After saying goodbye to Sophie, Matt, Michael and I set off in a small white mini bus, Gilli Trawangan bound. Well so we thought! We drove for a while before arriving in Padang Bai, where we would take our slow boat to Gilli T as it was known as. The boat was super long but was nice to relax with the boys and watch the world go by, afterall, the best part of travelling is travelling, so why rush it and take the fast boat? Well that was easier said at the time, considering we didn’t know that once we would arrive, no one would be there to pick us up, leaving us with no choice but to stay the night in Sengigi, and take the boat the next morning. Things weren’t so bad, as we ended up ina decent guest house, in ideally located Sengigi, where we had a lovely Mexican meal that night and even got a free breakfast of traditional Indonesian pancakes, the first of many for us. The next morning, so fresh and so clean, and a little less frustrated as the evening before, we set off, once again eager to get to Gilli T. This time though, we would! As we stood on the beach waiting for our boat from Lombok to Gilli T, I watched in interest at the boys haggling with locals for bracelets and necklaces, one of which was a 400 year old coin, bought for me by Michael. He put it on me on the boat, in a romantic movie sort of way, which attracted many stares from around us. Nevertheless, I was flattered! We knew we had finally arrived when we drew closer and closer to what looked like paradise to us. Crystal blue seas of many shades, deep, clear and pristine, awaited us while the golden sands were dotted with people awaiting their boat away from Gilli (but why?) and others soaking up the sun. As we became one with the coast of Gilli T, we noticed many people snorkelling the crystal clear waters around us and others paddle boarding and floating in relaxation. I couldn’t wait to be one of them, the relaxing one to be precise!
We were some of the first ones of our group to arrive here, ready for the full moon which Patrick had told us about in Bali. Georgie was already here but yet to arrive were Julian and Roman. Within a few hours we had all gotten our accommodation sorted and were all on the beach chilling out with new friends Aileen and Grace. It was pretty sweet! After a lovely day on the beach and a walk during sunset , Michael and I opted to have the evening to ourselves and so we dressed up (beach style) and headed to a nice chilled restaurant on the beach. In true cheesy fashion, we ate a beautiful meal, chatted in depth and drank wine while listening to the background music which could easily have been from a romantic movie soundtrack! Afterwards, we went and got ice cream at the local gelato stand and headed to chill in the bean bags that were dotted outside a local beach bar. The evening was a success and It was pretty nice to have this time together. The next evening was the full moon and so everyone was gearing up for it throughout the day. It stands out so much to me, that I can’t remember what we actually did during that day prior to it, but I imagine It was beach time again. That evening we all went to the Sunset Bar where we had a few beers and watched the incredible bright red sun set before us. We had met two more new friends earlier that day who joined us all, Mark and Debbie from Ireland, which was great for me! Later on, we all went and got ready, bought super cheap rum and headed to Georgie, Grace and Aileen’s hostel where we passed a large bottle of rum and coke around until we were all merry enough to make it up to the hostel bar. It was up there that Michael and I ‘made our announcement’ to the group, which was initially thought to be a pregnancy or an engagement, but no, we had just made our relationship official. Pretty lame in comparison. We all cheered to a good night and It wasn’t long before we were all piggy backing down the promenade in either no shoes or stolen shoes, towards The surf Bar where the full moon would be held. I don’t know how many people lost their shoes that night, but It was crazy!
The night was a complete success with us all dancing (Irish dancing at some points) and drinking to our hearts content. We forced shots down us, mingled with new people, got our faces painted and ran wild the whole night. Well that was just me, but I think everyone else had a good time too! Before we knew it, Roman, the girls and I were the last ones standing… In the sea of course, come sunrise. Everyone else had gone home at different points of the night. It was one of the best nights I had in a while and I was in super great form the whole night.
Our whole time on Gilli T was definitely to do with the company we kept. Michael and I loved to spend time together, but we also loved our group and the different things we did together. On a few occasions we would meet at the local ‘cinema’ -which was a bar that played movies on a big screen and handed out free popcorn- and would chill out there for the evening on our off nights. Other times, we would go and have nice beach lunches or breakfasts and on a few occasions we would visit the local food market which served amazingly cheap and tasty food. One of the days Michael and I hired bicycles and biked around the island, which was quite small, but seriously beautiful, especially on the side that was much quieter. We would chill out along the way, have a milkshake, and then carry on to another place to chill on the beach before sunset. This certainly was the life, and Its sometimes hard to appreciate it until you look back. We had another crazy night during our time on the Gilli T, and that was the night we ended up in Blue Marlin with the gang. It had started earlier in the day when Michael and I purchased some cheap whiskey and coke and headed to the beach to pre drink. Afterwards, we headed to Sama Sama, a local reggae bar which had an awesome live band every night, and met some cool people who bought us more drinks. Afterwards, when we met the others, we headed back to Sama Sama to dance the night away and then on to Blue Marlin, where we watched in amusement and slight terror as Roman jumped from the balcony of the club into the pool below, ultimately getting him barred. Crazy man! While locals tried to start fights, we all danced like crazy people and filled the rest of our night with more drink and banter! After hitting a brick wall (metaphorically) It was time for me to go home. Michael and I pigged out on street food on the way home, which was probably gross but seemed like the best food in existence to us at the time.
Our last night in Gilli T, was without Debbie and Mark, who had left that day, and over the next few days our group would disperse even more and eventually go separate ways forever. It was hard to think about, so we didn’t until the time came. I always say, that the worst part of travelling it the saying goodbye to people you have had memorable experiences with and have really bonded with, but at the same time, even though you are separating, you are both carrying on to fulfil more of your dreams, and you can be glad to know that you were once part of each other’s great experience. Aileen, Grace, Michael and I returned to Sama Sama the next day to have a few Bintangs and listen to some more incredible live music. We had a great night in each other’s company and after a lot of laughs and sing-alongs, we went off home to our hostels. It was the last day, the day we gave our bikes back, that we cycled down to the pier, just in time to say goodbye to Julian. It was sad to see him go considering I had been bumping into him since my first day in Langkawi and we had shared so many great experiences on Langkawi, The Perhentians, Bali and Gilli T. Nevertheless, he was off to conquer bigger and better things and we wished him luck. Roman and Matt stayed in Gill T, to finish their Padi diving license while Georgie, Aileen and Grace all stayed a few more days before going to separate destinations. Michael and I took a boat to Gilli Air, where we planned to stay for 3 nights and chillout. It was on the boat that we met Rohan, who recommended a guest house to us, which was where we ended up staying. It was called Krishna and had a cool owner who threw in a free breakfast for us, to his excitement. I think he loved cooking! We stayed in a nice bungalow, by the beach which was very beautiful and perfect for our last few days together. Sad to think about, but once again, we didn’t. Our time on Gilli Air was quaint, there were no roads, no wifi near us, and the island seemed to be full of couples and families which was pretty perfect for us. In the day we would chill out at the beach and in the evening, we would watch the sunset together and dine in different beach front bars. Life was simply perfect, It was hard to think we only had a few days here. It wasn’t long before, it was time to leave the Gilli’s and head back to Bali. We opted for the fast boat this time, considering our past experience and there was no way I could risk missing my flight the next day. We took a boat to Padang Bai and then a bus to Kuta which all went pretty smoothly, unlike last time. We then took a taxi to our hotel in Legian, where we would stay for our last night together. That evening, we went to Kuta beach for one last sunset walk, an ice cold beer (or two) and then to the food market to meet Georgie, who was back here for one night too. We had a lovely dinner and a chat with Georgie and her friend Olivia that evening before, saying our goodbyes once again and heading off to our hotel. The next morning, after an early breakfast my taxi arrived at exactly 8:15am. It was the moment I dreaded and the moment we didn’t want to think about for so long, but here it was looking me right in the face. We had decided to stay together and we planned to see each other very soon but that didn’t make waving out the window of the taxi any easier. My heart sank, a familiar feeling, while travelling, and I felt sad to leave towards the unknown, leaving one of my favourite people behind. It killed me to leave good friends I had made during this trip and each time, it never got easier, especially this time. However, I manned up, gave myself a pep talk in the taxi and reminded myself of all the great experiences we have yet to enjoy, even if we are separate.
The Gilli’s were one of the biggest highlights of these 4 months so far and I can safely say, If it wasn’t for the incredible souls I met along the way and while I was there, It wouldn’t nearly have been as good. Each and every person added something unique to the group, and as a whole, we worked. Really well! I will never forget the great times we had and I know that fate will bring us together again at some point, but for now, we are all individually continuing on with our journeys and creating even more great memories for our lives.
Cheers to the Gilli’s……………….xx