It’s rare that I get to spend so much time in one place. Usually finances, flights and friends keep me moving on before I’ve had the chance to fully experience a country. That’s why it has been so amazing to call Bali my home away from home for almost two months. Being in Indonesia for so long gave me the opportunity to take my time in each place, really soak up the local culture and even try new things I normally wouldn’t have time for.
Like surfing! I’ve always wanted to learn to surf but when I only have a week or two in a new place, it’s hard to pass on sightseeing to spend the day getting beat to shit by the waves.
Along with surfing, I decided to try my luck at wakeboarding. I tried to learn on a lake near my hometown about 15 years ago and I was pretty terrible, so why not try again in the choppy AF ocean?
It seemed like a recipe for disaster but somehow, I got up and didn’t completely embarrass myself.
In an effort to ensure I wouldn’t be able to walk or even open a water bottle without help, I really went for it one day and decided to combine 3 hours of sunrise surfing in Kuta, a two hour drive to the center of Bali where a 1,000 stair hike stood between me and the river I needed to get to for a class 3 white water rafting adventure in the jungle in Ubud.
Why pack so many strenuous activities into one day you might ask? Because I hate myself.
While Bali has a lot to offer, Indonesia as a whole is island hopping at its finest. There are so many incredible places to choose from and they’re all a fairly short boat ride from the mainland. One of my favorites was Gili Trawangan. The small island is void of cars and motorbikes.
Your options for transportation include horse cart or bicycle, which was equal parts frustrating and endearing. It’s one of the farthest away from Bali so it had a lot less tourists than equally beautiful Nusa Lembongan, which is just a 30 minute boat ride away.
I still have mixed feelings about Bali itself. It’s a pretty big island with no lack of activities for both the beach and jungle lover, but my good travel luck seemed to run out as soon as I landed. In my first two weeks in the tourist trap known as Kuta, my laptop died. Then things got worse when my brand new iPhone 6, external battery, debit card and Ray Bans (not the fake ones) were stolen.
All on different days. #TravelFails. In the 18 months I’ve been traveling I’ve never had anything like that happen so naturally it would happen all at once. So here I was with no laptop, no phone and no way to pull out cash in a country where credit cards are just not a thing. Calling it a difficult time would be an understatement.
Even though parts of Bali are THE MOST stealy… I wouldn’t advise people to stay away. Yes, it sucked getting all of my most valuable possessions stolen. But I’ve been lucky enough to get this far without any major issues so I’ll chalk it up to having to pay my dues for being able to call this perma-vacation my life. Which does have its draw backs. Especially around the holidays.
Seeing friends and family posting about what they’re thankful for over the past couple weeks caused a bit of a stirring in my normally unattached gypsy heart. Here I am surfing in December, island hopping, and exploring my 52nd country, which to most people would be a dream come true…but sometimes I just want someone to open my god damn water bottle.
So while my almost 2 months in Indonesia have been nothing short of unforgettable, I’m ready to come home. I’ll swing by Australia for a bit to up the ante and surf in some shark infested water (there aren’t any in Indonesia because… Shark fin soup.) and then, to quote two of my favorite people, “I’m going going, back back, to Cali Cali.” And as my bestie so eloquently put it, “YES BITCH YES COME THE FUCK HOME HALLELUJAH.”