After more than ten years, I finally returned to Banda. 

In total, I spent two weeks, one week in Banda and another one in Ambon. Yes, I spent a much shorter time than I used to, five or fifteen years ago. Nevertheless, I felt a slightly different vibe on this trip.

The small but majestic Gunung Api, eminently visible from everywhere in Banda Islands
The small but majestic Gunung Api, eminently visible from everywhere in Banda Islands

I’m more relaxed, not too ambitious to visit all islands. Yes, Run, I’m keeping you on the list, still. 

I’m also in the mood for a slow trip; slower than the already slow trips in the past so that I can immerse more in the mood. 

Most excitingly, I was keen to connect with more locals, have a sip of coffee, and ramble about daily chores, or whatnot. 

And finally, I looked forward to having more reflective moments of staring at Gunung Api, tracing the nutmeg tree-lined of Neira roads, swimming quietly in the morning while greeting the late December sun. 

And it turned out to be slightly different

Karnobol, a dive site south of Banda Besar was a highlight of all dives in this trip

I dove more than on the last trip. I ran and trail run more than before. I ate a lot more variety of local foods than before. When in Ambon, I also paraglided for the first time.

But I was most profoundly grateful that I met many more strangers, shared conversations with many more locals, and connected with many more minds. 

I became more adventurous than on the last trip. And I was glad that, at this age, I still had that adventurous spirit #beatyouage 

Transport was one of the biggest issues; especially at this time of the year, the Banda sea is considered more dangerous. And the pandemic. So I had to opt for the reliable Pelni #GoPelni. Yes, I still wanted to take one of those tip-off-the-cliff landings with propeller flights. Alas, they didn’t fly anymore. 

Eight lessons I learned from this trip

When you read them all – thank you – you will learn there is one word repeated throughout the eight lessons. 

If you know what the word is, you’ll get one of the nutmeg jams I painstakingly made with kakak Yolanda, one of the brilliant home cooks who fed me during my stay in Banda. Poke me in the comment. 

And no. You will not get me writing about how to get there, where to go or what to eat. You’re better off with Google for that.