Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Gili Islands

If you are in Bali for a long time, it would be a shame not to visit the Gili Islands. There are different options to travel, and we chose to take a speed boat from Sanur. It is pretty easy to acquire information from any travel agent in Ubud. Make sure to bargain and talk to a couple of agents before buying your tickets. When you travel for a long time, each dollar becomes important and bargaining becomes a life style.

After a 2 hour journey, we arrived at Gili Trawangan and were greeted by our host Herman from Gili Smile Bungalow. Herman is a young man who goes the extra mile to make people happy. He helped us with our luggage and when I offered him a tip, he refused and stated that he does everything from his heart without expecting anything in return. 

Wow, wouldn't our world be amazing if we were all like that? It was a great lesson coming from this young man. I had tears in my eyes and started to question my motives behind my actions. 
How often do you do something without expecting anything in return?What are your motives when you deal with people? Is your actions based on love or do you have a hidden agenda?

Our little brother Herman
Herman became our little brother during our stay in Gili Trawangan. He showed us around the island, helped us to rent bicycles, snorkelling gear and arranged boats to visit the other islands. He brought us to some great snorkelling spots where we were able to swim with sea turtles and colourful fish, such a fantastic experience!

During our time in Gili, we visited two other islands by boat, Gili Meno and Gili Air. They are wilder than Gili Trawangan and offer amazing waters to swim and snorkel.   

Herman also organised a surprise birthday party for Alex and gave her a bracelet that he made himself. We were truly touched with the thoughtfulness of this young man.  At night, we made bon fires, sang songs and danced. There were also a couple of reggae bars with live music where you could experience the relaxed vibes of Gili Islands. 

6 days went quite fast and it was already time to return back to the Island of Gods. It was hard to say goodbye to our little brother and some other friends we met at Gili Trawangan, however we needed to move on.

Our friends in Gili Trawangan
After the Gili Islands, we returned to our oasis at the Swan Inn . I like this place because it is in the middle of Ubud but feels like being in the countryside. They have a beautiful garden with a large fish pond and coconut trees. There is a small rice field next to it. There were some talks about building a hotel in that rice field which made us really upset.  

It is disappointing to see Ubud changing so quickly. There have been many new restaurants, upmarket shops, and big hotel constructions since our visit last year, which slowly destroys the Balinese culture. This change however helped me to see my attachment towards Bali. Change is inevitable and any attachment in life creates nothing but misery. For me a good method of practicing non-attachment is through Vipassana meditation, which truly changed my life. I will talk about this later on.

Sunrise at Batur Volcano
Another highlight in Bali was climbing the active Batur Volcano. We were picked up by our driver, Yanden, at 2am in the morning and drove to the base of the volcano. We had to hire a guide to take us to the top. Under the Indonesian law, you are not allowed to climb the volcano without an official guide as it can be quite dangerous, especially in the dark. It was an intense 2 hour hike to the top. 

We reached the peak around 5am and were surprised to see a local lady selling tea and coffee. We couldn't resist a hot Balinese coffee with condensed milk on top of a windy volcano . All of our efforts paid off when we saw the sun rising slowly. We stayed another hour to explore the grounds, and then slowly made our way back to the car with sore legs. If you are fit enough, I would highly recommend a trip to the Batur Volcano.

We were very happy to discover the healing effects of breath work through a full day workshop run by LenaKristina Tuulse from Sweden. She is a loving lady who helps to heal past traumas or blockages stored in the body using natural breath. After our positive experience wit her, we joined more workshops run by Anthony Dunkley, the founder of the Alchemy of Breath. Another powerful breath worker I would recommend is Giten Tonkov from Biodynamic Breath. If you haven't tried breath work before, give it a go. You won't be disappointed. 

After a month of yoga, healing, massage, relaxation, breath work, detox, organic food, new friends and many beautiful memories, we were mentally and physically ready to travel the world. 

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