I'm sure I should have done more planning, but it's too late now. Last Monday, we drove to the airport, got on a plane for 13 hours, then onto another one for 3 more. We were tired from the long journey, 24 hours door to door, by the time we reached our first stop on the Indonesian island of Bali.
Travelling is new for us. We've had one and two week vacations before, but nothing more than that. I don't know if we'll be any good at longer duration travelling, but we'll find out soon enough. Either way, it will be an adventure and an experience, and will provide me with more than a few stories to bore people with🤣
Perhaps, at 49, I'm too old to be doing this? It's OK, I already know that I'm not, although I did see some accommodation that said no over 35's!
Although I'm clear that we're never too old, I do know that I'm not particularly adventurous nor am I overly inquisitive. And despite having done more than my fair share of work related travelling, I'm still a cautious and slightly nervous traveler.
I can therefore say with certainty that I'll spend a lot of time worrying whether I'm in the right place for the bus or the tour that we've booked. I can also promise that you won't see me bungy jumping from bridges or parachuting out of planes. And while we're not averse to a bit of sightseeing, there is a limit to how many temples, churches and buildings we need to see.
Given these words, you may wonder why we're doing the travelling. For sure, we could carry on with our normal life easily enough, but I've decided that I don't always want normal. Easy or not, our trip is going to be interesting, testing, exciting and different, and that seems a good way to lead life.
A quick note on our travel plan. We're away for four months (other trips hopefully to follow), visiting Bali, Australia, Hong Kong, Japan, Thailand, Vietnam, India and Dubai. We have the flights booked, but not the accommodation which we're booking a few days ahead as we go.
Our first week in Bali
We've been away from home for seven days, although almost two were taken up with travelling and the time difference.
The first three days were in Jimbaran. We had nice accommodation, but more remote than we expected - 4km to the beach and almost 3km to the supermarket. However, there were a small number of restaurants close by, and an excellent vegetarian/vegan restaurant on site.
On Friday, we moved to Seminyak, where we booked a room in a homestay. It's simple accommodation but had what we need and is close to the beach and to the town streets for shops and restaurants.
As Sally has just finished work, we've treated this part more like a holiday, going to the beach, wandering around the town and shops, eating out in restaurants and enjoying a little more beer and wine than is sustainable for four months!
It's been a nice relaxing start, but closer to a vacation than what I imagine "proper" travelers would do.
That said, we have done a few things differently to our normal. We rented a moped in Jimbaran, my first time ever on a motorcycle - our daughter was shocked when she saw the photo. We've also only booked accommodation a few days ahead which, for an ex-accountant, is very un-accountant like. The low cost homestays are also new to us.
What have we thought of Bali so far? We've enjoyed it, even though it's been a little different to what we expected. We've felt safe, found the people friendly, and most things are good value and much cheaper than we're used to (although less so in the tourist hot spots).
We have some great pictures, but in person some of the views haven't quite matched the perfect tropical images that appear on an internet search. I'm sure those places exist, maybe I didn't do enough research to find the perfect spots, or perhaps they're most often within expensive resorts, and not so much everyday Bali? But we haven't been disappointed, we've enjoyed our first week.
What have we learned about travelling so far? We've learned to question the first option to find a better deal. For example, our first accommodation offered transport to our second accommodation for £30 ($42), but instead we signed up to a local Grab app (like Uber) and got the same journey for £5 ($7). We've also learned that renting a moped in Bali is crazy cheap at a fraction over £3 ($5) a day!
We've also learned that lower cost accommodation can be fine. In Jimbaran, we paid £35 ($50) per night, and in Seminyak just £17 ($24) per night - both prices were for a room for two people with en-suite bathroom and breakfast included. Sally hasn't complained, so that's proof that they're at least good enough.
For our second week we leave Jimbaran and Seminyak and head inland to Ubud, and then on Friday we fly to Cairns in Australia.
Last part for today, a quick list of what we did in our first week and the approximate costs - I'm using this part of my blog as a mini diary for myself, but some people may also be interested.
Week 1 - what we've done:
Monday - Travelling all day
Tuesday - Travelling/Jimbaran. Arrived at accommodation at 2pm. Afternoon walk exploring the local area. Dinner at the accommodation's excellent vegetarian restaurant.
Wednesday - Jimbaran. Rented a motorbike. My first ever ride in the morning to find a supermarket/ATM. Beach in the afternoon. Couldn't resist the same excellent restaurant for dinner.
Thursday - Jimbaran. A mix of a lazy day around our accommodation, catching up with life admin tasks and my blog. Went for a run, but not much fun on the narrow Balinese roads. Pizza restaurant for dinner was OK, but I missed the vegetarian restaurant!
Friday - Seminyak. Moving from one place to another takes longer than we expect. Went to the beach in the afternoon before finding an unimpressive Australian styled pub/restaurant for dinner.
Saturday - Seminyak. A lazy morning, followed by more being lazy on the beach in the afternoon. Found a nice restaurant for dinner.
Sunday - Seminyak. A short run on the beach before breakfast, then exploring the main shopping streets to take in the hustle and bustle. Found another nice restaurant for dinner with good live music.
Week 1 - we spent a total of £467 / $658 for 2 people on:
Accommodation £185 / $261
Meals/Coffee/Snacks £218 / $308 (beer & wine is expensive, probably 50% or 60% of this amount - we should cut down!)
Toiletries/Sun Cream £21 / $29
Taxis £22 / $31 (transfers from airport and then from Jimbaran to Seminyak)
Beach beds £3 / $4
Massage/Facial £7 / $10 (the facial was for Sally, not me!)
Moped hire £3 / $5
Laundry £1 / $1
Clothes £7 / $9