BootsnAll Travel Network

Lessons Learned on the Road

When you’re the only customers on the beach…

Lessons Learned on the Road – Indonesia

  1. If you have to ask “Is that smell us?”  it is.
  2. It’s always Happy Hour somewhere.
  3. Always carry toilet paper. Yes we’ve learned this one before, but it bears repeating.
  4. Expect a power outage at least once a day. Like right now, for examp….
  5. Bug spray – don’t leave home without it. Ditto for malaria pills, Immodium, 30 factor sunscreen and Gravol.
  6. The amount of weight Mel loses is directly proportional to the amount of weight Brendan gains. He really will eat anything.
  7. Eat local. Hamburgers in Flores, Indian food in Gili T, pasta in Tokyo – all bad ideas. Local interpretations can be very, very scary.
  8. Lie about your age to fellow travellers. B can pass for 30. Mel likes to think she can pass for 27. Enjoy everyone’s surprise that we married so young. (If any of you are reading this, sorry, but we’re actually 36 and 38.)

 spinning the old fashioned way an afternoon shower mon chichi

Best of Indonesia


  • Ubud – the countryside, the rice paddies, the people
  • Escaping the Flores tour and performing the Happy Dance to celebrate the return of electricity, toilets and all the good things in life.
  • Dancing at the Jazz Cafe: from salsa to disco, we managed to be so memorable that upon our return a few days later, we were welcomed by the staff with ‘Welcome Home!”
  • Healing and purification – from temples, to massages to random healers – Bali really is the massage capital of the world.
  • New Year’s eve fireworks on Kuta beach.
  • Our private villa in Bali, and some other spectacular spaces.
  • The coffee. The micro-brew.
  • Being grown up and finally buying local items that don’t fit in our backpack – and sending a container home via ship – real furniture!
  • Good time on Gili T

mel in her element B at his best

Moments we’d rather forget

  • Our series of near-death experiences – from winding sheer-drop roads to scorpions to killer night snakes to the world’s largest bees to hungry komodo dragons to bomb threats
  • Showing up at 3 pm for our New Year’s eve reservation in Kuta – and finding out it’s for next year.
  • Christmas.
  • Failing miserably at the 24 hours of silence. Over and over and again. Then just deciding to go into town and have some beers instead.
  • A lot of the food.
  • Accommodations in Flores and Gili Meno – from cockroaches to bedbugs to filth and mould we won’t even try to describe.
  • Early morning wake-ups – from roosters, to motorbikes, to the call for prayer.

the loo …with satellite

who wants breakfast?

By the Numbers

  • Bintang barometer  (price variance of beer throughout Indonesia) – 23,000 – 60,0000 rupiah for a large beer ($2.50-$7)
  • Number of massages: 12 each (price range: – $7-$35 an hour)
  • Books read: Mel: 18, Brendan: 3 (which we are actually kind of proud of)

gili-meno-057.jpg lombok-108.jpg gili-meno-012.jpg bali-elysian-069.jpg flores-day-5-bajawa-465.jpg

Quotable Quotes

“She looks heaps proud”. (Georgia, commenting on Mel’s reaction to Brendan’s disco moves).


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2 Responses to “Lessons Learned on the Road”

  1. Allison Says:

    Hey! I’m such a fan of your blog. What you two are doing together is pretty much my dream life. I would love to know what kind of camera (lens’, etc) you’re using to take your pictures if you don’t mind sharing the details!
    Keep it up so I can keep living vicariously through you!
    A fellow Canadian slaving away at a desk job in
    Brisbane, Australia.

  2. Posted from Australia Australia
  3. pichemelanie Says:

    Hi Allison, sorry about the slow response…we’ve been a little overwhelmed with this Ultimate Job competition! (See recent posts)

    We travel with at least two cameras: a Nikon D60 and a Canon point and shoot that we use for video and when we want to be discreet and not whip out a big lens…or when we’re doing something like hang gliding where there is a chance of the camera being destroyed!

    We also have a second Nikon (D40x, the earlier version of the D60) body that we used when the two of us were likely to fight over who wanted the camera! Second one was bought because that happened in the Galapagos–so for example our Turkey shots were a mix of both of us.

    Our favourite lens is a Nikon 18-200 zoom with vibration reduction…it’s really the only lens you need most of the time. Only problem is that you can’t use a pop-up flash with is as the lens is too big and when you are zoomed out it throws a shadow.

    Many of the animal shots we taken before we bought thatlens; we used an old, heavy–but good–pre-digital zoom of my father’s, which meant that with the 1.5 multiplier, at 300 you were way out at 400–great for animals but you had to get the speed and exposure right since it was hand-held and certainly no vibration control…or autofocus!

    You can imagine how hard it was to shoot monkeys in the dark canopy at dawn, with little light, moving fast and without the help of autofocus! My dad shoots with a top of the line Nikon and that’s where your money is worth it for as good a camera as you can afford–it’s incredible what they can do now in low light. Super high ISOs with little or no grain. Sigh, next time I have 5 grand lying around…

    We also invested in a wide-angle lens (great for indoors–we use it for real estate) but I can never be bothered to bring it travelling!

    Happy travelling and shooting, glad you enjoy the blog!

    Oh, and make sure you vote for us!

    Brendan and Mel

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