If you weren’t aware, there are volcanos here on the island of Bali. One of them, Mount Agung has been threatening an eruption for months. A while ago, the alert level was quite high and they evacuated a 12km radius around the base of the mountain. Ubud is 50km away and is really out of danger of any lava flow. However, were a major eruption to occur, Ubud would be impacted by volcanic ash in the air, potentially grounding flights. A while ago, I agreed to continue with the internship and decide what to do should an eruption occur. The volcano stayed mostly quiet, with the exception of tremors, lots of them, every day. I personally never felt any of these tremors.
Well, this past Tuesday evening, November 21, the volcano started spewing ash. I didn’t find out about it till I woke up and looked at my phone Wednesday morning. I started sweating profusely and got quite anxious when I saw this news that the volcano had “erupted.” I looked at Indonesian news where one of the government officials in the natural disaster-preparedness-type departments said it wasn’t exactly an “eruption” but more just spewing of ash; there is a technical term for it but I don’t remember what it was. Basically it’s what happens when water comes in contact with the hot lava; steam buildup forces the off-gasing and therefore the spewing happens.
Regardless, I was still anxious. No one knows or can predict when or if a full-blown massive eruption will occur. If it does though, I don’t want to be around with all the ash that could be in the air. I also don’t want to be stuck in Bali if the duration of the volcano lasts longer than… well, who knows how long it would last. Point is, I don’t want to be here if all that were to happen and I would have no rest or peace of mind.
So, with all of this running through my head, I went in to one of my scramble modes where I quickly do a bunch of research analyzing my options. Basically what I came up with were a few reasonably priced flights to New Zealand, analyzing my work-holiday visa to make sure I could show up earlier and not be in trouble, analyzing my comfort level and if I really did want to leave (i.e., trying to prevent a rash decision), analyzing costs of this change in schedule verses money spent to be here in Bali and money spent on flights leaving Bali in 5 weeks, and questioning/determining how much my peace of mind is worth to me.
Basically, the answers I came up with were:
– I would have no peace of mind if I stayed in Bali – I would never be able to rest easy.
– I did not fall in love with Bali like I expected to. There were a couple of reasons why: 1) I thought there would be other interns while I was here and there wasn’t. While I generally like smaller/1 on 1 time with whoever I’m working with/for, it’s nice to have someone to hang out with outside of work. 2) It’s the rainy season. And apparently this rainy season, it rains in the afternoons. The lady I met here at this place said that in her previous experience, the rainy season rain occurred in the evening/night-time. Since I worked all morning, by the time I had showered decided what to do for lunch, the storm clouds would be gathering and I wouldn’t want to venture too far away, if go anywhere at all. 3) I would spend at least as much money (most likely more) just existing in Bali for 5 more weeks while that money could now be applied to New Zealand adventures. Another 5 weeks in Bali seemed like an eternity. The days weren’t going very fast at all.
– I can still go back and finish my time volunteering at a later date when maybe the volcano calms down.
– The idea of being in some awesome location in New Zealand for Christmas and New Years is very attractive!
I took a while to decide to finally go and ended up paying about $100 more on airfare because of the delay… ticket prices started rising fast. But I wanted to make sure I was sure about my decision. But once I decided, I felt a wash of relief and excitement.
So, I bought airfare and it was taking forever to process the payment… finally, at like 4pm I got an email saying the payment wasn’t processed and to call my operator. Who the heck is my operator? I assumed the bank through which I have my travel credit card. First though, I had to buy credit on Viber so that I could make actual real phone calls. So, I called Chase, figured out that there was nothing on their end holding up the payment. So I called the airfare booking agency and they said the card had to be authorized for 3D authorization or some such credit card weirdness. So I called my bank back and asked them to immediately authorize this 3D authorization for my card which they did, and about 10-15 minutes later I tried putting the card number in and it finally worked! Yay!! When I couldn’t get it to work, I thought hmmmmph, maybe I’m not supposed to leave… But I worked through that kink and got everything in order, packed my backpack which I had pulled almost everything out of over the previous 10 days.
Part 2 of this change of plans is the work exchange I got set up! After I had gotten the flight sorted out, I saw this post on a group Facebook page for backpackers in New Zealand. It was for a work in exchange for food and accommodation….on a yacht! I mean, who wouldn’t want to do this! Basically it will be cooking and cleaning 5 hours a day in exchange for food and accommodation on the boat. I thought “Wow, this could really be a golden opportunity!” It popped up right as I was getting ready to go to Auckland and just get on my hop-on-hop-off bus, but if there’s the chance to stay longer in NZ doing something awesome and cool, then jump on it! So, I’ll be working on a yacht for 2 weeks if all goes well. If all goes really, really well, then maybe I’ll stay longer… who knows. One day at a time.
I had made a one-night reservation at the Kiwi Airport Hostel, but after talking to “Captain Alex” and talking about where and when to meet, he said to just come straight from the airport to the Auckland marina where we would meet up and then go straight to the boat! Wow… bing bang boom!
So, that’s that! I’m now at the Denpasar airport waiting for my flight which has been delayed by about an hour and a half apparently due to bad weather in Sydney (I have one connection there). I thought initially it was because of bad weather here. It was really pouring for a little while. I’ll arrive in Auckland at about 5pm on Friday and head to the boat!
Super excited to get New Zealand adventures started!
So this morning I just went for a nice drive and took some pictures… here ya go.