Finding Time in Nusa Lembongan

By Brittney Newstead


Have you ever visited a place, and felt like it was your very own? The stories, the memories, the photographs and the people you share that experience with don’t seem real, but you know that it happened. The place is so miniscule on a map, that it’s as though it doesn’t exist in reality. That place for me is Nusa Lembongan, a small island off of Bali, Indonesia. 










After pure bliss in Ubud, a must for those planning to visit the mystic wonders of Indonesia, and an exhausting week on the Gili Islands with fellow backpackers, I found myself without plans, but with time.  


Sitting there with my travel companion, we realized how truly blessed we were to have the power of time on our side, in a country with endless islands to discover. We opened a map in front of us, determined to figure out where we would be ending our time in Indonesia, and that’s when we decided to hop onto a boat with almost three complete strangers to the island of Nusa Lembongan


Our boat dropped us off a few metres from shore, and we jumped out with our luggage over our heads, and the warm touch of the turquoise water above our knees. We soon found ourselves greeted by our caretaker for the next two days, a kind soul with a grin from ear to ear. He brought us to our villa, and asked us what food and drinks we would need during our stay.


After asking for the basics of eggs, bread and Bintang, we explored our new villa like kids in a candy store. After weeks of living out of our bags, we found ourselves with our own pool, a bed facing the water and volcanoes off in the distance. This island’s peace and calm made it feel like it belonged to just us. 


The next day, we rented motorbikes, and explored the island like a local. We jumped into the bright blue waters of the lagoon, looked out over seaweed farms and found ourselves in a maze of mangroves. 


Speeding back home through the dirt roads of the island, we stumbled upon a cremation ceremony. We stopped in shock, as a body was lit on fire in the middle of a field, and clouds of smoke rose from its body. Our caretaker let us know that it is believed setting the body on fire while following the proper rituals, can release the soul to the upper worlds. 



At first we were all startled by a fire taking place in the middle of a field with about a hundred people gathered around it, but after an explanation, it all seemed very symbolic and beautiful. We felt honoured to have been able to witness such a tradition. 


We ended the day by having dinner along the coastline, enjoying fresh seafood, and catching the melting sunset. When our server didn’t have any small change for us, she chuckled and handed us candy instead. It was the perfect end to the perfect day. 


I still look back on my time in Nusa Lembongan, as one of the most simple and beautiful places I have ever visited in my life as a traveller. Every sense was intrigued, and every emotion was cued. I smile typing this, knowing that there is probably a group of lost backpackers there now, being dropped off in a world they feel is all their own. 


With over 25 countries under her belt, Brittney is one of FreedomThinkers go-to travel experts. She currently resides in Toronto, Canada working in PR and Marketing. Learn more about Brittney and her many travel adventures by checking out her website, or follow her on Instagram @brittstead