After 6 years of telling everyone that I wanted to come and do my bit to help the rainforests in Indonesia, I was actually at the airport. After weeks and months of packing and trips to the charity shop, trips to the storage, trips to what felt like everywhere with a car full of stuff and then dinners and a party to say my goodbyes; I was stood at Terminal 2 cuddling my Mum goodbye. In fact I nearly didn’t get on the plane, they didn’t want to let me go to Bali without a return or onward ticket, despite having sent my passport off to the Indonesian Embassy two weeks before and paying a hefty amount for a visit visa that was extendable for up to 6 months. Apparently though Heathrow airport don’t know anything about this type of visa, probably due to the lack of clear information online (which I have now discovered is how Indonesian culture rolls), so they didn’t want to take the risk of the fine when Bali turned me round and made me come home. We all knew that wasn’t going to happen, but after a lot of explaining to multiple different airport staff, I called the embassy myself and the lady who had previously helped me there assured the airport staff that Bali would indeed let me in. The funny after story being that they didn’t even look at my visa at the Immigration desk in Bali, it only really becomes an issue when/if you overstay, which is really not advisable.
The flight was brilliant; Thai Airways really show you how good a plane can be. I mean a purple plane with purple seats and blankets – what more could you want. They even had vegan meals, which I got before everyone else, and there was no one sitting next to me; I was in airplane heaven I think. The only thing that always baffles is me is if you are getting off or on a plane in the early hours, why is it insisted upon to give breakfast at 4am? Does anyone want to eat at that time?!
After a bit of sleep and a good movie I was in Bangkok waiting for my connection. They have long chairs that are more like a bed; laid right back, and as I had skipped a night time by travelling in the day and then arriving at 5am the next morning, I was pretty darn tired. I slept for the full 2 hours with my bag strapped to me, and then was excited to get on my way to Bali.
I arrived, met my airport transfer and was immediately hit with heat and humidity, I smiled; I’m actually in Bali, in the sunshine, in the tropics, finally. We hit the road, a journey that was supposed to take 1 hour and a half took 4 hours – so rush hour is a global thing! It was fantastic to see everything, the shops, the people, the busyness. The big thing that stood out to me was the motorbikes and scooters and the chaos. We waited at traffic lights and were immediately surrounded by bikes and scooters, all squeezing into the gaps; I had never seen so many scooters. The lights changed and they whizzed off, all barely inches away from each other, weaving in and out of the traffic, cutting in front of the cars and going along the wrong side of the roads. It really was a completely new thing for me to see, there is nothing comparable, not even the crazy driving I have witnessed in France! This continued along the smaller streets too, no traffic lights at junctions was a new one too, it was survival of whoever has the most confident; bikes pushing out hoping that the car would slow down, scooters undertaking round the bends to get past. I wasn’t sure how I hadn’t had a heart attack, but nearly 4 hours later we arrived at The Spareroom Bali; the guesthouse I had booked for the month. I was greeted by a friendly face and got settled in my lovely room.
I went straight out to meet some of the yoga crew, I didn’t know anyone and was keen to say hello. I walked to La Brisa where the informal gathering was and as I began I very quickly realized it was further than I thought, and it was now dark. Kindly a Russian guy offered me a lift on his scooter, I didn’t think I had any other option but my Mum’s voice rang in my ear...I got on anyway as he seemed genuine. He dropped me at the door and I was told that only person had arrived, which began my love story in Bali – I met Lisa <3 we hit it off straight away, a beautiful soul from Western Australia. We all chatted and chatted, which was lucky as our food took about 2 hours to come out, and then wasn’t so impressive! It wasn’t important though, we were all here, and we heard there were more of us downstairs with the teacher Eoin. I was keen to meet him so we went and said hi to him and everyone. I met Elyse and Victoria too and we all hit it off!
The next day after a 13 hour catch up sleep I met Lisa for ‘breakfast’ and had my first taste of The Shady Shack’s incredible delicious and varied vegan food. I had their porridge with caramelized bananas and cacao with a passion fruit juice (one of my all-time favourite fruits). It was amazing. We went to the beach and chilled for the afternoon ready for the start of our yoga teacher training course the next day.