Our 73-year-old American guest Lewis shared his recent experience with Everything to Sea, which he said was “priceless” despite some initial bureaucratic challenges.

While lounging on our sprawling wooden-yacht Phinisi ship, Lewis saw something he later dubbed “the most glorious sunset” of his life. As the sun dropped below the spectral Flores Sea, “there was a deep rose sky everywhere around me,” he recalled. “The fruit bat exodus that I witnessed only added to it being the most marvelous, quiet, peaceful time. That was a trip highlight for me.”

Lewis was talking about his experience with Everything To Sea, which took him quite literally halfway across the world from his home in Tallahassee, Florida. Although he frequently travels (he even traveled at the height of the SARS pandemic in the 2000s), traveling under Covid was not only unprecedented in nature, but also in practice. During his trip, transport and entry rules changed, even before actually reaching his final destination. “I lost two days in Labuan Bajo because of an extended quarantine,” Lewis recounts. “I had a reservation for a flight, that once I arrived in Jakarta, ended up being canceled. I was on the ground already when this change occurred. But I have to give credit to the Everything To Sea team for putting it all together and making the necessary adjustments when I was not able to do so.”

Traveling during Covid is surely not without its fair share of hiccups and hassles, unlike the old times where one could basically just pack up and go. Now, travelers need to come prepared with PCR test results, comply with country-based regulations, and have vaccine passports, among other requirements. “But I think the vaccine passport makes sense with all the vaccines being distributed across the world,” Lewis argued. 

“At this point, having experienced many variables during travel, I think the vaccine passport makes it much easier. Despite all the paperwork and the uncertainty of changes during the trip, it didn’t bother me that much. I’m more patient now. I’m more inclined to take this seriously, and less inclined to put my interest above everybody else’s. The overall trip made it more than worth coming to Indonesia.”

A True Southern Gentleman

Beyond his traveling know-hows, Lewis’ positive attitude shines through, which he chalks up to his Southern background. “I think the three most important things when you’re on a trip are openness to others, patience, and acceptance of people,” he enthused. “It can’t just be about you, what you eat, where you stay or things like that. It’s important to be willing to accept the less unpleasant parts of your journey for the benefit of other people in the area – and to see the world you’re in without judgment. That way, you’ll have a better chance at having a great trip.”

And a great trip was exactly what Lewis had, which he also credited to Everything To Sea’s planning. “You’ve planned this out very, very well,” he observed. “You guys kept us busy but also gave us downtime. There were one or two nice adventures every day, like seeing the Komodo dragons, and hiking up Padar Island. But then we also had activities where you expanded our minds – like yoga, meditation, and breathing exercises – which I wouldn’t necessarily have done in my daily life. Actually, I was more than glad to have participated in them!”

Lewis’ snorkeling adventure also proved to be another highlight. “I had done snorkeling before; but on this trip, we did five days of snorkeling, and each day was different. You guys were more than helpful and managed to keep me safe and sound,” he beamed. Lewis noted that this particular activity allowed him to branch out of his comfort zone and try new things. “I feel that I’m better at snorkeling now. At my age, almost 74, it’s neat to be able to learn new skills. It was an astoundingly beautiful experience. The water was crystal clear, and the amount of fish and coral was breathtaking. It was a joy to see the quantity of sea life.”

Getting Into The Zone

In addition to bearing witness to some of the Earth’s most wondrous natural phenomenon, at the heart of every Everything To Sea trip is the sense of community fostered among all participants, and Lewis was glad to have experienced this, too. 

“It was wonderful to be with other people and enjoy doing things that I might not otherwise have done. Exploring my gay side in a way that I hadn’t until recent years, and dancing naked with other guys… it was all such a total release,” Lewis recalls. 

In fact, the experience was beyond the physical for Lewis. “I got into a zone where I enjoyed life purely for the moment. I had lost that – just enjoying experiences. It was almost childlike.”

“And yet, it was more than just fun-in-the-sun. I was able to interact with other men and have interesting, intellectual discussions facilitated by the Everything To Sea staff on board. I think that’s what I enjoyed the most about this trip,” he said.

When asked what three words he would use to describe his overall experience with Everything To Sea, Lewis came up with: Free, Joyful, and Enchanting. “Not only was I enchanted by the environment, because Indonesia is awe-inspiring and beautiful,” he described. “But I certainly also felt a lot of joy, and allowed myself to feel free to be who I am. This, too, was priceless – to just be me and not be judged. It’s unbelievable, but… I didn’t even judge myself!”