In the morning I still haven’t decided if I should go to Gili or Flores/Komodo, nor did I enjoy my sleep.
I abandon all plans to go on a bike ride around the rice fields and spend the day up until 2pm fretting over the decision. Gili is safe, has great dive instructors, easy dives, paradise beaches and the company of friends. But also a lot of Westerns and no adventure – I'd most likely see turtles, at a maximum. Everyone I meet advises me to go there, given the short time I have left.
So I go against the tide. Komodo offers world class diving with more than good chances of seeing mantas, reef sharks, unusual fish and the Komodo dragon. It’s a more challenging and potentially dangerous dive, more expensive and a lot further away. Several times I decide on Gili for all of the above reasons, and each time I walk three steps to realise I am making the wrong decision. It's more than a decision on where to go next on my trip, it's a decision between comfort and purpose. Going out of the comfort zone for extraordinary experiences. It’s taking a leap of faith, which is what travelling should be all about. We experience fear where there is risk, and where there is risk, there is reward. All the more sweeter for the discomfort of doing things differently.
So I pay a small fortune for the flights and start mentally preparing for the trip. I walk around Ubud to see some tranquil rice fields, and on a side track I meet an Australian expat who says he works for the UN in Burma normally. I find the rice fields and am there by myself in the sunset for a while, then give up on the money-saving notion and hitch a ride home.
I am starting to miss London, although I am glad to be going anywhere but Ubud tomorrow. I am tired of the weary eyes of the Balinese women when they see a Westerner, and equally tired of seeing the Westerners who made it this way. A contradiction in turn perhaps, but it's time for a massage, then sleep. Oh but first - a quick Bintang with my Borneo friends Jayne and Oz.