Tag Archives: Indonesia

Westerners’ Don’t Walk…. And Other Indonesian Musings

At first it really annoyed me. The constant harassment in your face with people yelling at you ‘You want transport?’, ‘You go on moto?’, ‘Where you go?’. It wasn’t until I was in a car driving with a local for the day around to Tanah Lot and Uluwatu in Bali that I realised just how much of a game it is to them. I realized when our driver started yelling out of the car window to his friends ‘Haaalloooooo, you waaaannt transpoooort?!’ and then laughing. Then they would call him on his phone and they would laugh about it some more. The whole thing was just obscenely funny to them. And so I decided to make it obscenely funny to myself.

The first time I really decided to make it a source of entertainment was when I was drunk coming home one night from the Sky Garden Free Flow (two hours of horrendously bad, strong and free alcohol).  They see me, go to open their mouths and before they can respond any I am all over it ‘Hey! You want transport? I carry you while I walk?’ They look at me like I am nuts, laugh and I keep going. And then I yell at cab drivers ‘you want transport?’ and they look at me strangely before they start laughing and so the game continues……

It became evident pretty quickly that as a westerner, it is expected that you don’t walk anywhere. I could have 100m to walk down a one way street opposing traffic flow and the locals would try and convince you that it is too far for you to walk and that they should take you on a 3km round trip around the block on their moto to save you having to walk 100m. The idea of walking anywhere is just absurd. The look of shock and horror on the faces of people when you tell them you are walking somewhere is priceless.

Take for example Baluran National Park which I visited on the east coast of Java. I got to the front gate, paid the entrance fee and asked about transport in and out of the park. They told me it was either motorbike or ojek. You weren’t getting there one way for less than $5 and I had all day to kill and a Mount Everest Basecamp to train for so I said to the guy, no transport there. I will walk in. He says to me ‘NO!!!! You can’t walk?!’ I said to him “Why not?!” He says to me, “You HAVE to take moto! It is too far! It is 15 kilometers!!” I laughed at him and said to him ‘It’s only three hours and it is flat. It is fine. I will walk’. The entire staff look at me like a mental person as I start out along the road. And sure enough, after 3 hours of walking I got there. And had a great time along the way being surrounded by butterflies and interacting with the nature around me.

Of the most entertaining times that we embraced the ‘Westerner’s Don’t Walk’ policy was when I got up at 3am to hike to the top of Mount Pananjakan for sunrise over the Bromo-Tengger-Semeru National Park. The lovely men outside the front of the hotel were trying to again convince me that 5km to the top was ‘too much’ and that I couldn’t get that far. I told them I walked 15km two days ago and I would be fine. They looked at me cautiously before also trying to convince me I needed a scarf and a hat because 15 degrees was also ‘too cold’. Ha! Try -40 in Canada… I am fine!

bromo taman nasional 090
OMG! Look! I am walking overland through the Bromo-Tengger-Semeru National Park instead of taking one of those jeeps behind me that all the tourists take!!

On the way up I met a couple of cool guys I started walking with and between us we got to the viewpoint 1 for sunrise and then up to viewpoint 2 later in the day after the tourists had re-embarked their jeeps and had gone home. We found a stand of fried banana and I bought two, one for each hand. As the incessant questions ‘You want moto?’ started up, I had a stroke of genius. I said to them ‘No, I don’t need moto. Too fat from fried banana! Must walk!’ The women had a quiet chuckle. The men stared carefully at me as they were not sure as to what the correct response to a woman calling herself fat is and they said ‘OK’ and left us alone. So I employed this for the rest of the day. By the end of the day we had clocked up 3 mountain tops and approximately 25km of walking in around 13 hours. When I got back to the hotel and saw the men trying to sell me hats and a moto I told them where I had gone and walked the whole way. They looked like they were about to die of shock. And then they applauded me. Not a bad effort for a girl about to hike Everest Basecamp. I wonder if they will have me a moto to take me to basecamp…?

So it is about a week later that I discover why I have such looks of confusion on the faces of locals when I met a local in Sidoarjo who literally myth busted quite a few of my ideas. It turns out that fat in Indonesia is a compliment. If you are fat it means that you are healthy and rich and have lots of money to eat. On the contrary if you are skinny you therefore must be sick, having money problems, anxiety attacks, broken up with your significant other or have some other serious issue in your life that needs dealing with. Fat is good. As such, why would I want to be losing weight by walking….??? OK, I think now I understand.

The second thing that he pointed out was something that after about a month I started to realize all on my own…. it isn’t the westerners that don’t walk. It is the Indonesians. They literally can never be seen walking anywhere. They will ride a motorbike 100m down the road to the shop if it saves them from having to walk anywhere. The whole time I figured they were trying to convince me that I needed transport so that they could have my business because I am white and as such I must have money. But no. It turns out that again these horrified looks of ‘What? You are walking 15km?’ are sheer looks of concern given that this is not a concept they can fathom. Turns out that it isn’t the Westerners, but the Indonesians that don’t walk…..

Shit I Learned In Indonesia

OK, so for any of you who know me personally, you would know that last time I was travelling I used to put a weekly post up on my Facebook called ‘Shit I Learned This Week’. It was a combination of funny and serious facts that I learned along the way that I wanted to share with people. As ordinary life and the monotony of working and then going to the gym set back in, I got lazy and let it slide as it became harder to come up with creative things I had learned. However, back by popular demand on my Facebook page Thomas Takes On… (chuck us a ‘like’ to keep in the loop) is “Shit I Learned This Week” and as a part of this continuing tradition, I shall reinstate it with a special post about “Shit I Learned In Indonesia”.

Shit I Learned In Indonesia
Useful Indonesian Words
  • Doso (doh-zoh) – “high five” useful for saying hi to or scaring small children. Some will laugh and slap your hand, other will scream and run yelling “monster, monster!” in the other direction.
  • Kontol besar (con-tol be-sar) – “big penis”. Men down the street will occasionally tell you that they have one of these for you. You shouldn’t believe them. They don’t really.
  • Capek (cha-pey) – “tired”. Even when you use this word it still won’t prevent police officers waking you up on the train just so they can say hello to you because they want to practice their English. And here I thought I was getting woken up because I am doing something wrong…..
  • Bule (boo-lay) – “white person/foreigner”. The word most commonly shouted when both adults and children alike see you and start pointing at you as if you are a crazy anomaly in society. It will usually be accompanied with the word “foto”.
  • Foto (foh-toh) – “photo”. Avoid this word at all costs. It will mean that you will spend an hour standing on the side of the road while locals take pictures with you and of you like you are some kind of celebrity. Then if you say no, they will still follow you and take pictures of you while you are not looking. Akin to Kim Kardashian, you are famous for doing absolutely nothing.
borobudur 018
My blonde friend getting swarmed by a kazillion Indonesian people and their phones saying ‘foto? foto?’

  • Ayo (aye-yoh) – “lets go!” Useful for getting a boot up peoples butts and to get moving.
  • Tidak (tee-dah) – “no”. Despite being a word in the Indonesian language, this word seems not only to be ignored, but magically most of the time translated into the word “yes”.
  • Kamu cantik (cam-oo chan-tee) – “you’re gorgeous/beautiful”. Frequently used by local men when you walk past them down the street or are sitting on the back seat of buses as their opening line to chat you up. Usually it is followed up by the question “you marry?” to which the appropriate answer is always “yes”.
  • Mas (maas) – “bro”. The men here will usually say ‘hallo mas!’ or ‘terima kasih mas’. I need to remember that while ‘mas’ in spanish means ‘more’, that I am saying ‘thanks bro’ in Indonesia instead of ‘thank you very much’. Especially when I am talking to a woman and she looks at me confused as I just called her ‘bro’.
  • Coca Cola Batik (koh-kah koh-lah bah-tik) – “Fake art work from Yogyakarta”. The local style of art, ‘batik’, involves covering material with a wax and then dying the bits left over. If it is real they say you can wash and iron it to keep it good. Sometimes locals will lie to you and sell you the fake stuff that the dye runs from when you wash it. I am not sure what Coca Cola has to do with this….
My real batik art, not the Coca Cola crap 🙂

Culture and People
  • If you ask how far or how long something is, do not expect an accurate answer. Concepts of time and distance are pretty much non-existent in Indonesia.
  • Everybody smiles. They can be happy, mad, angry, sad… any array on the emotional spectrum and it will always be delivered with a smile. As such, when angry the best way to deal with things is to smile and be polite. Passive aggression will get you everywhere.
  • On top of smiles is the laughing. People are always laughing in Indonesia and the laughter is often infectious. Sometimes a local will be so amused by something that you do that it almost difficult to not laugh back at them as they are so funny when they are being funny,
borobudur 001
This guy laughed at us and called my friend a ‘bludger’ despite not knowing what it meant and kept laughing for half an hour while we waited for the bus to Borobudur

  • Indonesians do not walk anywhere if they can help it. They will always take their motorbike. Even if it is 50m down the road, the will still go on “moto”.
  • Fat is a compliment. “Hey girl, you fat!” = hey, you have money and eat lots and are super healthy. I wish it was like this in Australia….
  • Say one thing. Mean another. Do another entirely. This is how we wind up having our passport in immigration for 16 days and not being notified of meetings. Then they tell you they have transport to immigration. Then they don’t. Then they do but you need your own helmet. Then they do again. And then they drive you to immigration and leave you on the side of the road there in the middle of nowhere because apparently transport to immigration does not mean transport home. This is also how you wind up homeless on New Years Eve as a ‘booking’ apparently can be given away if somebody with money comes in first and you aren’t there. Always be prepared for the unexpected. Always have your A game problem solving skills cap on or you will wind up in a pool of your own tears. Oh and laugh. Because what more can you do?
Passed out on the hostel floor on a pile of my junk over new years trying to have an afternoon nap and failing dismally

  • Indonesians have to be the friendliest people ever. I am trying to eat my bowl of bakso on the side of the road and a family invite me into their home to sit at their table to eat it and play with their kids… two hours later I am making my way out the door.
Politics and Religion
  • You will get woken up everyday to the sound of random warblings of Islamic prayer broadcast over giant speakers to the entire community. Earplugs required.
  • In Bali, one needs to constantly watch where they walk because not only will the gods be angry if you step on one of the offerings they lay out, but you will also wind up with massive soy sauce explosions up your leg.
South Bali 012
Some Hindu offerings… no soy sauce this time, just some tasty biscuits and flowers.

  • Soekarno was the first President of Indonesia and was responsible for their independence as a country in 1945.
  • Indonesians will approach you and start listing religions and ask you which one you are. “I have no religion” is never met with a good response, usually anger or confusion. I later learned that according to the “Pancasila” (translated in Javanese to mean “five principles”), which was the document used to found the country of Indonesia and unite all of the islands, the number one legal requirement on this list of all Indonesians is “belief in the one and only God”. What this means…. 1. It is illegal to not have a religion in Indonesia. 2. You are only allowed to follow a religion that is monotheistic. The Balinese made a few adaptations to allow Shiva to be their almighty God allowing Hinduism to be a part of the list of only 6 religions allowed in Indonesia including Islam, Buddhism, Confucianism, Catholicism or Protestantism. No allowances were made for other religions such as Judaism, Sikhism or any of the spiritual beliefs of the smaller tribes from the more secluded islands that form Indonesia. Sounds scarily like discrimination to me……
Other Indonesian Learnings
  • “Hallo Mister!” is a common greeting from all people here. Their addresses to each other are unisex, so I always get ‘mister’. I exhaust myself trying to explain that I am a ‘miss’ because I am a woman. The last English lesson I gave was to a group of 7 kids of 8-10 years old cutting school and smoking cigarettes on top of the hill overlooking the Telarga Warna. They followed me down the hill screaming at me “Miss! Miss!” Well at least they learned something….
  • Bed bugs. After getting them twice in Java I am now a total expert in anything bed bug related. The Indonesian word for bed bug is ‘kutu busuk‘ and I am ‘alergi‘ or allergic to them. I know about hunting them, their life cycle, how to get rid of them and even that if you isolate and tape the bed they will climb the walls and drop on you from the ceiling to get at you and your tasty blood. Ugh, I am creeped out thinking about it and haven’t slept in a month.
  • Fried chicken here rivals that of Colonel Sanders (KFC) an is way cheaper… between these and cheap Magnum Gold’s I will wind up the size of a house and require rehab after Indonesia to deal with my withdrawals.
Yet another evening on the Magnum Golds… had to find another shop because we cleared the first one out.

  • I am ‘seexxxaaayyyy’ according to a 60 yo local woman on the bus to Wonosobo and this is apparently hilarious to everyone else on the bus.

And I think that shall be it! For the weekly versions (much shorter I promise) tune in to Facebook and I shall be back next week with more challenge and adventure (Si bolang!) Until then 🙂

The Perilous Summit of Mount Rinjani – Part 2

I barely slept. I rolled around exhausted and as much as my body was exhausted, it would not allow me to sleep. Before I knew it, I was waking up at 1:30am waiting for the moment to get out of bed and to go and summit this mountain top that everybody keeps on telling me is so difficult that it is ridiculous. Way harder than the previous days…. 

I started ‘breakfast’ with a hot tea and a couple of sugar cookies and packed a hydralyte for the way. At 2:30am I started out with Chris up the hill. The others were way faster than us and so they were set to start out later and meet us. The first part of the trek was on a massive incline crawling over rocks and sandy scree to try and get to the crater rim. After about an hour, it was over and we were making our way along the crater rim at a more moderate incline. It was windy, it was dark and even though I couldn’t see much, I could see that the trail either side of me lead to a massive fall either down the outside of the volcano or into the crater. I tried not to think about it and kept on going. As I kept going all I could think to myself was the song ‘ants go marching one by one, hurrah, hurrah’ as I could see all of these tiny headlamp glows following one another up a hill like small ants.

Gili T and Rinjani 132
The view on the way up as the sun starts appearing and it gets light enough to see

We sat and ate some more sugar cookies before what was to be the final hour and a bit. The most difficult part. Straight up to the summit over black sand. It was three steps at a time, then two breaths, three steps, then two breaths. At one point the adrenaline kicked in through all of the hard work and my frustrations and I realized that I was going to make it. I started getting excited. I could see Chris up ahead and he was rounding the corner to where the last stretch of the summit was. Almost there…

And then I saw it… Three French guys and an Aussie in shorts and a singlet at the top of the mountain in a man huddle to try and stay warm and I knew I was there! The view was incredible. Chris and I stood at the top and had a few pictures with the sign at the top over the view of the lake and at that moment I was so elated that something I had wanted to give up after one hour of walking on day one I managed to achieve through sheer will power and mind control. It was one of my greatest achievements.

Gili T and Rinjani 146
Yay! I made it to the top!

The sun didn’t rise properly as there were too many clouds in the distance obscuring the sun. But I could see Gunung Anung on Bali, the Gili Islands, all the way across the northern coast of Lombok and Sumbawa where I was taking a boat trip in two days from that moment. The time up there was fleeting and never enough, but we gradually started to make our way down, taking pictures of all of the things that we didn’t see in the dark on the way up. After a couple of hours we were back at camp, eating breakfast and packing up to start the trek back down to Sembulan.

Gili T and Rinjani 162
Views of the valley on the way down

It was a steep descent. My knees, ankles and feet were killing me. But I kept on plodding along. After ten hours of walking that day, I managed to get out the end of the rice and farming fields to the road where the truck was waiting to take us back to Senaru.

Gili T and Rinjani 220
The rice fields in Sembulan towards the end of the hike

We sat in the back of the truck and waved to the kids through all of the villages screaming ‘Hello!’ at us along the way and eventually got to Senaru, picked up our luggage and headed to Senggigi where we were staying the night. The whole adventure at this point never felt like it actually happened. It felt like a dream…. except I had two giant swollen feet from the rapid change in altitude and a duck waddle when I walked for the next two days to remind me.

Gili T and Rinjani 224
Now dems are some serious cankles 🙂

This is something I laughed about despite my discomfort. Because I took on Rinjani. And despite my own self doubt, I won!

The Perilous Summit of Mount Rinjani – Part 1

From 600m to 3726m in less than 48 hours. It was going to be one of the most challenging feats I had ever encountered. Welcome to Mount Rinjani, Indonesia!

As I sat at the bar talking to a random guy in Gili Trawangan about trekking around the area and told him that I was going to hike Mount Rinjani he enlightens me that it is one hell of a tough trek. Forget the Annapurna Circuit and Everest Basecamp in Nepal, forget the tallest mountain in the region Kinabalu, Rinjani is way tougher. It is purely brutal. And so I started quaking in my pants worried about whether or not this is actually achievable. But the money was paid up and we were leaving in the morning so I was going to give it a decent go.

7am we headed down to the boat docks to try and find our boat. Confused about where we were supposed to be going, we eventually found our travel agent, Andy and he has shuffled us onto the local boat over to Bangsal. I sat at the end of the boat with my friend on one side and a local man asleep on my other shoulder for some unknown reason and we sailed on. As the only white people on the boat we were an easy spot for the men down the beach calling to us “Danni and Beccy!! Danni and Beccy!!” They helped us into a horse drawn carriage where we were taken to our breakfast point for our first meal of the day.

Gili T and Rinjani 025
Off down the road in our horse drawn cart

From here it was two hours in a car driving to Senaru to begin the hike. We madly threw things into our bag so that we could get started with our porter as the rest of the group we were with had already begun walking two hours before us.

Gili T and Rinjani 030
The entrance gate to the Mount Rinjani trek

As I started up the hill, it was brutally hot and quite steep. I remember thinking to myself in that first hour, if this is what the easy part is like, then kill me now because I will never make it. I was ready to throw in the towel, but at the same time I figured my body would become accustomed to it eventually and all I had to do was keep walking and to push through it. During the second hour I was really starting to feel the effects of not having had enough to eat before I started to hike and I am saying to my porter who doesn’t speak English the only thing I remembered in Indonesian from my market visit that I knew he had. “Pisang? Pisang? Terima Kasih!?” I said to him and he shook his head at me knowingly and pulled out a couple of bananas for me to eat. I sighed relief and kept walking.

Further relief came in the form of the torrential downpour of the wet season that could be trusted to begin at approximately 1pm every day. As the rain started teaming down, the trail became a river bed to walk up and the weather cooled down to the point where walking at this incline became more manageable for me. On the downside, my boots and a lot of what I owned had gotten wet, but that was bound to happen at some point anyway.

Gili T and Rinjani 032
One of the rest spots on the way up

Along the way we stopped at the rest points Pos I and Pos II and met some really cool people who imparted advice and gave us left over cookies that were to be pivotal to my quest later. Eventually we made it to the lunch spot and the rest of our group and munched down on some well needed and deserved noodles. And then it was time to continue. At the lunch spot we’re at 1500m above sea level. We started at 600m, we were camping at approximately 2400m, so we were about half way up in the incline stakes. And so the plodding, one foot after another kept on, and I kept on even though I was well further back from the group than the others due to my breathing limitations.

Eventually we made it to the camping place for the first night. The porters had set up our tents in a line across the hill and we all got our drenched clothes off and attempted to get warm. My bag had gotten wet around the sides of my pack cover and my pyjamas had gotten wet also so I took to sleeping in a pair of rain pants…. funny I know considering I probably should have worn them in the rain. Dinner was quickly scoffed down and everybody retired to bed exhausted after a massive first day.


Gili T and Rinjani 050
Tents in a line along the hill

The next day was to offer a bit of relief in the form of downhill, for which I was excited. We were told that it was to be a pretty hairy ordeal though with very slippery and steep rock faces. We weren’t to be disappointed.

The day started with a 200m climb straight up from our camping spot to the crater rim where we glimpsed our first view over the incredible crater lake with Gunung Baru in the centre chuffing hot smoke.

Gili T and Rinjani 057
My first glimpse of Gunung Baru in the centre of the Mount Rinjani crater lake

From here it was down into the crater to the edge of the lake over the aforementioned steep and rocky track before arriving at the bottom. I took my shoes off and had a bit of a paddle in the lake to cool down the feet before we moved on to our lunch spot and on to swimming in the hot springs. The hot springs were the most amazingly warm hot bath at that time ever and a Godsend for sore muscles. We sat in and among the hot waterfalls and relaxed for half an hour while lunch cooked and then it was time to eat.

Gili T and Rinjani 101
The glorious hot springs, amazing for tired and sore muscles

The saddest part about this whole area is the amount of trash lying around. The locals seem to have very little regard for the nature and very little understanding of the effects of pollution. It had drawn in a whole bunch of monkeys and flies around the area that were pests in trying to get at your food. One monkey waited until I wasn’t looking, came right up beside me and stole the chicken bone that I had set beside me when I was done with it. Another of the monkeys approached me while I had a chicken bone and was getting ready to charge me. I screamed and yelled at it, waving my arms about the place letting him know who’s boss for showing his teeth at me and charging at me. It is such a shame that it is getting this way. There is nothing that saddens me more than watching these monkeys ferret through left over plastic bags for food in a place that looks like a rubbish dump.

Gili T and Rinjani 107
Monkey contemplating taking my lunch

And so from here we continued. Another brutal climb up sheer rock face for the next three hours to reach our camping spot for the evening. And while it was difficult, the rain held off just enough so that we could get there without too much swimming uphill into gushing water as we had heard happened to others doing this trek before us.

We set up camp, we ate dinner, we prepared. Tomorrow was the big one. The summit. We were sitting at 2600m above sea level at the base camp for the summit. A gruelling 1100m ascent in 3 and a half hours that is to be climbed over volcanic ash and scree. We were to be up at 2am to start the climb by 2:30am to get there for sunrise.

Gili T and Rinjani 126
The final supper before summit, with amazing view to accompany

For my summit climb and to see if I made it to the top, catch us next week!

My First Week In Indonesia

Ever since I have gotten to Indonesia I have been running flat out. It has been ten days and in that time I have sat on the Gili Islands, hiked the second largest mountain in Indonesia and taken a four day boat ride across the northern coast of Lombok and Sumbawa over to see the Komodo Dragons. While these are going to be huge stories to tell, I have not yet got the time to write about it as I am still running mad for the next week so hopefully there will be some awesome blog stories to fill you in with in coming weeks. However, I shall leave you with a few minor stories of ridiculous things that have happened this week.

 Some of the most random occurrences on this trip happened in the small town of Senggigi, Lombok.  We were dropped here after our Mount Rinjani trek tired and weary. We decided firstly to have a walk around and see what was about the town and go and sit on the beach for a while. As we are walking along we were approached by a woman who asks us if she can have our help. Dubious about people stopping tourists to ask for help, we listened anyway. Turns out she was a school teacher in need of native English speakers to speak to her class for practice. So we agreed and went along to meet the kids on the beach.

The first questions come out to Bec. “How are you? Do you have a boyfriend? How many boyfriends you have? Why you only have one?” Bec just laughed, told them she liked the one she has and palmed them off on me as I don’t have a boyfriend…. great. The kids had all kinds of questions “Where are you from? Do you like Senggigi beach? Do you like Lombok?” We answered patiently, signed our names a couple of dozen times to their notebooks, had even more pictures taken and then we left. It was a really fun experience. Only ten days out of teaching and already back to teaching and correcting people’s grammar! Hahaha!


After the school kids and hobbling around further we were completely ruined. As such we decided that we should go and have the full works done.  So Bec and I hobble over the road to the Orchid Spa (the one in town that is reputable and doesn’t give happy endings apparently) and ordered the works. Full body massage, scrub, body mask, manicure and pedicure.

The ladies take us upstairs and lay us on a table each with no curtain between us pretty much stark naked except for these see through black underpants they gave us. Ummm….. OK then. We proceed to get massaged, Bec yelping every time they went over her knee area. Then the scrub stuff is applied and rubbed off of us until we are lying on a table full of flakes of salt and dead skin. Then comes the mask painted on with a brush,  roll over and repeat.

At the end of this process when we are all dry, we were ushered off into a shower to literally hose one another off naked together. Who knows how this would have went down if 1. I was a prude, or 2. I was alone. We pretty much giggled the entire time trying to get mask and scrub out of ears, belly buttons and any kind of crevice it could find to hide in.

By this stage I was starting to not feel so good so I fell asleep whilst getting my nails done and woke up in a fever that sent me stumbling down the street at the locals saying “pharmacy, pharmacy”. It turns out that the day before I am due to get on the boat I am to get another bout of the tonsillitis that I had before I left…. it was going to be an interesting 4 days on the boat to come….

Boat trip and Mt Rinjani trip to come!!!

Planning My Upcoming Trip

I have long since adopted this philosophy since I met a very wise and drunk Irish friend in New Zealand that there is no plan is a good plan, but instead it should be an outline. One of those hazy wiggly lines with which you can bend about to fit things in without shading in the entire shape to make it solid and inflexible.

So my flexible wiggly outline this time involves a one way ticket to Indonesia, and a booking to hike Everest Base Camp at the end of March. When originally sitting down to plan my way back off to the glorious travel land, I was going to head back to Canada through Hawaii because it is cheaper to go via Hawaii than direct and then I would head to South America to teach English and learn more Spanish.

My friend Bec then messages me one day saying she wants to go on a holiday and how do I feel about Asia somewhere in the school holidays? So after sitting and researching all of the amazing temples in Java, the spectacular volcanoes, komodo dragons, beaches, I set my heart on Indonesia. And then Bec told me she didn’t have enough holidays accrued at work. So I planned other things and figured I would get to Indonesia on my own when I left Australia and then it would be cheaper to go through the Philippenes back to LA and then down to South America…..

One random Friday afternoon after work, Jetstar announced a 4 hour only sale of $99 one way tickets from Melbourne to Bali. And so I messaged Bec, said ‘will you have enough holidays in December?’ she says yes and on a random whim we book cheap tickets. And so ‘planning’ part one had begun.

I also a couple of weeks after this in amongst the height of other friends carrying on about the giant deal and stress of pending 30th birthdays and how old we are all getting and the rest, another friend messages me with this 66% off Groupon to go and hike Everest Base Camp. So I was like, well, I will be in Asia, that is close enough. I can’t think of anything else better to do for my birthday than hide in the Himalayas where I don’t have any internet and don’t have to deal with the fuss of it. Let’s go hike Mount Everest! So in a random spur of the moment event, I booked that.

At this point in time I realize that I am now further away from Hawaii, the Philippenes, South America… all the places I planned on going originally and that this is going to put me at a point where I will be in my last years of potentially having work visas. And so the squeeze of 30 finally sets in. Not because I feel old, but because the governments of specific countries stipulate that over 30 is too old.

So now I sit with the idea that “Well, I am in Nepal, so I may as well go to India and travel there. Then I may as well go get a work visa for either Canada or the UK again. Hell! Why not get both just to keep my options open!?” And so all of a sudden I find myself getting further and further away from the original plan of South America and yet I am still super excited! I know one day South America will happen, but given my flightiness, my need to get as much done with work visas while I still can, and my constant deviations of original ideas, I guess ‘planning’ a trip is one of those things that I am good at and yet not good at. I somehow spontaneously managed to come up with this outline. What I will do when I get there is yet to be determined, but there is an outline nonetheless…. I am sure that that outline will get more contorted somehow, but either way, it is going to be a fun ride! And you can follow along with me to see just how contorted ‘not planning’ can become!