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My 25th birthday trip to Bali was nothing short of spectacular, one of my favorite, if not favorite trip to date. From the moment I stepped off of the plane and into the first open-airport I've ever seen, I knew this place was special.

For the highlight of my trip, that wasn't even close. By far it was my trip to the Mason Elephant Lodge. All my life since childhood, I've always admired elephants, but have never had the opportunity to see one in person. Now I would have the ability to interact with them up close & personal. I rented a scooter from my hostel in Ubud, a northern region of relative to the airport, and made my way further north in to mountains.

I've previously been in countries where they drove on the left side, but this was my first time being behind the wheel, on two wheels at that. The mountainside views were expansive and spectacular, well worth the risk to me! I prefer to be able to stop where and when I want and go where I please when I travel.

When I arrived at the elephant sanctuary, there were several options for your interaction with the elephants. (You can also book online before you go!) I chose to feed and bathe the elephants and opted out of riding them. Although Mason Elephant Lodge has ethical practices and even though they explained that riding the elephants can be a physical benefit for the elephant via a workout, I still preferred not to ride them. 

The first elephant I met was a gem, and her eyes were piercing and imprinted a feeling in me that I still can't explain to this day. I could see her smiling as I splashed her with the water hose and scrubbed her hide with the brush. After her bath, she even bowed and posed for a picture with me! One of the best smiles I've ever seen!

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