In July 2015, we were two adventurous solo travellers wondering around in Asia, not knowing that against all probabilities our paths were soon going to cross. Our meeting (and so this blog) is basically the result of some bad fish, some bad weather and some bed bugs. Let’s just say many things didn’t quite go to plan. However, had these mishaps not occured, you wouldn’t be reading these words…
Martina’s side of the story
In the beginning of 2015 I quit my job (organizing travel for other people) in order to take the leap and finally do some long term travel myself. 5 months later, after arriving to my 9th destination of Asia trip, I thought I knew pretty much what to expect. However, Indonesia proved that travel can always throw up the unexpected. My plan was to get in, sort out an Indian visa, dash up a volcano (the ‘dash’ being a three day trek…) and jump on a boat tour to see the Komodo dragons. However, I hadn’t reckoned with the slow Indian visa process or the fact that the end of Ramadan meant the end of boats to Komodo. After a quick change of plan, an even quicker change of a moped’s flat tire and a less than quick motocycle ride through the end of Ramadan celebrations, I found myself fighting with cockroaches for space to sleep on a boat whilst we sailed (very slowly) to Java. I looked up at a flare gun being shot to the sky thinking: “Here it is, everyone warned me Indonesian boats are not safe at all!!!” I didn’t have a life vest and thought we were probably going to sink and die. But as soon as images of Titanic disappeared from my mind, I realised that shooting the flare gun on the boat at midnight was just the part of the celebrations. I continued wondering. Wondering what my last minute destination will bring. And it brought Tom! But heeey! Not so quick! How did he get there? And what does it have to do with a bad fish? Well, we are about to find out…
Tom’s side of the story
Having grown fed up with the Great British weather, I had taken the leap to start working in an international school in Thailand. During the long summer holiday in 2015, I too ventured to Indonesia.
On arrival to the island of Gili Trawangan, I booked myself onto an advanced open water diving course. I then ducked into a restaurant and ordered some fish soup. As it turns out, the fish was bad… REALLY bad. The next 24 hours are best summed up as “unpleasant”, and I had to postpone the diving for a couple of days. As a result, I was trapped on Gili T when a storm rolled in and prevented boats from leaving the island. After several other mishaps (more about this here), I finally checked into the Kampung Osing Inn in Banyuwangi roughly a week later than I had originally planned.
Martina had checked into the same hostel the night before, but had changed rooms as she discovered it was full of bedbugs. When I checked in, Martina spotted me heading into the bedbug infested room. She didn’t have the heart to warn me (though in fairness, I never saw the insects… maybe her blood’s tastier), but we ended up chatting. Within 48 hours we had bought our first house (okay, a tent) and were heading to Mount Bromo.
Why Look After You Leap?
The proverb “Look before you leap” would have you cautiously considering every move you make. Whilst we agree with this sentiment in some situations (if you’re going to leap into a swimming pool, it’s a good idea to double check there is water in it first…), we usually prefer to leap first and ask questions later. That’s how we ended up deciding to travel round South America during the second week we had ever spent together.
Through this blog, we will share our travel stories and hopefully encourage others to stop dreaming about travelling and to take the leap sooner rather than later. We don’t believe in predetermined fate, but if we hadn’t made the series of decisions that are detailed above, we would still be living parallel lives and this blog would never have been born.
Oh, and avoid fish soup.