The first trip is just the beginning. For surfers, Bali is an annual reunion with a spiritual soulmate—exploring outside the boundaries of where you went the year before, adding to the layers of appreciation and amazement.
“For so long, I felt like Bali was just one of those destinations you had to go to being a surfer and from Hawaii. I had heard so many things about it, that I knew at some point I had to get there,” explained Ashley Johnson.
Rosie Jaffurs added it was her third time going to Bali, and every year is a culture shock to merge onto the chaotic streets and new discoveries. “Every summer a lot of the North shore surf community ends up heading to Indonesia because of the good waves and affordable living. Every time I have gone there it's been for a month, the longest I am ever away from home. Arriving in Bali it is kind of shocking, the smells, the scooters, the lifestyle. It is very different from home. Fast paced living, hustling and late nights,” Rosie said.
We talked more with Ashley and Rosie about their most memorable moments traveling together, and what the hype is all about.
All photos by Bryce Johnson.
Traveling has a way of opening our minds and changing us. What did you learn about yourself on this trip to Bali?
Rosie: Exploring new places and to just GO are the biggest things I learned about this trip. You can't just stay in your comfort zone, you have to pull the trigger and get out there. There is so much to this world we can experience but we can always come up with billions of excuses as to why you can't do this or that. To me, you’re missing out on what life has to offer. This being my third trip to Bali and finally getting away from what I have done the previous times really opened my eyes as to how much I miss when I let others tell me it isn’t safe to do this or that, but to just GO!
I finally got out and away from the main tourist traps and went into the country in Bali. It is absolutely breathtaking. Coconut trees upon coconut trees and the most unique man-made rice patty fields that blow your mind. How in the world did these little Indos make these? People living off the land in the middle of the jungle while their kids still manage to attend school by walking along the roads in their uniforms.
Ashley: Personally, this trip made me realized how much I love the craziness of third world countries. I have been trying to travel as much as I can over the last few years and I must say, this trip made me realize traveling to an affordable country is not only awesome, I actually love the controlled madness. The mopeds, the cheap food, the awesome restaurants, fresh juice everywhere you go, tucked away villas straight out of a magazine—just everything makes the experience so vibrant!
It’s also pretty easy to get out of the craziness and experience the beauty of the country: rice fields, palm tree groves, waterfalls and world class waves to name a few!
Some of my favorite memories were driving and exploring on mopeds through the crazy streets of Seminyak and Ubud and also the beautiful waterfalls of Sekumpul. OMG, that place was a dream! We also had an awesome tour guide, who was so sweet and by the end of the tour we were going down natural waterslides with all the locals and children! The best part was all of us getting packed by the locals on motorbikes through the most beautiful rice fields. Definitely a trip highlight!
That sounds amazing! Was it a smooth trip all the way through or was there anything that didn’t go as planned?
Rosie: My boyfriend Keoki was supposed to meet us on the trip but ended up getting hurt in a different part of remote Indonesia and had to head to Singapore in a scare of a broken back. Luckily it wasn't life threatening and he was going to be ok. I was pretty bummed that he wasn't going to be meeting us but having friends around me kept me sane and going on daily adventures and experiencing new parts of Indonesia is what got me through the fact Keoki was not there, though he was supposed to be with me.
Ashley: I almost didn’t even make it into the country. UM YEAH! DONT TRAVEL TO BALI IF YOUR PASSPORT EXPIRES WITHIN LESS THAN SIX MONTHS!!! Lol. Yeah, that was me. I literally was in disbelief the moment the officer told me my passport isn’t valid for our rules of getting into Indonesia while being escorted to a back room. Seriously one of the scariest and longest 45 minutes of my life. I still don't even know how I got in. Honestly, the grace of God. I’m already getting anxiety thinking about it!
You mentioned that you had a local guide take you to the waterfalls. Did you get to meet any other locals and find out what it’s like living in Bali?
Rosie: I have a friend in Bali that usually helps all the Hawaiians when they come to Bali. I stayed with him and his wife before my friends arrived and it was awesome. They took me to eat places that I would have never trusted to go by myself with and were just the most loving and giving people ever. They always tried to pay for my food whenever we went out and it was just crazy to me that they would try to do this every time when our American money is probably three times stronger than the Indonesian rupiah. So giving!
Religion is probably the most important thing to Indonesians. My friend and his wife are Muslim and they like I said they were the most loving, giving and also open to any questions I had about their religion.
We went to this waterfall in the middle of the jungle where you needed to pay a guide to take you there, probably the village’s biggest source of income, but our guide knew perfect English. I was so impressed with the fact of how hard this boy probably had to study in order to learn English this well. He said he was the only one in his village that knew English. My mind was blown and I didn't mind giving him my Hawaii towel after he took care of us that day.
Ashley: For the most part, the people of Bali were so nice and friendly. My experience with the locals was only welcoming. They work very hard and the people we were in contact with on the daily were so helpful and accommodating. At a few places where we stayed, the workers would arrange transportation and travel tips for us from a local perspective—often times hiring their own family and friends, which made the trip feel more personal.
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