There's No Place Like Home, There's No Place Like Home, There's No Place Like Home

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Asia » Indonesia
December 24th 2011
Published: December 24th 2011
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Tina Writes

The flight to Indonesia was long and boring as usual but also the most eventful flight I have ever had. We had hit turbulence a few times but nothing out of the ordinary. The plane was only half full so we moved to an empty row of 4 seats so we could spread out and try sleeping. We were both lying down, top & tail, and suddenly it felt like we might hit the ceiling. It only lasted a second or two but there was a major drop in height. There were screams throughout the plane and I very quickly sat up and put my belt on (as if that will help me!). Rob sat up too but like the earthquake in Huacachina, his response was delayed and he wasn’t too bothered. It really scared me though and for that brief second I felt how I would feel if the plane was to crash, pretty scary! The rest of the flight was uneventful and even though it felt like the plane would never land, we got there in the end.

We quickly got through immigration much to my relief, as you are meant to have an onward ticket out of the country, but I had heard it is never enforced and so we didn’t bother. First thing I noticed was the intense heat. I’m pretty sure it was 100% humidity and we were soaking in minutes. We hadn’t booked anywhere to stay assuming there would be touts at the airport we could barter with but there wasn’t, so as it was quite late and we were tired we booked a room through an agency at the airport. We were advised to go to Kuta which I really did not want to do. I have a Google map which has our route set out on it and hundreds of markers with notes about things of interest I had read in other peoples blogs whilst researching the trip. On that map I have one warning sign which states ‘AVOID, BED BUGS EVERYWHERE’ and that place was Kuta but tired and desperate to hit the hay we booked the room which cost a whopping 250000Rp (£17.50). We took a taxi (£4) to the hotel and were fascinated and horrified to watch and hear the craziness as we drove through the centre. I had heard this was the equivalent of Ibiza for Australians and that is what it was. We pulled up to the hotel which was right in the middle of the madness, checked in and as soon as I got in the room I pulled the covers back to inspect for bed bugs, and there they were jumping around all over the place. Needless to say we left but because we had booked the room at the airport we could not get a refund unless we went back to the airport. I’m sure you can imagine how happy about this we were. We got another taxi and told them to take us to another town that wasn’t one giant club. This took about 2 hours of stopping at hotels that looked closed and either no one was there or it was too expensive. We finally settled on one that didn’t have bed bugs but looked exactly like the hostel in The Beach. I was half expecting Bobby Carlise to stick his head over the wall spouting out some crazy nonsense about an idyllic island. We both tried to get to sleep, praying for the morning to come so we could get out of there. I had had enough of Bali already and decided to head straight to Gili Air where we would hole up for Christmas. Gili Air is one of three Islands that comes close to paradise. In order to get there you have to go to Lombok and then get a wee boat from there to the island. So we got the tourist shuttle (£7 each) to Padangbai and then we took the public ferry (£2.50 each) taking 4 hours to get to Lombok and then, reluctantly, a private bemo to Seggegi (£8.90 each). We were both really struggling to enjoy any of this and discussed it. We reckoned it was just the same feelings we had when we landed in Brazil 4 months ago and that culture shock would soon disperse. We arranged for 9 days accommodation on Gili Air with an agent in Seggegi at a ridiculously over inflated price but as we had just arrived and not had a chance to buy a Lonely Planet and it was Christmas week, we expected the price to be higher. So for the grand price of £225 we had booked a beach hut for the week with fan and hot water.

Gili Air was indeed very beautiful and our accommodation was right on the beach. We had the biggest of the huts and it seemed quite luxurious. As we looked around I very quickly spotted a spider the size of my face and asked the reception guy to remove it. The sun quickly went down and we were ready for bed. The bathroom in the hut was outside. I mean it was attached to the hut but kind of alfresco. I was having a look around and suddenly heard the most bizarre noise above my head. It sounded like a ducks quack. I had no idea what it was but I knew it was very close. When it started I was bending down and I stayed in this position as I ran to the door, forgetting it was a sliding door and trying to push it open to no avail, screaming ‘ROB HELP ME, LET ME IN’ the fear in his face was reflected by mine. Rob went back out to see what it was and as he stepped out backwards the fear look got a tad stronger followed by ‘oh my god’. Rob told me it was ok for me to look though which meant it was not a big beastie. It was a gecko, a very large gecko. Who knew gecko’s quacked, loudly! Rob, of course, wiki’ed them and apparently they are called gecko’s because the sound they make sounds like they are saying ‘gecko, gecko’ (say it in a quacky tone and you’ve got it). I’m fine with lizards especially as they eat beasties. As long as it stayed out there, no problem. We got into bed and fired up a film, while watching I seen something move from the corner of my eye and I leap-frogged across the room with Rob following. The gecko had decided to come in. We totally freaked. I told Rob he needed to pick it up and get it out but funnily enough he wasn’t up for that. He got a towel and attempted to shoo it out but he just scared it so it started to quack. We realised there was nothing we could do and went back to our film, of course what we really did was stare at the gecko until we fell asleep. We quickly got used to the gecko’s as they came in and out as they pleased, all different sizes.

The island is very small and only takes 1.5 hours to walk around. There are no cars or mopeds, only horse & cart and bicycles. We hired bicycles which we discovered were almost impossible to ride through the sand. Rob decided to do a jump and his handle bars came off completely and he went flying. If it had been on concrete, it would have been very painful. We rode to a beachside cafe to have a drink. On the menu was a cocktail called ‘Happy Cocktail’ and it cost £7, which is expensive here. It was so expensive because it was a magic mushroom cocktail. These seem to be legal here and we heard, grow everywhere. Of course I did not try this, because that would be irresponsible and even if I did, I imagine what would happen would be this:

• Taste like a mushroom milkshake (yuk)
• After 30 minutes start to laugh uncontrollably for 3 solid hours
• Stare at nothing for long periods of time
• Annoy the hell out of Rob

It was my birthday that day and I guess it would have made it an interesting one had I been irresponsible.

The days were starting to get rather boring and on top of that we had discussed how we were no longer enjoying the trip. Our homesickness was overwhelming. We both love Christmas and this may have been a contributing factor but it was a feeling I had been suppressing for some time. I had never spoke of it to Rob because even admitting it to myself made me feel like a failure but it was now out in the open and as we both felt the same we found it pointless to carry on. Only 4 months into the trip we decided to go home. It was pointless to carry on when we not only didn’t enjoy it but didn’t want to. It would also be a lot of money to spend on something that we were not happy doing anymore. I had not considered this as a possibility when planning the trip. The idea that I would not enjoy it until the very end was not something that would happen to me, I thought. Of course this was and is devastating. This trip has been my dream in life, a dream I was now living through damn hard work and to realise it was not the dream I imagined it to be is crushing. With a heavy heart we called it quits and booked flights home. Telling my family was easy as they told us how amazing we had been to have done what we have and to feel like we failed was nonsense .They were of course happy that they would be able to stop worrying and get to see us again. My sister in particular, tried her best to talk us through it all and come up with a good solution but when the final decision was made she was ecstatic that we were going home. To be reminded of the kind of love your family has for you is an amazing feeling.

We caught a flight from Bali to KL and then onto London. I am writing this on the plane home.

So in the words of Mr Robbie Williams; no regrets, they don’t work.

This is Tina and Rob signing off....................

Additional photos below
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24th December 2011

Merry Christmas
It has been fun following you. Sorry you couldn't visit Southeast Asia, but maybe another time. I hope you haven't given up traveling altogether.
25th December 2011

cannot believe what I am reading guys ;-( After all the prep work you have done for this trip. It is nonsense to feel that you failed as anybody who has ever traveled extensively knows how hard it is at times.Besides you have covered some fab places and experience great stuff. I am sure you get to travel again somehow. All the best and good luck in Scotland. Cheers, Beata
28th December 2011

Bravo :-b
Sad that you are home and that we won't see you until the 15th January. Missed you both, Sizzler on the 16th??? :-b x Thanks for sharing your adventure with us :-b
29th December 2011

No regrets...
We agree that you shouldn't feel like you have failed at all. The thing is, life is too short to force yourselves to do something you don't enjoy - whether that's working in a crap job or travelling. You tried it and have some fantastic memories from the things you have already experienced. Everyone is different - travelling like you did is very tough at times, we hope that it hasn't put you off travelling forever. Best wishes for the New Year
20th February 2012

Getting home can be good
Being home for the holidays can be good. Have no regrets.
24th June 2012

In my opinion, it is only natural that people stop enjoying trips that are just too long. My longest backpacking trip was 4 months, and I had had enough after it. I find now after a few decades of travel experience, that a month of travel is what I really enjoy. More than a couple of months would be too much. And, as you mentioned it costs a lot of money. I have fulfilled even some of my non travel life dreams, and they dont make me delighted every second either. I am still pleased and proud of fulfilling my dreams, but there are times when too much of a good thing is not so great and that applies to all dream fulfillments and gettings of what you want. Maybe, you can continue to travel, but be more moderate about it. Then you would not need to give up the security, and comfort of home, job income, friends nearby, family nearby... :)
24th June 2012

Thanks Mell. Yeah we will definitely travel again but will do it in much shorter bursts.

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