I’m on the roof of a ferry. The bright sun is shining on my face – actually burning the shit out of it – but the fresh breeze cools me down. Everywhere I look I see beauty and white little islands. I’m super excited, yet a bit nervous. But I’m smiling as always. The smile on my face scares all the people around me ‘is he gonna blow the boat up?!?’. No I’m not, I’ve enjoyed the strongly Muslim country and the amazing people of the islands of the Maldives! I’m just happy and just started my mission to Indonesia.
Here is my love story from the Maldives to Indonesia.
Leaving Maldives wasn’t as easy. Not only mentally – I wanted to stay there for at least one more month – but also to get my physical body away from a tiny island, to another tiny island a million miles away from each other. My trip from Maafushi (a small local island in Maldives) to Gili Trawangan (a small party island in Indonesia) was rough.
It took me 2 full days… Literally 48 hours of being on the road full time to make it sound even more dramatic. During this trip I caught 5 local ferries, 2 airplanes, 1 scooter, 1 taxi, 1 bus and over 1 hour of walking with a 15 kg backpack. Somewhere along the way my wallet got stolen, I missed a bus, didn’t eat any proper meal and had a massive mission to find an ATM to buy that not so great food.
Why? To surprise my awesome little (but older) sister! The big girl was going to travel half a world away with 2 other sweet little girlfriends of her. Their destination: Indonesia.
The complete story of my mission
Are you ready?
Here we go…
2 months before all these exciting things I was in Melbourne calling Larissa (sister):
“Hey Laris, I’m so sorry but I cannot make it to Indonesia to visit you..” I said with a shameful sound in my voice.
“No ___ (a strong word of own choice to be filled in the blank), why not!?” Larissa answered.
“I’ve got a job offered on a scuba dive ship up north and it’s a big opportunity…” I went on: “It’s for the whole month July, I can’t do another month because that’s the high season.”
“Noooo, Rens, then I’m not going to see you for this whole year…” She said.
“Sorry…” I said and it fucking hurt.
It fucking hurt even though I knew I was lying.
1 month went by and I found out that she was gonna do a 3-day trip to the Gili islands. I tracked the dates and the guest house where they were going to stay. I had some help from back home for the information. Thanks mom and dad. One day later and I booked my tickets: Malé (Maldives) – Singapore (Singapore, hehe) – Praya, Lombok (Indonesia). BOOM-CHICKA-WAUWA!
So there I went. 1 month later and it’s only 2 days before Larissa arrives on the Gili islands. I found myself sitting on the roof of a ferry in the Maldives, knowing that a massive trip to Indonesia was waiting for me. You know, I’m now referring back to the first paragraph.
I got off the ferry and found a nice spot with some ships in the background. I grabbed my phone, put it on selfie mode, hit the record button and started talking to my phone: ‘Hola! I’m in Cairns, Australia and one of these ships is gonna be my home for the upcoming weeks, bear with me guys, bear with me!’. I hit the post-button and now everyone on Instagram has access to my bullshit. This worked out just as good as planned: Laris’ last hope of a surprise flitted away. Perfect. Sorry sis’.
2ish days later (God knows which day it was) at 10pm when my plane, with me inside (thank God), landed in Lombok, Indonesia. My mission for an ATM started, I bought some food, downed it in 1 minute and ran down to the bus to find out that I missed it. Fuck. I crossed the island later that night and arrived at a hotel next to the harbour. 3 hours of sleep later and I was on the road, again. On my way to the harbour. Now I started to get real excited and a bit nervous, too.
I saved $20, – by taking a public ferry and I was nearly sitting on someone’s lap for the next 20 minutes. But it was worth it.
All good, I’m still on schedule. I set foot on Gili Trawangang and it’s just 9am…
Hey welcome, my reader friend! You’re now in Renzo’s mind (I know what you’re thinking. Fuck!).
Okay I’m here. Larissa is in Bali and the first ferry from Bali is leaving around 9am, which is about right now. From there it’s at least gonna take her 2 hours to get here. Sweet! Rens, you’re on point with your research! You didn’t miss your ferry either. Spot on, spot on! You’ve only got an empty phone. Good job… But, why the fuck are you talking to yourself in a third person? And talking to yourself anyway, whoaa.. (Pablo would understand me here). Alright, next mission: find homestay.
Hmm, the homestay was something like straight, right, left, 2nd street right again and then… Hey! a horse with a funny saddle and it looks so happy, haha that’s funny. Oh true… where was I? And then… hmm. Oh, right, I wrote it on my arm. Gowd, I’m clever sometimes! Let’s go!
Whoaa, this street is soooo long, I was meant to go to the right somewhere here I suppose… Hey, that’s a cool house! It reminds me of the time when I was bla, bla, bla… Oh, no! Where am I? Where did I go? Ah no, fuck… Not again!
So as you can imagine. Finding the homestay took me a while. But against all my expectations, I got there eventually. I met the owner. A weird and funny dude from New Zealand with a strong accent. I confused him with my story but he was happy to help me with surprising Larissa. Such a legend. He took care of me and gave me a comfy couch behind the cameras so I could see everyone coming in. I was set for at least 5 hours and chatting with him while my time waiting. 5 hours wasn’t enough for him to tell me his whole life story, but he definitely did tried his best.
On my way to you..
Welcome ladies, how can I help you?
And then finally… I don’t know how exactly it works. But it felt like my blood started to boil. My body reached at least 50 degrees. My hands got sweaty instantly and started shaking, just as my knees. It was weird. Fuck, Renzo, why!? I couldn’t control. I ripped a towel from the line and put it around my face meanwhile watching the live cameras where I saw Larissa and her friends. I was hiding in the room next to the desk. The door was half open so I could hear the owner saying “I’m sorry. I don’t understand. I’ll get the owner and he will check you in.” On the live camera I could see him walking back to the room. He walked into the room with a grim on his face. A GoPro in one hand and thumb up on the other hand. I wasn’t ready, but I was! I walked out and could just finish my sentence “Welcome ladies, how can I help?” and then the “HUHH!?” followed by some high voices of Simone and Natasja overmastered the sounds of the island. At this moment Larissa has a surprised look on her face, with a funny bright smile. She wasn’t saying anything. She just stared at me until the started to come in for a hug. She took a classic jump into my arms to give me the most loving and tight hug I’ve ever had in my life that left me this super complete and joyful feeling. It was magic.