a little downtime

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even though i had a free round trip ticket to the Gili Islands burning a hole in my pocket i was not quite ready to go there.  not only would the place be bubbling to the brim with mid-August tourists, i was in need of some recuperation time.  that’s right, i needed to recuperate from that vacation i just took from traveling.  one could easily come to the conclusion that the immaculate beaches, breathtaking sunsets and relaxed paces that the Gili’s are famous for would be a more than acceptable place to recuperate, but i am a different sort.  i was a traveler needing to make the transition from vacation mode back into travel mode and hopefully recycle much of my wanderlust in the process.  this could not easily be done while surrounded by other tourists and insanely beautiful things.  i needed a non-special place where i could hang my hat for a while, preferably large enough to establish a living-like routine.  it needed to be hard but not too hard.  so after a minute or two of careless researching i decided to use the first leg of my free Gili trip to go to Mataram: Lombok’s capital city.

after a couple of days of roaming aimlessly without purpose (my absolute most favorite thing to do) i came to the conclusion that Mataram was perfect for my needs.  not only was it just the right amount of not special, it had a worn-out olympic-ish sized swimming pool only 15 minutes walk from my homestay.  i spent the next 10 days forming and clinging to what could resemble a routine.  this involved waking up and getting served my complimentary breakfast of coffee and a fried egg sandwich, followed by an hour or two of swimming laps (using the speedo and goggles i just so happen to have brought) either with or without a pool full of naked screaming children, then eating my 3 favorite dishes at my 3 restaurants of choice, then back to my porch to drink the water they call beer and fully escape into the wonderful world of audio books.

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i ended up getting pretty tight with the mother/daughter team that ran the homestay.  mom liked to fish recyclables out of the near by stream and daughter seemed to be prone to seizures.  one day mid-conversation she suddenly went limp and fell out of her chair.  her fists clenched up and she began to drool.  mom came to the rescue without hesitation.  then a moment after she regained her consciousness she headed to the garden to pick flowers as if it never happened.

on the second day of recuperation i woke up to realize that i was covered quite literally head to toe with itchy red bumps.  this would be my first of a few beyond annoying encounters with the tiny black ants that seem to infest many parts of Indonesia.

20130818_115717 (copy)around day six i decided to take a break from my recuperation from my vacation from traveling.  i rented a motorbike and drove like a mad man around the entire lower half of the island.  i visited the hippie-surfer-bum beaches of Kuta, the rural fishing villages on the southeast peninsula and then headed half way up the east coast and shot straight through the middle of the island with the sunset in my eyes.  all in all i found it to be quite different from its Balinese brother.

by day ten i woke up ready for the Gili’s.  after paying my sizable bar tab and saying a sad goodbye i boarded a bus followed by a boat to Gili Air.  Gili Air is the island of chill, while the other two Gili’s are purposed for honeymooners and party animals.  at about 1.5 kilometers in diameter there is nothing quite like being on an island of this size.  i could easily wander its circumference in 90 minutes at a stroll.  the west coast of Air was the most desolate as well as the most beautiful at dusk.  from there you could look out at the other two Gili’s at low tide while the setting sun colors the sky a blood red and back-lights Mount Agung on Bali.

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i befriended two Brits and an Aussie who had arrived a day before me to seek refuge from two solid weeks of partying on Gili Terawangan.  we did some snorkeling, tormented some crabs and starfish and then found a restaurant that would serve you an entire chicken and show you a film via projector screen on the beach.  that night’s attraction was the original Blues Brothers!

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i guess the moral of the story is that traveling the world isn’t always peaches and puppies… but sometimes it’s quite a few peaches and puppies.

  1. #1 by dj on August 27, 2013 - 10:25 am

    glad i did not accidentally steal your speedo like i thought i did…how does one recycle wanderlust?

  2. #2 by roarkb on August 28, 2013 - 8:52 pm

    dj :

    how does one recycle wanderlust?

    my latest successful attempt involved doing this:

    step 1: stop wondering for a minute (these things cannot be forced)
    step 2: try the best you can to establish some sort of non-travel/life-like routine and stick to that routine until you are absolutely sure you are ready to move on (days may pass by the handfuls with out your realizing, this is not a bad thing).
    step 3: research the endless list of amazing things you could be doing in the various parts of the world
    step 4: make a plan
    step 5: execute plan

(will not be published)