In Two Years I’d Like to be Here ….

Jo starts to feel the tension rise in her body. Things are hectic today. The office is all phones, people, cheering and bells ringing. Putting her headphones in, she takes a moment to do a five minute guided meditation, something she brought back from her ‘spiritual awakening’ in Bali a few years ago. As she focuses on her breathe, her shoulders start to relax and her mind eases. Coming out of it she opens her eyes and smiles proudly. She created this chaos. 

After having a third-life crisis (‘mid-life’ is way too old for her only now at 35), she turned her life around, got happy and set up this internet start-up. She’s got this. Walking barefoot around the office she talks to people and helps just, get things done. She charges the room with her energy, that’s why people think she removes her shoes. She says it’s to stay grounded but they know it ignites the room with the same enthusiasm, passion and light that she has, its infectious!

As the last person leaves and the cleaners start their rounds, Jo tidies her desk and writes tomorrows to do list. Leaving the office she walks five blocks to her favourite canteen and sits on a bench seat to people watch out the window. Getting out her journal, she reviews her personal to do list. One item. One last item. Find a man.


Because I Love You

It was the newest Vegan cafe in a Balinese touristy town. People were flocking to check it out, colourful paint, thatched roof, urban warehouse meets tropical island haven. The front page of the menu told the story of the Australian owners, John and Laura. They met on holidays five years ago, fell in love and opened the cafe using local produce, sustainable practices and sharing with the community their passion for good food and environmentally conscious living. People loved that story, they idolised their lives.

This week, Laura was off volunteering in Burma, so John was running the cafe alone. He greeted everyone with his generous smile when they walked in. He stopped by tables to meet people, learn where they were from and what they were doing in Bali. He posed for photos and took some too. He knew they’d end up on Instagram-for a fleeting moment would hold someone’s attention then be dismissed with the flick of a finger into cyberspace. John hated people sometimes.

Ketut walks in and beams his pearly white teeth at John. “Hello Boss!” he sings. In an attempt to be covert, he winks an eye that actually pulses his entire face like he’s having a fit. John knows he has good news. They chat mindless conversation as they walk out to the back of the store. Ketut pulls a roll of newspaper from his backpack and out rolls a BBQ chicken. “Thanks mate, I owe you, today is killing me in there!” John scoffs the animal down, trying not to let the smell leak out of the paper and reveal his secret to the staff. Ketut laughs with his belly and shakes his head. Like barbarians they both wipe the grease off their mouths with their whole arms. Ketut leaves and John has a cigarette to further hide the truth. 

John loved Laura, so he loved everything she loved. Let’s start a cafe she said. Let’s live a lifestyle people only dream of. In paradise she said. Ugh he shrugged. Why did she have to love those bloody monkeys so much and leave him there alone?

Island Time

No cars, no motorbikes. I love the soft jingle of the horse and cart as it makes its way behind you. So festive in its colourful head dress or banners, its driver usually sporting a football jersey of a team they likely have no idea about. Workers on bicycles are like acrobats the way they sit on stacks of timber, hold large buckets or boxes on one knee or hover cargo in front of them, all peddling to island time, a soft rhythm of resourcefulnes. 

Aimlessly walking the narrow streets, the scenes change as frequently as the weather in a typical Melbourne day. A group of goats stand mindlessly on a rubbish hill, with roosters crowing around them keeping them inline as if they think they are sheep dogs. Endless signs for diving and drinking specials line the east side of the island enticing party goers to spend their money and create the garbage that lines the street in the early morning for pick up. The west side of the island boasts the calmer, slower flow with swings in the water and beach chairs lining the beautiful clear blue water. Surrounding the base of the one and only hill, small huts line curved tree lined streets like cubby houses lifted off the ground in case of flooding. 

There’s an island walk you start to take on, to avoid puddles and mud. A slow, concentrated, strategic walk, like a giraffe scared to get its ballet shoes wet. Once you start to notice your new walk it’s hard not to laugh at yourself. The mud sticks on the back of your legs as if you just stepped out of a cement mixer. 

The sunsets on the west of the island create strong blues, oranges and pinks. As the day comes to a close, it highlights the things I have conquered, Mount Batar, closing a chapter on what has been done. The sunrise in the east, bathes Mount Ranjani on Lombok highlighting its outline almost in mocking reverence for the mountain I want to climb. 

The best restaurant in town knows my name and my favourite deserts. I go early and take up a huge bungalow seat fit for a large group. The staff don’t mind so I don’t mind. It’s island logic, first come first served as long as you like, “no problem”. 

Accommodations advertise in misspelt signs, wifi and hot showers but both rarely exist. The mozzies here are rampant and with the occasional rain fall I can’t keep them from eating at me, despite my poisonous bug spray. Maybe it’s just poisonous to me with how much I spray to keep them at bay. 

Tourists flock to the beach where the swings can be found that bombard Instagram feeds #blessed. What is not seen in the photos is people actually enjoying the seat, taking time to take in the sunset. They line up, look relaxed and ‘in their bliss’ then move on for the next person and their photo. On my sunrise run, I stop at the swings. Dangling my feet in the water, I sit and sway forwards and backwards. I watch the fish swimming and spot starfish. Island slumber means I get to enjoy the beach alone, enjoy the swing alone and soak up the moment everyone ingenuinely creates to share with the world rather than themselves. 

There’s no schedule, no where I need to be. I’m set on a twelve hour pendulum swinging from sunset to sunrise. Anything other than that is eating, sleeping or writing. 

My island time is perfect. So slow. So relaxed. Time feels to have stopped here. What day is it? When is my ferry? I’ll check tomorrow, is it tomorrow? Or the day after? Just one more sunset to soak up….