Bali, August 29, 2012—And so it finally came to pass, as I always assumed it would given various life choices to date, that some sort of life-altering poo-poo would hit my personal fan. Inevitable, really.
I was stateless and homeless for a short but sadly memorable time, exiting Thailand by choice but rejected by Indonesian authorities on arrival.
It’s no surprise that during this brief but unsettling time, Pink Floyd’s The Wall offered an appropriate slice of camaraderie with the chief protagonist. But that’s another story and one that my better half won’t want me to dwell on. At all.
So moving quickly and quietly onwards, how did it all come about? Well, as I often have done, I had assumed the best for a quiet life—in this case and at the time, that my on-the-full-side passport would be good for at least one more 1/3-page Indonesia visa stamp when I entered Bali as a precursor to a fatefully doomed but long-planned trip to the UK.
Relying on beleaguered immigration authorities to be lenient is not a decision I would, of course, take lightly—not now, especially. The world is full of cheats, chancers and shady characters who seem to move from state to state unhindered. (Rhetorical question, but how on God’s good earth do they get away with it? Perhaps I should have claimed political asylum.)
In this case, the gaze of suspicion fell on me. Traveling with a full passport with no proof of onward travel is Not Advised in the book of wrong-headed thinking.
And so it came to pass that I was not allowed to enter Bali due to a lack of visa space in my passport. Instead, I was escorted to the “detention room” (yikes!) where problem travelers were sent. Well, it could have been worse: two people emerged following what seemed to be a full cavity search. Thankfully, my mistaken assumption needed no deep probing.
Saying that, what happened next might certainly make your eyes water. Especially if you travel with plans that are time- and career-dependent. It did definitely deepen my bond with my dearest Becky Beech, but it did test the limits of her tolerance, bless her heart. It also afforded some more time to explore Thailand in a way I had never before: with no money, no job and no home.
*The Fugees were a band in the 90s who had a brief but shining time in the spotlight with a cover of “Killing Me Softly,” originally by Roberta Flack. The band name is a contraction of “refugees.” If you believe in coincidences, it’s playing outside as I write this 🙂