters off from light rather than prying eyes.
I didn’t inquire about the rent, though I was tempted.
We all went to dinner in town, and as we caught up on our lives, I realized anew how much I loved the idea of custom-made life.