Is the journey the prize?

A mantra within my friend group has long been that the journey is the prize, but after spending the last TWO days in transit I’m starting to reconsider the validity of that statement. Arriving in Bali might be the real prize this time.

Our journey started Friday morning with an Uber ride to the airport that took far too long. A couple hours in the airport lounge, with the requisite champagne, led us to our short flight from Minneapolis to Chicago.

Arriving in Chicago, we made our way to the Delta Sky Club lounge. With our next flight not leaving until 12:30am Saturday morning, this became our home for the next 10 hours. As we settled in, we made sure to indulge in all the complimentary accoutrements we could handle. Mac n’ cheese made with real cheese and the chicago dogs being the stand outs performers.

After surviving the 10 hour wait, we finally boarded our Eva Air flight bound for Taipei. This is the same flight we took on our way to Thailand, and so it was again the Hello Kitty flight. Everything is branded Hello Kitty, from the plane to the dining utensils to the barf bags.

Hello Kitty everything

While most people might be put off by a 15 hour flight, I’ve found it doesn’t really bother me. A combination of movies, video games and naps saw me through the flight with nary a thought of “how much longer” crossing my mind.

Quick shout out to my new favorite travel gadget, the Gamevice. Its an iPhone attachment that gives the phone gaming controls. It looks and acts similar to a Nintendo Switch. I found a couple of great controller compatible games (Oceanhorn, a Zelda like game, is my favorite) that occupied the time quite well.

Upon arrival in Taiwan, at 4am, we headed to one of my favorite lounges, the Plaza Premium, where one of my favorite meals awaited. This lounge has the most amazing Taiwanese Beef Noodle Soup, and I made sure to indulge multiple times.

Beef Noodle Soup worth traveling for

We boarded the next flight around 10am, for a five hour flight to Denpasar. This flight ended up being another Hello Kitty flight, so more branded goodness awaited.

The Denpasar airport was interesting, as there are no domestic flights, so everyone there was an international traveller and there were massive lines to get through customs.

Now, most of you would think this was the end of the journey, but no … we still had a two hour drive from the airport to our Airbnb, which is in Ubud, in the center of the island. We met up with our new best friend, Faruk, who gave us ride up to Ubud. On the drive up, we chatted about anything and everything, from politics, soccer and drinking, to Balinese culture and world traveling.

Finally arrived in Ubud, we got the tour of our gorgeous villa, took a moment to rest and then headed down to the city center to eat dinner at a spot Faruk had recommended, Ibu Rai. The food did not disappoint. The whole grilled fish with Balinese spices was amazing, and the Bintang beer was the perfect drink to wash it down.

Bellies full, bodies tired and minds weary, with walked back to the villa in a light rain shower that felt oh so perfect. A quick dip in the pool to cool off capped things off.

We left our house in Minneapolis on Friday morning at 10am, and finally called it a night in Ubud on Sunday at 9:30pm. I can’t say for certain if the two and a half day journey was the prize, but I can definitely say Bali is already a prize on its own.