It was the Kombi van at sunset that made me change my mind.
There are many places in the world that I have always wanted to visit. Bali was never high on the list. I found myself asking "what it is about Bali that is so appealing"? On an island that has long been a favourite for Australian tourists, it is not always easy to find an 'authentic' Balinese experience away from the shopping complexes, villas and development.
Being lucky enough to travel as part of my job, a recent trip to Bali gave me an insight into what brings the tourists in droves. For the majority of visitors, it's much less about finding an authentic experience and more about the fun and relaxation of being somewhere different. In a place where English is widely spoken, that is great value for money, loaded with creature comforts, bars, warmth and shopping, it's an easy first-time traveller overseas destination. If you are that kind of traveller.
I'm so very glad I work for a travel company that does pride itself in providing authentic and unique experiences. On a sunny morning, we were lucky to take part in a blessing ceremony in a temple, on the edge of the beach, with the sound of the surf in the background - it was enough to put me back in the zone and remind me that pockets of Balinese culture can still be found. I'm that kind of traveller.
Continuing with the 'unique' theme, along came the Kombi. I got a bit nostalgic thinking of the many months of my youth spent travelling around Europe, UK and US in Kombi vans - but I had never seen one quite like this. This one had a fully air-conditioned, limousine-like interior, complete with blue flouro-lit drink holders, electric, retracting Esky full of cold drinks and a kick-arse stereo system - this was not your typical Indonesian taxi.
Luckily Bali is the kind of place where you can enjoy being both kinds of traveller.