Sometimes I believe that my odysseys and detours are guided by a higher authority. So often I’m getting in situations, where I get lost, choose weird paths or just have no other choice to take that detour. But why shall we always take the classical straightway?! My wise discovery – straight is extremely lame! Whereas detours always bring you great stories!
Sometimes you should consider taking a different path!
When I wanted to travel from Singapore to Jakarta (Indonesia), I was finding only expensive tickets (only for 70 EUR). That was just too expensive in my thinking. So I sat at my Couchsurfing host and complained pretty much (very German of me). He pointed out a cheaper way, but it would take longer. I had a lot of time and saving money sounded awesome for me!
Crazy travel route to save 30 bucks
From Singapore (Vivo City, Harbourfront Centre) you can take the ferry to Batam, which is the very next Indonesian Island. Batam.com or sindoferry.com offer one way for 10 SGD (around 6EUR). The crossing takes like 45min and you don’t have to be there 2 hours prior. On the Indonesian Island you will go through the Immigration Check-in (plan at least 30min for that) – there was no problem! Although I had no flight out of Indonesia, the woman was very friendly and even explained me the border run (traveling out of the country for a short time to get a new tourist visa). It could have been different because usually the flight out is a requirement. Since June 2015 you can stay in Indonesia for 30 days on a free tourist visa (if your country is on the list, check online – Germany, most European countries and US are on this list). Or you pay like 30 USD and stay for 60 days. Because the ferry moors in the harbor, you have to get to the airport. A cab was less than 5 EUR and takes around 20min. The flight from Batam to Jakarta is much cheaper than from Singapore (25-30 EUR).
Why was this detour so special?
Regardless of the saved money, the best was the type of journey I did. Lots of Indonesian people are using this ferry in a regular manner. Hence I met some people and got in touch with locals. Ok, I also was sticking out of the other passengers… blond, female, traveling alone! So I attracted interest by the people and lots of people asked me, what I am here for etc. An old man was very cute because he explained me in his broken, but understandable English, that he traveled a lot, when he was young – through whole Asia, but never made it to Europe. I love those situations! Stuffed with positive impressions I started the second part of the summer journey: Indonesia!
The sense of orientation vs. fate
In my opinion, the funniest, the most eventful and most beautiful stories arise, when I get lost, take the wrong way or when I just turn off my brain for a few seconds. Another story, which also shows the beauty of the getting-lost, is from Kauai (Hawai’i). I really have a good sense of orientation, so it surprises me sometimes, that I get lost despite it. I am very sure, that it’s the problem of google maps the most of the time – yeah, not my fault! Anyways, on Kauai, I and a friend were on the way to the amazing Canyon. Google maps stopped for a second and we took the wrong turn – into the valley and not on the mountain ridge. This road turned out as a dead end, but in the end, we found a hanging bridge. Nobody there, only a wildish horse on the other side. I will never forget the moment because that’s an exploration for me: finding new places somewhere in nowhere. Our couchsurfing host also wanted to show us the hanging bridge, but we found it without him and before we even talked about it.
It’s always a good story!
Another story and my absolute favorite!! On Bali, my boyfriend and I were in Amed. A few days before we had a little moped accident, so I couldn’t go into the water for a couple of days. That was a bit unfortunate because Amed is known for snorkeling and diving! To make the best out of it, we hopped on our moped and drove down the coast. Google maps showed a big lake, which took my interest. As it was a short way (30min) on google, James joined in and we took the supposedly shorter road to the lake. We weren’t aware of it, that the shorter way turned out to be a long way. Also, we didn’t know, that we were about to drive up the highest volcano on Bali… with the lake called Danau Batur – so naive of us.
After 10min drive the street changed into a path, a pebbles track, no asphalt, only huge potholes! Well, google again kicked our asses. But we are from the sort: “When we start something, we finish it!”, so we kept going. The road was really no road, we were struggling with it for probably 1,5 hours – that’s at least how it felt like. The people, who lived here were amused by us because I had to jump off a few times that we make it up. The street was so steep, that the little PS won’t carry two persons – or I was too heavy, who knows?! So a common picture, how people saw us, was: Me walking a few meters behind the moped… So I almost hiked the whole way up. When we came to the ridge, there were 3 different paths to take. Before we would take the wrong, I asked an old lady. She couldn’t speak English, so I tried to ask with my 5 Indonesian words, I’ve learned so far. She was so incredibly cute and heartwarming when she heard me trying to talk her language. I will not forget that either! So we kept driving and we got the reward in an instance. The view on the lake was amazing!
On this side was also a cave with hundreds of bats and a temple, which was guarded by huge spiders – really huge ones!
At a gas station, we got offered to take a guided tour of the volcano. The man said, that you could cook a banana and an egg in the lava because the volcano is still active. First, it sounded attractive, and then I was a bit skeptic – to cook in lava? Isn’t that too hot to cook?… Well, the new smartphone generation googles everything – so we did that too. Turned out you cook it in the steam. And there were some negative reviews about it, so we decided to look for a place for lunch. And we found it – buffet for around 7 EUR per person with a stunning view!
This trip was so unbelievably amazing! If I weren’t come to the idea to drive to “the lake”, I this great adventure would never happen. I realized where we’ve been not until days later. When we walked down the beach and there were almost no clouds, I noticed the big mountain and said: “Wow, is that high! Why haven’t we seen this mountain on our trip the day before yesterday?”. While saying those words, I saw James’ facial expressions and I realised – “Fuck, we’ve been there!” – well not on top, but almost! 😉
And the moral is: Straight ways are lame! Get lost, take wrong paths and use detours! You will find the most beautiful places, which are not mentioned in a travel guide! And you will get in touch with locals more likely! Or in different words: When you get lost the next time, don’t be mad, think differently! Maybe it has something positive, that it happens! And/or you have a good story to tell! 😉 Now it’s your turn! Tell me your story!