One morning we awoke at 2am in the silence of our Villa to venture to hike Mount Batur, the largest Volcano in Bali. A driver took most of our small group in a car but Aaron, Heidi and I all decided to take Scooters on the hours journey through the mountains. The air was intensely fresh and cool, something we were not used to, by day break the humidity covers you like a blanket. The Scooter ride was dark along windy roads through mountains along a worn and ragged surface, we arrived at our destination in the dark with great anticipation.
Climbing the Volcano was honestly one of the most dangerous and adrenalin pumping things I have ever done. Health & Safety codes are almost non existent in Indonesia so the climb although extraordinary was mentally all-consuming. We climbed the Volcano with a guide by our side in only a few hours, reaching the top to watch the sunrise. The moment light began streaking above the horizon was such a powerful moment, here we were almost 2km high, it felt as though we had reached the top of the world and could suddenly see earth beneath us.
When we reached the top eggs were boiled for us using the steam from the active Volcano. The steam in many parts poured into the atmosphere, floating along the ridges and giving moisture to the vegetation growing at this altitude. Suddenly wild Monkeys emerged from all angles of the Mountain almost attacking us to steal some breakfast. We then scaled the edge of the Volcano, walking one foot in front of the other for close to an hour along moss riddled rock and amongst fine gravel. The adrenalin of this part was nearing bitterness for me, afraid of heights and suddenly I am tip toeing the edge of this vast death trap (or so it felt at the time).
Hiking down was a slice of heaven really, with so much light and the thought of being so close to ground. I am so glad I was able to do something like this in life, I couldn’t have imagined doing this hike with a better group of people, all so energetic, sweet and filled with a desire for adrenalin through adventure. The journey home was really quite enchanting, I clung to the back of the Scooter still filled so richly with adrenalin, watching the scenery go by, feeling so weak from no sleep the climb yet never so alive.
Life for a month in Bali (words and photographs to come) was truly the most inspiring month. A whole four weeks in a Villa in the Rice Fields of Ubud with 20 artists from all over earth.
For our final days a small group of us decided to make the journey to Gili Islands. A last minute decision that we all were so grateful for. We got a driver from Ubud all the way down to Padand Padang, weaving down narrow roads through the tropical mountains to reach the coast line. We then caught a boat which turned out to be one of the most incredible boat trips I have ever been on, dolphins lined the glass-like water in pods and the sun shone. We spent hours on the top deck soaking up the sun, the ghostly clouds lining the blue skies with beautiful new friends by my side.
Gili Islands themselves are like something out of a film. The Reef travels the shoreline which is lined with some of the whitest sands I have ever seen. The islands themselves are small and filled with incredible little cafes, bungalows and markets. Drugs are legal and every second local person you pass is offering you some kind of high. We stayed in a dodgy little hostel… yet what can you expect for $5 a night? I was speechless landing on the beach walking down a home made set of wooden set of stairs onto this pristine beach covered in attractive and lively travellers from all corners of the earth who had heard of this secret place.
We spent our days there cycling around the island ($2.50 a day), drinking cocktails, swimming out to the reefs from the shoreline and eating fresh local fruits. Snorkelling off the beaches was truly like dream, a few moments after your feet have sunk into the warmth of the sea you are a part of a different world exploring coral beds and touching amongst large schools of vibrant coloured fish. Along the beach there was a large vacant piece of land, in the day it was lifeless yet by nightfall it became a beaming market, luminous and filled richly with all the freshly cooked foods you could dream of, arrays of exotic fruits and raw desserts, vast amounts seafood caught that day by the locals smoked on bbqs.
On our last night after cycling around the entirety of the island we discovered little bungalows built out amongst the waves, we spent the night there from dusk, watching the sun sink beneath the horizon and drinking fruit smoothies, eating vegetarian pizzas and salads and gazing out to sea together. Leaving was hard but one day I will return with more time to give and possibly a small film to create.