I boarded my plane wishing that I hadn’t booked my trip. Traveling to a different country alone was terrifying, and I was regretful before I had even checked in, but boy am I glad that I chose against missing the opportunity to volunteer in Indonesia.
Arriving in Bali, it wasn’t as much of a culture shock as I had expected. Having been to a few South East Asian countries in the past, I was surprised at the overall cleanliness on the streets. My taxi driver was an absolute doll – informing me of what suburbs we were driving through, what trade they specialised in, and how to barter to less than 50 percent of the original price.
Orientation Week as part of the Bali Sea Turtle Rescue project involved a trip to the monkey forest, hiking to the local rice field, blessing ourselves at the Holy Water Temple, a visit to Ubud markets, and various other activities. To say that we were swamped with exciting things to do would be an understatement.
My first week was an incredible experience within itself. The people that were in my orientation group have become friends for life, and we are all already planning our next trip away together. For my second week volunteering in Indonesia, I was off to see the turtles. My week on the island was one that I will certainly cherish for the rest of my life. The staff, turtles, locals, and work were all things that I am so thankful for having experienced. I felt at home as soon as I arrived at the volunteer house, thanks to the incredible staff.
Waking up in the morning to feed the turtles and clean the tanks was hardly a chore. I couldn’t wait to get to the conservation every morning. Seeing their hungry little faces flapping against the walls of their tanks was a sure fire way to making me smile. I couldn’t wait to witness the lucky little fella be released at the end of the week. It was so exciting, knowing that one of the turtles that had been in our care was soon going to start his life in the “big blue.” I couldn’t hide my anticipation, regardless of the fact that we release a turtle (or two), every week.
Overall, my trip to Bali was unforgettable. I made friends that will last a lifetime, and memories that will go beyond my grave. I’ve already planned my next trip to the conservation, which will be in April of 2016. It took just under a month for Bali to wrap itself around my heart, and leave a mark that I will always look back on fondly.
Louise's Volunteer Experience in Indonesia
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