The hours of my last day in Bali drifted away like clouds on a strong sea breeze. People came and went throughout the hostel and I stayed put, not needing to risk getting lost again by taking to the streets. I talked of my travels with those who wanted to listen, offering advice to those fresh off the proverbial boat. During the last hour free hour I before I had to leave for the airport, two of the other guests I had seen earlier in the morning came back in after a long day exploring Denpasar. In with them came the wonderful aroma of Satay. I hadn’t eaten since breakfast, I was spending every last rupee I had to get back to the airport. The house attendants name was Rama, he was also my driver to the airport, occasionally he acted as a day guide for tours out of Denpasar, was the hostel cleaner, cook , trip organizer, and basically anything to do with anything around the hostel, It was probable he had a hand in it. If he wasn’t working he was passed out on a small mattress beside his desk or sitting around talking to people. He ran over to the couch I was crashed on holding some chicken Satay out to me telling me to come join everyone for dinner. So, I sat down at a low wooden with Rama, a German, his Thai girlfriend, and a french Canadian Girl who had stepped in some sort of Hot Tub Time Machine and been transported here directly from the late 70’s. The group of us went through all of the usual traveler chat of “where are you from? Oh Cool always wanted to go there, or I was there last year. How long are you traveling for? Oh yeah I have been going three months myself.” The exact same five minute intro for nearly every foreigner you meet. After awhile our conversation turned to nature and how peaceful Bali was once you got out of the tourist areas.
The German, Ronnie, looked at me and asked me if I have ever heard of this island off the coast of Thailand. The name didn’t sound familiar to me, but I didn’t know Thailand that well anyways. He then pulled out his phone and started showing me pictures of this tiny little bungalow out by the beach. The shots showed a beautiful abandoned sandy beach, dogs playing in the surf, of praying mantis sitting on his finger, a video a gecko being born from an egg behind his dresser. I was just scrolling through the photos checking it out thinking about how magical this place looked. He excitedly kept trying to show some video of a dude doing a back-flip off a ship made out of driftwood but the only parts of the video I saw were him doing really terrible hardcore beach parkour. Despite this, I kept gawking over beautiful this island was. Ronnie had basically lived out on this island for two years, a few months here and there. He told me this place was secret really, and that he doesn’t usually tell people about it because it would ruin it in a way, but Phiman would love to have you and I think you would love to be there. Le left me with one last word of warning though, the said that it was extreme low season and that the place was practically abandoned, but that it was good in it’s own sort of way.
Then all of a sudden it was time to go. Rama was grabbing my bags and ushering me out the door. As I rode to the airport watching the last of Balinese traffic swerve past, put that island in my back-pocket for something to do after Koh Tao. Rama and I talked as he nearly avoided slamming into the rear ends of a few jeeps. Turns out he was the same age as I was, twenty three, and we compared lives. We were both studying psychology at university, though he was taking 6 years to do it so he could continue to work. He had also dated a German girl at one point, even going to Germany to visit her before they broke it off. I found it funny how we could have such a connection, such similarities, and yet come from drastically different lives,on other sides of the world.
I also looked back at my days spent and Bali and tried to think of something meaningful, something that would bookmark the end of a blog series a final goodbye and conclusion. All I could come up with, all I could think of was how happy everyone was here. Everyone greeted me with a smile and a wave, whether it was someone trying to get me to buy a third sarong, or a child holding the string of a kite floating hundreds of feet above his head, or an old woman sitting and watching the world move around her. I had seen only three people begging on the street in my entire time in Bali, because the community always banded together when someone was in need. There was always another bed, a meal waiting for anyone who needed one. Out here people generally cared about one another; I think this is why people are drawn to travel to this part of the world. Sure, some people come out here because it’s cheap and you can live like kings and queens, but most people I met enjoyed the authentic travel experience so much more. Out here there is something genuine, a deep connection and symbiosis with the people and this land. Maybe that is something we are missing back home, something that we have lost as we have become more spread out from our families, more focused on material wealth. Or maybe this is all just some rambling to close off a blog that has taken far to long to write, who knows. Regardless my thirteen days traveling Bali were some of the best I have ever had and I looked forward to whatever Thailand may have in store for me.