As a long-term traveller, island life is imbued with a deeply decadent routine that you could never justifiably adopt on a two-week holiday. The guilt associated with spending a full day reading on a soft ribbon of white sand, or sitting and hearing stories about the island from its inhabitants for an entire afternoon all but disappears. The pressure slips away, and you succumb to an almost bovine placidity. You spend your hours as you feel like spending them, without the looming thundercloud of your time in paradise coming to a close.

Joanna only had two weeks off of work, and was thus burdened with the guilt of wanting to do everything whilst wanting equally to return home feeling relaxed and vacationed. After a informative and lively week in Bali (the "do everything" part) we moved to the Gili Islands to soak in the sun (the "relaxing" part). For me, the Gilis held a semi-mystical position in my mind; I had heard about them way back in fourth grade, from a classmate who stated with the solemn confidence of a ten-year-old that they were "for grown ups only." I didn't know then that her cousins had visited Indonesia and proclaimed the Gilis to be the nicest place on earth; my friend's mother dashed any aspirations of going there by saying my friend was too young to go. In the years that followed, articles about the Gilis stood out, bolstered by the stubborn attachment of my childhood memory. Now a "grown up", I was excited to see the islands that had occupied a small storage space in my mind.

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  • Jodi Ettenberg

    Born in Montreal, Canada, Jodi Ettenberg is a former new media and technology lawyer who quit her job after 5+ years of working…

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