Post travelling blues and an insane travel bug.

Coming home has been a hard transition for me. I went from having adventure filled days for 6 weeks to working, a busy city life, and people having their own lives.. not saying that I don’t have my own life.. but i’m used to everyone being on the same page; waking up early to explore an amazing beach, or staying up late drinking Bintangs and dancing around a fire. I have also been so exhausted and have been fighting a cold since coming home, i’m guessing it’s from the lack of sunshine. But, I picked up some Vitamin D, and started my first day of a 30 day cleanse today, so i’m on a mission to get back into exercising, eating better, and working to saving as much money as I can so I can head off for more fun adventures.

That being said, I can’t even explain my travel bug, it’s crazy. I have been staying up so late at night googling ways to make travelling a career. I have been watching people’s video diaries from countries I want to visit. It’s getting me so excited for future travels. I knew the travel bug existed but I didn’t think it would be this intense. I am trying to make going back to New Zealand to work happen, I am also thinking of hitting up Australia either before or after NZ. After NZ I want to go to Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos, and back to Indo. I also really want to start saving for Hawaii, Scandinavia, India, Central America.. Oh the list could go on for ages.

I am excited to see what 2015 has in store. And even though the working like crazy and saving money part isn’t very fun I know now that it is worth it.

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Post travelling blues and an insane travel bug.

So thankful!

I can’t even describe how much this whole trip has benefited me. I had no idea how much I needed this. I have learnt so much about myself and life. Going into this I was extremely nervous, I had no idea what I was doing, what was going to happen, if I was going to be by myself the whole time. But I so happy with the way everything turned out. I met so many amazing people and had so many experiences that really opened my eyes.

First of all, I am so grateful to be from Canada and the island. We are very lucky. It’s safe, clean, and so beautiful.

I am so lucky to have so many amazing people in my life. Going away really helps you realize those that are important.

I also realized that there are things I life that really do not matter in the long run. At this point in my life I would rather see the world than own a bunch of expensive things.

I would not change one thing about my trip. Even the not so great things like bed bugs, scooter crashes, getting lost on solo scooter missions… It’s all part of the adventure and taught me a bunch of lessons.

Ah, I am so happy I did this and I can’t wait for the next adventure. Travel bug is in full effect!

Much love to everyone who I have met along the way and to everyone back home who supported me on this amazing adventure! xo

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So thankful!

New Zealand

Long time no write, again. I decided to go to New Zealand from Bali which was super last minute. Joe (who I had met in Bali) was there and suggested I come meet him. I have wanted to go to NZ for ages and this seemed like the perfect time to go.

I flew from Denpasar, Bali to Sydney, Australia then from Sydney I landed in Auckland, NZ where I was greeted by Joe at the airport. I feel bad because I didn’t expect to see him there and I was so out of it and tired, was happy to see him though!

First thoughts on New Zealand; very similar to Canada, super clean, so green, and the people were extremely kind!

We spent the first few nights in Auckland at a hostel called Base. Being in Auckland was the first time I felt homesick, their city really reminded me of Victoria and I hadn’t really seen any Christmas decorations or anything until I got there. Auckland was a cool city though, pretty small but super clean and there were some cool shops. Joe and his friend Tom who I was also traveling with were buying a car in the city so we could start our road trip. The picked up the purple Mitsubishi Lagnum and we were on the road to explore the North Island of NZ. Before hitting the road we had to pick up a bunch of camping supplies, the boys bought tents, air beds, cooking gear, and we all bought pillows, sleeping bags, and some snacks to get us started.

Our first stop on the North Island was a town called Piha. Was a small town where the boys did a bit of surfing and we did our first free camp near the beach. After Piha we were off to Raglan which was one of my favorite places we stopped. It’s like a glorified Tofino. The water in Raglan was so blue and the trees and wildlife were so green, so lovely. The boys were hoping for a surf there but unfortunately there were no waves. That’s okay, we explored the town and had a fun night out.

To be honest the rest of the stops on the North Island are a bit of a blur. We had some hits and some misses for sure though. Oh, and the car broke down so we were stuck in a town called Waikato ( I think) for a few days, was nice to just chill and relax though as it felt like we were running around like crazy until then. While we were in Waikato we did the Tongario Alpine Crossing hike/walk. 19km of walking and hiking around an active volcano. We didn’t have the best weather for this adventure it was super foggy and started raining on our way down. It was still so cool though, and it totally killed us we were so beat after and were sore for a couple days. I’m really glad we did that trek though.

The next town we went to we got to do some dark water rafting through caves that were lit up by glow worms. This was also super fun. We got kitted up in the thickest wetsuits, jackets, boots, and strapped our helmets on. I was kind of nervous because I am pretty claustrophobic but I decided to continue facing my fears. The water was FREEZING but it was so worth it to float down rivers in caves, looking up at the tops of the caves was amazing, looked like you were staring at stars but it was just hundreds of glow worms.

I spent a lot of time in the back seat of the car gazing out the window at the beautiful scenery. Also had some good laughs with the boys, I think they think I am the biggest idiot (which I am) haha.

We didn’t do too much more on the North Island mostly just explored and did our camping – but we were soon off to the South Island which I was super stoked about. I really wish I had more time to explore the South Island because I was in love with the small part of the island that I was able to explore. I only had 3 days on the South Island because I had to be in Queenstown to catch my flight on the 17th. Queenstown was amazing though, reminded me of a miniature Whistler! I for sure want to go back and explore of the South Island.

This blog post seems all over the place mostly because I think I wanted to just enjoy my last couple weeks of traveling which I definitely did. Camping with some amazing guys from the UK in some of the most beautiful areas of New Zealand was a perfect way to end it all. So happy to have met Joe in Indo and to have explored NZ with him and Tom! So many tears were shed saying goodbye to the two of them and sitting in the airport reminiscing on how amazing this whole trip has been!

xx

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Landing in Auckland, NZ

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Raglan, NZ

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The gang on our hike!

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Had to throw this one in. Tom caught me in my natural element (eating all the food scraps) haha they really got to know the real me.

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My backseat view

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One of our free campsites where we were attacked by insane flies.

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Some beach laughs

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This was my seat in the car.

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My last night in NZ. Campsite was on point.

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My airport home.

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Back in the sky. Currently in Melbourne, AUS. Two more stops (Bali and Taipei) and I’ll be back home.

New Zealand

Ubud

Ubud was an interesting experience. I went in thinking it was almost going to be this like “spiritual experience”. Let me tell you, it was not.

We had taken a shuttle from the port where the boat stops on Bali (from Lombok) to a grocery store parking lot in the heart of Ubud. My first impression of my new home in Ubud for the next few days? It was very artsy, definitely busier, tons of shopping, and yoga and tasty food places everywhere. So, I was excited to get settled in and explore.

I have not booked accommodation anywhere since being in Bali, I like the idea of having freedom and getting to the area and booking something once there, so that is what we did here as well. Once off our shuttle we were approached by a few different people offering accommodation so we went with what seemed to be the best option. Our first selection of a place to stay was where this Ubud trip started going downhill. We were staying a night at a place called “Ubud Pantai” -not to self or anything reading this..don’t stay there. Dirty sheets, ants everywhere, disgusting walls covered in mold, and to top it off the pool which seemed to be the only positive thing about this place had so many chemicals in it I thought my skin and eyes were going to burn off. We made do for the night at “Ubud Pantai” because it was our only option and had a group decision that we would find something new the next morning.

Woke up the next morning at our awful hotel and I wanted to check out the “Yoga Barn” – I had wanting to go to a class at this place for so long and was to excited to be in Ubud to finally go to one. So, I woke up early, rented a scooter to get the class in before we had to check out. Turns out, this Pantai place doesn’t put a drop of gas in their scooters either. I ran out of gas on the busy Ubud streets about 39 seconds into my drive. Cool, thanks Ubud Pantai, ya jerks. Oh well, figured that situation out and made it to the Yoga Barn for on of the best Yoga classes of my life. I’m not going to go into too much detail but I will say the class was much needed and it was amazing to spend an hour and a half stretching in an amazing open room, surrounded by wildlife.

Yoga Barn Studio

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One of the views.

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Tastiest breakfasts after class

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After the yoga class which left me feeling so relaxed and happy it was back to our disgusting hotel to pack up and find a new one. Once we were ready to go the three of us split ways on the street each going to go check a new hotel out. We went with Emma’s find which seemed amazing. It was $300,000rp ($30.00USD so, $10.00 a night each) it had a pool and was a traditional Balinese style. We set up camp thinking we would be there for a couple days and were stoked we had a place. Once we settled in we thought we would go rent scooters and check out some rice terraces and a holy water temple. This is were Ubud strikes again and things take a turn for the worst. We were on the open road with out scooters and like I mentioned earlier Ubud is quite busy. I was driving my scooter and Caylene was on the back, Emma was behind us on her own scooter. Things were going good and my scooter driving has gotten pretty good and I have been feeling very confident with it until… Scooter crash nĂºmero uno for me. The scooter crash was probably one of the scariest things that’s happened to me and I hope I never get in one again, it doesn’t look bad from the photos but it was the experience that really shocked me. I’m not going to explain it on here it’s a story you’ll need to hear in person once I am home. Let’s just say though, it could have been a lot worse and we are all so lucky.

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After being in the scooter crash I was in no shape or form to continue on so it was back to our place for a mellow day. I was starting to think this whole Ubud thing wasn’t meant to be. The day had past and we were getting ready to settled into our new little Balinese room at “Ubud Terrace” when we started noticing something on our bed. Bed bugs. Seriously. We had to switch rooms which led to the worst sleep ever and we were all pretty grumpy and ready to pack our bags and get back to the beach and out of Ubud.

Anyways, we ended up switching to a really cool hostel the next day and finally got to check out the rice terraces (which were amazing) and the holy water temple. I thought Ubud was going to go differently but it’s all part of the adventure and I’m happy that I did get to do some exploring and got to check out a class at Yoga Barn.

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I was ready to move on and hit the beaches for my last few days of my trip! Back to Uluwatu which I have come to realize is my favorite place in Bali!

xx

Ubud

Lombok

Hello!

Well, we wrapped up our time on Gili T by “biking” around the island, wasn’t much of a bike ride though. You can probably bike around half of the island and the other half you have to push your bike through sand, was cool to see what the other side of the island had to offer, I definitely preferred the side we were staying on (beaches were better, had everything we needed). By the fourth day on Gili T we were ready to leave and had seen all that we needed to see.

Oh, I forgot to mention we went to a “Dark Moon” party, since Gili T was known for their party we thought we should check it out. Let’s just say we stayed up til 5am biking around, and the next day was a bit rough. Thanks for the good times Gili!

Off to Lombok we go!

Lombok was amazing. Very different than Bali. Even though we were all so tired and pretty hungover on our drive into Lombok we were still in complete awe of the island’s beauty. We were surrounded by luscious green rain forests, there were monkeys running all over the place, and the mountains.. Oh the mountains. Was such a beautiful drive.

We were heading to our destination which was Kuta, Lombok – about a two hour drive from the port into town. We didn’t have any accommodation booked so we were just going to trust our driver to show us some places when we got into town. Once we were in Kuta we stopped at the first stop our driver suggested but we weren’t too stoked on it so it was onto the next. It was the second place that sold us. From the outside it looked like the biggest dump, but then you walk through the construction and holy moly you’re in for a real treat. First thing you see is a lovely pool and it’s filled with a bunch of surfer babes, sign us up please. Our home in Lombok was called Kuta Mara, was a lovely place minus our bathroom which smelled like nothing I ever want to smell again.

Our time in Lombok was filled with exploring. We rented scooters and rode to a beach called Gerupuk where Emma and I tried surfing. Surfing in Lombok was so much fun, was probably the most fun I’ve ever had surfing (not that I do it too much) but you know what I mean. To get out to the wave that we were going to surf we had to catch this little wooden boat, you arrive at the wave, throw your board in and start paddling.. Was pretty cool. Emma and I had a real hoot out there though, however we were pretty big kooks. At one point I was up on a wave and looked to my left only to see topless Emma laying on her board riding the white wash yelling my name and waving to say “hello!” Oh man, so funny needless to say, so happy to went on that adventure.

Another day in Lombok, Caylene, Emma, and I rented scooters and explored the area around us. We went to a few beaches and did a bit of off roading. A dirtbike would have been a bit better for this adventure but we made do with our scooters.

Lombok was a hoot but Bali was calling our name again and off to Ubud we went!

Up next, Ubud!
xx

PS, for some reason my photos won’t upload on here. Sorry!

Lombok

Balangan and Gili T

Balangan Beach

After our hike and spending a night in Seminyak Caylene, Emma, and I decided to get a driver to Uluwatu/Balangan to go hang with the boys (Jesmond, Dre, and Andrew) and hit up the Single Fin party. It was a bit of a mission the find where the boys were staying in Balangan, they were staying at the Balangan Garden Bungalows which was pretty much in the middle of no where. The boys referred to it as “The Garden”, I referred to it as “The Baron Wasteland” – so dry and dessert like. We attempted to go to the Single Fin party that night but it was insanely busy and was just so hot and crammed with people. Don’t worry though, we had a back up plan. Pool party at the ol’ Garden. Was actually a really fun night, played in the pool for ages then cruised to Dreamland beach for some night time swimming. Still concurring my fear of big waves here in Bali, and I’m getting there guys.

“You don’t even say that”

The next morning we were all feeling a bit rough and Caylene, Emma, and I were en route to Gili T island just off the coast of Bali. We all hopped on “The Struggle Bus” and began our long journey. Our journey began in Jimbaran where we were picked up by our driver and eventually our bus stopped at Padangbai where we hopped on our boat. Let me tell you, the bus ride to Padangbai was fun at first, we were all jamming out to Bob Marley and such but after what felt like five hours we were pretty over it. So hot on that stupid “Struggle Bus”, so hot.

Getting off the boat and arriving to Gili T was perfect, such a lovely little island. Even though it’s know as the party island out of the three (there’s also Gili Air and Gili Meno) it was just what I needed. When you first get off the boat you are swarmed by people offering accommodation, we played it cool and tried walking through but we didn’t have accommodation for the night so we decided to see what some of the people had to offer. After humming and hawing over a few we followed a man and he showed us a couple of places and we totally lucked out. We ended up staying at one of my favorite places I’ve stayed at this whole trip, it’s called Kupu Kupu (which means butterfly) and it’s pretty amazing. Kupu Kupu is very cozy, but also bright and fun, and it was a steal of a deal (300,000 per night) ($30.00USD) so only $10.00 per night for each of us. Has A/C, breakfast included, and is super clean! We love Kupu Kupu!

Gili T is like nothing I’ve ever seen. There are no vehicles here so to get around you either ride a bike or get a horse and carriage. I’ve noticed that the people here are super friendly and everyone seems to be in a good mood. We have mostly just spent time venturing around the island and discovering what it has to offer (amazing beaches, diving, snorkeling, the tastiest gelato, and lovely people).

Today we planned a snorkeling trip which was so great. Our boat picked us up here on Gili T at 10:30. We started our first snorkel just off Gili T where we swam with sea turtles (I almost touched it) and it was amazing. Second stop was off the island of Gili Air which was a coral reef snorkel, third stop was near Gili Meno where we got to feed a bunch of different fish , and the fourth stop was an old ship wreak. My favorite was the sea turtles by far, the ship wreak would have been cool but the water was so dark and the boat was really deep so you couldn’t see it very well.

Oh and, while we had a lunch break on Gili Air Emma and I had a nice little chat with a guy from Lombok, we was the best. His name was Mowgli and he helped me transform into a Balinese girl by putting flowers in my hair and rice on my forehead!

Gili Trawangan is an awesome little island, I really like it here, and today was a great day! So much sun and snorkeling though, I am ready for bed!

I also haven’t been feeling very well for the last few days and I definitely find myself missing home when I don’t feel well. My bed, tea, and my roots sweatpants would be a real treat right now.

xx

Balangan and Gili T

Mt. Batur

Long time no blog post. A lot has happened since my last post so I will be catching up over the next few days.

Let’s start with Mt. Batur. One of the coolest things I have ever done. Had an awesome crew (Caylene, Emma, Andrew, Jesmond, Rich, Dre, and I).

Mount Batur (Gunung Batur) is an active volcano located at the center of two concentric calderas north west of Mount Agung, Bali, Indonesia. It is 1,717 meters above sea level and it’s pretty much the coolest.

Most people do this hike to see the sunrise, im sure you could just do it as a day time hike but we all wanted to see the sun come up. To see the sun come up we all had to wake up at 1:30am to be ready for our driver who was picking us up at 2:00am. The whole day leading up to this hike was slightly confusing as we knew we had to be up at 1:30am so we didn’t want to do too much. Our early morning drive consisted of napping and lots of laughs. The boys we were with are honestly some of the funniest dudes I have ever met. Non stop laughs, I love it!

Once the driver gets you to the bottom of the mountain everyone gets handed a flash light and changes into warmer clothes. It was so cold up there and I loved it. So refreshing to breath in fresh mountain air again, I miss my clean island air (so thankful for it).

The hike begins quite slow and mellow and the trail is really easy which is nice because you only have a flashlight to see where you are going. Gradually the hike starts getting a bit harder and the loose volcanic rock ground is pretty slippery. We took a few breaks along the way to drink some water, catch our breath, and check out the views, it was still dark but you can see a tiny trail of people hiking up with their flashlights which looked pretty cool. About 3/4 up you stop at a little look out and you can see the sky is starting to brighten a bit and some colours are starting to show through. One last haul and we would be at the top. Arriving to the top of Mt. Batur was amazing, I don’t really have words for it. You just feel so strong and happy that you just hiked a huge active volcano and as you’re feeling all proud the most amazing sun rise starts to happen. You can see Lombok, Mt. Agung, the lush bali forest, ah it was amazing, I had some serious goosebumps from happiness and excitement up there. The boys also thought it would be fitting to throw on the lion king soundtrack as the sun was coming up which made the moment that much more epic. Bali is so beautiful!

We decided to take the “long way” down which consisted of us hiking along a small path over steaming volcanic rock. The views along this side of the mountain were just as amazing. It was also crazy to feel volcanic steam, it was SO hot! The long hike down was interesting though, we were all pretty beat. The boys were dancing and I was falling (classic Courtney, I think I’m part baby deer). There was one part that we had to run down and it was just a trail covered in loose dirt, it was hilarious, the boys had music blaring and go pros out, was pretty sketchy but I was too tired and laughing too much too care.

Once we all got to the bottom the exhaustion had sunk in. We had been up since 1:30am, started hiking a massive volcano at 3:00, and were down and finished by 10:00 am. What a way to start your morning, we all just wanted water, a shower, and breakfast in our mouths.

I would highly recommend Mt. Batur to anyone though, was incredible.

More on future trips, Balangan, and Gili T to come! xx

Start of our dark hike up.

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Sunrise

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Sunrise.

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Mt. Batur