Helloooo everyone reading this (thank you by the way!)
How are you? It feels like ages since I’ve said hello in person and had a little chat, so today is the day for my latest Life Lately post!
So, what have I been up to lately?
If you follow me on Instagram (you do don’t you???), then you’ll know that I’ve just spent the last 2 (and a bit) weeks exploring the incredible country of Indonesia….
I know!!! How lucky am I?
But, before I start sharing all the amazing photos and stories from the trip (stay tuned over the next few weeks for those), I thought I’d give you more of a “behind the scenes” update on where I’m at!
You see BEFORE I left I was all kinds of concerned. I shared some of my anxieties in my Trip of Wonders post and the endless list included worrying about leaving my kids for 2 weeks, the flights, jetlag, toilets, food, people etc etc etc. Basically, I was the least excited person going on a trip, ever!
Granted I had SO VERY MUCH going on at the time. I had to make sure all my ducks were in a row before I left, including, arranging 4 weeks of social media content for my 2 clients, daily blog posts to schedule in advance so that you still had something to read every day, lifts and playdates for both my kids everyday for 2 weeks, meals in the freezer, renovation decisions and purchases up to date, AND then packing for 2 weeks in a climate/ country I had never travelled to before. As you can imagine it was next level CRAZEEEEEE.
But, the good news is that I did it! Isn’t it amazing how when the crunch time happens you actually do manage???
And so, how was the trip you ask?
Well I was really grateful to be travelling with friend, and almost family, Vaughan from The Travel Manuel which went a long way to relieving my travelling fears but my anxiety only started to subside once I landed on the other side, met up with a few of the organisers and realised just how lovely they were.
After a short nap to overcome the jetlag (which turned out to not be such a biggie after all!) I stepped into my new travelling space and was ready to explore…
And what did I discover?
A whole host of things about myself, of course!
As most travellers will tell you, the true sign of a great adventure isn’t the places, the photos, the food, the people, in fact, it really is what you uncover about yourself along the way. The rest of the experiences become beautiful memories BUT the best discoveries really are those that happen on the inside and that can’t be photographed or Snapchatted 😉
I fell in love in Indonesia
For the first time since 1999, I experience the giddy, dizzying affects of falling in love.
No, it wasn’t a boy – it was a country!
This was to be my first exploration of the East… a culture that seemed really “foreign” to my Westernised ways… and I was blown away!
The whole experience was far more than I imagined it to be. It was an unexpected gift. One I will cherish forever.
I think the trick was that I kept my expectations super low, and then let the story unfold before me. Each day dawned, I checked the itinerary and had no idea where the places were or what to expect, but I just stepped right into it!
As I went along each of my fears faded away a little bit more….
My fears… and why they weren’t worth it at all!
Leaving my kids for 2 whole weeks – This was probably my biggest fear. The longest I’ve been away from the older one is 10 days but that was when he was 3 and he can’t remember. The longest I’ve been away from the younger one is 5 days and she stayed with her grandparents the whole time. This was going to be 17 sleeps, and that is LOOOONG esp when you’re a little person. But, you know what, they totally survived. Yes, I think they missed me more than I missed them (because I was so darn busy) but they all managed really well thanks to the support of awesome grannies, aunties and so many special friends. I realised that it takes a community to raise kids and I live in an awesome one (Thank you to all the lovelies who helped out xx)
Jet lag – I didn’t experience it much (aside from sleeping in until 10:30am and missing breakfast on the first day!). Even coming home was quite seamless.
Long flights – I’m still here, not floating in the Indian Ocean!
Lots of short flights – Yes 15 flights in 17 days is not for sissies but each time we took off and landed I got more into the swing of things and flying became second nature after a while.
Strange food – The food was such a non issue. Plenty of fish and rice to be sure, but some interesting dishes too… and I tried them all and lived to tell the tale. Best discovery = pisang goreng!
Travellers diarrhoea and other illness – I stocked up on a medical supply kit to rival the ER… and I used one tablet! Clicks Pharmacy were loving me just before I left and I pretty much came home with everything! Yes, my stomach took a few days to get used to the place, but it wasn’t terrible… and I realised my error was rinsing my toothbrush with tap water and once I stopped that I was good to go.
Squatting toilets – Being a predominantly Muslim country I was concerned I would have to learn how to squat to go! Yes, these toilets were around, but with careful planning I was able to avoid them almost entirely. The exception being one wee on a boat where it went straight into the sea… so I could have just gone for another quick “swim” rather! Every hotel, airport and shopping centre had “Western” toilets and I was grateful!
Terrorism – None (although my mom was scanning the papers everyday!)
Tsunami – None
Travelling with 30 strangers with nowhere to escape to – I love people. I love meeting people. I love chatting to people. I love being around people. But even I was scared! 30 strangers. From around the world. All living together (and even sleeping on a boat for one night) for 2 weeks. It could have been a disaster! But this should have been the least of my worries. On the first night we arrived at the welcome dinner nervously looking around the room wondering who we would connect with over the next 2 weeks. On the last night we danced and sang and were very merry indeed in a club in Bali until 4am – strangers no more, but friends for life! It was incredible getting to know a motley crew of international travel bloggers from across the globe. What this experience taught me as that whether we are from Brazil, Mexico, The US, Canada, Indonesia, Germany, The UK, Netherlands, Hungary or South Africa – we all just love to laugh…. and that is the basis for friendship anywhere in the world. It’s crazy to think that after 2 weeks you could miss people, but I do. I miss them all already and am already dreaming of a reunion trip to Indo in the future!
Getting hit my a surfboard in the head and having to get 8 stitches in my head in a Bali hospital – OK so this actually wasn’t on my list of fears…. and Murphy’s Law means that this actually DID happen. Can you even??? On the very last day, as most of the group were already on their planes home, I decided to go for a swim in warm, inviting Balinese sea. The waves were welcoming, the sun was setting, life was gooooood! Until I took a surfboard to the head, realised I was bleeding A LOT, stumbled up the beach like a zombie and found myself in the hotel reception area being whisked off to a strange hospital for 8 stitches… when I should have been enjoying sundowners and my last Indonesian sunset! Oh dear. Fortunately I have only good things to say about this authentic traveller experience. The hospital was clean, the doctors professional, the medical attention quick and the organisers of my trip were amazing at sorting out the whole process for me.
Over the next few weeks I’ll be sharing more about what I actually did and where I went in Indonesia… I have so many amazing experiences and exciting places to tell you about. But for now I’ll leave you with my biggest take away from this trip…
The things we fear the most almost never actually happen, and we miss so much if we let those fears hold us back. Rather walk into your fears and feel them flee. And when the “worst” does happen, realise that life isn’t perfect, and if everything went smoothly all the time you wouldn’t have any good stories to share!!
Come back soon for more of my stories… and photos! So many photos!!