Me getting onto the boat after 3 hours of surfing, just to start off right 🙂
I am so sorry to be such a lacking blogger!
Just so you know, I am back home now and working a fulltime job to replenish my bank accounts. Reconnecting with friends and family is great, having a place of my own to live is strange (seriously, putting stuff in cupboards and on shelves took me a few weeks! I just had stuff on the floor and in my good old backpack), and working in mostly rainy holland is, well, boring. And I miss my puppie!
(left on the beach in Bali, the surf/beach community took care of her and her 2 sisters)
Before I flew home, I had the chance to spend 6 weeks in Indonesia. After the back-to-basics travel style in Burma and a night spent at the airport in Bangkok, arriving in Kuta, Bali was a hectic, crazy touristy and sweaty experience. Prices for hotels were off the charts, but I managed to find a great and cheap hotel near the beach and in the middle of the craziness that is Kuta.
Of course, the first thing I did after finding a hotel was putting on my bikini and boardshorts and heading to the beach to rent a board and get my surf on! It had been a while (last wave: South India, Januari), but the sun, the chilled out vibe and the nice people in the water made this the perfect arrival day. At this time in my travels, I’d gotten used to talking freely to random strangers, and this got me to meet wonderful Irish Nadia in the water on that first day. She’s a diehard surfbabe teaching English in Denpasar, and lived in an appartment in Kuta. She became one of my best friends in Indonesia, together with her local friend Monster, and they helped me out loads showing me the best and cheapest local food places, surfspots and bars.
After a few weeks of surfing twice a day and chilling out on the beach with the crew, I decided it was time for some more adventure. My friend Gigi let me hop on a taxi with her and her friends to Ubud, where I spent some days visiting temples, wandering the streets and mostly eating delicious raw/health foods. Ubud is a very touristy place thanks to Eat, Pray, Love, but the positive effect of that is that there are some insanely gorgeous yoga places (the Yoga Barn), and lush raw/health food cafes (Kafe, Bali Buddha, Little K). My tummy was very happy!Doing yoga for the first time in Indonesia was a great experience. The Yoga Barn hall was set on lush grounds, and had no walls. Why would you put in walls when you’re in Bali anyway!? Here I took my first Vinyasa class, which is what we in the west call Poweryoga. It was challenging and amazing, but because it cost about as much as I had budgeted for a whole day, I couldn’t take any more classes.
After Ubud I went on to take a ferry to Lombok, and arrived in Kuta, Lombok in shock: The difference between the two Kuta’s is unbelievable. Kuta lombok is basically one street, with some huts that sell touristy things and some hotels. You have to rent a bike to even get to an ATM, and the nice surf spots. My first full day here I took my bike to Gerupuk, a beginners surf spot, and took a boat out to the break. What a cool feeling to be surfing from a boat, in waves that are soo perfect compared to Holland/Wales, and even Kuta Bali!
After a few days in the water I met my friend Denise in the surf, and we hung out together for her remainder of time in Indonesia. She’s a diehard surfchick too, and a doctor from Vancouver.
My plan of a few days in Kuta Lombok extended to a lot longer, thanks to her, the surf and the great group of people, an interesting mix of travelers and locals, we had met there. The local kids especially were soo amazing!
After Lombok, me and D went to the Gilis for a few days. Tiny islands where there’s no cars, only bikes and horse carts. We spent time surfing (crazy scary over the very visible coral), snorkling, doing some yoga and chilling out. Denise had to fly back home, and I took a boat back to Bali to reunite with my Kuta crew for my birthday. Interestingly this meant being egged by all my friends, unfortunately in my new dress and limitlessly! (see video http://youtu.be/5BBXh_S2swM). I went out to dinner with Nadia and my gorgeous India sister Lesleigh, who was in Bali for work.
After partying for my birthday, and to say goodbye to Nadia who had to fly back home, I was rather sick of all the mad drunkenness of Kuta. By now I was sure enough of my bike skills to rent one and drive me and my backpack to Canggu, a place about an hour outside of Kuta, where there are some great surf spots, yoga places and a really nice villa where I stayed (with support of my parents as a birthday present, thanks again!). The villa had a pool, was in walking distance of the surf, and I met some more amazing solo travelers there.
The most amazing thing however, were the yoga classes at Desa Seni. After a 15min bike drive through steep hills and rice paddies on crazy bad roads you arrive at an ‘ecovillage resort’ that feels like pure paradise. Another yoga kula with no walls, and an incredibly inspiring Anusara yoga teacher, Tara Judelle.
Again I allowed myself one class because of the high costs, and it felt like perfection. It combined my crazy gymnastic tendencies (thanks to Granddad Kocken) with my love of dance, and interest in spirituality. To find out handstands and wheels (‘bruggetje’ in Dutch) can be part of a challenging and yet spiritually inspiring yoga class was just heaven. At the end of the class, Tara heard of my inability to afford more classes with her, and she invited me to follow her classes as her guest for the rest of the week. Like I said, she’s AMAZING! After my last class with her she told me I can still take classes with her whereever I go in the world, because she’s part of www.yogaglo.com, an online studio where theres an infinite amount of classes in many different styles and with many different teachers.
Flying back to Bangkok and onwards to Holland was a heartbreaking experience. Even though I was happy to see my family and friends again – especially at the airport, so fun! – I was and still am missing Indonesia the most out of all the seven countries I’ve been to on this adventure. Somehow, it combines all the experiences I’ve had in other countries in such a beautiful way. The spirituality and yoga of India, the partying of Southeast Asia, gorgeous nature, surfing and beach heaven, an incredible underwater world (can you say seaturtle?!), combined with a contact with locals that I haven’t had in any other Asian country made for the perfect end to an inspiring adventure into Asia.
This is it, its done, and I’m back, but I’m definately going back. As soon as humanly possible! I hope you have enjoyed my story sharing, and wish you the bravery (and funds) to do a trip yourself. You will not regret it! Feel free to email or comment for advice or questions, I love sharing tips, other people’s advice has helped this trip to be so wonderful.
Lots of love and travelbugs
Arrival back in Holland: