When nothing is sure, anything is possible.
When I first started traveling around Bali, I became increasingly upset that I already have a return flight home. Because Kelly and Stephen if you're reading, as excited as I am for your wedding, every hostel I Goto friends are planning their next move, or getting their Australia work visas and then they ask me 'what's after bali?' And I reply, back home to New Jersey.. Even if I wanted to go somewhere else I really should make my departing flight out of Denspasar, I felt stuck, in this plan. And I felt like it was silly that I came half way around the world, to see one small island and nowhere else around here.
When I had my issue with my visa, that's when it occurred to me, I'm not stuck. All my time in between that return flight other than my training is free . I can go anywhere I want. I am in charge of my life ! And that visa issue was giving me my chance, it was the universe saying just go Ya big dummy!
But of course as I am trying to escape one visa issue, I run right into another. We booked pretty last minute and tried online to get a visa for AU and the website was giving us all sorts of issues. Not sure if if was the site or Bali Guest Houses shitty wifi, we had to just show up and wing it. When checking my bag for my flight at 3 am I was told I cannot get a visa upon arrival and must have one before I board the plane. This led to last minute rushing of calling Australian officials, online applications, and running in the airports to get to the gate with one minute to spare.
These types of stressful situations almost entertain me now. The challenge makes me feel like I've accomplished or learned more. And like my old swim coach Mr. Wakely used to tell me, I work well under pressure. (Literally he'd tell me to go up to the blocks and that I was signed up for a race two minutes before it started and then laugh at me as I scambled.) Sometimes I can plan Too much and I need to be thrown into spontaneous, last minute, stressful situations like that. Anyway
I am so so happy that Jen, Kelsey and I decided to book our flight to Perth, Australia! Not only would I get to see a state outside of Bali, but a whole new continent!! Perth is the fourth largest city in Australia and the largest city in WA (the state of Western Australia ).
The minute I walked around the city I felt like I was in San Diego, and many locals told me they've heard that comparison before as well. Whilst being a big city, with big buildings and its own airport and what not, Perth still isn't that populated and is apparently quite low key compared to Sydney and Melbourne. The city is on a harbor and is very clean and I don't know how to explain it really, it just feels like San Diego. Similarly, the city has some cool parks and it's nice to walk around, but the cafes aren't as cheap or healthy as Id always like and instead I prefer the beachy, surfy, suburbs surrounding it.
Throughout our stay we checked out areas such as Marmion Marine Park , Hillary's, Scarbourough ( Scabra ) beach and Swan Valley.
Our first day there was spent in the hospital as Kelsey has been having some stomach issues, this gave me and Jen an opportunity to walk around and explore the harbour, the bell tower, and the candy selection.
Yes that's right candy selection, I try to keep it healthy yes, but I am a sucker for trying new things in different countries that I know we don't have at home even if it isn't that good for me. I'm also a sucker for Kit Kats, they're my favorite candy. I'm pretty Convinced that the Kit Kat must be the official candy of Australia as I have never seen so many different types and flavors. That and the awesome Perth international night food market right next to our place, leaves me feeling in need for a few days of yoga detoxification in Ubud.
We stayed in a hostel just outside the city, it was walkable to most places but when exploring other areas we could get a day pass for trains and buses and transportation was incredibly easy. In fact everything felt incredibly easy. Everything was in English, online, punctual, and they even have a count down at the free bus stop telling you exactly how many minutes until it arrives. It feels just like home. The only differences being the awesome accents, overwhelming friendliness of local Australians , and the overwhelming allure of Australian men. 😁🙈.
Anyway I was feeling quite spoiled once again being able to drink tap water yet forgot that I am once again in a real country and will be carded at bars. I forgot my ID everywhere (pulling a linny west) . Which was extremely necessary at night (most bars wouldn't even accept my license and wanted my passport! ) because it is the Aussies busy long Labor Day Weekend. Not a big deal, just less expensive beers for me. But it was interesting to catch another Labor Day in March and see how their summer season is just winding down as our spring at home is barely starting up ! I was able to enjoy this Labor Day instead of working the beach all weekend
Another difference is the overwhelming Australian sun. The weather was gorgeous. Hot beach weather but not as hot, humid and buggy as Bali. There was usually a nice breeze and it cooled down at night. But this makes it even easier to get sunburnt and due to the huge hole in the ozone layer AUs UV index is off the charts.
Also Australians are coffee snobs, apparently Melbourne has one of the best coffees in the world and Starbucks is the only American franchise that never made it here! . McDonald's, Target, 7/11, they're all here, but the Starbucks have all been shut down. "They know sheet coffee when they see it." I thought that was pretty cool and interesting but This came as a big disappointment to Kelsey who as she travels, collects Starbucks mugs from different cities, yes probably the most ridiculous and inconvenient collections a traveler could have, but Ya gotta love her.
My favorite day was spent in Swan Valley and Freemantel, we started our way up north at Cavershath Because Kelsey wanted to Goto the Wild Life Park, Jen and I opted out and toured the free woodland reserve instead to avoid the entrance fee and get a more natural experience. We were just sauntering around behind the gates of the Wild Life Park walking in the trees and admiring the ostriches from afar when boom! We saw about 6 Kangaroos! It was my first experience seeing roos in the wild and I was very amused seeing them hop about, but I am pretty sure to Australians this is about as common and unexcitng as seeing a deer on the road back in Jersey.
Regardless, Jen and I took plenty a pictures of the baby Kangaroos and were ecstatic to have caught them in their natural environment rather than paying. Kelsey was still in the park so Jen and I wanted to head to Swan Valley to wine taste. We had missed the 20 Min shuttle that takes you back to the parking lot area by 5 minutes so we decided to walk.
It was quite hot and I figured this little path would be a safe area to have my first hitch hiking experience . It was just a little path and all people leaving the wild life park. I know, I know it can be dangerous, but we were kind of desperate, didn't have much money to spend on cabs and transportation isn't as easy outside the city. Plus I wasn't alone and I think it's something everyone must do at some point in life!
This experience worked out so well that we not only got a ride all the way out of the park but straight to the door of our first winery, which was pretty far north and we hadn't realized how long it would take to walk. Oh the kindness of the Aussies!
I was pleasantly surprised at our first delectable wine tasting only being 2 Australian dollars. Granted it wasn't as big and fancy as some I had done in Sonoma Valley, but to taste 7 wines for about 1.60$ American? I'm thrilled. The second one we went to was free! Followed by another short hitch hike we made it to a third and favorite wine tasting of the day. This one had two adorable "wine dogs", the most kind owner, was free, and we did a free olive oil tasting! Oh the life we live!! We made such good friends with the girl working and she happened to be just getting off work at 5 as we were leaving and gave us a free ride to the train station. In return of all the hospitality we experienced there, and off a high of this wonderful cost free day, we bought our favorite wine we had tasted there and brought it down to Freemantel beach. We enjoyed it while watching a beach sunset with a jazz, art and food festival behind us. It was one of the best days of my loyfe for sure. I almost Croyed tears of grattitude.
All in all it was a truly awesome experience my first one in Australia. And if I had booked every night in Bali a head of time, I'm not sure if it would have been possible! They say that when nothing is sure, anything is possible. And I am still free every day I am here! Sometimes it's good to not plan, to be open, because if you always choose what you think you want ahead of time, you could loose something even better that was waiting for you.
So now I head back to Bali and I just am so excited! As great as Australia was, to me it's more of a place to move rather than travel, it's so easy and accommodating and similar to the U.S.! I love the challenge and different culture Bali brings. I actually miss rice and everyone asking me if I need 'transport?' , the street markets and mostly how cheap everything is!! I don't think I realized how much I love Bali until I left it. And that's how we humans are with most things, not necessarily taking them for granted, but just not understanding a true appreciation for something until you are separated from it. And so I feel so much gratitude for the opportunity to get away and come back ready to experience Bali all over again with a new eye!
UBUD here I come!