Bali · Indonesia

Back to Bali

Bali has been a bit like a holiday within a holiday. We no longer had to start our day with school work, we didn’t have to pack our bags every few days and we didn’t need to get out and explore. This was it, our final destination. We had come full circle.

So why come back to a place we had already been? Well, it just felt right. It felt easy and on reflection a gentle transition back home to Australia. In Bali we are surrounded by other Australians, we can order a salad or even a smashed avocado on toast, language barriers are minimal and it’s familiar. Food aside, the last three weeks of our trip in Bali has given us time to reflect, readjust and ready ourselves for life as we knew it. We have been lucky enough to meet up with friends and family here in Bali and enjoyed time spent chatting over a cocktail or a Bintang, eating out ( ok that’s not new for us), shopping ( yay , finally I can buy stuff that doesn’t need to fit into a backpack) and of course some pampering at a day spa. We also enjoyed Christmas together in our tropical surrounds with minimal focus on present receiving.

So now that we are literally on our final day of our Asia adventure ( we fly home tonight), I’d like to say we have made some profound discoveries about life. The truth is, we are now experts on everything relating to travel, Asia and world politics. Just kidding. We are still the same people with a few more more irritating travel stories to tell. Ok , the kids have grown a few centimetres but they still prefer chicken nuggets to fried rice and Murray may have lost a few centimetres around his waist but he still loses his glasses on a daily basis.

It hasn’t all been cocktails and sunsets. We have visited doctors, stayed in some very cramped accommodation, spent hours on the road and in airports, been bitten by countless mosquitoes and felt hot and sweaty for months on end. Despite all that, the pros have definitely outweighed the cons. We are lucky enough to have visited some amazing places, spent quality time as a family, learnt a bit about the world and most importantly be present in the moment. We set a major goal, achieved it and had the time of our lives. It took a bit of luck, a lot of planning and a major leap of faith but it was SO worth it. Australia, home, here we come…

Hong Kong

Hong Kong – City Living

I have always wondered what it would be like to live inner-city. To be able to walk out of your apartment and straight into a bar, restaurant or shop. Not having to jump into your car every time you wanted to go somewhere. I imagined it would be pretty cool – the pros would probably outweigh the cons, I thought. Hong Kong inner-city living was all this and more. It was exciting. It was convenient. I could nip out of our apartment, grab a coffee and be back within a few minutes.

View from Victoria’s Peak

If you come to Hong Kong for a holiday there is plenty to do and see. Besides shopping malls there are restaurants crammed into every building, markets selling fake designer labelled items, streets dedicated to pets, electronics, shoes and beauty products. There are parks, playgrounds and McDonald’s ice cream outlets on every corner. It’s a busy place and the transport system is terrific. You never wait more than a minute or two for the next train and you can pay for almost anything ( including McDonald’s) using your transport card. You don’t even need to speak Cantonese to get by as English is pretty commonplace.

That said, the sheer volume of people in Hong King city can be suffering. If you need to get away from the crowds there are islands a short ferry ride away. One of my favourite days was a trip to Lanna Island. It took about 20 minutes to reach Lanna Island from the mainland and to my absolute surprise it fairly uninhabited and breathtakingly beautiful. We enjoyed the uninterrupted views, the beautiful beach and feeling like we were far away from the concrete jungle and the masses of people.

The other big high for us was Disney Land. We arrived on the Disney train and spent the day trying out all of the different rides. We went on a week day and found the queues were virtually non- existent. With our 2 day pass we were able to see everything, enjoy some shows and soak up the magic of Disney. It was probably the best theme park we have been to for the kids, as it wasn’t too big and they could go on virtually every ride.

I also found Hong Kong to be a pretty easy place to meet people and strike up a conversation. During our daily visit to the awesome Kowloon Park playground, I met a couple of ex-pat mums. I think that if I were ever to live in Hong Kong it would be pretty easy to make new friends and find a social group. I found ex-pats in Hong Kong to be easygoing and very welcoming to newcomers.

Despite all of this, overwhelmingly, Hong Kong was also an assault on my sense of personal space. It took me a while to realise that the convenience of living inner-city did not outweigh the absolute privilege of open space. Walking without bumping into someone . Crossing a street without ducking and weaving between people. Walking alongside someone without being separated by the crowd. After 3 weeks in Hong Kong I craved some distance, some space, some quiet. I missed a bit of solitude. The 560 square meters of land our house sits on at home in Australia seems like a kingdom from here, in our tiny, expensive yet very convenient apartment in Hong Kong.

Next stop, Japan.

winning at Ocean Park

The cable car ride to Lantau Island

An early Halloween at Disney Land