Growing up, my Dad must have drove my brothers and I on hundreds of family camping and vacation trips. Every single journey began with the tapping of his hands on a wheel of a Ford wagon while belting acapella: Get your motor running / Head out on the highway / Looking for adventure / And whatever comes our way. Then and now he lives by example of always expressing a confident voice…always chatting up the stranger…always letting the freak flag fly…always choosing to live at the edge. It’s in my blood, and I love it. Of all of the countries I’ve traversed thus far in 2014, Iceland and Indonesia are the anchors of the beacons of living on the edge.
“The Edge. There is no honest way to explain it because the only people who know where it is are the ones who have gone over.” – Hunter S. Thompson
The Bulgari Resort stands atop a Balinese cliff like a medieval fortress town, walled and secret. Each villa has its own garden, pool and outdoor living room that looks over the Indian Ocean. The construction of each piece of this luxury resort respects local techniques. Each stone is cut and chiseled on site by hand. This attention to detail is simply the beginning for my friends and I were lucky enough to witness all of the jeweled glory as we sat beside the ocean for a cocktail before strolling the property, eventually dining at the incredible Sangkar Restaurant. A rare gem, the resort is a divine experience.
We took an unknown path that paid off in major vacation moments.
After small bites and cocktails, lounging cliffside by the pool, the only reasonable thing to do was to taste a five star meal under a full moon, of course! Day or night, the power of the stillness of this rock by the Indian Ocean is a feeling I will remember for a long time to come.
Image Credits: Jenny Graham
A weeknight adventure in Bali is the Kecak Ramayana and Fire Dance in Uluwatu. My friends and I didn’t plan on attending, but our pal at the jewel of all luxury resorts recommended the ancient ritual dance on the Island of the Gods. Why not? Upon entering Pura Luhur Uluwatu, one of Bali’s sacred directional temples protecting the island from evil spirits in the Southwest, we were given special sashes and sarongs to wear and ward off any evil influences.
Like any brilliant drama, the dance itself tells a story, accompanied by a choir of chanting and singing men, with a woman named Sita at the center of it all.
There were moments I felt as if I were back in college, sitting within Shakespeare’s Globe, for the performance is an absolute spectator sport.
Throughout the evening, leading up to Sita’s reunion with her husband, Rama, the energy was palpable. An unforgettable dance of life alongside the Indian Ocean as it broke against an Indonesian cliff at sunset. I’m telling you, kids, you must go to Bali. For more on the Kecak dance story, click here.
Image Credits: Jenny Graham
Guess what? I am traveling again. This jetset is extra special, though, as it is a long-time-coming vacation with a wondrous trio of friends. We are off to Bali, woohoo! I am not sure what to expect (beyond a two day flight, save for German and Malaysian stopovers), but I am ready to surrender to the planet.
Be back to you all soon. xx, JBD.
Image Credit: The Bali Bible
I’ve been jetsetting like it’s my job. Well, it is my job. It’s a creatively rewarding, out-of-the-ordinary, pinch-me-this-is-happening gig. And it is a ton of hard work. When I’m finally back in the Big Apple, I find myself craving quiet and calmness; no crowds, no noise, no smell on smell on smell on the subway. Oh to be back in the City of Angels, where the ocean crashes, where the sun shines bright. It could be a phase, nostalgia really. But beyond my consistent love of Paris, I am missing the City of Angels more than ever, perhaps ready to leave the apple picking behind.
Image Credit here.
Hopping in my car, opening the sun roof and driving out to a surf spot is one of my dreamy-happy activities. I look forward to it when I return from a long work trip. My go-to Montauk, New York surf spot is Ditch Plains. It’s heaven and holds a special place in my heart. When I don’t want to drive too far from my Brooklyn home, I hit up the Rockaways. Locals Surf School is awesome with group lessons at only $80 a pop; it’s worth the adventure. Dillon is my favorite instructor – tell him JBD sent you!
Way back when, I learned to surf from the dudes at ZJ Boarding House. This Santa Monica, California based shop has been around for 25 years. They take your skill level to the next level. If you head out to Malibu, go brave Surfrider Beach. The surf breaks from North to South in three points. Third Point is the first break, followed by Second Point and First Point, the last break. First Point is a long wave ideal for long boarding while Second Point often allows for a barrel here and there, breaking faster than First Point. The Third Point is for short boards; fast waves and early close outs. Since we’re chatting SoCal, I got my first custom board at South Coast in San Diego. If you’re ever in America’s sunniest city, surf all of these spots.
For the surfer who wants to retreat into waves, check out week-long sessions in Costa Rica, surf school in Florida, or Castaway yourself in Fiji for an ultimate experience.
P.S. Cynthia Rowley is creating fabulous surf-wear these days…
Image Credits: Pinterest and Cynthia Rowley for Roxy
Spending money on travel, especially to explore a spot you’ve never been, is worth every cent. I was in Bridgton, Maine over the weekend for a mini-reunion of about 30 family members at Shawnee Peak. Just a seven hour ride from New York City, it’s a breeze away. All jokes aside, I love road trips and this one was no exception with stellar company and skies bluer than a Caribbean ocean. While my recent winter excursions have been quite Arctic, I highly recommend hiking these trails and breathing in the beauty of Maine.
Next on my list: a few of these gems!
Image Credits: Jenny Graham
We were standing on a balcony, boots in a bit of snow, gazing over a glorious skyline. It was my last day in Reykjavik and I was going on and on about my adoration of Iceland, to this perfect stranger, when he cut in and said: Yoko Ono loves it here. I laughed aloud, silently recalling a random run-in, just weeks before in Manhattan. I had sat beside Ms. Ono at a downtown sushi spot. Seeing her had prompted me to reminisce about my first cassette tape, a gift from my Uncle Joe, the song: Imagine. As a result, I had that soundtrack on repeat during my first flight to luminous Iceland. Of course, I see connections in everything. Call it a habit, call it whatever you want. But in that moment I knew I’d be back. And guess what? JBD is on a little break, just for a week or so. I bought the ticket. I’m taking the ride.
(p.s. buy the ticket, take the ride ~ quote via Hunter S. Thompson)
I lived in Beverly Hills for about four years in my mid-twenties. I never really said goodbye because I frequent the City of Angels for work and family visits. Those quintessential bungalows of The Beverly Hill Hotel will forever stay in style and I suppose it’s the iconic design’s ability to pique a present day eye combined with the long-term memory of Shelley Long and her troop. I like kitsch from time to time, so let’s give a nod to fun luxury and wrap up in some campy classics.
Signature Beach Towel // Women’s Limited Edition Pajamas
With Christmas around the corner and the Winter Solstice behind us, it is a lovely time to acknowledge darkness, while allowing light to continually enter into your life. I felt the majesty of nature while in Iceland and it reminded me of the magic of this season. Have good taste in people; the experiences you live out will be better for it. Look at Mother Nature, she definitely made the right choice in hanging out with Jökulsárlón. This glacial lake is located in Southeastern Iceland, situated at the head of Breiðamerkurjökull, where it developed into a lake after the glacier started receding from the edge of the Atlantic Ocean.
I became enchanted with the ever-changing natural light in Iceland. To stand surrounded by floating ice, a coastline and majestic mountains is surreal. And quite chilly this time of year!
The wind strength and gorgeous cloud formations are unique to Winter. I truly felt an inner calmness standing on the land.
Image Credits: Jenny Graham