Reflecting – Australia, New Zealand and Bali 

Since getting back home to the UK after our travels we’ve found it to be a strange mix of emotions.

To see family and friends again has been amazing, but one of the hardest things about being away for such a long time has been the adjustment back to ‘normal’ life, reverse culture shock if you will.

The time back home has given us time to reflect on what we learnt and who we’ve become. Overall we are full of such gratitude that we were able to have such an incredible time together. It truly was the best experience of our lives.


We thank our friends, family, those that we met and gave us somewhere to stay, the locals for such amazing insight into where they live and everyone that made us laugh along the way. Our outlook and values have changed in ways we didn’t think possible before we left.


Life is full of simple pleasures and people from all different cultures and places make it amazing. As one legendary hippy we met put it we’re all citizens of planet earth’.


While travelling we found life was unfiltered and experiences raw, the freedom and simply beauty was quite astonishing. We approach life now in an altered state, the lessons we learnt while away resonate with us on a daily basis.

If there’s one bit of advise we could give to anyone thinking of going away, it would be to just go. You will discover things about yourself that will surprise you in ways you never imagined.

Advertisements

The last JUMP of our incredible adventure

Bali50We felt free in Bali, some of the most free and easy days of our lives. Time seemed to have almost no meaning now, we were just governed by the rising and setting sun. It had been an incredible place to experience. We left Nusa Lembongan to travel to the Bukit Peninsula, this would mark the last part of our time in Bali, and the last part of our whole adventure. Something neither of us wanted to think about.

Bukit12Bukit9Bukit30

The journey back to mainland Bali was much the same, with a crazy boat ride and chaotic car journey through the busy streets. After a month this had become almost normal now, but compared to the ordered systems back home it was just as exhilarating as the first time!

Bukit26Bukit15

We were staying in an air bnb, run by the coolest Spanish guys. Edd thinks they have the dream job welcoming guests in the morning and then surfing all day. He’s not far wrong!

Bukit43Bukit21Bukit16Bukit14

Shortly after our arrival we were told about a mandatory night out! I could see the fear in Edd’s eyes now that he’s turned 30. After a few Bintangs (the local beer) we headed to an outside bar which was really chilled out. We both absorbed the good vibes, drinking and dancing the night away.

Bukit17Bukit22Bukit25Bukit27Bukit18

For the rest of our days we drove around on our trusty scooter and headed to the some of the most beautiful beaches we have seen. We were lucky enough to catch Uluwatu with some good swell and see the iconic reef break working its magic for those surfers brave enough to be out there.

Bukit33Bukit34Bukit39Bukit35Bukit38Bukit32

For our final night we went to Uluwatu Temple. We explored the sacred grounds, with its imposing position on the edge of huge cliffs. The last treat was watching the famous Fire Dance. This was just amazing, with 70 guys chanting in a meditative state whilst the sun set and a story was acted out. The traditional Balinese dress, makeup and dancing was mesmerising, we watched in complete awe.

Bukit40

We are not quite sure how we have arrived here at the closing of this chapter. Packing our loyal backpacks for one last time felt crazy. We’re not ready for this adventure to end.

Bukit42Bukit20Bukit19

Both of us have been able to grow so much together. Edd is so comfortable with who he is, which is just fantastic to see and I feel the same. I couldn’t be prouder of him and who he is. A passionate, kind hearted, talented, surfer hippy. Who stands up for what he believes in.

Bukit3Bukit7Bukit8

Peace & Love, Ally & Edd x

Bukit5Bukit29

Nusa Lembongan and another hairy boat ride!

After such a relaxing stay on the island of Gili Air we were sad to leave, but also super excited for Nusa Lembongan.  All it took to get there was another two and a half hour boat ride.  After our previous ride of terror (previous post), we were quite nervous and rightly so, as the swell was huge!   


Somehow this boat ride was even more terrifying than the first!  At one point we actually leapt so far out of the water that people started screaming, one lady shouting ‘we’re going to die’! Then another poor passenger sat next to us was violently sick.


I was so pleased when we finally saw land, and Edd was super happy to see the reef breaks around the island pumping. The waves were beastly waves. After this life affirming boat ride we decided we’d walk to our next air bnb, it didn’t look far on the map, but oh how we were wrong.  


45 minutes later dripping in sweat, getting lost several times, clambering over rocks and through bushland we finally made it. We were welcomed with a cold flannel and a glass of fresh watermelon juice. I had managed all of this with a bout of the dreaded bali belly!  To say we slept well that night would be an understatement.

Once feeling rested and back to 100% we spent the next few days on a scooter and explored the island and its neighbour Nusa Cennigan, crossing the famous yellow bridge.  


All of our scooters we have hired seem to be getting progressively worse.  This time our chosen chariot’s speedometer didn’t work and neither did the fuel gauge.  We only found this out when part way up a hill and the scooter cut out,  with a 10 minute push to the nearest petrol.


It was here on Nusa Lembongan that we decided to try yoga for the first time and wow, what an experience, probably one of my most favourite experiences ever. In a bamboo shack surrounded by palm trees and bush we gathered twice with our teacher and fellow yogis, trying Hatha Flow and Yin Yoga.  

It was during these classes that I was actually able to understand what its like to think of nothing and just be in the moment, I had managed mindfulness, something I have been striving to do for so long.  


The rest of our time was spent lying on the beach, playing cards and drinking coconuts, pure bliss and relaxation.


We can’t quite believe our 6 and a half months of travelling are nearing the end, with only one more stop left on our Bali adventure. The only problem was another dreaded boat ride to get there….


 

 

The Beautifully Chaotic Canggu 

For both of us it is our first time visiting South East Asia. Many of our friends have been and you hear a lot of stories and opinions, but like anything else, the only way to truly know is to experience it yourself. 


We arrived into Denpasar, Bali and immediately felt the humid air hit us as we stepped out the plane. Before we knew what had happened we were through customs and spat out into the most crazy of places.


Luckily we had booked a driver in advance, although finding our names took some time, refer to photo above, this showing only about a quarter of the names being held up.  


The guy driving us didn’t hang around once we jumped in, wildly overtaking, cutting corners and generally thinking he was driving a scooter rather than a car. His regular method when a situation got too tricky was to flash the hazard lights and put his foot down.

After a tense and crazy ride eventually we arrived into our first stop – Canggu. 

Neither of us had any preconceptions about this place – which we have found is often the best way while travelling – you are then not worrying about reaching your expectations. While there we described Canggu in one phrase as ‘beautifully chaotic’. 


The road, was full of scooters, people and animals, all trying to find their place. The east meets west influence was so clear, with hipster coffee shops next to traditional rice fields and cows. 

At times it is very overwhelming and completely surreal. There was also a real chilled out surfer vibe in the air, which both of us appreciated. Although I managed to cut my foot several times while out surfing at one of the reefs, a lesson learnt to land flat in the water. 


Our favourite day here came when we took a scooter ride North of Canggu, out into the countryside. Soon the western influence dried up and we were amongst the locals. 


We got lost in one village and children stared at us in amazement, shouting ‘hello’ with huge smiles. We often stopped and watched around us, most the time with our jaws on the ground, we were blown away. 


The time in and around Canggu was amazing. Being in a completely different culture and county was not only refreshing but brought complete mindfulness of the situation, as everything was new to us. Bali had certainly welcomed us in a spectacular way and we were very much enjoying every single moment.

NZ Week 7: Volcanoes, Snow and Surf

Our first true impression back in the north island – after a quick visit to Wellington – was the snow capped volcanoes! 


Driving towards these beasts was like nothing else we’ve experienced, quite bizarre knowing that one could go off at any moment too. 


There had been a fresh dump of snow the night before we arrived. Walking out into it was pretty strange in May, knowing that back home it was summertime and everyone was probably out barbequeing. 


After a crazy drive on the ‘Forgetten Highway’, with our fuel running eye-wateringly low, we arrived into Taranaki. 


This volcano was the most striking for us as the surrounding landscape is so low lying. Sleeping on the side of it felt truly weird. 


The next day it was time for a walk and we climbed up one of the surrounding mountains for a closer view of the volcano, it was awesome and huge! 


Next on our route was Raglan, a place I have wanted to visit ever since watching the Endless Summer. It turned out to be one of our favourite places in NZ, reminding us very much of Byron Bay, proper chilled. 


One of the crazy things about this area of the country is the black sand, it certainly gives the beaches a different feel. 


It was a super fulfilling week back on the North Island that’s for sure. 

Noosa

We’re currently writing this at our hostel in Cairns. Reflecting on our time in Noosa, over a month ago, now feels like a world away from up here in Northern Queensland. Cyclone Debbie is on the way and is currently forecast to hit land south of us tomorrow, only a week ago we were in this area. It really makes you feel quite small knowing how powerful and destructive nature can be. We just hope it’s not as bad as forecast and wish all those affected the best, including those we’ve met. 


Back to the topic in hand – Noosa. We decided to spend just over a week relaxing in this picture postcard looking coastal community. We had heard plenty of good things about it and many had told us it was like a posh Byron Bay, which turned out to be pretty true. 


It’s definitely a place where you need money, but even being on a backpackers budget we still managed to find plenty of fun things to do. 

One of our highlights was taking a walk through the national park along the coastal path. We passed beautiful bays that were draped in awesome looking pandanus palm trees, each one calling out for a swim. 
Eventually we came to Hells Gate and here we spotted an eagle and more amazingly in the water there were turtles. The waves were huge and the turtles seemed so calm in comparison, bobbing up every so often for some air and then diving back down. 



Carrying on our walk we spotted the ‘fairy pools’, which we had heard so much about. They were glorious crystal clear rock pools and were like nothing I had ever seen before. The water was alive with multi coloured fish and crabs crawling around at the bottom. One beautiful fish had horizontal yellow and black stripes. It was mesmerising to watch.


The following day Eddie had an amazing surf at Tea Tree Bay after days of eyeing up the point break and waiting for the swell to come good.

His face was beaming with excitement when he got out of the water, he’d had a really good surf. We decided to spend the rest of the day down there but whilst clambering over the rocks, I spotted a snake weaving its way across the rocks heading our way! All was okay but it was a bit of a scare. 


Our Air Bnb host we were staying with was kind enough to take us to some awesome spots. One afternoon we went kayaking down the river, which was lined with huge and expensive properties. Afterwards we climbed a nearby mountain for sunset and then had bonfire back at the house, all great fun. 


Edd read in Lonely Planet that Noosa is an expensive playground for the wealthy, but importantly the beach, sea and landscape will always be free. This fact was true and we found pleasure here by not spending much money at all. 

Apart from our everyday living costs the only money we really spent was on a coffee at nearby Eumundi, which was well worth it.

Keeping it Cooly 

Last year while camping down in Cornwall we met an Aussie guy living near Lands End. He was really interested in our upcoming trip and was kind enough to recommend a few East Coast stops. One of these was Coolangatta, or Cooly as it’s better known. 

Similar to Coffs Harbour we were pretty much the only ones to get off at this stop. Had we made the right choice to follow the advice we were given? 


After spending 10 days in Byron it was quite a shock to be in such a different environment. Byron consists of low rise buildings and plenty of vegetation, so it feels very natural, particularly when you are down the beach. In Cooly it was a very different story, high rise buildings were in abundance. Instead of mountains in the distance we could now see the sky scrapers of Surfers Paradise on the horizon. 


It took a bit of time to adjust, but the next morning we felt more comfortable and really started to enjoy it. The amazing sunsets definitely helped too.


Coolangatta is situated right next to Snapper Rocks and Kirra – both of which are world famous surf spots. We spent one afternoon watching and the standard of surfing was ridiculously high. You could sense the competitive atmosphere in the water, certainly a contrast to the laid back vibes in Byron. 


After spending the day chilling round the corner from Snapper Rocks I decided to hire a board the next day and head in for a surf at Kirra. With the board under my arm and strolling down to the shore it was quite astonishing to see how clear and turquoise the water was.  

As I jumped in the water I immediately noticed the warmth. Wearing a wetsuit now seems a distance memory. It was a glorious surf, and amazing to think I was surfing at such a famous spot. 


We’re super pleased we stopped at Cooly, it’s amazing to experience the contrast in areas as we make our way up the coast. If only we could thank the Aussie guy now living in Cornwall… you never know he might see this one day.