Published on November 7th, 2017 | by Juliann Cheryl
My first Geckos trip to Bali: Expectations vs. reality
Read time: a bit over 4 minutes
I don’t partake in travel tours often. And all the ones I’ve been part of included stuffy buses, babies screaming, and grandmothers who wanted to stop every 30 minutes for the washroom because their bladders couldn’t handle the bumps on the road.
Geckos Adventures trips, however, are a little bit different. Their tours are adventurous and only for small groups, which was something I found more appealing.
Before my trip to Bali I made a detailed game plan for all the days I would be abroad. I couldn’t help it. I’m an obsessive list maker and I have this internal craving to see ALL THE THINGS. So, I listed everything I wanted to see and favorited every Instagrammable viewpoint I wanted to capture. After all, I didn’t know what to expect from my first Geckos tour, and whether those I’d be traveling with would be my type of people.
Let’s just say that my list got trashed and buried the moment I landed in Bali. I didn’t need it because Geckos had it all figured out for me — transportation, accommodations, everything.
So, this is for all of you wondering if you should book a small group adventure. The answer is yes. Yes, you should. And here’s why:
You’ll get the best local guide
Your tour leader will be the friendliest, best asset you will have on your tour. He or she will help you with everything you need: from translating the language, to briefing you on cultural dos and don’ts, to stopping at a random convenience store off the road because you really wanted that bag of seaweed potato chips, to entertaining you by singing karaoke at a beachside bar.
They’ll also help your group stay on track with your itinerary, or make arrangements to switch things up if your group wants to do something different. You’ll never miss a ferry ride (as tourists apparently do often) because he or she knows which boat you all should actually board.
Simply put, your tour leader will be extremely familiar with all the places you’ll visit because they actually live there, and taking tourists around their home turf is basically their jam.
You’ll meet people with the same interests as you
How do I know this? Because, for one, you’ve all picked the same destination – one you feel giddy about. And two, you’ll all be around the same age. On a Geckos tour everyone is between 18 and 29. So there’s no-one old enough to be your mom, no-one to judge you every time you want to boomerang your mojito cheers.
You’ll feel like you’re traveling with your friends instead of your parents, and there won’t be fussy younger siblings involved.
Obviously, you all wanted a getaway. And a getaway you will get. You’ll be surprised at how quickly you’ll have a group chat going, saturated with nothing but embarrassing stories and emojis.
You’ll have plenty of free time to do what you want
Geckos tours are designed with ridiculous amounts of free time for you to go and explore. They are loosely structured, so you don’t feel like you’re constantly sticking to a schedule.
Don’t worry; your tour leader is still available to you during these times. But if you want to go chase the sunset or embark on an intense hike no one else wanted to go on with you, or even indulge in a shopping spree, you can. The world is your oyster, and you have the liberty to do as you please.
You’ll come home with international friendships
Your tour group is small enough that you’ll get to know people on a deeper level. You’ll get to try exotic foods, and share life stories while sitting under a mini waterfall in the hotel pool holding a glass of pineapple vodka. Chances are you’ll find yourself up at 4am after your trip, texting someone halfway across the world, reminiscing about all the good times you had vacationing together.
Spend enough time in a vehicle, and share enough laughs and inside jokes with the people you travel with, and you’re bound to build bonds you never expected.
You’ll get an experience of a lifetime
I got to climb an active volcano in the dead of night (which also proved to be a rewarding butt and thigh workout) with nothing to light my path other than the little headlamp attached to my forehand. I soaked in private hot springs with the sweetest sight of above-mentioned volcano. I saw a mindblowing amount of places and experienced a whole lot of local culture.
But more than just doing and seeing tangible things, I got to have meaningful life conversations with the people I was with. There was laughter and silliness, as well as ungodly amounts of jokes and sarcastic comments – something that would have been impossible if I was traveling alone.
And that makes my soul full, because my experience allowed me to meet some of the funnest and kindest people on this Earth. They left such positive hand-prints on my heart, and that’s what travel is all about.
Ready to enjoy the trip of a lifetime? Indonesia with Geckos Adventures is a great bet.
(All images c/o Juliann Cheryl.)