It’s difficult to start writing again…
I didn’t write an end to our last traveladventure, and then I didn’t took the time for it when we were back in Belgium. I don’t know exactly why. Maybe because in the beginning my head was more in Belgium then still at our travels and the more time went by the more my head start to be again with making plans for the next adventure out of Belgium. Then we started a new travel, to Indonesia, with big plans, and when that started I was so caught up in it that I litteraly didn’t find the time to write. Now we are allready gone from Belgium for more then 3 months and I miss writing, I miss some way to express my thoughts so I know I need to take time for it again. So here I am, don’t really know where to start, just know that I need to write again, and share it with the world, even when nobody is reading it.
I decided to start writing in English as well, this is something new and I don’t know yet if can express myself in the same way in an other language as in Dutch, a new challenge, I like new challenges so…. :)
I’m just going to start where I think I need to start.
Last year, when Jan and me were back in Belgium after our awesome 8 months travel-experience in South-East Asia and New Zealand, I had a double feeling. I really liked to be back with friends and family, the people who I’ve missed a LOT when we were gone and at the same time I could not find my peace. I didn’t know what to do exactly and my need for adventure was getting bigger and bigger again. Same for Jan. So we started dreaming again of something new. What did we really liked when we were travelling? Diving! Ok, so let’s go diving again. Jan wanted to explore his photography more as well, above and under water so after some talking, thinking, searching for possibilities, we made the decision to go back to Labuan Bajo in Indonesia for more diving. Jan was going to explore the secrets of underwaterphotography and I was going for my PADI scuba diving instructor license. So after one year working hard, saving up some money, enjoying friends and family to the fullest and making everything ready for leaving to Indonesia for an unknown time, we left Belgium around the end of March 2017. First we spend a week in Bali to arrange some practical things and to feel the Indonesian ‘livestyle’ again. Good to be back there, good to be back on the road with the love of my life, good to feel the sun on my skin again. We experienced an earthquake here as well, very creepy, our house was shaking from left to right. I’ve never felt it before so I was quiete shocked. Jan knew immediately what it was and 20 seconds later we were both laughing in bed because of my ‘in shock’-face. We met up with some friends from Belgium who were also in Bali and together with them we celebrated Ogoh-Ogoh & Nyepi together. Ogoh-Ogoh is a parade that takes places the evening before Nyepi. Nyepi is 24 hours of silence, fasting and meditation for the Balinese people. It is the beginning of the Balinese new year. We were invited by our Belgian friends to walk with the local people in the parade. Thanks for this cool experience Joran, Pommeline, Nele, Daniel, Roselien & Delphine!
So after some Bali-days we left to Labuan Bajo to start our divemastercourse with Manta Rhei Divecenter. The divemastercourse is a course from PADI where you learn lots more about diving, you learn how to be a qualified assistant and an underwaterguide. The duration of this course is two months, every day, from 6am untill 7.30pm. While you are doing this course you are also ‘the slave’ from the other dive-instructors, so you need to help out with everything and do some hard work as well. As you can imagine we were very tired every night and I think we went to bed almost always before 9.30pm. In the beginning it’s weird, to wake up at 5.15am in the morning. For sure after I spend the last years working in horeca and never had to get up early. But you get used to it and I enjoy it as well actually, being up so early, see the sun rise every morning, hear the birds waking up and crawl close to Jan on our scooter on the way to the diveshop because it is still chilly in the morning. We were really lucky we could rent a house from the diveshop so we didn’t had to look long for a place to stay, and after four weeks looking around for buying a second hand scooter with original papers and we didn’t find that, we decided to buy a new scooter. We called her ‘Betty’ke’ and she’s for sure the best ride I ever had!
So after two months of diving and being divemastertrainees we made it and got certified as divemasters. This goes together with the famous ‘snorkeltest’. The snorkeltest is the finishing touch on your divemastercourse and it’s actually just a way for your mentor to get you really drunk really fast. :) But after this last ‘test’ we could call ourselves real divemasters. Jan had some difficulties in the beginning of the course because he really wanted to start and take pictures underwater, doing beautiful sunsets, wonderful nightskies and so much more but there was no time for that while we were doing the course so he had to put that plan on hold untill afterwarths and now was the time so he was as happy as a kid!!
This worked out really well for him because one day after finishing the divemastercourse, my instructorcourse started, what took up all of my time, so Jan had all the time to focus on his photography.
The instructorcourse is a course that takes approximately 18 days and when you finish this course you get certified as a PADI Open Water Scuba Instructor, what means that you can teach other people to dive. This course was a real rollercoaster full of emotions. I was lucky to have the best group I could wish for and the best course-director I could imagine. Our course-director was Alina, a very experienced diver, teacher, course-director and just an amazing woman who I respect a lot. We called her ‘mumsy’. Our group existed of four students. Matt, a crazy Australian guy who knows a lot about geology, dive-equipement, boats,… and is super funny and so we called him ‘the class-dick’. Kristen, a beautiful Canadian marine-biologist and as emotional as me so lots of laughter and cry between the both of us. She got an ear infection at the start of the course so we called her ‘sexy ears’. Jacob, a Singaporian Chinese guy who is one of the smartest people I’ve ever met at his age. He knows sooo much about sooo much, it’s crazy. Everyday I learned something new from him. He helped me out with physics and physiology, he was my divebuddy throughout the course and the same soul when it comes to cats. We called him ‘toolbox’. And then there was me, they called me ‘stress’ because, I have to admit, I had some stress for this course and I was really afraid I wouldn’t make it. But just because of this ‘framily’ we had here, I made it, so did Matt, Kristen and Jacob. We all succeeded with bright shine and fully graduated as dive-instructors. While I was doing the course, Jan was focussing on his photography and I saw him cheering up with the day, doing his thing. I am so proud of him, he is just one of these persons who is just really good in what he does. Maybe it’s because I am his girlfriend, I don’t know, but that’s what I think :)
After my exam in Bali we went to Nusa Lembongan with our group and Jan joined us as well. We had a small vacation there and enjoyed it to the fullest. We went looking for Mola-mola’s (= a giant funny fish or sunfish), Jan & me tried out our new dive-equipement, we went exploring the island, had drinks on the beach and said goodbye to each other. Matt & Kristen going back to Australia, Jacob to the Gillis and Alina back to Lombok. Although we said goodbye, I’m quite sure we will see each other again! And Nusa Lembongan too because it’s for sure a must do when you are in Bali, I loved this little island!
In the mean time Jan and me are back in Labuan Bajo. Since a couple of days Jan put his webshop online. (You can find it here on this site, click the 'shop' button). Here you can buy his pictures. On every photo he sells, there is also going a small amount to the ALS-Liga in Belgium, to support their research for medications and hopefully one day a cure. Why did he choose this? Because one of our very close familymembers suffers from this terrible desease and Jan (and me) want to contribute on our way to help.
I want to write so much more and there is more news coming up but that will be for the next blogpost, I’ll try to do my very best to write sooner :)
Btw, family and friends back home, I miss you, we miss you. I miss sharing our experiences, our love, our friendship, our compassion, our laughter, our hugs & kisses, our dances, our stories…… That’s probably also one of the reasons why I write this, so I feel like I am still a little with all of you.
Lots of love ,