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Day #111 Lombok, a turning point

I have to say that our days in Bali were very refreshing. It ended up being a great place to spend Christmas for the first time with Jess as my wife. Despite the comfort and lifestyle in Bali, Lombok was promising to be an even better experience due to a wellness retreat we had planned. When you travel for a long period, you always find times when your body and mind feel the need to drawback from its traveling spirit and treat themselves to something more home-like. For us, that was 10 days at the unforgettable Mana Yoga. This meant a few fundamental things that had become scarce to us: a daily routine, the practice of exercise, time to relax, meeting new people and taking time for ourselves!

Mana resort is located in the small fishing town called Kuta. The town is set between two stunning beach bays in the south coast of Lombok. This place is especially known for amazing right-sided wave spots such as: Gerupuk and Are Guling. This makes Kuta a “little Mecca” for surfers. Besides the surfing, I loved the fact that every single beach I went too was untouched by tourism. I wonder why people keep going to Bali!? Kuta seemed to us the perfect balance between nature and simple comfort. I believe I could easily settle there!

We decided to have zero plans during our stay in Lombok. The goal was to repeat the same routine every single day so that we could "grow our root"s for a bit longer than usual. Our routine was simple and straight forward, like any kind of perfect routine: sleeping, cooking or eating out, surfing, practicing yoga, treating ourselves with massages and watching some movies.

Our days would start between 8am-9am with breakfast: a couple of sourdough toasts, a selection of tropical fruits from the local market, a ginger tea and some coconut water. I would then grab my board, give a kiss to my beloved Jess and ride 15 to 20 minutes to find the perfect waves. The best reef breaks were far from the beach so fishermen would take me there by boat. Waves were amazingly easy to catch and very consistent. Surfing on those conditions was a new reality for me. Jess wouldn’t stay behind! Every two days, she had a surf class. One of the teachers was called “crazy banana”, a name who perfectly described the character. He would dance and sing reggaeton music on the way to the beach. His name wasn’t enough so he had found a surfboard to match. Proudly, he showed the drawing of a half-peeled banana across the back of his board. He lived it fully and genuinely! Once we were back to Mana, we would have lunch and pick one of the yoga classes. It felt great to find again these moments of connection to our body and breath. Yoga is really a practice where I can find inner peace and enjoyment. It’s definitely a habit I want to practice for life. We would finish our afternoon with traditional massages. For dinner, we would either try a new restaurant or cook at the villa before watching a movie.

One of the nicest surprises during our stay at Mana was the villa! We were very lucky to be upgraded for 6 nights out of the 10 to Mana’s comfortable villa. This meant a nice private garden, a huge bathtub, a living room and a kitchen. It felt the universe was giving us exactly what we intended. Finally, I was able to do what I love the most in my routine: cooking! This meant I could go crazy at local markets and test new local ingredients, such as tempeh, in my food. We felt at home again. Jessica was so happy to eat home-made food again. I love to cook for her and she loves to eat my food, making us perfect to each other in that sense.

Another great chapter of our stay in Lombok was the New Year’s Eve. We didn’t have many plans besides going with the flow. We went for dinner at El Bazar café with two nice Americans we met at Mana. We decided to try the tasting menu which we later agreed to be a wrong choice. However, we let ourselves be convinced by the open bar on cocktails. We left the restaurant around 11 pm in search for our next destination: the surfers bar. At that point we were already under a subtle influence of alcohol. We arrived to the bar where all local surfers and backpackers were meeting for this special night. It was funny to bump into Jess’ surf teachers. They seem even crazier due to too much drinking. One of them couldn’t stop thanking me for trusting them “my wife” for the surf classes. Also, Crazy Banana was indeed a crazy dancer. I enjoyed the surfer and local vibe of the place. The size of this gathering was perfect. Besides dancing with Jess, one of the best highlights of the night was the moment where Jess and I almost “killed” someone with firework. We bought one big firework to fire at midnight. Thinking that it would only fire one unit, we aimed at a tree by mistake on the second shot. Together, we fired 12 beautiful shots into the sky, which was a great way to celebrate the start of a year full of great intentions. 2019 will definitely be another amazing year with my love.

More than just resting, we found time and space to decide what we would like the rest of our trip to look like in 2019. We came to the conclusion that if we want to travel the North and South America the same way we are travelling in Asia, we need to work in between. We realised that it was too late for applying to the Australian working holiday visa. Therefore, we needed to rethink everything. I love this part, as where Jessica usually needs a bit more time to digest things. Here a few highlights of our new plan. First, we decided to stop in Vancouver to work starting from mid-April. Despite the good reputation of Vancouver, the fact that I have a Canadian passport and a brother working near by made the city an obvious choice for us. This way we still have a bit more than 3 months for traveling, to which we have booked all our flights already. We will start with South East Asia, then flight to Australia and New Zealand and finish with South Korea and Japan. Another news, but still to be confirmed with flight tickets, is that we are planning to spend two weeks in Portugal during the last week of June and first of July mainly to attend the wedding of close friends and spend some time with family. By then, we should have a work in Vancouver. We leave our intention to continue our trip in the air but we also are aware of the possible turns in life.

For our next stop, we planned a beautiful boat trip in the Komodo National Park. Our plan is to enjoy 3 days of beautiful nature. We have heard that we will find Komodo dragons there and some of the most incredible snorkelling spots on Earth.

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