Thursday, December 13, 2018

I Won A Free Trip To Bali... AGAIN!

While I was scrolling my IG feed, I came across with Wonderful Indonesia's ad - the Trip Of Wonders online quiz. Suddenly, a rush of memories came through. Two years ago, I won the same contest. Since it was a trip for two, my mom tagged along, and we had a great time touring around Bali. Who wouldn't? Our airfare and accommodation were all covered. Plus, the organizers gave us an allowance to fully enjoy our trip! This year, I took the chance. While it was more difficult this year, I still managed to score higher than the others. It was disheartening not to see my name at the scoreboard though. I kept my expectations low. Besides, I have nothing to lose!

A few days after my trip to Sydney, I received an email from Indonesia's Ministry of Tourism. Fast forward, I went back to Bali just two months after my previous visit. I never thought I'd be visiting this revered Island of Gods twice this year!

The journey to Denpasar was full of unexpected twists and turns. With only four hours of sleep, I took the long way via Manila and Kuala Lumpur. I flew straight from work! The queue was quite long at Manila Airport as there were no dedicated counters for web check-in and bag drop. At KL Airport, I almost didn't pay my coffee because they can't read my credit and debit cards. The ATM nearby can't dispense ringgits as well. Good thing, I still have a few hundred pesos. IT TESTED MY PATIENCE. However, upon landing at Ngurah Rai International Airport at Denpasar, everything was different. The warm welcome from the organizers was a game changer.

This year's Trip Of Wonders was different. The prize was no longer a trip for two which made my mom quite bitter (haha, sorry mom!). Out of the eight winners of the online quiz, only the two of us came from Asia (the other one was from Hong Kong), while the remaining six flew all the way from Europe! Even if it was already my fourth time in Bali, it felt like it was my first time visiting since the itinerary included some places that I haven't been -  Lempuyang Temple, Water Palace, and Tukad Cepung Waterfall.

For four days, we explored some of Bali's mainstream and off-the-beaten-track destinations. We were having the best time of our lives because all we have to do was to enjoy the trip. We did nothing but to eat, sleep, and travel around the island. The organizers made sure that everything was smooth sailing.

The whole experience wasn't just about enjoying the great sceneries, landscapes, beaches, and food that Bali has to offer. It was all about meeting new people from the other side of the planet! We were discussing our culture, understanding our differences, and embracing diversity. We were a sea of flags, and it was beautiful.

My heartfelt gratitude goes to the people behind this event. Organizing an event as grand as this was not an easy task. You need to consider a lot: logistics, accommodation, and security. Despite Bali's unpredictable weather, they pulled it off. Shout out to Abex for being the mother duck of our trip. You never got tired of giving us reminders every day and every night. You work tirelessly. To Vika, Vandy, and Nida thank you for sharing all the wonderful things about your country. To the Three 'Maskeeters', thank you for making our trip comfortable. To Rob, Marc-Philipp, Julia, Scarlett, Nastia, Greta, and Rebeca, you are all amazing and talented. We instantly clicked!

My heart is full. You are truly wonderful, Indonesia. I know there are so many places to discover. This is just the beginning. Terima kasih!

"We have so little faith in the ebb and flow of life, of love, of relationships. We leap at the flow of the tide and resist in terror its ebb. We are afraid it will never return. We insist on permanency, on duration, on continuity; when the only continuity possible, in life as in love, is in growth, in fluidity - in freedom."  - Anne Morrow Lindbergh


Sacred Monkey Forest, Ubud

Today, I don't feel like doing anything.

Julia at Tegallalang Rice Terraces

I'm gonna swing from the chandelier.

On our way to Tukad Cepung Waterfall.

Tukad Cepung Waterfall

All things bright and beautiful.

Water Palace.

Tropical rainforest.

Barong Dance.

Nastia at Seminyak.

The famous sunset at Seminyak.

Waves are crashing.

Pura Lempuyang Temple.

New Friends! L-R Scarlett from Hong Kong, Rob from Belgium, Rebeca from Spain, and Nastia from Ukraine.

Bintang Beer is always a good idea.

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