Job Envy: Living the Dream in Gili Meno

CO-OWNERS Michelle and Claire Lockett upped and left Carlisle in the summer of 2013 and relocated to the tropical islands of Indonesia. The Eco Hostel was built by volunteers, for volunteers, on the island of Gili Meno. Keeping the project environmentally friendly and limiting waste was also a must for the mother-daughter duo, and it was founded on the principles of food, fire and friendship. They serve up a hearty breakfast of porridge and pancakes to all volunteers and campers and provide a home-cooked meal for dinner. Campers are encouraged to share food and stories around the camp fire.

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Their ideology is that there really is a place for everyone; regardless of where you are from, how long you are travelling for, or how much money you have in your pocket. They offer a variety of sleeping arrangements, from a luxury penthouse to sleeping in a hammock under the stars. Gili Meno is not just a place to stay for a few nights on your travels – it’s a community. Claire, Michelle and other travellers will welcome you with a piece of home, despite being so far away.

To get to the Eco Hostel you have to fly to Lombok then get a 2.5 hour taxi ride to Padang Bay. You would then take a moped trip to Kuta Lombok, and drive until you come across a hidden cove where the ocean is an intense shade of blue and, according to Claire, “the sand is so fine it squeaks under your feet”. Finally, there is a local boat for 25,000 IDR (£1.25) twice a day which will take you across the waters for half an hour until you reach the Gillies.

Those who are up for a challenge can take the three-day hike up Rinjani (Indonesia’s second biggest volcano) – a life changing experience worth every drop of sweat once you reach the top. The best time of year is from August until the end of September when it’s roughly 30 degrees every day with a slight breeze at night. Best of all, the ocean is around 28 degrees during this time of year.

Activities on the island include swimming in the turquoise ocean with what is described as ‘Turtle Heaven’ being a short swim away. The hostel is a place of solitude, and a haven for meditation and relaxation away from the hustle of the rest of the world. It focuses on winding down away from superficial problems.

Claire now has the travel bug and is not looking to come back to the UK anytime soon. She is happy travelling around the world and aims to go into photo-journalism in the future. Who can blame her? She is living the dream: on a beach on a tropical island. I think most of us would agree that she has the upper hand – especially on the weather front. She has helped set up a business that she co-owns with her mother, and is having a brilliant time doing it.