Goodbye Indonesia

After 7 amazing months of traveling around Indonesia, I am now sitting in a plane heading home for Australia. It is with mixed feelings that I watched my suitcases being loaded onto the plane.

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I am incredibly fortunate having friends (many of whom I now consider family) throughout the many islands of Indonesia covering the breadth of Indonesia from Sumatra Barat to Papua Barat. People have asked me to name the place I loved the best and it is truly a question I can not answer. Every single place I visited, every single person I visited, they were all highlights and to rate one above another is impossible.
My posts have only captured a fraction of my adventures and when I look through my photos, I discover posts I had every intention of writing about but didn’t for many reasons, including internet connectivity problems, time restrictions and iPad limitations. I wonder if writing them after I have returned home would be of any value and have nearly convinced myself that there is indeed a value!
I have been composing mental lists of things I will miss about Indonesia and what I am looking forward to most about getting home which I am sure every traveller does. High on my list of the pro’s for going home, although not in any particular order, include the luxury of not having to live out of a suitcase nor the constant worry about it’s weight when checking in for flights. Leading up to goodbyes was emotional enough without the added stress of trying to pack everything back into my pack with fingers crossed that I was within weight limits! When Lion Air suddenly dropped their luggage weight to 15kg, I couldn’t believe it! Luckily the staff were very accomodating when first implementing this new restriction!
Surprisingly after the countless times of packing, it was unbelievable how many times I thought I was packed only to look around and discover that once again I had forgotten to pack my toiletry bag or even more frustrating, that I had packed the toiletry bag only to realise I hadn’t cleaned my teeth or brushed my hair . My toiletry bag included not only toiletries but also first aid necessitates so was quite bulky and therefore needed to be one of the first things packed. Although on several times I tried to cull the contents of the toiletry bag, it was never successful. I could always justify why each and every item was vital! I guess I could have also separated it all and packed things individually, but with the constant moving, it was just easier to keep it all together so that I could locate the contents quickly and easily.

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So I am particularly looking forward to arriving home and unpacking everything for the final time. It will be a great feeling putting everything away and knowing that not only can I spread my things out and not have to keep a mental check on where I put it all, but also just as exciting, I don’t have to worry about fitting it all back in to my pack again! I can put my pack away in the top of the cupboard and live out of cupboards again where every thing is in a particular and obvious place. Oh the luxury….
Another aspect that I will not miss at all is the hot muggy weather that is throughout Indonesia at the moment with the buildup to the wet season, however I don’t know if I am jumping out of the frying pan and into the fire with the onset of an Australian summer! It was with great relief that I heard SA is in for a few days of cool wet weather, although I wonder how quickly the novelty will last. I actually found the humidity very debilitating towards the end and it was the sole reason I wasn’t blogging quite as often as usual. The heat and humidity also impacted on my sleeping and I feel quite sleep deprived. I either froze in hotel air condidioning or lay awake for hours on end sweating or even at times lying on the tiled floor which was surprisingly very easy to adjust to if the alternative was hot sweaty sheets on a hot sweat soaked mattress! Other things I am really looking forward to include seeing my family and friends again, seeing if my dogs and cats remember who I am, dropping into school to say hello to staff and students and hope they don’t think I am lording it over them (much) as they still have a week to go before school holidays, finally seeing a physio about my shoulder which has given me trouble for the last 3 months but of course the best thing of all will be just being home.
However, there are a million things I am going to really miss about my nomadic travels. Foremost are my Indonesian friends and family who without any doubt are the most warm and welcoming people on this planet. The many highlights from my travels were all due to this fantastic group of people and in many instances were only possible because of them. If I started a list of these highlights, I wouldn’t know where to start as in every place I visited, there was at least one person who bent over backwards to ensure I experienced something unforgettable, whether geographically or culturally, it was all spectacular and I consider myself to be one very fortunate person. One day, I look forward to you all visiting me in Australia so that I can return the favour. It would be a dream come true if I could share my part of the world with you and introduce you to my friends, family and students!
Other aspects I will miss include the amazing Indonesian food (which I will attempt to recreate at home), my many cooking lessons, the long bus trips ( I just love sitting on buses and watching the scenery pass me by), while chatting to either a fellow passenger or the fellow who collects the fares, the laid back and relaxed attitude to life, feasting on seasonal fruits, befriending complete strangers in the street, walking alone and feeling completely safe, unusual forms of transport (becaks & bajaj are incredible) and the amazing exchange rate which helped me get through 9 weeks of ‘LWOP” (leave without pay). Needless to say, the latter was incredibly tough and I return to Australia with $52 to my name and all my fingers and toes crossed that I don’t have to wait too long for the next pay day!
So thank you Indonesia, for the holiday of a life time. It may have been only 7 months, but it will remain with me for a lifetime.
Terima kasih dan sampai jumpa lagi!

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6 thoughts on “Goodbye Indonesia

  1. Welcome home Catherine and thank you so much for sharing your travels with us in such a detailed and evocative way. Your stories have seen me through my hospital stay and some quite tough times. I really enjoyed reading about your wonderful experiences.

  2. hope you do continue your posts. i fell in love with indonesia last year, went back this year, and plan to return in 2014 and 2015–such a friendly and varied country! have been following your blog and saving it to my travel folder.you are a GREAT blogger!

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