paradise on nusa lembongan

Waiting for our ferry boat to Nusa Lembongan, a group of twelve motley travelers found shelter in a shaded bodega. A group of six sixty-year-old French husbands and wives provided the rest of us entertainment. The leader of the pack, a man that resembled Fred Flintstone with a French accent, kept everyone’s spirits high with his rambunctious actions and naughty jokes. An Italian sitting next to me, with a melodic voice and soothing green eyes, spoke of Nusa Lembongan with such honest affection; I hung on every word he said.

After a forty-minute ride away from Bali and towards this quiet island, our boat arrived on Nusa Lembongan. Staff from our hostel, Secret Garden Bungalows, met us on the beach and carted our bags in a trolley down the dirt path until we arrived in a hidden Eden. All of the bungalows, sporting individual hammocks, faced a pristine swimming pool and were bordered by towering palm trees. We settled in and then wandered off to find lunch. A local warung drew us in and we sat and feasted on delicious Balinese food. In the midst of our meal, the green-eyed Italian walked in and noted that we found the best food on Nusa Lembongan already.

The following day we signed up for two fun dives with Big Fish Diving. I had been dying to scuba dive again since receiving my open-water certification on Koh Tao over New Years. We woke early and met our guides, two Germans bearing completely opposite personalities. Ready with our wet suits and equipment we headed off for our first dive site of the day, Pura Ped.

We descended below the waves and entered a blue abyss. The visibility was impeccably better than my dives in Thailand. Below me was Ariel’s sea: a sloping reef painted with vivid coral and lively fish. Triggerfish, pufferfish, sea snakes, and parrotfish danced around us, undisturbed by the humans in their territory. We drifted with the current until our fault as mammals required us to return to the surface for air. Buzzing from the ocean’s paradise we headed to our next destination, the Mangroves. This dive was over a level sea floor so we just cruised above fish and sea creatures carrying on with their day.

At night we found a beach shack serving happy hour beers and a prime view of the sunset. The only life on the beach was locals dividing up and drying out their catch of seaweed for the day.  Even though it was the low season, Nusa Lembongan is generally a quiet island. One main road runs north to south with bungalows, a few dive shops, and local homes straying off the path. Nusa Lembongan’s livelihood is based off seaweed farming, which allows the reef to stay intact and healthy.

I easily could have stayed on Nusa Lembongan for longer. The diving, discreet island life, and sunsets are addicting. Watching another glorious sunset after spending a day in the Indian Ocean, I cannot help but be flooded by immense gratitude. This splendid life I live is no longer my dorm room dream.

Over the past two years I have explored some magnificent places. I have fallen in love with cities and left my heart with strangers, friends, and landscapes. Love: a word that means so much but is so often said that its meaning is spread thin. It is a word that is listened to but not heard. It is so often casually said that humanity has been numbed to its strength. Yet to me, it still holds such power. Love is a word that can encompass a myriad of emotions, toward different people or places - Love for a nephew, a mountain top, a village’s child, a romantic partner, a city. One word that can carry the weight of a million feelings is grander than we think. It is time to revive the power of love and let it return to its old glory that poets and scholars before our time gave it.

So on this journey I give my love to all the places I have seen and the people I have met – in the truest and deepest sense.


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