90 days in Indonesia


After leaving Flores, we flew to Bali where we spent a few days exploring Ubud and then traveled north where we rented a home in Sambangan for a week and a half in an area known for having many waterfalls.


The flight from Flores to Bali was easily the most stunning experience from the air!

BB166C53-DACB-4A20-8469-57C9036465883C635B0B-1F78-42C3-AF3B-C58EE3E3611E1D84FB2C-66FE-4DD5-9BC1-061C353C4CD70332AA5D-093C-4C0C-A811-1423923F351CWell, we have probably had way too much fun in Indonesia the last 90 days. Wow, only 3 months?! Looking back at everything we have done, seen, experienced, smelled and tasted it feels as if we have spent 6 months here. I just told Rob that this has been a once in a lifetime experience – traveling through Indonesia with such an adventurous spirit that just so happens to be my very amazing husband. Motorcycle trips across islands, hiking volcanoes, swimming in blue lagoons, more boat trips than I have been on before, endless massages (we estimate we have each had approximately 2 dozen at $7/hr or less) and “playing house” on 3 separate islands: earthship on Kenawa and rental homes on Flores (my favorite!) and Bali. We have spent most of our time in areas that are off the beaten path and not touristy at all. Being the only white people, needing to speak the language to get by and seeing how the country changes across islands has been more special than we could ever get across in this blog.

We spent a day hiking through the Sambangan waterfalls with our guide, Mahri.  Eight waterfalls, swimming together in a blue lagoon with no one else around and both taking the plunge to make 16 and 32 foot cliff jumps made for one of our best days in Bali!



I was so excited to jump into my first waterfall of the day!


Rob and Mahri


Part of our hike took us through exploding flora



Aling Aling waterfall



Enjoying the peace and beauty don the blue lagoon


Approaching blue lagoon


Other parts of our hike took us through remote areas with more stunning rice terraces



Happy in the lagoon


My advice to anyone planning a trip to Indonesia would be – Do not only plan to visit Bali! Yeah, yeah, I know it’s easy for foreigners – you can probably get by with never speaking the language or using a squat toilet, always having air conditioning, western food and the “comforts of home,” but why bother traveling 1/2 way across the world if it always feels like home?!  Each of the main islands have such a unique feel to them from the religious traditions that vary, local food, topography and dialects.  We counted 15 islands that we explored over the past 3 months and not one was identical to another. Everyone has their own way of traveling, but mine is not to take the easy route. Easy is boring. Test my limits, put me outside my comfort zone, and show me how much I never even realized I didn’t know. That’s what makes traveling fun for me. We are both absolutely in love with the random, crazy, unexpected things that are thrown your way on a minute by minute basis in this country.

These “little guys” hang out by one of Rob’s favorite sate babi stands (pork on a skewer) and we have to protect our food from their grabby hands.  Snack and a show!

Someone cradling a wild monkey on the side of the road, walking a huge pig down the street, waking up to the sound of wild dogs and chickens every morning no matter what island you’re on, watching the bats come out at dusk and fly right in front of your face each evening, driving a Suzuki Katana rental that feels as if the wheels will fall off with every bump in the road (but heck it was $13/day), seeing homemade farm equipment and motorcycles on the road with you, families of five all riding on the same scooter, offering trays on the dash of your rental car, crossing the sea in a boat that feels and sounds like it is likely to die before you reach your destination, ….watching beautiful sunsets over the water more consecutive times than ever in my life, having friendly people welcome you no matter where you go in the country, eating a meal for $1, falling in love with the sea, swimming, snorkeling and the beach for the first time in my life, hiking volcanoes under a brilliant sky full of stars, wild orchids lining the street…The phrase “that’s Indonesia” gets used all the time between us. We have a huge repertoire of jokes, silly songs, and references that have all come to life over the past 90 days. We have met so many people that have helped shape our travels. Whether remembering the local lady who Rob visited 3 nights in a row at her Senggigi Warung to get us late night Mie Goreng (we still comment that hers is the best we have had here), some of the outstanding local guides who have taken us hiking through jungles, waterfall trails and national parks or the many ex-pats we have met that decided to move here, Rob and I remember each encounter fondly. We encountered so many people on every island who visited from abroad and fell in love with this country as we have except that they made the plunge to live here.  I have really enjoyed talking with these people, most of which run their own business or nonprofit here, and listening to the challenges and rewards they have faced.  Rob and I briefly discussed moving here, but don’t think that will happen now. Instead we will return and spend a lot more time here in the future. Who will join us?! And no, this is not the end of our SE Asia journey. We opted to continue our travels here through the summer and head to Cambodia next…

Gitgit waterfall


Giz is a great travel companion


West Bali National Park and Menjangan Island…we woke up at 5am and drove 2 hours to the park to meet our guide, Idriss.  We hiked 2 hours through the park seeing deer, beautiful birds including the gorgeous Bali starling and dozens of black monkeys.  The monkeys were our favorite part as watched them eat, jump between trees and be shy of us in their natural environment.  Truly amazing.  Then we took a boat to the island in the park and had one of the best snorkeling experiences of the past 3 months.  Rob couldn’t snorkel because his foot is still healing, but he was laughing at me when I came out of the water and ran up to him yelling, “there were so many big fish! I felt like I was in an aquarium! It was a amazing!” I didn’t realize I was yelling, but it was such a great experience and I was so excited that it all came out at once!


Looking back at Bali


Pulling up to the mainland to begin our trek through the park





In contrast to the aggressive gray monkeys we see everywhere the black monkeys are shy and it was rare to be able to get so close to them







Hiking through monkeys & snorkeling through what felt like an aquarium is best followed by the completely unexpected legitimate Indonesian winery on the way home! And only the second bottle of wine we have had in 3 months!



It was a hot day a and the tour guides ay the winery offered Ian these hats to protect us while we toured the vineyard


Local Balinese grapes are grown on pergolas


And the imported Australian grapes grown in the raw traditional method


Fun in Ubud


Blanco museum





Rob enjoys the pool at our hotel



Loving the Balinese style door to our own little bungalow in Ubud


And more fun in North Bali…


Lunch overlooking Lake Tambinglan



VIsiting Brahma Vihara Arama Buddhist temple in North Bali



Amazing lotus flowers at the Buddhist Temple



Lovina Beach



WW2 memorial by the house


This bakso (meatball soup) truck sets up in the parking lot of Lovina Beach. We have been down there 3 separate evenings to watch the World Cup at a local expat bar.  While we eat from the local lady next to this truck (I can’t get enough Mie Goreng/fried noodles and Rob is suffering from a dire Babi Nasi/pork & rice addiction) we think this truck is fantastic and we need one back home!



Sunsets from the house in Sambangan


Waecicu Beach, Flores, Indonesia

D261A01A-60E9-4F2B-995A-738AF48CE13E.jpegAfter our AMAZING, will forever go down in history as “one of the best things we ever did together”, three week motorcycle trip across Indonesia we opted to lay low for a while. A large factor in that decision is the necessity of healing Rob’s smashed left foot as soon as possible so when we get to Bali next week we can continue trekking and exploring.  Given how poor the roads are on this island we are feeling fortunate that a smashed foot is all that happened and still hasn’t marred what a great time we had zipping around.  We really wanted to stay on Flores, but had been unable to find the kind of accommodation we were looking for – a place with our own kitchen, not too expensive, where we could play house for a bit and take it easy.  One of the undeniable benefits of traveling on the fly is meeting people along the way and them helping steer your next move. When we met Jessica in Ruteng she introduced us to Nina who has a beautiful home right on Waecicu beach.  Having never met Nina in person, we traveled to her place, stayed there four days and decided to stay another week. It’s incredibly serene with snorkeling and kayaking available a few steps from the front door. The house is completely open to the elements and invites you to be one with surroundings, which is great since we are removed from the hustle and bustle of Labuan Bajo proper. Transport to the market is by boat, reminding us of our month on Kenawa. Yesterday, in our second market trip, we found and bought cheese, cream and yogurt for the first time since we have been in Indonesia – what a serious treat to have in the house!  Rob is making fettucine Alfredo this week for me…one of my favorites. We fried fresh squid from the fish market 3 of the first 4 nights we were here. I was hooked! I have ordered fried squid in warungs or restaurants while traveling, but NO ONE makes it as good as Rob. Hence, the back to back squid nights.  To satisfy my endless desire for dragonfruit juice we purchased several and have been able to make it fresh with the blender in the house –  yay!



Sometimes the hardest part of my day is whether to relax in the lounge chair…


…or hammock

Life here is very relaxed and simple. We make coffee in the morning, lay by the beach and read, listen to music and play cards, kayak for sunset or just to get around and see the boats, I snorkel and swim (Rob can’t with his foot right now) and then cook delicious meals and read in bed.


Giz is a fan of cumi 🦑as well


Thai basil here costs about 6 cents a bundle and is a GREAT addition to fried rice…which we both adore now

81C278E8-450C-407D-ADC5-D7A16CAC5A8C.jpegSimple is nice and it’s perfect for Rob to heal. We are very grateful for the people we have met that helped facilitate us being able to be here right now.  Sunday we fly to Bali and begin some more exploring around that island.  We spent four quick days there when we picked up the bike, but there is obviously lots more to see.  We have several friends we have made along the way, having met in other islands, that we will be able to visit in Bali.  It’s fun to be here for such an extended period of time, form relationships, and meet back up with people.  When we began our SE Asia trip we assumed we would have moved on to another country by now, but, and I’ll only speak for myself, there is something special and captivating about Indonesia.  It’s easily one of the most beautiful places I have ever been and while perhaps not the easiest to navigate compared to other countries in the region (so I have heard), it is so rich in beauty, culture, taste and endless experience that I haven’t hesitated at all to spend 3 months soaking it all in.


My first kayak trip here where I was scouting out the best coral spots to swim back to



Kayaking is a great way for Rob to be mobile and not use his foot