Gili Trawangan, Indonesia
Aaron and I took an uncomfortable van ride from Ubud to the coast of Bali, then a long boat ride from the island of Bali to Lombok, then an uncomfortable van ride to a small beach on Lombok (there were so many uncomfortable van rides in Indonesia), and then finally a small boat to the island of Gili Trawangan. I had heard so many good things about the Gili Islands: they were relaxing, they were great for diving, they had beautiful beaches. I had already been travelling for ten months at this point, and the Gilis would be my final stop in Asia. With ten days planned there, and with my favourite travelling buddy by my side, I knew that I would be in paradise no matter what.
I look at those last ten days of my adventure in Asia as a very reflective and quiet time; we didn’t party and we barely even spent a lot of time on the beach. It was mostly about spending time together, enjoying delicious food, reading, riding rented bicycles, watching movies, getting to know each other better before we had to say a temporary goodbye. Every morning we’d wake at 9, have breakfast at our quaint hotel, sit and read for a few hours on the patio, then wander into town for a little bit of shopping or wandering or snacking. Before we even knew it, the sun would be setting, and we’d head back to take a salt-water shower (there’s no fresh water on the island) and get ready to go out for dinner. We had made friends with some of the servers at certain restaurants and they would graciously reserve the best tables for us, so we could eat fresh barbecued fish while watching the moon and the waves and the blinking lights of faraway boats. We’d buy cheap bottles of whiskey and sit under the stars forever, telling secrets, sharing memories, kissing, laughing.
The Gilis also held true to their reputation of having great dive spots, and it was there that I got my Advanced Open Water certification. But before I knew it, the ten days were up, and it was time to take the long journey back to Bali, where I’d catch a flight to Bangkok and then to Canada. I had been planning to visit the Gilis at the start of my trip, but I’m glad I saved it for the end. It was all very serendipitous that Aaron and I had similar paths set out when we met, and though I preferred the Perhentians of Malaysia over the Gilis, I know that the little Indonesian islands will always hold a special place in my heart.