Bali is hardly a hideaway from anyone or anywhere in the world, but it is a place one could escape to from impending reality and gasp a last breath of fresh, travelling air before one resumes their seat at their workstation. Yep, I did it again. The Hindu oasis that teems with tourists, most of them Aussies, is currently stowing away two Atlas Vagabonds for a final hurrah before this mama goes back to the grindstone.
I’d like to think it was written in the stars. The planets aligned and our fate was predetermined: that we would depart our hometown in Darwin only days after we returned from a year away. In fact, it was written, but actually just in an email from my dad who had booked a flight to Bali with some of the Darwin fam and suggested the Wittys come along.
At first I guffawed the idea when I read his audacious email from the Philippines. I wasn’t even back in Oz yet, and there was my travel-mad-dad trying to get us out of the country already! Ridiculous, I thought, and closed the email with a huff. But there, the idea was planted in a mind fertile with wanderlust. He’s a clever man, that Gordo.
It only took a number of days before I couldn’t resist the proposal. Some digging around quickly revealed that the person acting in my work role was leaving the job mid February. I love a solid handover, but since I had planned to start work today, on the 1st of Feb, two weeks handover just seemed like overkill! This sense of this excess was bolstered, of course, by the fact that my mob of Darwinites were heading to the island of tropical smiles at said time.
To figure out whether I was crazy or not, I floated this ludicrous Bali holiday idea with Witty, mentioning, of course, the serendipity of my handover situation. He said he really needed to stay home and work, but I didn’t… necessarily.
“Do it!”, he said. “When are you ever going to get this opportunity to spend time with Finn, your parents and your aunties again?”. Goosebumps, right? Well, in truth, the answer to that is “often” but who needs frivolous truths to tie you down when you’ve just scored a leave pass for frolicking with your fam? With a couple of swift emails to adjust my return date to work, Finn Atlas and I were booked on a midnight flight with the Darwin mob: destination Bali.
Now we are here and soaking up all that is delicious, monsoonal Bali. We have a villa in which to relax, a quiet Sanur in which to explore. The sound of bristled-brush brooms sweep the paths and in the early morning. Scooters honk and we ding our bells as we ride our pushbikes through sun showers. The smell of incense from the offerings perfumes the moist air and the skinny dogs with their curly tails lap up the rice left over from daily ceremony.
Now hold on. I did actually do some work before I left my poor, darling husband in Darwin and slapped our exhausted passports on the customs desk once more. With 10 days in Darwin we managed to get back into our house, get most of our belongings from storage unpacked, get tenants into our empty apartment and start getting some finances flowing again, despite a rather flat-lined rental market. We also started to feel like we were home. We got to hold close a bunch of dear friends, laugh, chink glasses and celebrate Australia day like every Aussie should in 30 degree heat: with ice sledding.
Contrary to popular belief, I haven’t run away from Darwin. I loved coming back, and I will come back again. I’m just wringing the best and last bits out of maternity leave- up to the very end! I’m nervous and excited about this time as a full-time mama that is coming to an end. I’m nervous and excited about that time as a professional that is about to start again…
This time next week I won’t be typing away travel tales from my little travel keyboard. Instead I’ll be running around in the office of the Top End Health Service, organising forums and engaging with stakeholders. On that note, which makes my blood pressure rise ever so slightly, I’ll take leave from vocational preoccupations. May these next seven days in the countdown to work go slow. With my stakeholders being the bouncing Darwin family I have around me, may our forums be focused on the where to get the next nasi campur, may our organisational skills continue to be laughably non-existent and may our engagements with those smiling Hindu beauties be bountiful beyond bliss. Terima kasih, Bali. You’re a great last dessert.