Week 11 & 12 beyond Bali!

After 3 weeks in the bubble that is Canggu, we thought it would be a shame if we didn’t explore further afield whilst we were in this exotic region of the world. So we packed our bags and jetted off to explore more of Indonesia.

As a result of our adventures, and these two weeks marking the end of our inaugural program, this newsletter will look a little different to previous ones. We’ve got plenty to show you, and also some lessons from this first trip that we’d like to share.

Weekly Highlights:

Lived on this boat for three days!

We hopped on a plane from Bali to an Island called Flores, 300 miles east. Flores is the jumping off point to Komodo National Park and the best way to explore this park is on these rickety old fishing boats!

Dumbstruck by the beauty of Komodo National Park

No single picture we took over the three days we spent here could have done this place justice. This one gives a good representation of the kind of views we were treated to.

The National Park is spread over 1,700 square kilometers of pure natural beauty. The crystal clear ocean is a bizarre mix of glass like smoothness and high seas. The islands are lush green and have a unique mix of flora indigenous to Asia and strangely enough, Europe. The whole area was weirdly comparable to the Highlands of Scotland, only hot, and with some of the most exotic animals on the planet.

Up close and personal with Dragons!

Obviously we had to go hunting for Komodo Dragons whilst we were in Komodo National Park. And boy did we find them! We spotted 12 over the time we were there.

Komodo Dragons are the largest lizards in the world and are only found in the wild on 5 Indonesian islands, all within a few miles of eachother. They can grow to over 3 metres, but strangely don’t seem too interested in attacking humans. We were within a few feet of several large adults, protected only by a stick, yet we lived to tell the tale!

Swam with Manta Rays!

No that is not that shadow of a bird, that is the silhouette of a Manta Ray, one of the most bizarre animals you’ll ever lays eyes upon. These are one of the main attractions of the Park, which has some of the richest marine biodiversity in the world.

When we saw this graceful creature soaring below the waves, we immediately jumped in with our snorkeling gear, and immediately regretted it! Being in the deep blue with such a huge creature is actually quite terrifying. They have a “wingspan” of over two meters!

Visited a very wet Gili Island

“The Gilis” as they’re often called are a group of three islands that sit just off the cost of Lombok, a neighbouring island to Bali. They’re well known for the excellent snorkeling (particularly for turtles), great parties, and no motorised transport. Everyone either cycles or rides horses!

Unfortunately for us it rained the entire time we were there so we weren’t able to make the most of what could be found under the sea, however we did make the most of the nightlife!

Hung out in Kuta until we departed for our next adventures!

For our last few days we chilled on the beaches of Kuta, sunbathing and surfing by day, dancing to live music on the beach by night. Everyone was finalising their plans beyond Edumadic.

Baptiste loved Bali so much that he’s staying indefinitely to work on his App. Josh is taking a brief detour to Malaysia before heading home to work on his new found dream of becoming a Digital Nomad. Jorien is heading to Australia, and Matea, Will and Melissa are all going to the Phillippines together to continue their adventure!

What we’ve learnt over the last 12 weeks

With this past program being our first, there were a lot of unknowns for us and the brave new Edumads that joined us.

We were confident that we could organise a 12 week trip for a group of young and fun 20 somethings. That would always be simple for a team that had travelled extensively in the locations on our itinerary.

But what we didn’t know was how best to combine those adventurous experiences with a great environment in which to study. This was the part that nobody had done before, the part that we were pioneering, and definitely the part we learnt most about. Here’s some of the most valuable lessons we learnt:

Education must be the priority

We had an Edumad leave after our first destination, simply because she realised that travel and exploration was her main objective, and education was secondary. The way in which we travel means that if you want to maximise the amount of places you see, then you’ll be frustrated. Having said that, we do pick locations that have plenty to keep you busy over the 4 weeks we spend there, and you’ll definitely have plenty of opportunity to explore them. But if you want to explore further afield, you’re better off not being tied down to one accommodation for a month.

Stability and routine is vital to productivity

We had brief periods throughout the trip where we were travelling more like Backpackers than Edumads. We were moving between locations and staying in hostels rather than our own private rooms. In these periods our studies essentially came to a standstill. I was aware of this from my own attempt to study whilst travelling, but it was good to know that it wasn’t just my own self discipline that was to blame!

Coworking spaces aren’t essential for Edumads

Our approach to study spaces has been experimental on this first trip. The initial plan was to use coworking spaces to study from. They have everything we need, fast internet, desk space and are geared towards quiet productivity. However, they’re also very expensive, and we were unsure how necessary they were for Edumads.

Although fast and reliable internet is important, it isn’t quite as important to us as it is to our Digital Nomad cousins, who depend upon it for their livelihood, so the lightening fast speeds, 24 hour access and back up generators that many co-working spaces boast are overkill for our needs. Another reason why coworking spaces come at a premium is the community that they bring together. We had our own community ready made, and didn’t quite fit into the one you find in co-working spaces.

In India and Bali, we didn’t have access to a coworking space so instead used restaurants and cafes in combination with local sim cards to build our own makeshift ones. These were more than adequate for our needs, and saved us a lot of money.

We’ll speak more about this in the future, and continue to experiment with the perfect solution for us. What we’ve learnt is that we can be flexible with this aspect of our programs, meaning we can take trips to more interesting places, and save significant money, by not using co-working spaces.

In the end, what really matters is the people

As those of you that have travelled extensively in the past I’m sure will agree, as important as the places you travel to, if not more so, are the people you travel with. This aspect of a trip can turn it from an interesting experience into a life changing one that fundamentally alters who you are and the path of your life. I don’t think places can really have that kind of affect on you, but people can. It was a true pleasure to spend 12 weeks with the brave souls who were crazy enough to join us on this journey. Thankyou for being so amazing, and most importantly paving the way for an Edumadic revolution!