Circles of Sin (a spoken word poem by me)

I’m at the supermarket

in the frozen food aisle

and I’m minding my business when

out of the corner of my eye

I see a man twice my age giving me

a wry smile

I clock that his gaze is fixed upon my chest

more specifically my breasts

and I hazard a guess that it’s because I’m bra-less

and I’m wearing a white tee

and I must admit this shop is pretty chilly

so my circles of sin are drawing attention to me 

attention I don’t want and I don’t need

but of course: the blame is all on me

because of the faint outline through this tee

my nipples

my mind throws back to a memory

of a girl on a night out in a city 

enjoying a tipple

not a care in the world

her only prerogative is laughing with the girls

in a short skirt and heels, dolled up to the nines

stood at the bar, a glass of red wine

and she’s looking super HOT

and so of course her ass will be grabbed whether she likes it or not

and lewd comments and come ons and offers of drinks

and IF she accepts it, the man in question thinks

that this is a green light

that he’s in with a chance and she’s his for the night

it takes more than a g&t to win over a queen

so check yourself, mate

and why shouldn’t a woman accept a free drink when we still earn less than men yet do twice the work?

it’s really basic economics

anyway, accepting a drink doesn’t mean she wants to become acquainted with your (likely disappointing) dick

nor does a flirt, a dance, even going back to your place 

even a kiss on your cheek or a hand to your face

men are always in such a hurry, like pulling our pants down is some kind of race

slow down the pace 

and if you buy her the drink… buy it with grace

she’s not obliged to bend over or sit on your face

i’ll take a rum and coke without the dash of hidden expectations, thanks

oh, and can you stop demonising my nipples?

you don’t need to stand and stare

and make everyone aware 

funnily enough, I already know that they’re there!

they’re just two small circles of skin

and until they can exist in peace

nobody can win


Life is a cycle

Last year was so boring. I spent the majority of it alone, in my room, listening to music and dreaming of a time that once was. I’d stare longingly out of the window, wishing for my life to be something and somewhere else. I’d gone from ultimate freedom in Bali, to ultimate confinement in the UK, and I spent a lot of time delving into the darkest depths of my own mind, battling my inner demons, ironing out my emotional creases.

I’m so proud of myself. I shed a couple of skins in 2020 and grew immensely – which seems strange seeing as I spent most of it stuck within four walls. Time alone gave me opportunity to ponder my past decisions and carefully consider what I wanted next for myself. Without outside influences, or the readily-available party scene I’d come to lose myself in, I was able to thrive in other ways: spiritually, educationally, emotionally, mentally.

As if the isolation was a personal test from a higher being, I was rewarded for accepting, honouring and rising to the challenge. I met someone amazing, completely unexpectedly. I got unconditionally accepted into university to study something I’m really passionate about, which also means I’ll be moving to one of the most exciting places in the country later this year. It just reminded me that when consumed by those darkest hours, to remember that the sun always rises again eventually. Without the bone-shatteringly bad, we’d never appreciate the spirit-soaringly good.

I just had a little cry because today I can feel the grief of the world. It’s like a thick smoke filling my lungs or a bag of bricks pressing down on my shoulders. It feels weighty and insurmountable. From the (embarrassingly late) global awakening about white supremacy last year, to pandemic bulletins being the only thing to permeate our minds for months on end, to white supremacists storming the Capitol building in the US, to the inequality between humans that still very really exists worldwide. It’s weighing on my heart and it feels like there’s no end. I’ve realised we all have to do what makes us happy in life – not in a selfish way, but in a “grab life by the balls” way – because who knows? We could get cancer. We could get COVID-19. Life can change in a moment. We – any of us – could die tomorrow. And life is such a precious and delicate thing that we don’t appreciate enough. How many opportunities have we all let fall by the wayside because we got scared? Scared of the unknown, or scared of failure, or from a lack of self belief. If we got through 2020, if we got through Trump’s presidency, if incredible, strong women and marginalised groups are still rising up in the face of constant adversity in a man-centric, patriarchal and heteronormative world, we can definitely overcome whatever limiting beliefs are holding us back. And every person you love, everyone who makes you smile and your heart skip a beat is so important. Tell them.

I’m repeating one of my favourite quotes to myself today, because now I’ve had my little cry from being overwhelmed with sorrow for our lost and broken world, it reminds me to rise once again:

“Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world’s grief. Do justly, now. Love mercy, now. Walk humbly, now. You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to abandon it.”
– The Talmud


Women, gal pals, wonderful super-human beings… Please answer me this one question (to paraphrase Chidera Eggerue):


What are these narcissistic, immature, manipulative, dishonest and downright abusive sorry excuses for men putting in your coffee, that is making you think that a) you can change them, and b) they actually care about you?

When someone shows you their true colours by consistently disrespecting you, lying to you, overstepping your boundaries, gaslighting you, getting physical with you, verbally abusing you, emotionally manipulating you, THAT IS WHO THEY ARE. They will not change for you, because of you, or in spite of you.

It’s breaking my heart to see my soft and gentle, open hearted and kind friends as well as thousands of women I don’t know personally being chewed up and spat out like emotional roadkill. And yet still going back to these horrible men. It hurts because your heart is beautiful and pure and I know you want to believe that “they didn’t mean it“, that it was a one-off, that they feel guilty and regret it and will never do it again and that “you’re in control of the situation now”. So you go back. And every time you go back, you lose a little of your light.

Please heed my warning, they will do it again. I’ve been there. ONCE YOU GO BACK, IN FACT, THEY WILL DO IT EVEN MORE. They will keep doing it until there’s barely anything left of you and then they will STILL do it because controlling you is the only thing that makes them feel powerful in their deadbeat world. Yes, they are hurting. They need help. But you are not the one to give them that. You can’t, it’s impossible. Instead of elevating them, you will disintegrate yourself. You are not their psychiatrist or their emotional support animal, and you are certainly not their punching bag. The tears, “I’m sorrys” and confessions only serve to suck you further in, to make you become more invested in their game. The only people who can help them is themselves, by taking their sorry arses to therapy. By leaving you alone to thrive in your own skin. But they will not do this, because they do not want to see you soar.

That’s why YOU have to be the strong one. You’re strong for staying, but you’re a hell of a lot stronger for leaving. It will feel like the wind has been punched out of you, because you’ve been accustomed to their cycles of abuse for so long. But, I promise you, on the other side, life is so, so sweet. It’s not anxiety-riddled, nor filled with second-guessing your own sanity. It’s about getting excited by something as seemingly small as a whole day without an argument or a reason to be upset, because usually by 10am you’d have been in emotional tatters. It’s knowing your entire day can be filled with gentle self care, personal projects, making plans for the future and being surrounded by people who want the best for you.

These guys might deserve your pity, but not your passion. Not your strength, not your time or your energy until you’re dried up and drained, lost and alone, unrecognisable even to yourself yet feeling stuck, like: “I got myself this far, it’s too late to get out now, I deserve this”. You will NEVER deserve this. And it’s NEVER too late to leave.

You deserve the whole world. The sun, moon and stars and a lover who makes you feel like electricity flows through your veins, who traces entire galaxies upon your skin. Someone who gives you space to grow and makes you breakfast in bed when you have period pains. A partner. Not a project. Not an emotional vampire.

You can’t fix other people. Your power is in creating the life that you want, one where you sleep peacefully and wake up with confidence to seize the day and BLOOM. I love you. Please love you, too. Look to your bright, beautiful future and do yourself a favour:

Isolation Realisation

“You did it!” I thought to myself, in July of 2018, three months after my arrival in Bali. Just like practically every other white person living there, I’d travelled to this magical island for a holiday, it had instantly dug its claws into me, and I couldn’t imagine not calling it home for some length of time. So I’d decided to stay. I’d landed a job that sustained me. Learnt how to ride a motorbike. Now, I knew, it was only a small matter of time before all my wildest hopes and dreams began to unfold before my very eyes, alongside unlimited Long Island Iced Teas, new friendships and dramatic sunsets. I couldn’t wait to see what my new truly thriving existence had in store for me.

What my excited brain hadn’t thought of, was that there might be a dark side to paradise. I was naive to the monsters that lurked beneath the shiny exterior of sun, sand and surf. Let me just interject a small disclaimer here: this is not a post simply hating on Bali. I had some of the most fun and memorable times of my life there, met some lifelong friends, and at the time of being there, I couldn’t imagine life any other way. This is just me, documenting my feelings since leaving.

Since the Coronavirus pandemic forced me to return to the UK, I’ve had some serious time to think. And what I’ve realised has really surprised me. It seems like I was wearing rose-tinted glasses and coming home slapped them off my face and me into reality. I honestly think I’m experiencing some delayed PTSD-type symptoms when I think about my time in Bali. This seems crazy, because I had so many incredible experiences there, but now I’m home, it feels like I have been in survival mode for a long time and now is the first time I don’t have to be ready for ‘fight or flight’. When I first got home, I felt like all the bad things I didn’t really allow myself to feel had come to the surface, forming a thick layer of negativity upon my idea of the island. Like the totally dysfunctional, angry, repressed, misogynistic men with outdated patriarchal ideas I had the displeasure of dealing with (or having to watch my creative, hilarious, inspiring, independent pals deal with), or having my beloved dog stolen from me, or having a threatening landlord (who I’m pretty sure had something to DO with my dog being stolen) whilst living miles away from anyone I knew by myself, or constantly experiencing toxic energies from people in the social circles I found myself in (not my close friends, but people we would see on a semi-regular basis). There are so many social climbers in Bali, people who think they’re above others and only associate within their cliques, so it can be hard to know who to trust. In fact, some people are just downright rude because they’re made to feel like a ‘somebody’ in Bali. And, yes, all that sucked, but none of it compared to the abuse I suffered at the hands of a couple of men whilst in Bali, which I never truly confronted, instead burying it deep down inside my soul where slowly but surely it ate away at me. It made me bitter and unhappy. It made me turn to reckless behaviour I’m not proud of, looking back. It all became exhausting, actually. And since leaving, I feel like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders – a weight I didn’t even realise was there at the time. I’ve been thinking and planning and keeping my circle close, just family and the women I can trust with my darkest thoughts. I’ve come to know that I wasn’t growing in Bali anymore. In fact, I hadn’t been growing for a long time before I left. I was creatively blocked, socially fed up and not taking care of myself. And I deserve so much better than that.

Thanks to coming home – albeit under horrifying circumstances where the world as we knew it has pretty much collapsed – my mental balance has slowly come to be restored, my creativity is flowing and I am excited for the future again. I keep trying to remind myself that life is a series of ups and downs, no matter where a person is situated, and that the things that happened to me in Bali could have happened anywhere. But then again, they didn’t happen just anywhere. I’m a firm believer in that old cliché, “everything happens for a reason”, so I know my time in Bali was there to teach me a lot of lessons. I’m grateful for them, but I’m in no rush to go back. The world may be chaotic right now, and for the foreseeable future, but I’m glad to deal with it from the comfort of my real home, as I take the necessary time to recharge, process, and most of all, try to understand.

The trick to keeping it all moving is to create a life for yourself which makes you happy amongst the chaos, and that goes for wherever you choose to call home, so that’s my current motivation. Only give time to things, people, activities that “spark joy”. I regularly ask myself, “What do you want? What makes you happy?” and go after it. Now, I’m so excited for my future. I’ve decided to make a bigger long-term goal than I’ve ever had before which simultaneously exhilarates and terrifies me. I know that thanks to my time on that incredible island, I’ll be better equipped to deal with whatever situations are thrown at me in the future (and maybe know how to not get myself into certain situations at all). Right now, things are still raw, but I know one day I will be able to go back with fresh eyes and an open heart, and thank Bali fully for everything it did for me.

Yours sincerely,


Things I saw tonight whilst driving home, in order

11PM, Monday.

A female on the back of a bike shouting “WEEEEE!” whilst waving her arms in the air in absolute glee.

A frog, hopping across the road. I narrowly missed him.

Dogs curled up and snoozing in the middle of the road.

A car parked at the bottom of a hill, on a bend. Ugh.

A couple (an older white man, a younger Indonesian woman) ferociously making out on a parked scooter.

Two dogs having an intense play fight.

A man driving the wrong way up the opposite side of the road.

A motorist turning left with his right indicator on.

A dog stealing old rice out of a bin.

Goodnight, Bali, I still love you.

What to do, when your home betrays you?

What do you do, when the place you’ve poured your heart and soul into for the past 18 months, turns and bites you in an irreparable way?

My dog Leo – who I’ve had since he was 9 weeks old, from September 5th 2018 – has been through the good and the bad, through house moves and friendships and trips away and sickness and health, was stolen from my yard whilst I was out on Monday 21st October 2019. I have no way of knowing why or how it happened, but I know the act was sinister.

I feel betrayed by Bali. In this place I’ve dealt with hurt and homelessness, I’ve been broke and lived a high life, I’ve experienced joy and beauty and pain, and all of it has helped to shape me to who I am today, but I think this heartbreak is one step too far. No sadness can match having your reliable little best friend snatched from you for a reason you will never know. Since rescuing Leo, I only envisaged a future with him in it. He was coming back to the UK with me, steps were already in motion. Wherever I went, he was by my side, a constant companion. And now that future has been stolen from me – and for what? Is this a lesson I’m supposed to learn? A sick, twisted feat of karma? I can’t believe I’ve ever done anything to deserve this.

For me, being happy doesn’t equate to having a career goal and a million pounds in my bank account. It’s about collecting experiences, living a life that’s true to me, that my heart feels honestly proud of. This is how I’ve always lived. Leo helped me see the world through another’s eyes: a nervous, skittish, loving, loyal little dog’s eyes. He helped me to think about a being other than just myself. There’s no way he would ever run away from me. He doesn’t even go a few minutes running on the beach without coming back to check I’m still in the same place. But now it’s been nine days of nothing. No leads, no sightings. I know my dog, and this isn’t him.

Yes, I will eventually accept what’s happened and start to move on. But I will never forget. And now, driving these streets, constantly looking side-to-side for that familiar curly tail, I can’t relax, I can’t rest, I can’t feel like I’m home. My heart has been trampled by this place and I will never see Bali in the same way again. I am broken. 😥

OVERCOMING HEARTBREAK: A momentary memoir from August

The following was written in August, when I was still in the throes of healing from my toxic relationship. I think it’s quite beautiful, as I look back and see how far I’ve come and how amazing and strong I feel now. It was too raw to post at first, but now I’m ready.

I remember when I was scared to tell you my successes because I knew your eyes would just see me fail. They only wanted to see that. I remember when I used to overcompensate all the time, with excitement, with humour, with touch, trying to draw a favourable reaction — my soul was so dry I think just one droplet of emotion from you would have sustained me for weeks.

“That’s just me,” became your anthem. Anything I needed negated with this simple phrase. It was basically you saying “take it or leave it”. Our pendulum would swing from “you’re too much” to “you’re not enough”. We were never the right amount of anything for each other. I still wonder how much of that was true and how much was a result of purposeful sabotage on both sides. It was like we couldn’t stand to see each other happy. From my side of things, when a woman feels they have put their all into something and are greeted with nothing but utter disrespect, she becomes a little bitter.

I found myself resenting you. Making assumptions about how you would act or what you would say. This wasn’t helpful, I’m aware, not for me and not for ‘us’. But it just shows the utter disconnect of you and I, doesn’t it? My mind knew it wanted to leave long before my heart agreed to follow suit, even then dragging its heels and circling back more times than I’d care to admit… because the first dose of humiliation obviously wasn’t enough. But it’s okay. I don’t hate myself. I know I had to do it, to purge you, to get you out of my system, to allow me to start again.

Which brings me to now. I feel like being quiet. I feel like watching. I want to observe the world and guard my most precious belonging: My Self. I too easily let the wrong in last time. And I too quickly turned a blind eye to the many things signalling me to “GET THE FUCK OUT. NOW. GO. LEAVE. GO!” So now I sit. I wait. I talk with my friends. I paint. I sleep. I eat well. I walk every day. I read. I study. I plan. I gather my strength. And I do what women do best: I survive.

Life still happens in paradise

What, or where, is ‘paradise’ to you?

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been searching for mine. I always thought that once I’d found it, I’d be in a bubble of eternal happiness. My dream has been to travel the world, meet new people, live in as many different places as I could. I’d felt like a caged bird at home since my early teens. My idea of paradise has always been somewhere with sun, nature, a laid-back lifestyle, working to live (not living to work) and meeting people who share my mindset. Growing up in a majority-white town in South Wales where the ‘norm’ is people buying a two-up, two-down a few doors up from their parents, hasn’t always exposed me to people on the same wavelength as me. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that way of life if it makes you happy, it’s just never been me. My spirit has always yearned for freedom, for new experiences, for human connection, and my stomach for new foods! I’ve searched for paradise on multiple continents, seen so many ways of life, met some truly wonderful people along the way and tried more strange dishes than I can count. Amongst many other adventures, I’ve boated at twilight on the River Danube in Budapest, swung in hammocks in Koh Phangan, trekked the Himalayas in Nepal, partied in secret locations in the Philippines, and driven (and lived in) an old beaten-up van across the width of Australia. I’ve worked difficult, strange, fun and awful jobs along the way (such as hostessing at clubs, grape picking and working as a receptionist at a ‘happy ending’ massage parlour), all in search of that thing I yearn for – paradise.

For the past 13 months, I’ve been calling Bali home. Finally, I’d made it – PARADISE! It had everything I’d ever wanted! Sun, fun, people, beaches, nature, good music. I work three hours a day five days a week and can afford to live on this tiny slice of an island in Indonesia, surrounded by coconut trees and the greenest rice paddies you’ll ever see. There are cute dogs running around everywhere. I mainly spend my time going for brunch with friends, sunbathing and swimming, dancing to techno and obsessing over my puppy. I have the perfect life, right? I keep getting messages about it. Life is so easy when you live in paradise.

I was inspired to write this because I want people to know the truth. Yes, Bali is amazing. It has captivated my entire heart and soul. It has taught me so much more about myself than anywhere else I’ve ever lived. Every single evening there’s a different sunset, each totally beautiful in its own way. It’s sea breeze and beaches and a man with four dogs on one scooter. It truly is an island full of magic (and did I mention dogs? So many dogs). Many people come here for a holiday and never leave (that’s what happened to me), because there is something special about Bali… something no one can quite put their finger on. It sucks you in and doesn’t let go.

But, life still happens in paradise. Heartbreak happens – and you’re dealing with it a million miles from your family and home comforts. Sometimes all I want is a hug from my mum and dad, but I’d have to travel 12,690km to get it, so I have to make do with words on a screen. Friendships come and go, not because you argue, but because people don’t stay in Bali forever. You get used to saying goodbye, but it never gets easier. You worry about money and you wonder what you’re going to do with the rest of your life. It can be lonely, because it takes time to really meet people you want to be friends with because you like spending time with them, not just because you’re both expats living in another country. Indonesian bureaucracy is confusing and inefficient. There are earthquakes – Indonesia’s volcanoes are among the most active of the Ring of Fire. The traffic is enough to make you a stressed, sweaty mess within five minutes of leaving your house. There is no real recycling, or waste disposal. There are fires burning on the side of the street, toxic fumes permeating the air around you. People push in front of you in line. You get charged more than locals; people assume you’re rich because you’re white. And no one is ever on time.

I don’t want you to read this and think I’m just whining, or ungrateful, or bashing Bali, because I genuinely love this place and I feel extremely fortunate to have the chance to call this crazy and lovely place home, for any length of time. I’m so thankful for the lessons it’s taught me so far. When I leave and come back, I feel like I’m arriving home when my plane touches down in Denpasar. I’m just trying to be real, so those who think everything is hunky dory all the time can know that it’s not. Like I said, Bali has taught me more about myself than anywhere else I’ve ever lived – but that’s because sometimes, life here is bloody TOUGH. And you know what? I wouldn’t have it any other way, because the road to growth shouldn’t be easy.

Yes – paradise is nice. But when you live there, the cracks start to show and you realise that nowhere is perfect. After all my years of searching, I’m beginning to understand that the key is finding paradise within yourself before you can find it anywhere else. And that, is still a work in progress.

I also write poetry:

Amazing Stargazing

If there’s one thing I learnt on Gili Air, it’s how to find the Scorpio and Gemini constellations in the night’s sky whilst half a bottle of overpriced cab-merlot down. That, I think, is a positive lesson. The rest of the zodiac, however… let’s just say they’re a “work in progress” (and, to be fair, I didn’t have my glasses on, so it’s a wonder I managed to find two).

A second thing I came to realise, was that sometimes cutting the cord of people in my life who are no longer serving me in a positive way, doesn’t make me a bad person. It simply means I like myself way too much to put up with your crap. I’m enjoying saying that lately: “I like myself way too much to… *fill in blanks*”. Positive manifestation in it’s perfect form; it’s taken just a week of saying that regularly for me to realise I actually mean it. It’s a refreshing change from the past few years where anxiety over people’s opinions of me got inside my head, or worries that I’d said or done the wrong thing, or that I was unlikable. If travelling has made me realise anything, it’s that I am likable, and sociable, and I love to make people laugh and share in their journeys, thoughts, ideas. Spending precious time worrying about the little niggling insecurities in the back of your mind is futile, because the voice in your head doubting and criticising yourself, isn’t what makes you ‘you’. So love yourselves, people!

My visit to the Gili islands has been pure perfection. As if I thought Bali wasn’t paradise enough, the trifecta of the Gilis (Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno and Gili Air) are another world away once again. There are no cars or petrol-run mopeds allowed on any of the three tiny islands, meaning the only methods of transport around are horse and cart (which I didn’t really want to buy into), bicycle, or by taking an old-fashioned stroll! The horse and cart is such a tradition on the islands, no one bats an eyelid, but something inside me felt like I didn’t want to put my money into this trade. The horses are worked hard, in the sweltering humidity, pulling heavy carts often piled with a family-of-four plus luggage and the driver, and they always have to go at a trotting pace. I have to be fair and say the horses themselves don’t seem mistreated, especially compared to the terrible treatment of many animals in Asia – their owners do really seem to be fond of them. However, as someone who’s spent their fair share of time around horses, I could see many of their hooves weren’t in the best condition and they were often standing around in the hot sun for long periods of time.

To get more specific, Gili Trawangan (or ‘Gili T’) is very much the more ‘party’ of the three islands. This was my first Gili and to get there I caught a ‘fast boat’ by the company Scoot. Scoot are highly rated and love plastering “the most awarded travel company in Indonesia” all over their boats. I have no idea why. It cost me 600,000 rupiah (just over £30) for one way. This is expensive by both Indonesian and backpacker standards. Our boat left 40 minutes late (not the biggest deal – this is Asia after all), but then it proceeded to break down in the middle of the ocean, leaving all 50+ passengers and crew along with all our luggage violently swaying in the sea for 20 minutes with not a word said about what was happening, just the noise of hammer against metal on deck. The little boy next to me was throwing up in a plastic bag, a 20-something year old girl was crying, clutching at her stressed-looking boyfriend. I just breathed deeply and pretended I was one with the damn ocean to stop myself retching over the side of the boat. After that 20 long minutes, we were sent back to the nearest island to await a new boat, which arrived about 1.5 hours later and was far faster and better. Finally, relieved, we were on our way. I don’t expect things to go wrong, but they so easily can, especially in Asia! When they do, I try to accept that maybe it was supposed to happen this way so something else can fall into place. You’ve gotta have the really bad to make the good even better. Yin yang. Rough smooth. Light dark. On the beach whilst waiting for the new boat, I found one white and one black rock washed up next to each other on the sand. They felt like an omen confirming my thoughts; something saying “this is exactly what was supposed to happen”. I waited peacefully.

I’d booked three nights on Gili Trawangan, and I have to admit that was enough. If a strip of bars and clubs reminiscent of a European ‘girls/lads holiday’ is your scene, you’ll love it. But I’d just spent two weeks partying in Canggu, Bali, where the music variety and choice of venues are amazing and felt more ‘me’, and I was really looking to switch off from the drinking-every-night vibe. That said, I had a lot of fun there, and the Night Market is incredible. For 50,000 rupiahs (around £2.60) you can get 3 kebabs (calamari, snapper, beef, pork, chicken, etc) plus 3 salad sides and homemade sauces, which are MOUTHWATERINGLY good – but be warned, the hot sauce is no joke for Westerners.

I stayed in the Pondok Wahyu hostel – a good way to save money at only around £4.80 per night with breakfast included, but you do get what you pay for! When I checked in, I was told I had a roommate, and I don’t know why I expected a female, but when I opened the door to be greeted by a 6ft3 Polish man, I was a little taken aback! That said, Cezar turned out to be a great roomie and perfect gentleman, and we had a good time cycling around the island in search of the best sunset spots. Our bathroom also had the literal meaning of a skylight – a hole in the roof. It was perfect for stargazing, but not so perfect at keeping the critters in our room at bay.

I also met up with the new best couple I know, Georgie and Alex, and we went snorkelling with turtles, had many delectable meals and a lot of laughs together. Georgie I’ve known vaguely for a long time through a schoolfriend (holla, Bobs!) but it was the first time we properly hung out and I’m so happy to say I have two great new friends after this trip! The openness of travellers is so beautiful. Back home, this meeting probably wouldn’t have happened. But when you’re away from home, meeting someone you know – no matter how small the connection – is something you jump at the chance to do.

Empty lovers swing representin’ (my life)

Sunset chaser crew

After being advised that Gili Air had a little more life and a lot less couples than Gili Meno (and when I’d already seen some of Gili Meno on my snorkelling trip), I decided that Air was the next stop for me. I’m so happy I went there. Days spent dipping in the ocean, the colour of which I can only describe as the lovechild of the colour azure and milk. Evenings spent enjoying fish kebabs barbequed by the beach, all you can eat sides and happy hour glasses of red. Conversations and time spent with locals which opened my heart and eyes to new ways of viewing the world, from people who have lived a life so different to mine.

My accommodation was called Old Village Gili Air, and I slept on the upper floor of a big bamboo structure, sharing a room with one other girl. The owner was Japanese and you could see that in some of the ways the guesthouse worked. For around £8 per night, you got breakfast included, a clean and very comfortable room with amazing AC, a shared but clean bathroom, and free (iced) tea, coffee, water whenever you wanted. I was so impressed, I’d definitely go back.

Bamboo balcony views

My final word is: snorkelling with shipwrecks and underwater statues, swingin’ in hammocks, delicious food, the most tempting of oceans, incredible people. If you’ve ever considered the Gili Islands – take it from me, you should go. If you’ve never heard of them before… well, now you have, so what are you waiting for?!

Until next time…

Ana x