It’s a strange post to write. Most bloggers boast about how amazing the world is, how they made the most of every single minute of travel. However ever since I got home in August (why does that sound so long ago?!) I have had the niggling feeling that I did not make the most of our final destination on our 7 month trip; Bali.
I was there for 2 and a half weeks and was looking forward to experiencing a new culture, along with some relaxation before heading back to the UK. A lot had to be fitted into the itinerary, due to my partner wanting to complete his Advanced Open Water diving qualification and both of us eager to explore as many parts of the island as possible.
Unfortunately the best laid plans never seem to turn out the way you want them to. Initially, while I knew it was high season for tourism in Bali, I did not quite realise how busy this would make the island. Ubud was so packed you couldn’t even walk on the pavements and when you team this with the extreme traffic jams, it made for an unpleasant experience in a place that was so beautiful. Then when we got to Gili Air, I received the treat of a streaming cold – the type that gives you a fever and confines you to your air-conditioned room for almost the entire time spent on the island. If things couldn’t get much worse, I then came down with food poisoning during the last week of our visit. As a result I did not get to truly experience Gili Air, Jimbaran or Seminyak and it gave me quite a warped view of Bali as a result.
I felt that the island had been over-taken with brash, drunken tourists looking for a pub, a beer and a tan. I found the island difficult to navigate, the roads small and winding – the sheer amount of tourism causing absolute havoc. I feel I didn’t get to explore the true Bali, the Bali that Instagram stars seem to capture so well.
This feeling of regret really bugs me. If you spend the money to travel somewhere, you should do it properly. You should do it to a point where, if you were told you could never visit that place again in your lifetime, you would be content with the fact that you saw and experienced enough.
Next time you travel, consider whether you’ve done enough. Whether it is a country, an island or even a city – have you felt the true essence of that place? Because let me tell you, that feeling of regret after you have returned to your home country will stay with anyone who is passionate about travel until they return and put it right; something which I one day very much hope to do.