Chapter 2 – First Day
Before I begin transcribing my diary entry I will include a paragraph or two that adds a little more context. Some of these blogs may have more than one entry depending on the length of the ramblings. This is one of them.
I had arrived on Nikoi the night before. After two long car journeys and a ferry from Singapore, the sun set over Bintan as I climbed aboard a very small speedboat, that I later learned is called ‘Thunder’. A noisy, turbulent and wet ride from the mainland to Nikoi Island was my introduction into my brand new life. It was amazing. The full moon hung in the hot air and I felt the tingling sense of adventure. A flying fox swooped overhead and the warm night ocean tickled my fingers.
At the jetty, an arrival party of strangers who would eventually become my brothers and sisters, greeted me with aplomb. A flurry of unfamiliar names washed over me and I struggled to make any connection between names and faces in the dark. They were visibly excited to welcome me and I felt a rush of joy that my new family were so very kind.
Verily, I was escorted to the bar for a much needed Gin and Tonic and my very first Sampoerna – a type of Indonesian clove cigarette. I am now very much a Sampoernite. Can’t get enough of that sweet burn.
More new faces, and then my first introduction to the sensational menu on the islands and one of the highlights of the job. Wow. Top class grub.
My room was white sparse and bamboo clad. There were little glow-in-the-dark stars stuck to the wall. I remember how alien that room felt at first. How I couldn’t make any sense of where I was on the island.
Now, that little room is my only ‘home’, the Island, I could walk with my eyes closed.
20th March 2019 – Thursday
Local Time – 19.19
Location – Nikoi Island – My Room
Mood – Exhausted
Today was my first day at work. I had about 20 minutes sleep if I had any. Combination of jet lag and nervous tension. The moon was also very full and the staff are very noisy at night. I felt surprisingly okay all day. The sun was feeding me energy. Although at around 2pm I had a small meltdown. I had just greeted some guests from the boat, some were so nice but there were some typically rich women who were looking down on me. Any other day I would have brushed it off but I was already feeling very insecure about my appearance. Particularly my legs. They don’t look great in these shorts we have to wear, and it all hit me.
Apart from that I was fine really. I played guitar this afternoon with Jimmy and he and Yudi have been so much help all day. Everyone is so supportive. The island is spectacular. I mean, it’s incredible. I’m glad I got to witness it before climate change eradicates all of this. There’s been a huge drought this year already. Sean has been my rock as ever and I’ve actually had a fantastic time talking with the guests. I find that very easy.
Tomorrow is going to be full on. Early start. Go around and chat to everyone before morning briefing. Check EVERYONE out and then everyone in. Jesus. Wish me luck universe. Give me the strength and courage to face this with integrity.
The first three weeks was a major adjustment. There were definitely times where I felt that I couldn’t do it. That the isolation was too much. I felt so vulnerable and truly unhappy at times. Each morning was a real struggle to do basic things. But I pushed on. Some people would think that living and working on a paradise island is a dream come true. But at first it was an absolute nightmare. The beautiful surroundings only re enforced my disillusionment. It’s like being lonely in a crowd of people.
It’s difficult to explain the cocktail of emotions I went through but I can now look back on that time, only four months ago and see the changes within me from that wobbly beginning.
12th April 2019 – Friday
Location – Singapore Changi Airport – Departure Lounge
Mood – Slightly Perturbed
It’s been three weeks since I arrived on Nikoi. The first few days were incredibly difficult. Due to Kirstie having to go home for a family event, I had to stay for three weeks instead of two. Really, it was good. I felt absorbed into island life. It really is a beautiful place but now I’m away from it I think I’ve got some perspective. It’s like a little bubble. The people are wonderful and I’m learning Bahasa. It’s still very early days and I haven’t quite found my muse artistically but it’ll come.
I’m waiting for a flight to Bali right now.
I don’t think I’m a fan of Singapore but out of that internal friction with the way it makes me feel – outcast, different, lonely – I’ve managed to come up with the idea of writing a blog for thirty something travellers. Like a Bridget Jones’ of travelling. Perhaps I’ll even do it in Diary form. A collection of stories.
So I suppose I need to write all of these encounters down.
Singapore is a great place to come face to face with your own insecurities. Judgy much? So yeah, last night I was totally overwhelmed when I got here. I wanted to travel cheap to the hostel from the ferry terminal so I took the MRT (Singapore Tube). I ended up spending as much, if not more than I would in a taxi. I thought it would be fun to experience a bit of Singapore, but I was cast into the city under the shadow of a customs tax. The fuckers stopped me for half a pack of opened tobacco.!! I had to pay 18 dollars under the threat that they could charge me 200 dollars if they wanted to ‘so I’d better pay up’. I also had to empty the entire contents of my rucksack, bras and all, so that they could check I didn’t have anymore (after x-raying the rucksack).
I had been manifesting such positivity beforehand as I was waiting in the immigration line. Listening to some funky tunes.
Ah, it could have been worse. There was a reason somewhere along the way. Anyway, my most corrosive problem is the widening and drooping of my body. Started to skip breakfast now. Intermittent fasting. Also, I’m never really hungry in morning anyway.
I will think harder on this Bridget Jones’ blog. Name ideas:
The Ramblings of a Travelling Spinster/Old Maid/Banshee/Hag
Themes will include: Napping, Lack of Willpower, Snacking, The Gaining and Losing of Body Fat, Young People and How Annoying they are.