About Me

The Experience

I wanted an extraordinary life, a chance to try on the wild-child shoes – the crazy pants – the happy hat.

MY STORY

It was January 2009 in Minnesota. Blasts of icy wind rattled the panes of the window behind me as I huddled in the kitchen with morning coffee, journaling. The annual social security letter had arrived. The abysmal monthly allotment at retirement was a grim dose of reality. It wasn’t even a rent payment. I’d have to work for the rest of my life.

What do you want?

I’d been penning that question over and over for months. I knew for sure I didn’t want what I had: cold, snow, car payments, rent payments, credit card payments, and soulless work.

That particular morning the pen took off as if possessed of free will. I want to write, it scribbled. I stared hard at the words. Of course I wanted to write. I’d started writing poetry when I was five years old. During college I worked as a journalist for a local newspaper while training for a ‘real job.’ I didn’t believe I could make a living writing.

But I had to admit it was a dream that had been buried and ignored for a very long time.

A year passed. January was coming again. Sixty loomed. My oldest daughter was teaching in South Korea. She called. “Meet me in Bali for your birthday, Mom.”

“I’d love to!” A bubble of excitement blossomed in my chest. And then, “Where’s Bali?”

It was two weeks of cultural immersion, massages, tours and spicy dishes with a complexity of flavors that put Western food to shame. But the majesty of rice terraces rippling down the mountainsides stole my heart.

I went home.

Another year passed. Once more on a bitterly cold January morning I huddled and journaled with a candle burning beside me to represent sunshine that hadn’t been visible for days. Suddenly it happened again. Without conscious thought the pen wrote:

What about Bali?

Goosebumps covered my body and great salt tears oozed from my eyes. Bali. Of course. Hadn’t I always known I would return?

Numbers replaced words on my journal pages. What were my expenses? My debts? What could I sell? How much could I save? Early retirement at sixty-two was one year away. I became a woman possessed. The furniture went first. Then the art, rugs, china, crystal. I paid off credit cards. I ate beans and rice. The Indonesian Embassy in Chicago processed my request for a 60 day visa. It came. I found a great flight on Korean Airlines. I held my breath. Would I do it? Was I really going? Was I crazy?

I hit the BUY button. Relief flooded through me. I whooped and danced around the room, pounding the air with my fists.

That was 2012 and I haven’t looked back. Retiring in Bali was the best decision I ever made. Now I’m a writer. I’m surrounded by interesting people from all over the world. I have Balinese friends and ex-pat friends. Once a year I visit my daughters who are spread across the U.S. They spend a few minutes guilt-tripping my about living so far away. Then they relent. “You look so happy, Mom.” At the end of the day that’s really all we want for each other.

Bali isn’t for everyone, but for some it’s the impossible dream made possible. If my story resonates with you, come to Ubud for a week-long Retire Bali Style workshop. Meet Ketut. You’ll have a chance to pick my brain too! For more information, please click on Contact in the menu and request information.

Sampai jumpa lagi! See you soon!

15 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. First Night Design
    Aug 20, 2014 @ 03:10:08

    Much thanks for following back. I’m glad we have Lottie in common!

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  2. urbanistchic
    Jan 07, 2015 @ 21:04:59

    Hello! I stumbled across your blog while doing research for my wedding on the Jeremiah O’Brien. I love what you did the space and was hoping I could pick your brain (and those of the bride and groom) about what the experience was like, what worked, what didn’t, and any thing else I should know. Hope to hear from you!

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  3. Erica Lee
    Feb 18, 2015 @ 00:15:41

    Hi Sherry,
    i would love to know where you bought that Mona Lisa corset! It is fabulous!
    Hope to hear from you soon!
    Erica

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    • writingforselfdiscovery
      Aug 23, 2017 @ 11:22:18

      Erica! You wrote this over two years ago and I just saw it for the first time! I don’t know how you slipped under my radar! Corsets like mine are now available everywhere, traditional markets, even grocery stores. Quality varies and high quality is the trademark of Mona Lisa, however I bought mine a long ago and there are products of equal quality now. I’ve gotten two more in different colors that aren’t Mona Lisa brand and they’re great. Maybe you’ve already found what you’re looking for! I hope so! Best always…Sherry

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  4. ReAnn Scott
    Jul 10, 2016 @ 21:08:16

    Hi Sherry!

    I got your name and blog address from Margaret Manning. She suggested I contact you as I am headed to Bali for a month. (3/8-4/8). I am also a former Twin City person – 23 years in Lake Elmo/Stillwater, retired business owner and presently blogging and considering writing a book.

    I packed up and sold off almost everything I owned a year and a half ago and set off to travel the world. Presently I am in New Zealand house & pet sitting and playing tourist. Bali will be my last stop on this 11-month portion of my adventure before returning home to meet my new grandson.

    At this point in time, I have no desire to return to the States to live full time, especially if The Donald, by some wild cosmic joke, is elected. I’m considering Portugal and love Australia and New Zealand, but their immigration laws are not welcoming to retirees.

    I would love to meet you once I arrive and get settled. I’ll treat you to a cold glass of watermelon juice (or something stronger!) as, after reading your blog, I think we have a lot in common besides braving extremely cold winters for too many years! I would really like to attend the writer’s group while in Ubud and have already glanced over the Yoga Barn’s lineup of classes.

    Take care and I hope to hear from you.

    ReAnn

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  5. Trackback: Should Grandmas Move to Be Near Their Grandchildren?
  6. Anonymous
    Oct 23, 2016 @ 06:39:26

    I love that saying about a life that fits like skin – it really makes one wonder about ones own life?

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  7. Karin Hollmann Shipman
    Nov 07, 2016 @ 06:10:29

    ll sounds so wonderful. But how do you take the first step if you are married and your other half would never consider even entertaining the change as conversation never mind actually going. I have always felt that something out there has my name on it, I just need to find it but obligations have always kept me pinned down

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    • writingforselfdiscovery
      Nov 07, 2016 @ 06:32:48

      Thank you for your comments, Karin. It is BEYOND wonderful! But how do you take the first step if you are married? There are several questions you can ask yourself: 1) Whose life am I living? 2) Am I fulfilling my purpose, the reason I was put on this planet? 3) What do I want more than this? 4) If nothing changes will I have regrets? The obligations you perceive as pinning you down may be excuses for staying stuck. Change is scary. Unless there is a big desire, a dream that propels you forward and demands change at any cost, it won’t happen. Taking time to recognize your dream, then pursuing it with every ounce of passion in you, is the most loving and kind thing you can do for yourself. Sometimes the marriage remains intact. Sometimes it does not.

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  8. adine
    Nov 12, 2016 @ 13:26:07

    Dear Sherry,

    I stumbled upon your blog while looking for the best place in Asia for woodcarving. It seems like Ubud is the place to be! The sculptures are truly amazing. I love to create things, i recently started carving and i would like to take it to the next level. To learn how its done from the master himself.
    I was wondering if you’ve got insight if it’s possible to stay in Ubud for some months and work in with woodcarvers?

    I love to hear from you!

    Cheers, Adine

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    • writingforselfdiscovery
      Nov 12, 2016 @ 16:49:45

      Hi Adine,
      Yes, it is possible to live in Ubud and work with woodcarvers. The village of Mas which is like a suburb of Ubud is the center for woodcarvers. I will reply directly to you by email with more information. I’m glad you found me!

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  9. Anonymous
    Jul 22, 2019 @ 21:38:50

    Sherry,
    Nice to meet you tonight. Please email me and I will send bebee site and my Mt Bromo, Java story .

    Stephtravelwriter@gmail.com

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

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