It was love at first sight. Just like that feeling you get when you catch the eye of someone across the room – my heart fluttered and time stopped. After a relatively calm 1 hour fast-boat ride from Padang Bai they appeared. An archipeligo of 3 small islands off the north-west coast of Lombok surrounded by crystal clear turquoise water and outlined with pure white sand. No cars, no motor bikes, no mass media being thrown in your face – this was the escape I was looking for.
First stop Gili Trawangan. Known as the ‘party’ island, Gili T is the largest and most developed of the 3. It has the largest range of accommodation and places to eat by far, and if you’re looking to get a taste of island life with all the luxuries then Gili T is the place for you. I was greeted by my beautiful French ‘local’ friend at Villa Sama Lama after being escorted by horse and cart (not nearly as romantic as it sounds) through a network of winding narrow dirt roads. The accommodation was ridiculous – I felt like I had died and woken up in tropical heaven. It all felt so surreal. No matter how hard I tried to pull myself into the present, nothing worked. It didn’t feel like I was the one seeing through my eyes. Then I went diving for the first time…
For those of you that haven’t been diving before, I liken the experience to meditation. Deep breathing, slowing your heart rate and pure awareness in a completely different world. The activity demands 100% presence yet you feel weightless and totally relaxed. Life under water is mesmerising, magical and absolutely surreal. A perfect place to practice observation without interaction. Billions of life forms all working together in perfect harmony with a plethora of natural beauty to take in. Minutes feel like seconds, hours like minutes – I was hooked. Thank you 3W Dive for opening up my eyes to a totally different and magical world. It was truly a life changing experience and if anyone wants to go diving in the Gili’s I highly recommend them.
After a few days of diving and chilling out, I think it was safe to say that I settled in to the pace of island life pretty quickly. So I sailed to Gili Air and took relaxing to the next level. There is something about being completely immersed in a laid back environment. No watches, no clocks, no where to be. I soon lost track of what day it was what date is was. I felt like I had the time to make decisions, to have the space to see clearly and it made me realise the importance of being surrounded and connected to nature. Just one month ago I was caught up in the busy buzz of city life and though you could say I didn’t have the typical 9-5 job, I definitely still felt the pressures of urban life. And being here has made me question whether I would ever go back and why more people don’t do this. This sense of spaciousness and freedom is something I believe we all should experience – it is truly game changing and completely necessary.
I stayed at 2 adorable places in Gili Air – Villa Marina & 3W Cottages and Villas. I would particularly suggest to people who are on a little bit of a budget but still want all the necessities like a pool, private room, air conditioning, hot showers etc. Needless to say, it was still pretty heavenly. I don’t want to play favourites but if you made me choose, Gili Air would have to be it. The vibe is much more relaxed, the streets are clean and the locals are full of smiles. They have a fabulous yoga retreat centre – H20 Yoga and Meditation, which is run by an Aussie who fell in love with Gili Air (much like myself) and is a must for all yoga-goers. I was lucky enough to be a guest teacher one morning and the energy in the round was electrifying.
Unfortunately I didn’t get a chance to spend much time on Gili Meno, the smallest and most secluded of the islands. But something tells me that I’ll be back. Perhaps sooner rather than later… Though it was a whirlwind trip, I find myself completely and utterly zenned out and entirely in love. So go on, what are you waiting for? Find something that you love to do in a place that you can immerse yourself. Who knows what you will find…
Check out my journey so far by visiting the Nourish Yoga blog.