The year of travel officially kicked off with my trip to Pulo Cinta in Sulawesi last week but now the real stuff begins for 2019. At 6 am the next morning after arriving back in Bali from Sulawesi, I linked up with Duncan from Classroom of Hope and a few other photographers to board the ferry to Gili Trawangan.
Gili Trawangan would be our base for the next few days and we were kindly hosted by Ben from Manta Dive Gili Trawangan, an awesome dive shop and resort/hotel. The aims of the visit were:
- To see the Jenghala community, which was the site for one of the schools funded by Project Lombok
- Visit a completed Pop-up school built by Pelita and Classroom of Hope
- Visit several hiking companies in Senaru to organize sponsored trekking for Project Lombok
- Visit the south to meet with accommodation providers for sponsored hotels for Project Lombok
- Maybe fit in a couple of hikes and make sure routes are open for Project Lombok
- Start the fundraising campaign for the third school on Project Lombok
- Create valuable content for marketing and fundraising purposes of the pop-up schools
It sounds like a lot in just 3-4 days but I tend to thrive in maximizing time by networking with the right people in the most authentic way I can. I managed to hike up Pergasingan Hill with a tour guide and ended up really connecting with Angus, Aef and their tour company, Rinjani Dawn Adventures. They will be sponsoring two camping trips for Project Lombok and I will do my best to bring them as much business in this difficult time for Lombok.
I also stayed down south with Olle from the Swedish surf camp and got to know him and the story of the Pelita Foundation. Olle totally bought into the Project Lombok idea and took me around to all of his friends and made sure we had the accommodation on lockdown for the south segment of Project Lombok. He is a very genuine and generous guy and it was great to meet his family in their treehouse and get to know a little bit about his story.
Our visit to Jenghala was amazing and we saw the school that was damaged by the earthquake. It was no unusable and cracked all over making it too dangerous to use. We saw the tents they are currently using and the site where their pop-up school will be built until the permanent structure is re-built in several years.
It takes a lot for me to get emotional and reflect on things as normally I just keep hustling and moving on to the next task at hand. However, we all sat around, cross-legged on the floor with the community leaders, elders, and school teachers. They brought us out fruits, cassava, coffee and beautiful spread of food. They spoke with in Bahasa as a translator helped us to understand their message. When the community leader apologized for the spread and hoped that this was enough for us, I honestly choked up a little.
I’m glad that we are able to help out with their pop-up school during this tough time for their community and look forward to returning in April with the Project Lombok team, where they too can meet the community of Jenghala.
On a personal note, I managed to grab another 30km of running this week and even a few cheeky gym sessions at a new gym on Gili Trawangan. My hamstring is surviving and I am continuing to edge closer and closer to my 50km a week goal by April to be able to sufficiently prepare for the Bali Hope Ultra, which is 84km from Lovina to Canggu.
A little note about the blog: This week the blog clocked half a million views. Yep 500,000+ views, which is pretty incredible. I don’t get too caught up in it all but it has been ranked #33 in the world for traffic and I think on the list it is one of the few written by just one person instead of a couple and also one of the few that don’t do guest posts or have ghost writers. It’s all written by me about my experiences of places I have personally traveled. This is important to me to keep it that way and I know it is a big part of why it is helpful to other travelers rather than when people write about places they haven’t visited just to gain views for rankings. Who knows? Maybe this is the year of 1 million page views per month! Life is unpredictable and the most valuable mindset is to be content when things are going your way but also manage to hang on to being content when things aren’t going as you had planned.
That’s the update of my week. Hope you kicked some goals and made a few people smile this past 7 days. Catch you in a week.