When Paths Cross With a Self Proclaimed Ex-Convict

That time in Indonesia when my path crossed with a self-prclaimed ex-convict….

Our First Escape Room
Our First Escape Room. No we were not in prison Moms!

The hotel was purple, with two stories and full of balconies overlooking rolling green. Picturesque. The staff were sweet locals, whom shared not only travel tips but also personal stories with us. Hot as hell, we decided to come back to our hotel after a morning of walking around the local area.

The owners son, we’ll call Ja, offered to take us to a nice view point one afternoon and we were happy to accept. He explained that a new hotel was being built by a foreigner, and soon the road to the view point would be private; so he was happy to bring guests to the view point while still able.

On route to the view point, our new friend began sharing that he used to be a tour guide going from Bali to Komodo National Park weekly. As we drove by the new hotels’ construction site, our friend waved to another truck passing by and then said, “he’s also an ex-convict”. Not positive if I heard correctly, I hesitated to ask, “Sorry, did you say ex-convict?. To my surprise, we had heard Ja correctly and he proceeded to share more details without any reservation.

Turns out Ja liked to gamble, and while working as a guide, had got addicted to internet gambling that led to a loss of most of his personal items. As such, he orchestrated a scam to essentially trick people into thinking they were paying for a trip with the company that he worked with as a guide. However, the money was being sent to him.

Ja eventually got caught and was, “on the run and living on the streets for about 2 years”. When Ja was caught he said that his dad could have helped him stay out of prison for a cost, but his dad refused and told Ja that he needed to repay his debts. (Side note: I just finished reading Dan Browns’ Lost Symbol, and thankfully this story does not end the same.) Continuing on, Ja said that prison was not as bad as he would have thought and he was glad to have this experience and chance to turn his life around. Upon getting out of jail only a few months prior to this conversation, Ja’s dad offered him to work at their small hotel (which I will leave nameless), in order to pay back his debts. Ja told us that even though he served prison time, he feels morally responsible to pay back his debts to the company. From what he told us, the company honoured the people that were scammed so all the money Ja owes is actually to his previous employer.

More stories to come as I cross paths with strangers.

Wander with Love!


Meet Danielle: 1 Account of Love While Travelling

Meet my best friend, Danielle.

              28. Silly. Wanderlust. Hopeless Romantic. Brave. Artistic. Social. Dani-poo.                    Dangerous Dan.

Our paths first crossed in Grade 7 at a small school in the heart of downtown Hamilton, Ontario. Everyone knew each other and grew up together it felt like (except me and my sis). Since then, we have developed that kind of relationship where you literally go into a zone of weird voices, flash backs and strange noises that no one else can understand.

In her 20s Danielle has traveled to 19 countries (and the Vatican, haha): Italy. Croatia. Belgium. France. United Kingdom. Ireland. Hungary. Greece. Turkey. Netherlands. Spain. Slovakia. USA. Australia. Thailand. Indonesia. Puerto Rico. Cuba. Czech Republic.

With all the travelling Dan has experienced, I could think of no one better to start off this blog with then to talk with Dan about her travels and meeting new people. Dan and I chat about a love encounter she had, and about how people can present themselves somewhat different while travelling.

Thanks Dani- poo!

Why do you travel?

I love waking up in a new place and thinking, how did I get here?

We both chuckle, but this is so true! It is such a crazy and addictive feeling!

What inspired you to take off on your first big adventure?

Dan giggles because she knows that I know the story, but we reminisce anyways. A few years ago Dan and her fiancé split up, and then, quite suddenly Dan lost a job she had been in for 7 years. What the hell was next? I remember suggesting that she travel! (I don’t take all the credit, but at least some!) So she booked a solo flight to Europe for a summer trip.

I went to 12 different countries in 3 months but I was very closed off, and I didn’t know who I was. The trip brought me a lot of self-awareness.

Tell me about someone you met that had an impact. Tell me about love when travelling.

I’ve had a few encounters.

She laughs!

It’s easy because you have no worries, no responsibilities really.

 I was charmed by a navy man once.

I ask for more details, but she laughs again and just says:

Will my mom get mad at me?

And that is that. We move on to another romantic encounter she had while travelling. Dan had met up with her mom in Europe, and they went on a cruise together. Dan met someone, we will call Cole, on the cruise. In other words, mom already knows this story so we are good to go!

One of the first nights on the cruise I ended up meeting a group of people, and I was actually trying to avoid this one guy. He was wearing a Hawaiian shirt and had really long hair. Just not my type, I thought. But it turned out that he was fucking hilarious. He was from Colorado, and was actually a comedian back home. He made me laugh.

So you two ended up spending a lot of time together on the cruise?

Yea, and with both our families on the cruise it got intimate and awkward quick! We all ended up on the same excursion one day, like his family, me and my mom. So awkward!!

Yea, that would never happen back home. You would probably get dumped quickly if you brought your parents on your first dates.

Exactly! But we were on vacation, and just went with it.

So we got really close on the cruise.  When the cruise was done his family was going to Rome (and my mom went home). So I went to Rome also and we spent another two days together. He was like super lovey-dovey, and sweet.

He wanted me to visit him in Colorado, and he was going to pay for everything. So, I decided to book a flight, like with him there in the room next to me.

He said he wanted you to visit Colorado and he was going to pay?

Yup. What a stupid girl I am (she mumbles). But me being me, I wouldn’t let him pay for the flight.

You booked the flight right there, like with him next to you?

Yes!! With him in the room, right next to me! So imagine my surprise when he stops talking to me for a while when I got back to Canada.

This makes it sound so sad.

This is real life Dan! So, how would you describe him on the vacation?

Fun, carefree, hilarious, and very loving.

And how would you describe him when you went to visit in Colorado? Was he different?

He slept a lot. Haha.

He was still funny but was way less social. He was kind of hermit.

He was 3 hours late picking me up at the airport! The first few days were just really awkward.

Do you regret this situation? Regret going to Colorado?

I don’t regret it, like I still had a good time after the first 3 days of complete awkwardness. Hahaha

Some advice, definitely do just a weekend!

What happened when you got back home?

He just said all this bullshit like we’d definitely be together if you lived closer. But, we just didn’t talk after that.

So, in your travels you met some people who you got really attached to. I also know that you met other people more briefly that you still talk with, and have great memories with.

What do you suggest for people travelling? Do you think that people are ‘real’ when they are travelling?

When travelling, most people are carefree and you wind up in some of the most romantic places in the world together!

So, no people aren’t all real. I mean I think that there is a part of them that is real.

People travelling are often just in a different state of mind, and it’s not completely real life; people are not who they are at home.

Makes sense! Sounds like it can be easy to fall in love when travelling!

Any other generic advice for new travellers?

Don’t over plan. Go where the wind takes you.

Talk to strangers.

Make sure your passport is valid! And valid up to date for each country you are travelling to.