2017 – My Year in Digital Travel Postcards

2017 – My Year in Digital Travel Postcards

A review of my 2017 in digital postcards. I had a year of travel which took me across southern India down to the tip of India, to Bali in  Indonesia, then back and forth to  Australia.

A journey to find a new home and to experience and see the wonders of life and living in a rich and beautiful planet. What did I learn along the way? What’s next? Read on…

mala mantra maker
After a year of exploring and discovering new places and practising just being! Finally finding my way into creating Mala Mantra Maker – coming to you in 2018. Here’s 2018 being a wonderful year!

Travel with Alice   Explore, Discover, Create, Be.

Mala Making in India
Travelling in India January 2017 – Chennai, Pondicherry, Malapalapuram, Kanakamuri, Varkala, Kottayam, Kochi. Finding inspiration to make my own Mala’s – under Mala Mantra Maker
My 2017 year in Digital Travel Photography
Discovering my new home in Bali, Indonesia. Exploring the rich culture of Ubud and the island of Bali.
northern beaches the elements
Enjoying swimming in the sea.  Spending my birthday month of May in Sydney on the Northern Beaches. Thanks to Annie I spent time in Newport Beach, working on designing a new life with Screw Work, Let’s Play the course with John Williams. Celebrating my birthday and rebirth into my new life.
A year in digital Travel postcards
Starting a new life in Bali, Indonesia.
Exploring the rich culture Bali has to offer and my new home
Sound Healing at the Pyramids of chi
Discovering my one of my favourite places in Bali, The Pyramids of Chi. Connecting with the Gong and attending several Gong workshops. A big thank you to Peter and Lynn a wonderful caring couple who run the Pyramids and to the Gong workshops with Sanj Hall and Drow.
Exploring the wonderful Alassari Plantation in Bali, the most tranquil place to be. Being touched by the kindness and wonderful hospitality of Craig and Valerie Glenister. Thank you!
What you want in life
Exploring a new life in Bali, Indonesia.
Marsh the dog 14.8.2017 RIP
Losing our beloved Marsh, who we all loved very much. He was the kindest, most gentle, loving dog I have ever met. Who inspired me to love dogs and not to afraid of them. They only want love. Much love and you will always be remembered. xx
Blue Mountains postcard
Exploring the beautiful landscape of the Blue Mountains in New South Wales, Australia
NARABEEN Dog Sitting
Getting to spend more time on the Northern Beaches and caring for Milo a beautiful dog. Enjoying dog sitting and walking a dog again! The best Christmas gift I could receive this year. Thank you, Georgia and Matt!
Having time to explore the beautiful nature of the Northern Beaches region of Australia. Such inspiration and joy to see so much rich and colourful nature. I love those trees so much!
A year in Digital Travel Postcards
To top my year off spending time at Beautiful Palms, in Palm Beach thanks to Bobbie. A cottage with amazing views over Palm Beach and Barrenjoey Headland. A person couldn’t ask for a better view of the beautiful Northern Beaches, Sydney. It’s heaven!
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Ubud Readers and Writers Festival 2017

Ubud Writers And Readers Festival 2017

Ubud Readers and Writers Festival
Ubud Writers and Readers Festival 2017, Bali, Indonesia: Reflecting on my time spent in Bali this year one of the most memorable times was attending Ubud Writers and Readers Festival.  I felt so inspired by the 4 days of interesting talks and finding out about so many books I would like to read.
My days were action packed and started at 9 am and by 5 pm I was happily exhausted by all the discussions and presentations that I had attended. I continued into the evening on a few occasions too!
We had amazingly hot weather and no rain! There was so much packed into the 4 days it felt more like a week, then all of a sudden after being submerged into listening to dozens of inspiring writers and poets the festival was over.
On the first evening feeling still full of life, I made it to Casa Luna to see Osamah Sami talk about his latest film Ali’s Wedding and his book The Muslim Boy and he had us in stitches with his stories. He is a really talented writer, comedian, actor and it was the first time I had come across this guy.

These are my top 3 recommendations from the UWRF17:

love your work

Jung Chang – A beautiful soul and the inspiring writer of Wild Swans
Jung Chang talks were (China’s Women and Writing Modern China) 

I was so looking forward to Jung Chang, as I think alongside Ian Rankin she must be the most famous person here at the festival. When I read her book Wild Swans back in the 80’s and later Mao I was enthralled by her dialogue and story. At the time this encouraged me to read more about China and Japan and give me the passion of all things Asian.
Jung Chang did not disappoint during the two sessions I attended.  She is a woman with a beautiful aura and presence and an intelligent and engaging speaker. She was able to bring to life the book Wild Swans through personal stories, showing at one point her grandmother’s tiny shoe from having spent her life with bound feet.  She really captured the audience with her passion for writing and life generally. She is an inspiration and to listen to her stories was amazing. Her research on her subject was thorough and with the help of her husband an Englishman and what this brought to life in her books. Her storytelling is gripping and of the struggles in her life and the life of her family is both shocking and amazing.
Jung Chang – author of Wild SwansMao and her new book The Empress Dowager sounds fascinating to read.   Based on a true life story of a Concubine born in China (1835) has a fascinating story how a woman impacted Chinese history.  We all need to laugh at ourselves AND the tragedy of our lives sometimes and this one I think is really going to do just that.
Osamah Sami – Iraqi born who moved to Iran and later to Australia
Ubud Readers and Writers Festival

Osamah Sami must be one of the highlights for many people who came into contact with him and listened to him talk. He came across as a thoroughly lovely guy and hugely talented. Not only was he hugely funny but passionate, and humble and able to tell some tragic stories about his life. Having written his book the Good Muslin Boy, was the winner of 2016 NSW Premier’s Literary Award. Later the film Ali’s Wedding which I can’t wait to read when I visit Australia this month.

The Northern Irish born playwright and writer Paul Mc Veigh

The Good Son by Paul McVeigh – a very touching piece he read from his book at the Festival, so I can’t wait to read his book. The blend of humour, detail, living in war-torn Northern Ireland from a young boy’s point of view and the need for survival during the troubles.  Paul came across as a lovely guy, full of energy, humour and intelligence just like this book I am sure.  A think it will be a gripping read!

I need to buy and read on a kindle so here is the deal on this one only £1.89. A bargain!

I had such a wonderful time at the festival. There is so much to share and if you want to attend next year here are the details: Ubud Writers and Reader’s Festival 2018 and Books I love 
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The Power of Sound Healing

The Power of Sound Healing

The power of sound healing

We all know the power of sound, whether it’s through our favourite song or band we love to listen to; we are temporarily transported to another place, time and feel the joy the music creates within us. Most of us can remember where we were what we were doing and with whom when we hear a particular song. Music and sound have a powerful element within our subconscious. The power of sound through music transforms our mood and gets us to get up and dance and feel the joy of life, so it probably comes as no surprise that sound is extremely healing.

Sound Healing with Kristen Firpo 

Our bodies are made up of 70 percent water and the vibrations of the sounds can have a direct input on our bodies on many levels, moving around the fluids and in doing so, moving our emotions.  Kristen demonstrates this on her Kristen Firpo

Kristen Firpo Sound Therapist / A workshop at Samadi Yoga in Canggu, Bali, Indonesia

A lovely yoga centre in Canggu, Relaxing and beautifully created. Samadi yoga centre, in Canggu, Bali.
For more details on other events and classes visit: Samadi Yoga Centre

A 2-hour group sound healing session with Kristen.

Wow what an amazing day we had.  It was so gentle yet powerful experience and left me feeling blessed, my body and soul could experience the sound vibrating through my body. The energy of the wind gong, the 5 crystal bowls, Balinese bell, and set of Tibetan bowls were just some of the instruments Kristen used, and what amazing sounds she made with them.

Kristen uses her intuition to guide sound healing sessions -as she plays her bowls, all around the room.  She uses Tibetan Singing Bowls, the gong, Balinese Bells, Freenotes (similar to the Xylophone). One singing bowl she has is truly amazing, it’s made of quartz crystal and is covered in gold. It’s stunning looking and the sound is beautiful too! It’s so pure in sound it’s quite magical. It was made a very special company in Ubud.

www.kristenfirpo.com – Here you can find out more about Kristen and her story of how she came into Sound Healing and how she is taking it to the corporate world. www.healanywhere.com 

Thank you, Kristen

Why not try Kirtan?

If you haven’t tried Kirtan yet, why not give it a go?  You get to sing your heart out and it’s really meditative evening. There are Kirtan sessions at Samadi Yoga Centre, Canggu, Bali you can see their website for listings. At the Yoga Barn in Ubud, they holding weekly Kirtan sessions with Greg or Punnu.  www.yogabarn.com

A Trip to Tanah Lot – on the Tourist trail

Sunset or no sunset? Still a lovely place to visit and have dinner with friends.










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Postcards from Bali

Postcards from Bali  – 2017

I have been in Bali, Indonesia since March 2017, with a trip to Sydney in between. These are a few postcards I have created from my travels. You can read about my time in Sydney or in Bali.  I am on a journey to find a new life and a new home, and I have no idea where this will be. I didn’t know I was coming to Bali never mind, staying here all this time on a Social and Cultural visa. I hope you enjoy the images and the stories of my  time here in Bali. Bali is the one place I actually feel at home, which has surprised me it has such a perfect combination of life experiences here.

As I don’t send postcards anymore, I thought it would be nice to create some on my blog instead. Read about finding my new life here in Bali – finding a new life – New beginnings

What do I love about Bali, the people, the prayer, the beauty, the kindness, the smiling faces, the peace, the flowers, the being here now.

I hope you enjoy my blog. You can sign up for my free e-book a story or love and loss of a Grandad – Once upon a time.. a story of a Grandad. Just sign up for the mailing and  I can send it to you.

Namaste Alice x

postcard back to Bali new beginningsSound Healing at the Pyramids of chiTANAH LOT BALIFind what you want in your life Travel with alice

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Finding what you want in your life

Finding what you want in your life

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Finding what you want to do in your life…

Finding what you want in life. I have never really known what I wanted to do in my life. Not having had a clear direction or a really strong passion to follow has meant that I have fallen into a variety of careers. It has made me try out new areas I would never have imagined and I have often changed jobs in between traveling and trying to live abroad. I am once again at a new crossroads in my life where I would like to learn some new skills and utilize the ones I have.

Ask yourself the question if you could have your dream life, where or what would you be doing?

I do believe we all know deep down what we would really like to do in our lives, but often we leave it buried deep within and don’t make the effort to get out of our comfort zone for one reason or another.  We find excuses that hold us back, so make some time NOW to really take the opportunities available in our lives and to live out our dreams. I am working towards some of my dreams and I plan to build on them in the next year as 2018 is around the corner.

My Dream of Living Abroad 

I have always wanted to live abroad and I am currently in Bali, Indonesia, it’s taken some time to get here.  I am now living here and I love it. I couldn’t ever imagine living in the UK again. There are so many other places I would like to live too.

Find what you want in your life Travel with alice

My life and career hasn’t been dull and I have managed to work in lots of different creative industries over the years, but I never really found my niche in any of them. I have come to realize I am a bit of scanner, I get bored working in one area and so I need to do a variety of things and above all be creative. I enjoy the challenge of learning new things, not that I always find it easy, but I always have ideas about new avenues I would like to explore!

My last retraining was in Graphic Design Post Grad in Visual Communication at University of London 2011) which I absolutely loved with a passion, along with photography, they are my two favourite things. I find the constant use of lap-top though really doesn’t quite work with me that well anymore. My arms don’t like being on a keyboard constantly and my necks often aches from this. I have found a few solutions for this and my body is really benefitting from it.

  1. Using a mouse – I can’t use a laptop pad, it aches my hands in no time. By using my Mac mouse – it makes my life so much easier.
  2. Using my Satechi stand which is highly portable and won’t break as it super strong metal, which makes it light and stylish.
  3. Using a separate lightweight Mac keyboard, again super light and helps my posture no end.
  4. Using earphones and not holding my phone for conversations, it aches my hand, and you end up putting the phone in between your ear and neck and that creates tension in the neck area.
  5. My Muji laptop bag fits everything in and it gives me the option of creating a backpack or a shoulder bag, especially as I have an old Mac Book Pro – it’s heavier than the new MacBook’s that are out now. I love Muji for their stationery especially gel pens, and all the handy travel bottles and bags you can buy which are so handy when you are traveling.
  6. Whilst in Bali and having run out of my simple Muji notebooks I have found some really beautiful stationery at Saraswati Papers.  The journals are handcrafted by local Balinese women and made with recycling paper. They don’t use bleach or unsustainable practices. You can read about their educational programs. Visit here: Flagship Store Kado – Ubud Jalan Dewi Sita (corner of Gautama) Ubud, Bali, Indonesia Open Daily 10 am – 8 pm +62 361 886 3338
  7. Of course remembering to take breaks regularly, stretch your arms and move around a bit, and  I like to do a little meditation now and then for 5 or 10 minutes so I don’t get overwhelmed and it helps me keep my focus. I am a fan of doing five minutes of Yoga – no pressure to do a whole hour – a little is better than none at all.

Stepping into a new world

So I have decided now is the time to retrain again in something where I don’t have to spend all my time at a computer keyboard.  I am not sure what this will be but I hope my time in Bali I will find the answers to my new life and career.

Having said that I recently decided I would have a go at writing a book and although it is far from complete, I have a shape of a story in my first draft. I wrote the draft by hand, as it felt the most natural way to write, as I enjoyed connecting directly with a pen on paper I could feel the flow of writing, as opposed to writing it on a computer.

Again, I am stepping into another unknown world. I have practised many changes in my life and this I guess is just another one along the way

A tool that I learned recently from a webinar with John Williams –  Author of Screw Work Break Free is to write in a notebook every day – I WANT… I WANT… and practice this muscle so you will hopefully have a clearer idea of what you want to create in your life. Then after a few weeks look back at what you are wanting to bring into your life. I have found it quite interesting after only one week of doing this task. Some of the so-called “wants” I already had and others are some ideas for me to follow in the future.

Embrace change and find more joy in your life! Finding what you want in your life.

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Finding what yo want in life

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It’s all about Dogs

It’s all about Dogs

It's all about dogs

Connection, Compassion, and Companionship 

For the moment I am happily settled in Ubud. Although I absolutely love dogs, this particular long-term dog sit I was offered didn’t quite work out for me in the end. The universe realised I needed my freedom and it signalled it through my body… so the choice was pain or let go! I choose to let go of a commitment instead of feeling the pain, a no-brainer but in the past, I would have just done it anyway! So a bit of bravery on my part to make a sudden change and throw my current plans in the air.

In life, you have to put your health first. I am sure I will do some dog sitting in the future, just not right now.  The dogs were gorgeous three little poodles and they were so much fun to be around… Sometimes decisions are hard to make!

Learning from Experiences

In life and especially it seems when you are travelling and/or living in Bali; you have to adjust to the rapid changes taking place that help us to move on in our lives. It makes us learn from our past experiences without having to relive them. Honesty and trust are key qualities in moving forward and that means not only trusting others but trusting in ourselves.

Our beloved Marsh

On another dog note. Our beloved Marsh died this week and we all feel very sad and I just hope he has made a safe journey to doggie heaven. We are all grateful that he gave us so much love and joy. He will be forever in our hearts. Not being a dog lover he won me over and everyone he met, he was a very special soul. Thank you, Marsh – we miss you already!

My Favourite Guest house and my new family

I am back in my favourite guest house Merthayasa 2 with the lovely people who run it and they welcomed me back with open arms and I felt instantly ‘at home” so I am so grateful for their kindness to me and making me feel I belong here in Ubud.   The sense of belonging and feeling cared for whilst living alone in a foreign country is something money can’t buy. The Balinese are very open-hearted, gentle people just the right type of people to be around in times of transition.

Being Grateful…

Gratitude is key in times of change. For me, my life has never really been planned, and what happened a few years back left me on a bit of cliffhanger and moving forward I needed to make some radical changes in my life. It all came as a huge shock and I am lucky to be in the place I am right now. It doesn’t bear thinking about any other outcomes but to live in the present and be eternally grateful that I have been very lucky and in the future, I hope I am able to reciprocate in helping others.

Some more of the lovely dogs I have met whilst living in Bali…the quickest way I find myself connected with compassion is through the temporary companionship of the many dogs I meet and interact within Bali and on my travels.

It's all about dogs

Connection, Compassion, and Companionship – Try it! –

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Finding home

Finding home…

Finding Home Ubud, Bali

Currently living in Ubud, Bali, Indonesia

Finding Home: It’s nearly a year since I left the UK in search of a place to call home. What actually is a home? Is it a place, or the people that reside it in. I guess I was thinking that it would be a place, as I have only myself to live in the home. Without going in to any unnecessary detail I have suddenly found myself, single again and in search of a new country and place to call home. For now I have found myself unexpectedly and happily living in Ubud, Bali, a place where I feel a sense of belonging and connection.

It came as a surprise to me that I would feel so at home in Bali, a  place centred around family life when I am alone.  I think it must be the people as they so friendly, happy and kind.  The place has a feeling of acceptance and encompasses people from all over the world. It feels here that it doesn’t matter what has happened in your past life, it’s all about new beginnings and living in the moment, alongside the daily Balinese rituals of gratitude through their offerings. 

Finding a  place to call home?

I have realised I am looking for a place to settle for a while to call home but the real home is the search within myself, it’s more a feeling, and an emotional connection that makes me feel at home and maybe it’s not the actual place after all. Although living in Bali helps a lot as it’s such an uplifting beautiful place to be, especially Ubud as it seems to draw you into a vortex of positive energy.  I am finding a place within myself, a place to feel safe, a sense of belonging, a sense that people care and in return I can get to connect and care too! 

This month Reading:  Lion by Saroo Brierley

“ As a five year old in India, I became completely lost. Twenty five years later in Australia, I finally worked out how to find my way home” Saroo Brierley

I have just read the book Lion by Saroo Brierley and I found it quite an emotional book. You can easily connect with Saroo and his journey to find his previous home and family.  For me having gone through the long process of adoption myself,  I felt a deeper connection with the book that I had expected.  I can also relate to him in being lost and trying to find a place of safety and the right people to help him.  It is quite amazing how a young child of 5 years old and me as an adult can relate to the feelings and dilemmas of this small child. I often find the book I happen to be reading relates directly to my current life. Find the book here

Excited about: Ubud Writers Festival coming up in 25-29th October 2017

Buy tickets here and get 20% off

Lineup:  Check out the writers who will be speaking including Ian Rankin, Saroo Brierley… to name a few.

If you can’t afford a ticket you can always volunteer 

If you need help with finding some nice Accommodation try www.booking.com – I find it really easy using this app on your phone/or their website and you often have the option of a free cancellation so you can change your mind too! Click on my link and you get £15.00 your next booking.

There are lots of lovely Guest Houses in Ubud.

Here are some of my favourites:

Merthayasa Bungalow 2 – Jalan Hanuman – Central Ubud – with a pool

Uma Kutuh 2 – Jalan Tirtar Tawar – overlooking rice fields – 10 minutes out of town – with a pool

Junjungan Guesthouse – Jalan Tirtar Tawar – overlooking looking the jungle – with a pool – 15-20 minutes out of central Ubud.

If you fancy a place to get away from it all in total luxury and relaxation visit: Alassari Plantation 

Bali, Indonesia

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Back to Bali, Indonesia

back to Bali, Indonesia


Why I have fallen in love with Ubud, Bali  – June 2017 

Back to Bali, Indonesia:I throughly enjoyed reconnecting with Australia after all these years, and I couldn’t have asked for a nicer place to stay in Newport Beach in the Northern Beaches. The Sydney Writers Festival was a treat and I even got to meet Robert Forster of the Go-Betweens and we had a chat about the music business in the 90’s.

Now it’s back to Bali and I am on a dog sitting adventure for a few months and living in my favourite place, Ubud. Ubud is the centre of spirituality, art, music, yoga and all things cultural so there is a lot happening here and I am looking forward to a Vegan Festival next month,  the Kite Festival and the Literary Festival in October and trying out all kinds of yoga you can think of – just for fun!

When I was here a few months back I tried all sorts of yoga, from Restorative yoga – a lot of lying down and not much movement (ideal for me), to Acro yoga – hanging from the ceiling in parachute type material (a little scary but fun in parts). There are all sorts of dance sessions as well,  I did try static dance at the Yoga Barn – but it really wasn’t for me. Although, I have been enjoying Kirtan with Punnu and Greg also at the Yoga Barn.

Since my return this month I have tried Beauty of Breathwork and have had some great results with Sam and Jacinta Hoogenboom at the Honai Resort in Ubud. She does this most Friday afternoons, it’s definitely worth a try… you might be surprised with the results. I know I was.

I have had the pleasure of staying at the wonderful Alassari Plantation Resort near Tabanan in the West of Bali. A really magical place that has this total relaxation effect on you the minute you arrive. I felt very spoilt staying in a beautiful Javanese villa, a stunning environment with views of Mount Batu. I really enjoyed taking photographs of the plantation and going on lovely nature walks enjoying the lush green jungle and beautiful scenery.  For more details visit:  www.alassariplanatation.com



Jamie Catto (ex Faithless, Documentary maker One Giant Leap and All About Me) held a two day workshop in Ubud. It was quite funny, as on the online course I was doing in Sydney with John Williams, (author of Screw Work Let’s Play) Jamie was interviewed and he mentioned he was going to be in Bali in June. I emailed him directly and asked him to do a workshop, at first he wasn’t really interested but by the time I got there a workshop had been set up. So sometimes it’s a case of putting it out there for what you want and see what comes back! I throughly enjoyed the workshop and consequently listened to his audio book – to reinforce the learning and remembering to ‘GO YIN’ – go within and check in with yourself.  His book is called Insanely Gifted – Turn Your Demons into Rocket Fuel it’s definitely worth a read.

back to bali


Back to Bali, Indonesia

The number two:  Everyone is married here in Bali from quite a young age. The tradition of family is very strong, so it’s appropriate that Bali is represented by the number 2 on my blog.  Two – a pair, a married couple, each home has a set of ornaments representing the  man and wife, to install harmony in their house, ( see image above).

Colour:  Each country I visit I choose a colour that best represents it and Indonesia and specifically Bali for me  is the colour green  – rice paddy fields, trees, and being surrounded by nature the colour has to be green.
Cafe:   Attman and Kafe on Jalan Hanuman have the most delicious food but my favourite for lunch or dinner has to got to a lovely little Warung called Puspa, where I often ask for a bottle of Jamu to be made up. I love it! It’s made from turmeric, lime, and honey. Although Jamu varies in it’s ingredients, either way it’s really good of you. My other favourite cafe that needs a mention, has to go to Lazycats Cafe. I love the art on the walls, the food is delicious and the music is great too!
Inspirational /favourite book:  Insanely Gifted by Jamie Catto
Animal:  Butterflies – I see them everywhere, I have never seen so many in a long time.  It makes the place feel so magical.
Nature:  It’s so green and lush here… rice fields, trees and leaves galore!
I love seeing all the different types fruit trees and trying them out… jack fruit, dragon fruit – such a colourful combination on your daily dish.
Place:  It’s got to be Ubud, there is so much to discover… Junjungan, Penastanan…. can’t decide where my favourite area is yet!
People:  I have met such lovely people here.  Everyone is so generous, friendly and kind, and I feel at home already and I don’t want to leave.
Music: I have been listening to:  Mantras….. galore!  Gamelan music such a special sound it reminds me of visiting here back in 2001. The Gamelan sound permeates the air… and has a feeling of expectancy, and excitement that something wonderful is just about to happen!
FREE Podcasts. Don’t forget you can Listen to the Sydney Writers Festival
Cinema:  I would love to go to the movies and see a film. In Ubud we have the amazing Paradiso Ubud it is the first organic vegan theatre where you can have a beer and eat some gorgeous food while you watch the film or just before I think is best! You can check out the latest movies here:
www. paradisoubud.com. They also hold dance classes and other workshop and events. I was told by an Ayurvedic Doctor in Nepal, Dr Rishi that the answer to everything regarding health and well-being was to simply dance!
I hope to take up his advice this month…

Bali, Indonesia

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