“You will never make it to Australia, you will get stuck somewhere along the way, mark my words”
“I will get there, I have the work visa, and I have it all worked out. I am going to travel through Indonesia, and then take a boat to Australia.”
“Ok, we’ll see” he said with a wry smile.
He knew me better than I knew myself, even though we had not known each other long. We were staying in the same grotty guest house in the back streets of Bangkok. I had been there for six months, and was ready to move on. He had already traveled extensively, and had been on his way to Australia when he got stuck in Philippines for years. But that was his story, I wouldn’t do that, I had a plan.
His words haunted me though, I couldn’t get them out of my head. Would that really happen to me?
I set off on my journey, leaving the busy Bangkok streets behind me, and heading south, to Penang, with my backpack and lonely planet guide as my companions. I took the boat over to Sumatra, receiving a two month visa on arrival. That gave me plenty of time to work my way down though the Indonesian islands and find a way to Australia.
I had such a ball! I met some fantastic people, went off the radar to some really remote islands, swam with turtles, canoed from one deserted island to the next. Caught a lift with a fishing boat, slept nights on bus station floors, did pretty much everything my mother had told me not to do! Sumatra is an amazing place, the landscape is beautiful and the people were so friendly, I was being proposed to on a daily basis, but just laughed it off every time.
Somehow, I picked up a stomach bug in Sumatra, and brought it with me to Java, where I arrived weak from vomiting, and had to lay low for a few days before continuing on. I was restless though, time was running out on my visa, and I had not figured out how to get to Australia.
That was my mission upon arriving in Bali, I needed to find a yacht! Lonely planet had a section all about hitching a ride on a yacht, and that seemed like a great idea! Finding a yacht did not prove as easy as the book said though. I went to every port I could find, and was eventually steered to Padangbai, a small fishing village on the East of Bali.
There were plenty of fishing boats in Padangbai, perhaps the locals had misunderstood what I meant when I said I needed a boat. There certainly were no yachts in sight. I was becoming a bit despondent, and not sure what my next move should be. Little did I know those words spoken back in Bangkok were about to come true.
As I turned away from scanning the ocean for a yacht, my eyes caught on a sign outside one of the beach side stores. It read “Tyas Tattoo”. I felt an uncontrollable pull to go to that store, once inside, there was no turning back…