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Bali Bound: The Whirlwind of Tasks Before a Month-Long Solo Adventure

As someone who loves to travel, preparing for a trip is always an exciting but stressful experience. In just three weeks (two by publishing date), I will be embarking on a solo month-long adventure to Bali, Indonesia, and the list of tasks to complete before I depart seems never-ending. From getting vaccinations and renewing prescriptions to arranging pet-care and dealing with documentation, there is a lot to be done. On top of that, I still need to research practical advice to ensure a smooth and enjoyable trip. In this blog post, I will share my whirlwind of tasks and the strategies I use to stay organized and on top of everything that needs to be done, with three weeks before departure.

Find a Pet Sitter

The first task on my to-do list was finding a trustworthy pet sitter for my three birds: a canary and two budgies. Since I will be away for a month, I want to make sure that they will be well-cared for and that I won't have to worry about their well-being while I am away.

This time last year, after doing some research online, I stumbled upon TrustedHousesitters, a website that connects pet owners with trusted and verified pet sitters For less than the cost of 2 weeks of boarding, I have access to pet sitters as often and for however long I wanted to be away during a year. I have been delighted by the lovely pet sitters who stayed in my home. My beloved birds have been well cared-for and my home has been sparkling clean upon my return. Getting ready for this trip, I created a detailed ad about my birds and their needs, and within 24 hours, I received 10 applications from potential sitters. I took the time to carefully read through each application, checked the sitters' experience, references, and reviews from other pet owners. From there, I shortlisted three sitters and arranged WhatsApp interviews with each.

After the interviews, I chose a highly-reviewed young Irish couple who have experience with birds (and just about every other animal you can imagine) and who seemed genuinely excited about looking after my feathered friends. I will be provided with regular updates and photos throughout my trip, which puts my mind at ease and will allow me to fully enjoy my travels without worrying about my pets.

If you are planning to travel and have pets, I highly recommend checking out TrustedHousesitters. It's a great way to find reliable and trustworthy pet sitters who will take care of your furry or feathered friends while you're away. Let me know if you want a discount link (full disclosure: I will get a couple extra months extension if you use my link).

Travel Health Consultation

The next task(s) on my list was dealing with the medical stuff. I made an appointment at my local Passport Health Clinic, and was impressed by their professionalism and expertise in travel medicine. I am a big believer in vaccines and stay pretty close to the booster schedule. The clinic recommended a couple of booster shots and the Japanese encephalitis vaccine, along with other important health advice. Beyond the expected paperwork, I was given a folder of printed pages giving practical health advice, specific to the places I am visiting, including how to access care in English and the Indonesian words that might be needed. This was followed up with a pdf version sent to my email. My primary doctor appointment is next week. That will be quick and easy, with my regular prescriptions ready for pick-up later that day.

Documentation Gathering

Once those big jobs were done, it was time to focus on the documentation that I need for my trip. There are several important documents that I need to have on hand, including my vaccine records, visa, passport, and printed copy of my travel medical insurance. I have all my records stored digitally on my phone and backed up on the cloud but sometimes a printed copy is needed.

My newly updated vaccine booklet is tucked back into my passport folder along with a physical copy of my travel medical insurance card and contact. I always make sure to print out copies of my visa and passport, just in case I lose the originals or if I need access to the info but I can't connect to internet service. I also have a couple of extra passport photos on hand in case I need them for any unexpected paperwork.

Important Research

As my trip to Bali draws nearer, I am spending a lot of time researching practical information and important customs and etiquette. One of the things I am researching is transportation options in Bali, and how to book airport transfers.

I've learned that there are several transportation options available in Bali, including taxis, private cars, and motorbikes. The general consensus is that driving in Bali can be a nightmare for many. The traffic and hordes of inexperienced, and often inebriated, tourists can create dangerous conditions. Even though I own a Vespa and drive confidently, I have decided that I will be using ride-share or private drivers for most of my explorations where walking isn't an option.

I've booked and pre-paid my airport transfers to avoid the hassle of haggling with taxi drivers at the airport, after travelling for almost 24 hours. I've travelled enough to know that I'm not at my best in a foreign airport after a very long flight.

In addition to researching transportation options, I am also learning about important customs and etiquette in Bali. For example, I've learned that it is customary to remove your shoes before entering someone's home or a temple. It's also important to dress modestly, especially when visiting temples or other sacred sites. In addition, I discovered that there are many floral offerings placed on sidewalks and streets that must be stepped around carefully.

Another important custom is to show respect for elders and people in positions of authority. This can be demonstrated through gestures such as bowing and using formal titles when addressing someone. Westerners need to be aware that pointing with the finger is considered impolite, and that it's better to use the whole hand to gesture. Speaking of hands, Muslims do not pass items using their left hand. Even though Bali is predominantly Hindu, I've learned this is still important to the locals.

Learn some Indonesian

I am also learning some basic words and phrases in Indonesian using Duolingo and Babel language learning courses. Even though most tourist areas will offer services in English, I believe that learning some of the local language is important when travelling because it allows you to communicate with locals and shows that you are making an effort to understand their culture. It can also make it easier to navigate your way around the country and order food or drinks at restaurants. It's really important for me to learn how to communicate that I have a severe allergy to eggs... a staple in many cuisines.

I've found that Duolingo and Babbel are both great language-learning apps that offer Indonesian as one of their languages. They both offer a range of activities that help learn new vocabulary and grammar in a fun and interactive way. The best part is that they both have a free version, although the paid versions are much more comprehensive.

What's next?

As I continue to prepare for my upcoming trip to Bali, I am learning so much about the culture, customs, and language of this beautiful country. With only a few weeks left before my departure, there is still much to do and learn.

The task that I continue to procrastinate about is doing my income taxes. I did, however, begin to gather the bits of documentation needed to do that. I wonder if anyone else is like this... I dither about for ages promising myself "tomorrow" however, once I do the dreaded job, I realize how easy it is with the modern tax preparation software. I will have to add this to next week's list.

In a blog post next week, I'll be sharing more about the last-minute preparations I'm making before my departure date, including packing tips and developing my semi-final itinerary. I'll also share my thoughts and feelings as the trip gets closer and the excitement and anticipation build.

So if you're interested in following my journey and learning more about my travels to Bali, be sure to check back next week for my next posts and follow along. I can't wait to share my experiences with you!


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