The Togean islands were the first place in Indonesia that I visited after my long-term travels outside the country. It felt heart warming and somewhat emotional to travel in Indonesia again after so long outside the country.

I arrived in Wakai Port in the Togean Islands at 6 am. The person who arranged my trip should have picked me up from the port. This would be the first leg of my group tour after travelling by myself from Jakarta to Gorontalo and from Gorontalo to Togean (by 12 hours by ferry).

Normally I prefer to make my own travel arrangements, but I thought it would be easier to explore the Islands on a group tour. It would also be cheaper as we’d be sharing the cost of the boat rental.

I waited.

It was nice to watch the early morning rush of fishermen coming in and people moving around the port. There was no proper phone connection and the guy who should have picked me up was unreachable so I had to be patient.

Locals kept asking me whether I wanted a ride as I sat waiting at the port. I always had the same response; “don’t worry about me. Someone will pick me up shortly.”

After waiting for two hours I decided I would need to make my own way. I had a chat with some local guys and told them I needed to go to Bolilanga Resort. The guy pointed to a small wooden boat just outside the port.

“That boat is going to Fadhila Cottages Dive Resort and it is close to Bolilanga, go join them.” There were two people in the boat; a little guy and his mother who were apparently relatives of the owner of Fadhila Cottages.

The lady smiled at me as I asked if I could come on board the boat.

“I need to go to the market first, is that ok? We are going to stop there” she explained. I nodded my agreement.

Another lady boarded the boat before we left the market. She was working at the Fadhila Cottages.

The boat ride to Fadhila Cottages took around an hour. I had an enjoyable chat with Andika and the two ladies. I spent some of my time teaching Andika how to use my camera (after he said I have a nice camera and showed interest) and of course, he asked if he could take a photo of me. This is the first photo he took with my camera. You agree that he has a bit of talent, right?

The journey to the Fadhila Cottages passed quickly (Fadhila Cottages is the first stop before Bolilanga Resort). From the itinerary that I got from the travel organiser I knew that we would be spending 2 nights at the Bolilanga Resort and two nights at Fadhila Cottages.

I told Andika about my itinerary on the boat trip. Andika and the two other women got off the boat at Fadhila Cottages and I stayed on the boat, which was going to Bolilinga Resort.

“See you in two days!” Andika said as he got off the boat.

Two days later I returned to Fadhila Cottages. Andika greeted me like a relative or an old friend who he hadn’t seen for a long time.

It’s nice, and somehow weird how strangers that you meet during your travels can enter your life and brighten up your day. During the first day I spent at Fadhila Cottages he taught how to use stilts.

Andika encouraged me to use the stilts wherever I went. I’d use the stilts from the room to the restaurant and just walking around. By the end of the day, I could walk on the stilts from the room until the restaurant, which was something I was really proud of.

During my stay at Fadhila Cottages Andika spent a lot of time taking photos. He often took shots of me. It was interesting to see that he could frame the shots so nicely.

On my last night at Fadhila Cottages we spent the evening playing Uno with the kids from the resort. It was fun. Andika also got the chance to test his photography skills. Plus he taught one of the girls how to use the camera (it was fun to see the simple interactions between them).

Travel is fun because those simple things. Meeting new people, getting to know them and sharing fun times together. That and distance… Having no phone connection meant I spent more time interacting with people.

I would love to have the chance to travel to more places without any Internet connection. It’s a nice reminder that life doesn’t need to be complicated and busy. Life is actually pretty simple.

Oh btw, of course I asked someone to take a photo of Andika and I. He was my good friend for several days in the Togean Islands. See you again, Andika! 😉

How about you? What are the simple things you like to do on your travels?