“I’d experienced a few, sweet days of peace, and I now knew it was only a short plane ride away.”
Unlike many Australians, I’d never been to Bali.
So whenever yet another friend mentioned they were going there or had just come back from there, all I could imagine was rolling episodes of chaotic, blind-drunk Australians on the What Really Happens in Bali TV show.
It looked hectic, loud and – for someone who doesn’t drink at all – a bit too rowdily inebriating.
But when the chance to check it out came up, I couldn’t resist. With Australia feeling so perennially far away from the rest of the world, the chance to fly to another country in around six hours sounded highly desirable. It was freezing in Melbourne, and the tropical Indonesian sun beckoned. Plus, I was curious: there must be something that made a million Australians go there every year. Was it just the Bintang Beer? Finally, I was incredibly stressed over work: maybe a few days away from everything would help.
By the time we arrived at our hotel, the InterContinental Bali, I was so wound up about work, I had a permanent ache in my neck and shoulder blades. My chest felt tight, and my eyebrows were stuck to “furrow”. But as we walked in to what looked like a palace, the kindly staff placed leis made of aromatic frangipani around my neck. They gently banged a gong to welcome me as I walked passed.
I felt something in my chest loosen slightly. As soon as we dropped our bags, my kids wanted to check out one of the many resort pools, and I found myself sitting here: