Look how far we’ve traveled together. You’ve come with us on a 2 week journey around some beautiful islands in Indonesia during a 2 week break from work. We’ve been up mountains, swum with Manta rays, caught a wave or two, and got hopelessly lost on a scooter.
If you’ve been with us since the beginning, welcome back and thanks for sharing the journey!
Just like the trip to Nusa Lembongan started, with a travel sick boat ride, the same process was repeated on the return journey to Bali. Don’t worry, I was fine. I wanted to get rid of my rupiah before jetting back to work so purchasing beer at 10 am was about a good a way as any to get rid of my currency. My traveling companion, things weren’t so good.
So as we slowly motored back to where it started, with my lovely companion doing her best to keep that last serving of Nasi Goreng where it belonged, the holiday romance was drawing to a close.
I had checked us into a hotel that I had stayed on previous trips that I thought would be a comfortable finish to our journey together. The other occupants in the hotel thought otherwise. Through a night of constant slamming doors, shouting matches in the hallways and a general party going on outside our front door, I slipped away in the wee hours of the morning, with a kiss on the forehead to my (future) partner, and a white knuckle taxi ride to the airport.
Return to reality
I fucking hate the first day of work back on the island.
After a couple of weeks of indulgence and half a box of beer at my brother’s house in Perth, the flight back to work and the first day is always a struggle. As I sticky tape my eyelids open for the day, lest I fall into a coma, I make it through the day and am welcomed to my room for the shift with a couple of messages in my inbox.
I have a lot to thank you for Facebook. I wish you were a bigger thing in my earlier days of travel!
Over the next 3 weeks, there’s texts, photos, phone calls, tears and crazy stories as we keep in touch across oceans and borders. My lovely companion was arrested in Singapore, almost put on a flight back to where she came from in Vietnam (note: get a Visa BEFORE you go to Vietnam), and was generally soaking in all the challenges travel sometimes presents. Being her first extended trip away from home, she was at the coal face of less glamorous side of traveling. The side where it’s only funny later.
When you have to wake up at 4 am every morning for work, an early night is rather desirable. There’s not much opportunity to catch up on sleep, and between eating, exercising and working, there’s little room for anything else really. As I did my best to stay awake during “late” night phone calls, as my lovely travel companion recounted the drama mentioned above, we discussed her coming to see me in Australia when I was off shift. I definitely did something right during that vacation, she was changing her plans drastically so this could happen.
Whoa. This is interesting.
I had a music festival a couple of days after I flew “home” from work. I used the inverted commas as I didn’t actually have a set place to live. I floated between overseas destinations, my parent’s house and stay overs at various friend’s houses if were having a night out. I didn’t think I was ready to bring a girl that I had just met to my parent’s house to say hi, so other accommodation options were needed.
I have a habit of not heeding my own advice, and we will return very shortly to that last sentence.
We booked hostel rooms in Coolangatta, Byron Bay and Surfers Paradise so I could give my lovely companion the run down of all the tourist hotspots. She gave Coolangatta and Byron Bay a hearty thumbs up, Surfers Paradise, not so much. As I think back now, this next rendez-vous seemed to slow down time again. We were together for only one week this time, and it felt like a month. We were driving up and down the coast, checking out beaches, going out for drinks and dinner, and laying by the beach getting sand down our pants. I even fell ridiculously ill for a couple of days while in Surfers Paradise and was lovingly cared for with noodle soup and lemonade for 2 days while I recovered.
At the time I was, and generally still am, a care-free kind of guy. I had a great job that paid handsomely while allowing me to take a holiday every month that was within a 9 hour flight radius. Things were good. I was committed to nothing. Then there was 2 days left before I flew back to work.
My companion, and I adore her for this, stood up for what she wanted. I had no idea what I wanted, simply because I had no wants to speak of. As far as I was concerned, I had it made. Traveling, working and traveling again. This was all I saw on the horizon, until it wasn’t, then I’d reassess.
No big deal, life was good.
It came down to a day in the sunshine on Burleigh beach, and a conversation full of extended silences, deep questions, followed by more silences. Did I want a girlfriend? Wasn’t this just a fling? Short story shorter, I threw my hat into the ring, introduced her to my parents and had her babysitting my car for the 3 weeks I was at work as she dropped me off to Coolangatta Airport.
What the hell just happened!?!?
To be continued …
Glad you could join us for another instalment. If you saw this twist coming, I sure as hell didn’t!
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