Malaysia / Finding Our Tribe in the Perhentians

Travel has a way of bringing people together. 

We all have a Tribe, the like-minded people who share our passions and interests, the ones who just seem to get us. On the tiny island of Perhentian Besar, we found ours. We met Pili and Luigi, a Chilean couple from Santiago, a meeting that wouldn’t have happened, were it not for some good ol’ fashioned spontaneity.

We had plans to head to Langkawi, Malaysia in June, until we got talking to a Canadian in Ubud who told us about the Perhentian Islands. Perhentian Kecil is apparently where it’s at, a small ‘backpacker island’, with no roads, cheap diving and endless sunshine. So we changed our plans and headed there.JNB_9692-PerhentiansJNB_9821-PerhentiansOn our way to P. Kecil, our boat stopped at P. Besar (the other island).

Within seconds of seeing the beach, Matt and I looked at each other, and without even telling the boat driver, threw our bags onto the jetty and jumped off (much to the amusement of everyone on board).

We had no idea if there was anywhere to stay, or what beach we were even on. All of our research was for Kecil. It was just so dreamy (and quiet), and exactly what we were looking for.

We found a hut right on the beach ($18AUD a night), and had a loose plan to stay one or two nights before heading to Kecil.JNB_9717-PerhentiansJNB_9791-PerhentiansJNB_9916-PerhentiansWe never made it to Kecil. JNB_9736-PerhentiansJNB_9730-PerhentiansJNB_9740-PerhentiansJNB_9968-PerhentiansJNB_9970-PerhentiansJNB_9961-PerhentiansJNB_9984-PerhentiansJNB_9986-PerhentiansJNB_9995-PerhentiansJNB_9914-PerhentiansJNB_9935-PerhentiansJNB_9709-Perhentians

Meeting Pili & Luigi

We met Pili & Luigi at the little dive shop at the end of the beach, and within a few minutes they had invited us to stay with them in Santiago (I am writing this from their family home in the mountains, overlooking the Andes!). It was one of those ‘I feel like I’ve known you my whole life’ moments.

We spent the day diving and snorkelling off the coast of Kecil with them. JNB_9810-PerhentiansJNB_9804-PerhentiansBack on Besar, we trekked across the island in the afternoon – through the jungle – meeting the cutest monkeys on the way. JNB_9839-PerhentiansJNB_9842-PerhentiansJNB_9844-PerhentiansJNB_9904_crop-PerhentiansJNB_9859-PerhentiansJNB_9862-PerhentiansJNB_9857-PerhentiansJNB_9907-PerhentiansPili and I chose the restaurant for dinner based on whether they had fresh coconuts or not – that’s how I knew we were soul mates ;)

Pili told me the other day, they’d found their tribe when they met us. I couldn’t help but think back to that moment when we jumped off the boat, and how easily ‘sticking to the plan’ would have left us without this friendship.

I realised then that while it’s good to have plans, it’s also good to let them go and be open to the possibilities of each moment. That’s when the most magical things happen.