My trip to Indonesia was preceeded with doom and gloom by family members. “You can’t go all that way on your own”. “What if you never come back”. And I thought “Thanks guys for the positive vibes and faith..not”. My determination to go on my ‘Eat, Heal, Camille’ solo journey was unwavering.
I felt compelled. Even though at points I had some anxiety about the unknown. How would I be received? Especially ‘travelling while black’, something that is forever in the mind. Yet I knew through all the doubt - that I would be alright.
My journey was mapped by a boutique tour operator; Northern Bali, then to Lombok island, and back to the South of Bali with days in Dubai to break up the flight time, also gave me the opportunity to catch up with my dear friend Stephanie who lives there. My stay would be in luxury 5-star settings. Gosh I sound boujee, but was keen to enable comfort and security especially as I would be on my own of a night-time.
From Ubud, to Lombok, to Gili Air to Nusa Dua, throughout my time I was never really alone. And looked after by numerous people along the way. Even when facing the challenges of exploration - the spirit of Indonesia and human kindness had my back.
Speaking of having my back. Lombok is seen as a pinnacle of luxury in that region. You’re transported (via 2.5 hours boat ride) to an isolated place of stillness and beauty. A space without the hustle and bustle of Ubud, no shopping, just the Indian ocean and a stunning beach front luxury resort. A stereotypical ‘perfect’ spot for couples and lovers alike. At Padangbai harbour, I sat sweating profusely in a ramshackle yard on a wooden bench, with 4 pieces of luggage (an increase of 2 due to Ubud shopping sprees) in 40-degree heat waiting for my allocated fast boat to Lombok. I was approached (a constant) by two sweet elderly women. One selling handmade wooden artefacts, the other selling fruit. While they were coaxing me to at least "buy someting". I noticed two young guys watch me, trying and failing to politely turn them down, as I bought something from each woman. They laughed warmly at our interaction (this became a running joke between us; my ability to attract sellers).
Turned out these two gentlemen; Marcus and Jordan were English. I initially thought they were a cute couple; but were great friends and travel companions. These two made my Lombok stay so special. Marcus looked after me on the boat rides, and our consequent day trip to Gili Air island – he held my hand and reassured me when things got rocky on and offshore. On Lombok island, they were my handsome dinner dates and day time infinity poolside buddies. Jordan would fascinate me with his technology, gadgets and science know-how. At night, we’d all star gaze and he’d tell us the star names with the aid of his app - We saw Saturn, Venus and Jupiter on most nights…
I’ll never forget their wit, intellect, and kindness. We laughed and spoke about life and men with candour. I told Marcus he’d be great at stand-up comedy. He really would. I loved spending time with them, and watching their child-like brotherly banter was so much fun. When it was time to move on to the next phases of our holiday, it feel quite sad but obviously inevitable.
As it’s Pride month I encourage you dear reader to have an open, non-judgemental heart of acceptance - The way Marcus and Jordan accepted me. Thank you Marcus and Jordan for my Lombok memories and Happy Pride month to you.
And see dear family, I was more than alright, I was fine.
Next on #KarmaStyleMusings: Eat, Heal, Camille