It is my last night in Bali. I sit on a beach terrace by myself, sipping on a glass of wine, my feet planted on a stool.
“If I’d make a photo of that I would be in trouble!” says a man with a German accent next to me, pointing at my bare legs. “Well then I wouldn’t do that if I were you,” I respond with a sugarsweet smile.
Then, the standard traveler-meets-traveler tune follows: where are you from how long have you been here when are you going back?
“My plane is leaving tomorrow,” I tell him.
“Oh no, I am so sorry for you”.
“Oh don’t be, I’m actually looking forward to going home.”
He looks at me with furrowed eyebrows. “Which places did you travel to?” Apparently he has come to the conclusion that if I want to go home, I have not seen enough beautiful places here.
I’m starting to tell him my itinerary, but I don’t think he’s actually hearing it. “You should have gone to Flores, and the National Park, and so many more places. So if you’re leaving tomorrow, you’ll have to come back to Indonesia another time. ”
“Well, I don’t know if I want to come back here. I liked it a lot, but I’ve been in Bali twice and I actually like traveling through Europe a lot too. I love Europe and my own country. ”
His ‘I have to do with you’ look has turned into an ‘is she completely out of her mind’ look. “You shouldn’t travel through Europe now,” he then continues. “You can do that when you’re old. Europe is already a done deal. Here, in Indonesia, there are still so many beautiful undiscovered places. Last week, I took my son and his girlfriend on a boat trip to… ”
In the meantime, my thoughts wander. I’m thinking about things from home, from the Netherlands, from Europe. The seasons, that change the weather and landscape completely every few months. The fresh air. The cities with their beautiful old buildings. My nice apartment. My own bed, the heating I clamp myself onto when I’ve been half frozen outside. The (washing) machine I throw everything in to get it out clean and dry a few hours later. The supermarket around the corner where I can get fresh bread from the bakery every day. My family and friends with whom I will celebrate Christmas and New Years.
Yes, I really feel like going home again.
I feel like my neighbor’s speech has lasted long enough. I get up and look at him kindly. “Thank you very much for your advice, I will think about it. Have a nice day! ”I say, and I walk back to my hotel. I’m going to pack my suitcase. Sometimes traveling also helps you to realize how good things are at home.