Highlights of the Bali Trip!

Touched down late afternoon on Sunday after a four-day trip to Bali, and as promised – pictures!

Day 1


We hit our villa straight after arrival. The Bali International Airport is only five months new after renovation!

Our villa (which cost only S$125 a night, and is owned by a Russian couple who currently live in Bali) in Seminyak was a rather touristy area that’s like a mini town with shops and cafes and restaurants packed close to each other and is only a stone’s throw away from the sea.

This is where I spent my early mornings

Bali was crazy hot, so it was a relief to step into this quaint cafe named Corner House for TWO glasses of freshly-squeezed watermelon juice:

The nicest, most street-savvy girls I have ever been on tour with



Followed by some shopping (yes, in that heat):

Local handicraft – look how cute!

And, of course, the beach

Then dinner at this hip Italian restaurant called Ultimo, where we got drunk on music, laughter, wine, and food.

Day Two

We brunched at this adorable diner called Sea Circus:

Sea Circus is well-known for its brunch menu

And then hit Karma Beach, where you have to pay about S$10 for a magnificent view:


We took a cable car down to the beach

On the cable car ride back up
The hotel room there costs 800SGD a night, apparently

Lastly, we went to this temple in Uluwatu called the Water Temple to view the sunset:

The temple was on a cliff overlooking the sea

It was like monkey kingdom there, and our guide told us to hold on tightly to our belongings or the monkeys will snatch them away! Our sunset viewing was punctuated by periodic screams of tourists who got their hats or cameras or scarves snitched by frisky monkeys.


We concluded the day with dinner at a seaside restaurant, where we had a seafood spread at Jimbaran Beach.

Day 3

We had a light breakfast at our villa before heading on a two-hour drive to Ubud to see the padi fields, lunch at a famous barbequed ribs place, and do some shopping at the local market. Our driver for the day got a little too enthusiastic and drove like a fiend. We swerved in and out of traffic and sped towards Ubud, and by lunchtime the girls and I were feeling too queasy to stomach much of our lunch (although the ribs at Naughty Nuri’s were good).

Shopping and padi field sightseeing made us feel slightly better, though.

By the end of day 3, the effects of too much sun and food kicked in. One of the girls had a bad case of food poisoning, while I was dehydrated and had a sunstroke. So we headed back to our villa and completely crashed.

In the evening, Huimei’s food poisoning got worse – she was throwing up every few minutes – and we had to take her to the BIMC Hospital in Kuta.

Thank goodness we all felt better by the next morning so the trip didn’t end on an entirely bad note.

Plus, I managed to get some writing done on the plane.

Still, it’s good to be home. See you again, Bali! Thanks for having us.

Bali Bound! (and struck by quarter-life crisis)

bali I’m off to Bali this Thursday! And given that it’s my first time there, as well as my insane love for the sea, you can be sure I’ll be flooding this spot with pictures after I get back.

This is a much-needed break from the routine I’ve gotten so used to. Working, writing, sleeping, swimming. I know I have the luxury to swim every morning, and time after work to write, something a lot of my peers don’t because they are so consumed with work. But I just feel like I’m … grazing. Going about my same old routine in the safety of my comfort zone. And lately I just feel trapped, going stir-crazy in the same spot, still not going anywhere two years after graduation. But then the thought of stepping out of what I know paralyses me with fear.

I know I’m not the only twenty-something who feels this way. Do you feel like there’s just so much you want to do, places to go, people to meet, but there are so many factors holding you back? Money, family, the conventional way to live. I’m supposed to get a job straight after graduation, get promoted within a few years, meet someone along the way, get married by 30, have two kids – all because that’s the “right” way to live. What if there are other options? I wouldn’t know what other options are out there because I haven’t really stepped out and LIVED.

A lot of people – especially those older than us – think that quarter-life crisis is laughable. The thought that we should suffer from that debilitating sense of aimlessness is ridiculous, because we’re only just starting out in the real world. But I think this is the point in our lives where we start panicking because we feel like we should have done so many things already, but haven’t achieved anything much. I’m nowhere near my goals, relationship or career wise, while people around me are getting married, having babies, and making the news.

What do you think, is this just me being greedy, wanting everything without daring to take the first step? Maybe this is the “loneliness loop” people talk about:

… it’s possible for us introverts to get stuck in a cycle of loneliness. This “loneliness loop” can happen because staying home alone is often our default. We might find it hard to muster up the energy to hang out with people, especially after a long day of work or classes.

Plus, we don’t like superficial socializing: “We desire and require deep connections and would rather be lonely alone than in a crowd,” Dembling writes in a Psychology Today blog post. “But realistically, those deep connections are not easy to find, and if we get caught short and our only choice is superficial socializing or nothing, we can get lonely.”

Anyway, this post is getting too depressing. On to better news. I’m charging through the last 50 pages or so of No Room in Neverland. Here’s where the words pour out and sweep you towards the end. It’s the most exhilarating part, and also the most all-consuming. The part where you live, breathe, and dream about the story, where it creeps into your veins and you become it and vice versa. Full speed till the end!

On a not-so-upbeat note, I received another rejection letter for Until Morning:

Dear Joyce,

Thank you for the email and interest in The [name redacted] Literary Agency. I’ve carefully reviewed your query and submission of UNTIL MORNING.

You are a very skilled writer, and I find your overall premise of this story to be quite interesting. With that said, I’m wanting to feel more connected to the characters of the shifting points of view (Lexi and Sam). And while I don’t want to know every detail in the first couple chapters, I want to have a pretty good grasp of what the story is about, so that as a reader, I’m fully there.

With that said, possibly another agent or agency will feel differently, and I wish you well on your search for the perfect home for this story!

All my best, Vicki

But while it is a rejection letter, I’m strangely glad to receive it. Beats receiving NO reply at all, at any rate. I’m this close to giving up on Until Morning. This is what I mean by being trapped. You try and try and try and try and try. And try again. But you’re just not going anywhere.

it takes courage to grow up

Illustration by Kris Di Giacomo

So yes, Bali. Bali is much needed.

Have a crisis-free week!