"Living the Dream" sybille's Profile
This is just a quick intro - basically to let other VTers know what I have been up to for the last couple of years.
I left a great job in Cairns/Australia in February 2008 to live the dream - living and working in South East Asia. Now I am not the youngest person, but this is something I had promised myself ever since first setting foot in Thailand in 1976. As you can see, it only took me 32 years, 2 marriages (no kids), and a few jobs, to finally make it happen. Lesson no. 1 - don't give up on your dreams, sooner or (as in my case) later, they will come true. And if you feel like giving up on it, just read Paulo Coelho "The Alchemist" again, I am sure the book was written for "the dreamer in all of us" :-))
Well, how have I spent the last couple of years? If you are so inclined, check out the next couple of chapters.
I went to Singapore first, to get a 60 day visa for Indonesia, and fulfilled another dream, taking the night train to Kuala Lumpur, Premium First Class - being a little stingy, I boarded in Johor Baru, which makes the trip half price, compared to buying the ticket in Singapore. I revisited KL and Penang, and then headed off for the Philippines. Spent a couple of weeks there diving, which was not too bad. From the Philippines I went to Indonesia, to be more precise, Manado. Spent a week in a lovely dive resort, Minahasa Lagoon, more upmarket than I would normally do - but what the heck, it was the start of the trip, and I still had some money in my account! Went on to Sorong/West Papua to board a liveaboard boat which took me all the way to Ambon in the southern Maluku islands. From there it was off to Bali, and language school. Quite funny being at school again, but I thoroughly enjoyed it, especially since there was only one other student in the beginners class. Fast forward - 60 day visa about to expire, so where should I get the next one - all these choices, now, where haven't I been? Since Air Asia was flying the Bali/Kuching route in 2008 that's where I went. Kuching - the city called "cat". Lovely place, absolutely fantastic Laksa, and an efficient Indonesian consulate - contrary to reports in various forums, no hassles at all getting the visa.
I spent about a week in Kuching eating Laksa, checking out the orang utans, eating more Laksa - and then I discovered Lok Lok. I suppose it can best be described as a sort of Asian fondue, you pick what you like (have a look at the pic), the food gets cooked in a rather large vat, and served with rice - delicious! Time to say good bye to Kuching, and continue to Miri and Bario. Bario is high in the mountains, close to the Sarawak/Kalimantan border, and there is quite a bit of "informal" border crossing going on! To go to Bario you need a permit in Miri, which you can get free of charge at, what is rather quaintly called, "the residents" - the name reminds me of hill stations in India, when the British were still occupying that country. Bario was very enjoyable. I stayed at Nancy's Homestay, and went on a little two day trek with a guide named Petrus. BTW the best footwear for trekking are either gumboots, or Kampung Adidas, shoes made of old tyres (check out the pick). Back to Miri, and on to Kota Kinabalu/Sabah. I had been to Borneo a few years early, diving in some amazing places. This time I did not take my dive gear, since I actually wanted to have a look at both Sarawak and Sabah. It's always such a shame that "us" divers go to these fantastic locations, but quite often we don't experience anything other than the diving.
After I got back from Borneo, I stayed for a while in Bali, looking for a job in the dive industry - but no luck. What the heck - off to Sulawesi, let's see if I get lucky up there? I stayed on Bunaken Island for a couple of months, and "fluked" a job as resort manager on Lembeh Island. Since I absolutely love muck diving, I must admit, I was looking forward to working there. My boss applied for an Indonesian working visa for me, which took about 8 weeks to come through. I used that time to have a quick look at Cambodia, of course visiting Angkor Wat - mind-blowing! After leaving Cambodia I spent about 10 days in Malacca, 140km or so, south of Kuala Lumpur. I stayed in a great little hostel, appropriately called Jalan Jalan. A local photographer who was also staying there had a job doing wedding photos at a traditional Malay wedding, and I was lucky to be invited to go along, to what turned out to be one of the highlights of my trip. Back to Indonesia, and work on Lembeh Island. Well, I stayed for a year, but for some reason or other, mainly the heavy workload, I did not end up doing much diving at all, that is, until I was invited by a friend to join his liveaboard boat, the incredibly luxurious "Ocean Rover" for a 10 night trip - talk about lucky!
Well, I have been back in Bali since December 2009. I came here to take up a new job, but as it turned out, I only stayed with that company for three months. Since then I have taken up photography again, living frugally in a kamar kos at under IDR500.000 (US$55) per month (that includes electricity and water). The picture shows the view from where I live towards the north, if you look closely you can actually see the mountains.
What does the future hold? I don't know, but hopefully I stay healthy, do a bit of diving, maybe find another job here in Bali, dream about becoming a famous photographer, and eat delicious Indonesian food!
Fast Forward - 05 February 2012 and I am still in Bali.
I have lived in Tulamben, about 3 hours up the east coast of the island, since August 2010.
Once again my luck held out, because just a few days before I was going to return to Australia, an old friend offered me the opportunity to stay on.
In the mean-time I have created 3 websites and started a small online travel business. If you have a moment, check it out:
www.twdrr.com (Tulamben Wreck Divers Resort & Restaurant)
I am always here for suggestions about this wonderful country Indonesia, and especially about Sulawesi, Bali, Flores/Komodo, Ambon and Banda Island in the Moluccus (not Banda Aceh)
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