The tour package deal that I booked by my hostel was imagined to make issues simpler. As an alternative of doing it on their own, I’d determined to pay extra to have all the things booked for me, and regardless that my pockets was a bit emptier, my thoughts was a lot extra comfortable.
However after all, if you’re backpacking overseas by your self, issues are by no means that easy.
I used to be touring throughout the island of Java in Indonesia, heading to a powerful volcano to see the dawn earlier than transferring on to Bali. It included an eight-hour minibus trip to the closest metropolis, then a drive to a resort close to the volcano, then a three a.m. Jeep journey to the volcano’s base. It felt daunting, however it was nothing I hadn’t skilled earlier than.
Because it turned out, the marketed eight-hour air-conditioned bus trip truly took 16 hours, and it wasn’t air-conditioned in any respect. Our whole group was irritable, uncomfortable, and indignant by the point we arrived at our resort—at 1 a.m. That left us with a fast two hours for showers and sleep earlier than the Jeeps arrived to move us to the volcano within the pitch darkish.
In my sleep-deprivation and frustration, I questioned why I used to be even stopping at this volcano, why I had determined to backpack round Southeast Asia on my own, why I hadn’t simply flown straight to Bali. The altitude made for freezing chilly climate regardless of it being summertime. I stood at the hours of darkness sporting a number of sweaters, a knit hat, and scarf, ready for the dawn and questioning all my selections.
After which the solar rose. A ground of mist enveloped the volcano earlier than us, a gradual puff of pink smoke erupting from its middle. The mountains and bushes and sky slowly got here into coloration, with a distant hiss of the volcano within the background. Regardless of cameras on tripods clicking incessantly and endless selfies taking place subsequent to me, a way of reverence came to visit the gang as all of us stood in awe of this feat of nature.
Quickly our Jeeps took us as much as the rim of the volcano itself, the place the scent of sulfur was…