Our two favorite adventurers, Kim Farrell and Mady Johnston, had a crazy idea last summer. They quit their respective jobs and hocked all their belongings to begin a devil-may-care journey around the world. Now they’re skipping around parts unknown and brazenly enjoying wherever the wind takes them. IN Kansas City is following these two travel buddies from Overland Park on their epic adventure.
Since the girls’ last update, Kim and Mady spent a week in Lombok to extend their Indonesian visas, then caught a ferry to Gili Meno (a.k.a. home) for the next month. Wondering where Gili Meno is? It’s just off the northwest coast of Lombok. The island has a population of 400 people, only takes an hour and 15 minutes to walk the entire perimeter, has no cars/motorbikes on the entire island and is known for its epic snorkeling/diving spots. How did they spend 30 days here? Read on…
First up, here are some quick stories and travel highlights on their last two weeks—and look out for their next globetrotting update in the coming weeks.
Kim: “Lombok is known for its pottery among other things, so a trip to a pottery village was a must while we were on the island. As fate would have it, we walked into the shop at the same time a live TV segment was getting ready to air. All of the sudden we are on stage being prepped to be interviewed as “pottery experts” (full disclosure we know nothing about pottery). Next thing we hear is … ‘And we’re live in 3,2,1 …” Watch the full video on Mady’s Facebook page here. It’s definitely been one of the funniest travel moments so far.
Mady: “Pro tip: If you’re coming to Indonesia, do not drink the tap water, brush your teeth in it, eat fresh fruits or vegetables that have come in contact with it, open your mouth in the shower, etc. Why? BALI BELLY.
Within two days of getting back to Indonesia, I was taken down by Bali Belly. No bueno. After a month here, I trusted my gut would be strong enough to fight anything. Couldn’t have been more off. I have no idea what the culprit was, but it had me glued between my bed and the toilet for four days. But, tbh, this timed out nicely in my favor as it was during the week we had booked at the Sheraton Senggigi Resort in Lombok. I would choose to be violently ill in a 5-star resort vs. some of the places we typically stay any day.”
Currently in: Gili Meno, Indonesia
13 hours ahead of Kansas City
Learn the Lingo:
Terima Kasik: Thank you
Pancakes: Pancakes (LOL)
Last thing you ate?
Nasi Campur – 15,000 IDR ($1.08 USD)
Kim: “Whenever people ask what we miss most from home, our answer is always Chipotle. We were pleased to find that Nasi Campur (a popular Indonesian dish) gave us familiar Chipotle feels. You can find this mixed rice dish in any local warung. Imagine a Chipotle setup with a more homemade feel. You start with rice and your choice of protein: chicken, eggs, tofu/tempeh. Next, add on any of the rotating vegetable options and maybe a potato/corn fritter on the side. And finally, a healthy dose of sambol (spicy sauce). Yum!”
Last thing you bought?
Donation to Turtle Sanctuary –150,000 IDR ($10.75 USD)
Mady: “If sea turtles are your jam, book your next flight to the Gili Islands. Gili Trawangan, Gili Meno and Gili Air are a cluster of three islands off the coast of Lombok. The Gili islands are filled with sea turtles and the locals are proud (and should be!) of their coveted turtle snorkel spots. Each of the islands has a Turtle Conservation Center, which protects sea turtle eggs, nurtures the babies after they hatch and then finally releases them in the ocean once they’re about six months old and strong enough to take on the sea. The guys who run this center work day and night. For about $10 USD, we were able to help fund this important cause and release a matured baby sea turtle into the ocean.”
Learn the Lay of the Land:
Mady: “The water current around the Gili Islands is very strong, which is both good and bad. Good for sea life because strong currents bring nutrients and minerals to different areas of the ocean. Not good when it comes to pollution, because that means trash is constantly washed on the island shores.
Locals and tourists gather to pick up trash around the island every Sunday on Gili Meno. I’ve never been involved in a beach clean-up before our month here. Gathering trash from all over the world washed up on these shores was a humbling experience for me. I’ve now become a big advocate of bamboo straws and banned myself from using single use plastic materials. Have any questions? Call me, beep me—I’ll talk your ear off about it!”
Last Night’s Stay + Cost:
Gili Meno Eco Hostel– 110,000 IDR ($7 USD)/night
Kim: “We spent the last month volunteering at an Eco Hostel on Gili Meno. The hostel was built from the ground up focusing on sustainability—from the open-air bungalows to the bamboo showers and compost toilets, everything is made from wood, bamboo and recycled plastics. Hostel highlights include stunning sunrises on our front deck, swimming with sea turtles in our front yard, afternoon naps in the hammocks, nightly bonfires and of course breakfast made by yours truly!
You heard that right! We made pancakes every morning from 7 to 10 a.m. in exchange for free accommodation right on one of the nicest beaches in Indonesia. After 28 days essentially camping and eating more banana pancakes than any person would dream of, we left Gili Meno pretty full, extremely sandy and in the most Zen headspace of our lives.”
(Tip: “If you or anyone you know is looking for volunteer opportunities or work while travelling, check out workaway. That’s how we found this gig! You’ll find so many different types of volunteer/work opportunities around the world at any given time.”)
Wizard of Oz Tally: 93 (and counting)
“While we know Kansas City has a lot to offer, the majority of the world immediately affiliates us with one thing—The Wizard of Oz. We’re keeping a real-time tracker of all the Dorothy, Toto, and tornado references made to us along the way.”
Kim: “Time to say goodbye to our home for the last month and there’s no better way than meeting up with our friend from Sydney. We’ll check out Gili Trawagan and Gili Air before hopping over to Flores. Flores has been hot on our Indonesia bucket list for a few reasons. The Flores Sea is home to some of the best sea life around the world.