On The Road

A Comprehensive Guide to This Off-the-Radar Island in Bali

Fact: Resortwear designers *really* know how to travel.

By: Laurel Pantin

Bali is, without a doubt, a dream destination. But for those who haven’t been, choosing an island within Bali to visit can be a little tricky. How do you pick between the myriad pristine beaches? One half of the London-based resortwear line Kalita, Raechel Temily, chooses Lombok. And she should know; she’s lived in Bali for the last six years.

When her business partner, Kalita al Swaidi, came to visit this year, Raechel gave her the local treatment, taking her on a “sand-dusted, salt-dipped getaway” to explore the island. Naturally, they brought us along.

“While our office is based in London, we do all of the design and development in Bali. It’s where we do all of our hand-dying, pattern making, toiles and first samples. We even shoot our lookbooks here! The creative essence of the brand definitely lives and breathes on this island,” says Raechel.

“I’ve lived here in Bali for almost six years now, and there’s something about it that just gets under your skin and becomes woven into you. They call it the karmic fire island because it’s such an intense little cracker of an experience.

“My partner, Kalita al Swaidi, comes to Bali several times a year. She’s a real Londoner through and through, so it’s always a full immersion for her into what life is like to live and work here: coconuts being cracked in the kitchen, being stuck in traffic jams on the way to the hand-dyer, having to jump on the back of my bike to go work in a café because the electricity has gone out in the studio again. It’s hilarious and frustrating, challenging and magical, all in equal measure.

“We’ve been finishing off our next collection for Resort 2018, and in the midst of all the work and deadlines, I wanted to show Kalita something different this time. So I took her and a couple of our friends to one of the most amazing places I know for a little getaway: the nearby island of Lombok. And this is how it went.”

“Despite signs in Bali everywhere advertising ‘best fast boat,’ there is no such thing. The only way to get there that isn’t white-knucklingly scary or nauseating is to take a thirty-minute flight directly to Lombok. Always take the plane if you can. All the flights were booked that day. Hence the sketchy water transit situation. Not recommended.”

“We found this luxe hideaway, Villa Sorgas, up on a hill on the southern side of the island. It’s only about ten minutes from the nearest village (which incidentally also has a great espresso bar. Not even kidding.) But once you’re there it’s as if the rest of the world disappears. It doesn’t feel like you’re renting a villa. More like you have a friend with really good taste that just happens to own a place on a remote island.”

“Let’s go to the very edge. Literally. Bring a blanket. Maybe some cushions. It will be just you and me. And oh, maybe about a billion stars.”

“Seeing the island properly requires getting a little wooden fishing boat. There’s no haggling. Just cruise down to the local village. Find a captain. Set sail. That’s it.”

“Secret coves. Towering palm trees. Not another person in sight. Robinson Crusoe, eat your heart out.”

“Who said a red dress has to be saved for special occasions?”

“Sandy toes and bottomless curves of the moon.”

“Saltwater days.”

“Wet dress runaways.”

“There’s something to be said for getting a little messy on holiday.”

“Everything was still kind of civilized until we started jumping in. It just seemed like the right thing at the time. As if you wouldn’t.”

“Just hanging out on the side of the boat like mermaids. You know, that thing we do on Sundays.”

“Being towed into shore on the side of a boat whilst wearing a dress is actually more fun than it looks. We couldn’t have planned it if we tried, and having that full mermaid moment as we made our way back to the shore was actually one of the most unexpectedly brilliant things that happened.”

“Hand-dyed. Dry-clean only. Do not try this at home. Ha. Not *exactly* what we hand in mind for the care instructions.”

"Surf squad."

“I wanted to take the girls to one of my favorite beaches, Selong Belanak. It meant dirt bikes and boards. Definitely time to call in the local surf guides. They’re the keepers of the waves here.”

“Partners in crime.”

“This is the first time ever Kalita had had a taste of surf life. It reminds me of my very first trip to Lombok, when everything felt larger than life. As if the sky had stretched.”

“Repeat after me: I am free.”

“I hope wherever life takes you, you end [up] somewhere that has coconuts as big as your head.”

“Stop pretending you don’t need an olive green silk jumpsuit in your life.”

“Not all who wander are lost.”

“It stole me away, this life. I didn’t even like to camp, let alone set sail on a boat, in the middle of the nowhere seas. I bought three new bikinis and lost my shoes. Swam in my dresses. Caught fireflies in my hair. Now I’m hooked. I eat conch right from the shell.”

“Someone’s not in London anymore.”

“A bonfire on the beach. Blankets and bare feet. Line-caught fish brought in on the boat that afternoon, cooked over a smoky coconut-husk grill. There’s not a restaurant in the world that can beat that at the end of a day like this. In the words of Ernest Hemingway, ‘We ate well and cheaply and drank well and cheaply and slept well and warm together and loved each other.’ A moveable feast, indeed.”

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