A warm welcome home from my Balinese family in their beautiful temple home.

Two years ago I was lucky enough to find Wayan and his incredible temple home on Airbnb, just 15 minutes away from the popular (but not to miss) town of Ubud in the heart of Bali. Full of art, flowers, carvings and statues, this is one of the most picturesque and traditional Balinese homes I’d ever visited. I left two years ago to work in Singapore before heading home to pay off a mountain of debt that I’d racked up and so thought it would be the best place to pick up where I left off.

What I hadn’t expected is that this would be one of the most meaningful experiences of my life. Returning to Bali, going to the last place I stayed, being back with Wayan and his family, it didn’t feel like I was leaving. It felt like I was, in fact, coming home.

I was welcomed into Wayan’s family with loving arms and a series of traditional ceremonies, dances, prayer and meditation awaited me. Wayan’s mother, father, siblings and children all came over to eat Lawar, a traditional Balinese dish, only made once or twice a year. For them, my return was a special occasion for sure. I was incredibly thankful for their warm and loving hostpitality. They told me that I’m now part of the family. I was touched.

~This is all a bit uncommon I know, but last time, two years ago, once I opened myself up to the local way of living and to the possibility of friendship, I didn’t just make a friend. I became part of a family from a completely different culture and unhinged myself from my life back home. I hadn’t lost anything from my normnal life, I had instead gained a family and given a piece of my culture to them.

You can check the opening times of Imber here: http://www.imberchurch.org.uk/index.html

Military training

Most of the buildings in Imber are these purpose-built houses used for military training. They create an eerie atmosphere amongst the visitors and a sense of bleakness in the cold winter weather.

High security

The entire village (even though open to the public on Easter weekend) was still fenced off in most places. The lack of access to the houses and locked, abandoned buildings made us more daring to break the rules and sneak in to one of the crumbling, disused ruins.

Land of the dead

Imber is only open to the public because of the cemetery at Imber Church. Many people come here to pay respects to family members lost who used to live here before the villagers were evicted from their homes in 1943.

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