When some poor travel planning and a surprise twist of fate left us with a chance to completely change our travel plans we were left with a dilemma – should we stay in Indonesia as planned or head off somewhere completely new? Here’s what we decided.
When Travel Gets Tough
I think it’s pretty clear by now that Andrew and I didn’t have the best time in Indonesia, in fact, our six weeks there were tough – but they did teach us a lot.
The first two months of our trip in New Zealand and Australia had been pretty easy and when we hit Indonesia everything changed; suddenly we were confronted with squat toilets and cold showers, long, hot train journeys, strange food, an unfamiliar language and a new currency. In addition, we were finding it difficult to balance periods of exhausting fast-paced travel with long static stretches of time working inside hotel rooms; we also became obsessed with our travel budget.
It all came to a head when Andrew got sick during our trip to the Gili Islands and we resolved to make some drastic changes to the way we travel from now onwards.
The Komodo Dilemma
One of the things we’d been looking forward to in our Indonesia travel plan was visiting Komodo Island to see the famous dragons. To get there we’d planned to fly from Bali over to Labuan Bajo, the jumping off point to Komodo Island. However, we left it so long to book flights that they quadrupled in price. In a strange twist of fate we also received an email from Air Asia while we were on the Gili Islands; our flight from Indonesia to the Philippines had been cancelled and we now had the chance to reschedule our travel plans completely.
We were left with a dilemma, should we stay in Indonesia for the full 60 days we’d planned and head off to Komodo despite the cost, or cut our losses and leave Indonesia early?
After the emotional battering we’d taken in Indonesia, we both instinctively felt we could do with a fresh start in a new country, but we were still torn. Wouldn’t we regret not visiting Komodo and fulfilling our original travel plans? Weren’t we just giving up and running away the minute things had gotten tough?
After much deliberation we asked ourselves two key questions; firstly, did we really have a burning desire to visit Komodo? Catching a glimpse of Komodo dragons seemed like one of those travel experiences we ought to have; it felt foolish to visit Indonesia and not see one of its most rare and talked about animals, but were we itching to see them so much that we wanted to spend the extra time and money on it?
The honest answer was no. Whereas we never would have passed up the chance to snorkel on the Great Barrier Reef or Skydive in New Zealand, despite how much it cost to do so, we just didn’t feel the same burning passion to visit Komodo.
Changing Travel Plans
So, that left us with another question to answer – what were we really, truly excited about doing? The fact that we’d failed to get extended Philippine visas while in Indonesia meant we had a few spare weeks in our schedule but how did we want to spend them?
The answer: by visiting a completely new country that wasn’t even on our original travel itinerary – Malaysia. We hatched a plan to spend some time in Kuala Lumpur before visiting Borneo to trek in the jungle and attempt to see wild orangutans. Now, we felt excited again and it turns out we had good reason to – the next few weeks were filled with some of our most incredible travel experiences yet.
It was time to fly to Malaysia.
Have you ever changed your travel plans; do you think we made the right decision leaving Indonesia early?