I don’t think I’ll ever lose my wanderlust. It ebbs and flows like the tides on my doorstep here in Western Australia. Sometimes the pull to stay ‘home’ is strong: when the beach beckons, and the outdoor lifestyle is easy, with good food, wines and friendships.
Then there are times when the lure of new shores overwhelms, the draw of old haunts tempt, and the need to leave this remote city to return to the familiar people and places of my formative years is stronger than the urge to stay.
In Bali recently, we went for a walk through the rice fields outside of Ubud. I first visited Ubud about twenty five years ago. In those days it was a quiet sleepy village surrounded by rice paddies and most of the tourists were day trippers from the beach resorts. Over the years is has grown and changed. I think the largest growth spurt was after the release of the book, ‘Eat Pray Love’; people went to ‘find’ themselves.
It’s still a special place, although for me some of the magic has gone. The walks closer to the burgeoning town are no longer through peaceful rice fields on narrow paths that crisscross and meander through vibrant seas of green, passing no one but the occasional farm worker. Instead the concrete paths, where you dodge the ever present mopeds, lead to dotted cafes, guest houses, massage cabanas and random upmarket hotels jutting out from the green landscape … and some strange chaotic piles of rubbish!
Peasholm Park, Scarborough, North Yorkshire
Garden of Dreams
I took this photo on my last trip to Bali. I was relaxing in the heat of the day on the terrace in front of my room, listening to the sounds of nature around me and taking in the serenity of the ricefields. With all the water and lush vegetation there were many insects and dragonflies flitting between frangipanis, bougainvillea and waterlilies.
Often when I hear conversations about travel I wonder at what the person has experienced and seen. They ‘do’ countries in quick succession, often staying in five star hotels and ‘seeing’ the country in a couple of days before heading on to the next. They ‘do’ long road trips with the destination more important than smelling the roses or seeing the detail along the way. Perhaps it’s just two different ways of seeing the world, and there is so so much to see.
I love to travel and absorb the surroundings and culture. I think most of my best travel experiences have been when I’ve had no money and have stayed in homestays or basic accommodation or better still when I have been volunteering to help out in a community.
Of course I wouldn’t turn down a nice little five star boutique hotel every now and then though!