I recently spent 6 days on Gili Trawangan, known for it’s pristine waters, healthy coral reefs, incredible marine life and all night parties on the beach. This was my first chunk of time off from work for a while and I took full advantage!
Gili T is one of 3 little islands off the cost of Lombok, Bali’s neighbor island. It’s the biggest of the 3 but still tiny. It takes an hour to walk all the way around the island and only about 30 min on a bike (which is super popular). There are no dogs, cars or moterbikes. Life moves slowly here; one is easily distracted by the spectacular setting, the intimacy of place and the tranquility of patience.
The east coast is overpopulated by party animals, delicious food and stunning blue water.
The North and West coasts are more rugged and empty, where you can find a moment of peace and quiet, just you and the waves.
I stayed at La Favela, an Instagrammable hostel located off the main party strip in the village. FYI: It gets dark at night and when it rains the roads flood. Bring a flashlight and be prepared to wade through questionable puddles.
I did scuba diving every day and got not only my Open Water Certification but my PADI Advanced Diver certification which means a whole bunch of stuff. But basically, I can now scuba for A LOT cheaper than before and it a bunch of different environments than the basic Open Water diver. It was incredible. I saw green turtles and white tip reef sharks, giant bumphead parrot fish, octopuses mating, and a rare seahorse. I swam right next to schools of brilliant yellow fish and drifted along in the impossibly dark ocean at night alongside glimmering jellies.
I worked with Trawangan Dive Center, a 5 star PADI Dive center with fun instructors, sweet discounts, and a social environment (perfect for solo travelers).
I had an AMAZING instructor, Dani from Barcelona, who encouraged me throughout the process, constantly pointed out amazing fish and pushed me to continue on in my course. I was surrounded by wonderful scuba buddies (shoutout to Selina and Paul) who graciously sent me some GoPro photos.
Being a grandma:
While Gili T is known for it’s all night raging dance parties that last until dawn and spill out of bars onto the beach, I’m known for being the a total old fart. I go to bed at 10. Even earlier if I can. I get drunk maybe once a month. My one weakness? Dancing. I get that from my parents 🙂
I spent my week diving, but also dealing with the awkwardness of being a grandma in a place where everyone is drinking all the time. Solo travel is all about balance and figuring out what YOU want to do. It’s a rare opportunity to say an f*** you to social pressures because no one knows who you are. It’s momentary anonymity. It’s a chance to spend your money how you want, dance like a lunatic one night and go to bed at 8 pm the next. It is self indulgence and priorities. It is a constant lesson and a constant process. I thank equally those that push me out of the house and those that tell me it is ok to stay in.