It started 4 years ago in Sulawesi, an island in the north of Indonesia. We were staying in the docks in Manado and, on a whim, the parents decided to jump on board a boat headed to the closest island, Siau – dragging a very reluctant Katie and me with them. When we got there we found out there was only 1 small hotel on the entire island and, to my parent’s delight, not a single other non-Indonesian face to be seen. A seed had been planted in my dad’s mind!
This seed grew and developed over the next few years, entirely unbeknownst to me. Until one day I was told that in return for paying my university fees I had to go on a trip with him when I had finished. I jumped on it – what a bargain! Little did I know it was a six week long trip, off the grid, conducted on dodgy boats (like the one pictured below) and ending in New Guinea. My mum quickly decided that she was swamped with work and just couldn’t get away. At the same time Katie booked a trip to Uruguay to make sure she was unavailable.
After a few months of intense negotiation we finally agreed on a rough basic plan that we could both get on board with.
So here I am in the Celebes hotel, Manado. Ticket in hand, waiting to board the night boat to Ternate. (Wasn’t that the place where Magellan was clubbed to death by the natives?)