Home is a strange concept, when you have no permanent address. For how long do you need to stay still, to put down your backpack and to sleep in the same bed, in order for a place to be a home? For someone who has spent the past two years crisscrossing the globe, that threshold becomes quite low.
For the last five weeks of my most recent jaunt to Southeast Asia, I called Gili Trawangan home.
I put down my bags. I made friends. I bought a bike. I started seeing someone. I paid a month’s rent. I became a regular at my favorite bars and restaurants.
Gili Trawangan is the most recent in a string of islands that I have paused to nestle into for a while. I came here with the express purpose to complete my Divemaster training – but (much) more on that later.
Gili Trawangan is the largest of three predominantly Muslim teardrop islands off the coast of Lombok, Bali’s more rugged sister isle to the East. Gili’s assets could be labeled with paint chips – hot pink sunsets over Bali’s Agung volcano, electric blue waters stocked with enough coral-munching sea turtles to guarantee sightings, eggshell white frangipanis growing wild on the side of dirt roads. Notably absent is the whir or motorbikes or the snarling of local mutts – both are banned on the island and replaced by bicycles and horse drawn buggies and kinky-tailed cats. The road that rings the island – and in many parts is no more than a clearing in the sand – is just under five miles. The entirety of Gili T, as locals affectionately call it, could fit roomily inside New York’s Central Park.
My days here were marked by dives in the island’s warm waters, studying on my balcony, yoga classes to the call of the mosque, lunches at local warungs and epic battles with the painfully slow and sporadic internet connection (the ideal place for a digital nomad this is not.) Nights ticked by with sunset bike rides around the island’s circumference, bopping around the island’s infamous bar scene, and endless rounds of vodka joss.
My time on Gili Trawangan was special, and not long enough — just yesterday I arrived back here for a second five week round on the island. In the coming weeks I plan to share details about my Divemaster course, practical information for travelers coming to the island, and my usual dose of personal oversharing. To keep things fresh, I’ll intersperse those posts with snippets about my trip home.
I hope you’re ready for a whole lot of posts about paradise — assuming I can get the internet connection to cooperate long enough.
Is there anything in particular you want to know about my time on Gili Trawangan? Ask away, and I’ll try to address is in my upcoming posts!