‘T-shirts, leggings, running shoes, hiking shoes. Wait, I don’t have hiking shoes, the treads on my runners are going to have to do. Oh my god, why did I agree to this?”
I’m not going to lie, as I stared at the clothes I’d strewn on my bed, next to the backpack I’d borrowed from my brother, I panicked a little. I’d signed up for an Intrepid Travel active trip to Bali and I was having second thoughts before I’d even left my house.
Was it too late to cancel? Could I just stay in Hong Kong instead of connecting to my flight to Denpasar? Did I even want to climb a mountain?
I’d never done a group trip, much less a hike, bike and raft one. Yes, I work out a couple days a week and can comfortably walk 10 kilometres a day around Toronto but when it comes to travelling, I either go by myself or travel with a friend or family. As for activity, it tends to be floating in the ocean in St. Lucia or slow strolling through Paris with wine breaks.
Yet I’d decided that I was going snorkelling, cycling and mountain climbing all within two weeks of each other, all for the first time.
I had a genuine fear that I wouldn’t keep up with the group but at the end, I didn’t need to worry and while I didn’t complete the mountain climb (I noped out halfway through), getting out of my comfort zone taught me quite a few things.
Your local guides are experts
Intrepid Travel guides are experts at what they do and our local leader Swandi (Andy for short) was no different. He runs Intrepid’s Cycle Bali and Bali and Lombok: Hike, Bike and Raft tours so Matt, Justin, Brent, Damian, Rosa and I (our group was small but mighty) really benefited from his expertise.
The day guides are also experts, whether it’s leading a three-hour walk through the rice terraces of Sidemen, climbs up Mt. Batur or snorkelling in Amed. They know the terrain, know exactly where they’re going and know how much help you need. They encourage to do the activity to the best of your ability but they also keep an eye on you to ensure you’re OK.
Endorphins are amazing. Also, river lizards.
This trip was where I discovered I really like whitewater rafting. We spent a couple hours rafting down a river in Ubud, taking the time to enjoy the scenery while we paddled during the lazy parts of the trip and then shrieking as we bumped over rapids and rocks. We had to bounce in the raft every time we got stuck on a rock, got into water fights with other rafts (we were already soaked so what’s a little more water?) and pointed out big green lizards who were lounging on the banks, blinking at us as we passed.
At the end of the rafting trip, we tumbled out of the raft and floated in the water. Not a bad way to spend a day in late October. Also, lizards.
The scenery distracts from sore muscles
“Every day is leg day on this trip” was a caption I posted on my Instagram. I was talking about Lempuyang temple, home of the Gate of Heaven. We walked up the approximately 60 steps that led to the temple, which doesn’t sound bad, but it was the day after a three-plus hour walk through a terraced rice field and the whitewater rafting.
I admitted my calves were sore and was gratified to hear I wasn’t the only one with sore legs. But we were at Lempuyang Temple which had a stunning view of Mt. Agung right after the sunrise. Plus when you sit in a hot spring gazing out at the lake in Kintamani, who cares about sore muscles when you’re surrounded by gorgeous scenery while you willingly parboil yourself?
You’re probably fitter than you think
As mentioned, I work out but there was that lingering fear of ‘am I fit enough to do this?’ and it turns out that I could keep up with the activities. I probably wouldn’t try a cycling-only trip just yet but a few more long walks and swims? No problem.
Learn and have fun
The point of the trip is to learn and to have fun. Your guides and your companions on the tour want you to have a good time while you’re learning about the country, cities and towns. Keeping an open mind and trying your best is all anyone can ask for.
Would I do an active trip like this again? Absolutely, but next time I’ll practice with a few hikes, maybe up my cardio, and this time, I’ll buy proper hiking shoes. That way I’ll be right at the top of the mountain, ready to see the sunrise.
Ready for your own adrenaline-filled adventure through Bali? Check out Intrepid Travel’s Hike, Bike and Raft trip in Bali and Lombok.
Or looking for another active trip? Browse them all.