Hello, world! I’m back from my volunteer trip in Nusa Penida, Indonesia. I think I’m adjusted back to the time in Washington (I did sleep in until 11:30 a.m. today though…oops!). It was such an incredible experience that challenged my perspective and assumptions. The biggest thing I got out of it was, damn, we have it GOOD in America. Yeah, politically it is extremely scary right now with the Donald as president, but at least most of us have access to clean water, food, and do not have to worry about disease carrying mosquitoes, fire ants, rabid animals, open sewage, flies, and intestinal diseases on the daily. While this is a generalization, I thought people were nicer there – locals would say hi, ask “where are you going”, “where are you from”, and smile openly at you for no reason. I think we could take a lesson from the Balinese and smile more and be kind to strangers! 🙂 (Maybe that will make America great again? 😛 )
I hope to have several blog posts on my trip to talk about my volunteer experience, my weekend adventures, the food, the cool people I met, and the not-so-great things about travelling to a tropical developing country that I wish I knew about before I left. Stay tuned!
This blog post will serve as a bit of background to what I was doing in Indonesia and why I decided to go. I was working for the government feeling unfulfilled by my job and having a small quarter-life crisis (laugh but they are real!). I didn’t do a study abroad in college, I rushed through college and graduate school without taking a time-out to find out what I was passionate about. I felt (and still feel) I was too young to sit in a cubicle doing work I didn’t find interesting when I could be travelling, volunteering, or doing work I found more fulfilling. Thankfully, I was in a position financially where I could take that leap and quit my job to go volunteer half-way around the world. I am now in a position financially where I need to find a job, so if you know of any good jobs out there…
I looked at a bunch of different volunteer programs around the world. Honestly, I picked Indonesia because the flights were the most affordable from Seattle. I knew almost nothing about Indonesia before I booked my trip. I knew that it is a country made up of over 1000 islands and is predominately Muslim. Oh, and all the food looked really good! I volunteered with Green Lion Bali, a volunteer program that has various volunteer projects – teaching English, Healthcare education, construction and renovation, and sea turtle conservation. I chose to do the sea turtle conservation project because sea turtles are beautiful creatures that need a lot of help right now to survive.
While I spent a week in Ubud, Bali for my orientation, I spent the rest of my time on Nusa Penida, a forty-five minute boat ride from Sanur, Bali. People say Nusa Penida is Bali thirty years ago. I loved Nusa Penida. It is a beautiful island with a slower pace and hardly any tourists. Our village was quiet – a couple mini-marts, the BFC (Balinese Fried Chicken haha), and a small Warung on the beach. There are larger villages on the island, but you won’t find cities like Ubud or Denpasar on Nusa Penida.
Stay tuned for next time – I’ll talk about my travels to Bali (I got to ride on THE Hello Kitty Jet – complete with Hello Kitty pillows and toilet paper!) and my orientation week in Penenstan, Ubud!