The beginning of a new adventure / by tina gonsalves

We have been in Bali for a few days now. We have been in the North West of Bali, in Tabanan, in a glorious house, overlooking  the beaches and surf of Balian Beach. This is our first house swap, and its amazing. We are house swapping our Berlin apartment this year. We have three spacious bedrooms, four bathrooms, wet edge pool looking over the sea, and we have Wayan and Wayan looking after us. Cooking for us as well. After nearly eight months of working on the renovation of the Artists’ Beach Front, our new house on the beach - and not having a day off, its amazing to have this time to just chill, play in the pool with the kids, sleep on a sunlounge, leisurely walks, its been really needed. I have also been catching up on all the emails, and work that was hard to get the time to do. My body already feels a bit different. Slowly the sense of tension and busy-ness is starting to fade away. I have had a few massages booked in each afternoon, just to try to get the body back to feeling normal again, and trying to get used to feeling relaxed. Its been wonderfully indulgent. The feeling of calm isn’t feeling as alien as it was.

The renovation was a huge achievement, but we lived in it, and I think back to the midst of it, and I shudder - dealing with the kids, the mess, the tradesmen and the cost. Trying to do as much as we could ourselves, sourcing all the second hand building materials, etc.  Renovations are all consuming - You live them, its all you talk about, and then end up dreaming about them - eight months with walking about with paint all through my hair, paint all over my clothes. I began swearing like a trouper, and our alcohol consumption grew - just so we could chill out for a few hours at the end of the day.  For four months we had to shower outside, in sand. For one month our washing machine stopped working, and we couldn't get another one as we had no laundry hooked up. Months stepping over power cords and constant dust. The house was completely unlockable for about four months. We got through it, but it was hard living. And, as we sit here in Bali, I am still in shock that its over. I am also in a bit of shock that we managed to do it. When you take renovations on, the first few months are quite exciting, but then it moves into this scary space, where the ideas get bigger, the money left gets smaller, and theres no turning back, and somehow you just have to see it through to the end. However, its now amazing house - and we have created a really wonderful home for ourselves, which we only holiday rent when we travel.

our house swap in Balian, Bali.