It is hard to wrap my mind around having been here for almost a month, as our time in Canggu is coming to a close.
It was Monday afternoon and Lauren and I had just flopped face-first onto our bed and let out a collective exhale. Whew.
That morning we were herded onto a fast boat from the beach of Gili Trawangan, a small island of three in an archipelago off of Lombok Island, where we had just spent the weekend.
After a quick hour ride back to Bali we still had a couple hour taxi ride through traffic back to our villa, where we fell into bed. We were glad to be back. We felt exhausted. Travel can do that to you, but you won't ever catch us complaining because this is what we love to do; Seeing the world and soaking in every experience that we can.
We expected to have a nice relaxing weekend in the Gili Islands, as we had heard nothing but good things about them. And we did have relaxing weekend. Only we were slightly disappointed for a couple of reasons. When we stepped off of the boat Lauren and I immediately felt the impact that tourism had on this tiny island.
I won't even try to articulate my thoughts on this, because Lauren did it so succinctly in this IG post:
""A dying ecosystem in "paradise"... I came to the Gili Islands EXCITED for a weekend of fun and relaxation. I had heard nothing but good things about this chain of 3 islands off of Lombok, Indonesia. My inner environmentalist couldn't keep quiet about what I have witnessed this weekend. What may have once been paradise has turned into an exploited tourist "party island". To be fair I have had a great time here BUT I felt compelled to share the REAL story of the Gilis. A once lively coral reef is completely dead. Do you see anything wrong with this picture? Coral reefs are typically vibrant with life and color. After doing some research I learned the reefs were killed by unsustainable dynamite fishing. The conservation efforts have been completely squashed due to rising tourism aka MONEY 💰. In addition to the dead coral there is a great deal of pollution and trash floating in the water. I can't help but feel like part of the problem being here. The islands have no cars or motor bikes, sounds eco friendly right?! Instead they have overworked and under cared for horse buggies. As a horse lover my heart can't help but hurt for these ponies (under 14 hands) who are carted around the island with no sign of water and carrying very heavy loads in the endless heat. I am sure once upon a time these island held untouched beauty but it is my belief that the lack of regulations along with tourism have completely exploited the islands. If you care about Mother Nature and other life PLEASE think twice before visiting the Gili Islands and support Eco friendly tourism. I am disappointed in myself for not doing more research but felt it was only right to spread awareness. Lesson learned, do more research and make sure my $$ are supporting eco friendly tourism/business. #GiliIslands #GiliT #girlbossdiaries "
Like Lauren said in her post, we hadn't done our research. And after doing a little research we couldn't just turn a blind eye to the issues. We felt the need to say something. To speak up and use our platforms to spread awareness. We felt like part of the problem just being there, but there was nothing that we could do. We did our best to minimize waste, but we felt that the best thing we could do was raise awareness.
We still had a great time with all of our TRE friends that were there as well. We snorkeled, ate some great food, and took a heavy dose of relaxation.
Needless to say when we arrived back in Bali we felt relieved.
But I digress.
After nearly a month here in Canggu, Lauren and I have gotten a pretty good feel for the town. While we really are enjoying our time here, we are ready to move on to the next location, Ubud. It is up in the mountains surrounded by jungle.
We've had this conversation quite a few times since we have been here. It goes something like this:
"Can you believe this is our life right now?"
"No, can you?"
"Nope. It is pretty amazing."
"It sure is. It makes all that work that you have been putting in for that past 4 years worth it, huh?"
This isn't a vacation. This is the life that Lauren and I have CREATED for ourselves. We both had dreams of seeing the world, and now here we are. It takes constant sacrifice and endless hard work, but I wouldn't trade any of that to have my life look any differently at the moment.
Know that your life can look and feel any way that you want it to. It just takes a vision, some time, some patience, and a shitload of hard work. You never just arrive, though. I've said it before and I will say it again: There is no destination. There is no arriving or 'making it.' It is about constantly making choices that align with your visions and dreams. It is about having the courage to make those choices, as they are hardly ever the easy ones.
So I'll leave you with this video recap of our 3rd week here in Bali/ on the island of Gili Trawangan:
Big love and high volumes of blessings in your life to you reading this. Yes, you.
Know that if you ever have any questions about what we are doing or how we are doing it, don't hesitate to reach out. My door is always open. Also, if you just want someone to talk to about anything- life, love, stress or setbacks- I am a great listener.