Q&A with Our Bali Expert Christiana Melinioti

Unsettled Experience Leaders become experts at really getting to know a place, guiding participants to authentically experience it Unsettled-style, and making a place a home while living on the road. How do you get the most out of a month in one of our retreat locations (or multiple months in a row!)? Look no further than our Q&A with Experience Leader Christiana (a.k.a. Christy) Melinioti — an expert on Unsettled: Bali and so much more!

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Q) Please tell us a little bit about yourself. Where were you on the road before you made Bali your home?

A) Going back in time, the only constant thing in my life was movement. I traveled, not for the sake of travel. I traveled for my passion to learn, grow, challenge myself, experience different perspectives by immersing myself into other cultures, lifestyles, and worlds. I can’t bear the idea of staying still, in a world where there’s so much to learn, experience and grow from. I packed and went, as I stepped into the unknown exploring Tanzanian villages, staying in the favelas of Brazil, backpacking the Mayan routes around Mexico, exploring Cuban neighborhoods, cycling around the Norwegian fjords… and the list goes on and on…The only difference between then and now, is that now I get to lead and share these experiences at different Unsettled destinations with a global like-minded community! In other words, I found my IKIGAI (reason for being).

My journey with Unsettled began almost 1.5 years ago. Our paths crossed, our values aligned. I couldn’t resist. I joined. Before I knew it, I was leading experiences in Colombia, exploring coffee plantations, immersing myself into the vibrant culture and innovative city of Medellin, paragliding, and dancing salsa until the early hours! From Colombia to Argentina, where Argentinian tango, art and Malbec was part of my daily routine…and now I call Bali my home.

Q) What did you do to help bring your life to Bali?

A) When living on the road, the only thing you need to help bring your life anywhere, is to just show up! I generally try to live a very minimal life. Our belongings are not really our lives or who we really are. Showing up and really being present is all you need to do. The question is, what happens once you are in Bali.

Q) Where is your favorite weekend getaway on the island?

A) Every single getaway is such a unique experience on its own. It’s hard to pick one. I love the ocean, boats, and immersing myself in simple island life, so at every opportunity, I go exploring the neighboring Nusa and Gili Islands. I also recently discovered their magical underwater beauty. Breathtaking!

I’m still exploring and I’m almost sure that I’ll still have no favorite. It’s crazy we don’t realize that the Indonesian archipelago has more than 17,000 islands to explore. I would need a few more years (or decades) to experience all of this part of the world…

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Q) While leading an Unsettled retreat, where do you go for a quiet moment?

A) Bali is a very charming and unique place in so many different ways. One of the characteristics of this beautiful island is that you don’t really need to travel far to find a quiet moment. The day-to-day lifestyle of the Balinese people, their smiles, daily rituals, gratitude, breathtaking nature, and energy around you, helps with being in a constant state of calmness. Just around the corner from wherever you are in Bali, you can find a quiet spot to meditate or practice yoga surrounded by nature and rice fields.

My day starts at 7am (believe it or not, Bali has made me a morning person!) with meditative yoga. On some days, I find silence in movement, so I practice butoh dance (a form of Japanese dance) and other days, I travel off the beaten path to enjoy some of the most spectacular sunrises or sunsets.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Q) Please share a favorite story from an Unsettled: Bali retreat. Something bizarre? Something inspiring?

A) My heart is full of inspiring stories and bizarre moments. Just imagine 20 extraordinary people from all walks of life, diverse experiences and backgrounds, coming together every single month to co-create one month in Bali. Where do I start? We may need one more blog post just for storytelling.

Imagine climbing a sleeping volcano at 2am in complete darkness with a group of strangers, embracing the unknown, just to reach the top and realize that it was all about the journey itself. A journey full of energy, conversations, openness, connecting to one another, forming long-lasting friendships, sharing stories under the stars with just a few flashlights. This is the best way to describe not only the volcano experience itself, but the whole month of Living Unsettled in Bali.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Q) What has the island taught you?

A) Bali has a very diverse and rich culture, one that you can learn from every single day. All you need to do is wander around the streets and no doubt you’ll witness or even be part of a spiritual ceremony. I remember the very first day I landed on this island, the first thing my taxi driver, Made, told me was: “there’s always a ceremony happening in Bali!’’ I’ve definitely witnessed it for myself. Each ceremony has its own separate meaning and definitely one that you always feel inspired to share with the rest of the world.

I carry close to my heart and feel inspired by the way Balinese people live, in complete harmony with everything around them (Humanity, Nature, God). They have their own philosophy in life and call it the Tri Hita Karana, in other words, “three causes of well being’’ or “three causes of prosperity’. They believe that a balanced life is one where you build harmonious relationships with humans, nature and God.

This philosophy guides many aspects of daily life in Bali. They live in harmony with others by promoting compassion and having a strong sense of community; with God through daily rituals, practicing gratitude; and to the natural environment by promoting sustainable development. Bali has taught me the art of showing daily gratitude, the beauty of being present and the power of community.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Q) So, where are you heading next? And what are you most looking forward to?

A) My next Unsettled journey will take me back in time… to beautiful Tuscany. I look forward to waking up every single day in a place best described as an art museum surrounded by extraordinary landscapes, olive groves and vineyards. I enjoy the rural lifestyle, especially when shared with a community.

People that know me well enough (and know that I have a vineyard of my own!), would say that wine is another good reason to make Tuscany my Unsettled home for one month. I’m not going to lie, I look forward to learning all about wine and taste some Chianti and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano, and I can’t wait to be sharing it with all of you who are joining our Tuscany retreats this June. Are you joining me?

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Unsettled is a global travel community for those who embrace the unknown and value meaningful human connection. Our aim is to inspire people to pursue a lifelong journey of growth, meaning, and adventure through travel and shared experiences.

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