The So-Called Soul Searching Trip

I’ve been traveling on my own.
I’ve been traveling with partner as well.
This time, I go back traveling on my own.

I haven’t done any solo traveling for about a year. Last time I did that was when I went to Vietnam last May, and it was pretty fun. I spend my day doing fuck all, just having coffee, strolling around the city and relaxing. Meeting new people while having beer at night, sharing stories about life and whatever it is. It was really fun but I remember when I was thinking that this is enough…I’d like to see what it feels like to be traveling with a partner. Boom, not a week after get back from Vietnam I met someone and we dated and couple months later traveled together. It was exactly like what I thought it would be. We had so much fun, explore new places and I feel like closer to him when we’re out there together.

But this time, I went solo again. My friend told me that “this is your soul-searching time” or “now find your old self back”. Fuck it. I know I’m still the old me. But then I was being a miserable C and it was long weekend so I impulsively bought ticket to Bali. It was a “bring it on” moment.

So what it’s like? Well…still like the last time I went traveling alone. I still love being able to wake up anytime I want, to go wherever I want to go. My first day, I just walk around the hotel area then sleeping and reading book on the beach until I burn my skin. On the next day, I decided to climb a mountain, made some friends there and having a really good time. The I spend the rest of my trip hunting secondhand bookshops and spending more time in the beach because your girl love to make her skin darker, yo.

The thing about traveling alone that I forgot is that you can’t actually be alone. Everytime I was in a cafe or a pub, minding my own business, there’s always someone asking to join my table. I remember my first night in Bali there’s a dude wanting to join my table while I was reading my book. I wasn’t really in the mood for talking so I just nod and when he started the conversation I told him I can’t speak english…..but I forgot that I was holding an english book. Dumbass. I left soon afterwards, hiding my laugh.

So that’s what I love about traveling alone. The joy of be whoever I want, go to wherever I want. But..there’s no one to shared the story too. Traveling with someone else was fun because if you see something funny on your trip, you have someone to share the laugh with. Or when you lost, you’re not alone. You lost with that someone. And mind you that during this trip I don’t have social media whatsoever (only twitter) so it does actually feel like I’m with myself. It’s not that I don’t like it…it’s just more fun if you have someone to share the joy with.

I also realized that I change a little bit during this solo trip, especially on accommodation’s preference. Back then, I used to be okay staying in a hotel or just a crappy cheap room to save my budget. But not this time hahaha. It’s not that I have a lot of money, no, no at all but I just prefer comfort more? Is that make sense? I booked the wrong room once in Bali last week. It was a cheap room in Kuta, Rp150K per night. When I got there…single bed, no windows, no tv and have this creepy vibe. So I cancelled right away and luckily, found another room, slightly more expensive than that one (220K) but better! I guess I’m that age where comfort bed and room is important.

Aside all that, I’m still the same person. Still the fun, energetic person that not shy to made new friends. Still the same person who dare to have some adventures, walking alone in the place unknown just to fill in my curiosity. I had fun, I climb a mountain, I spend my day reading books on the beach, biking around the city.

It’s not that I can’t do it. I can travel on my own. But I prefer to be with a partner now.

I’ve been traveling on my own, and I’ve been traveling with a partner. I love both almost equally, but experience taught me that I like it better when I have someone beside me. Same thing like, I’m okay being single. But I like more being in a relationship.

Because happiness only real when shared.

Processed with VSCO with hb2 preset


That Time When I Can Barely Feel My Arse

In my life, I’ve done several things that for most people might sounds “wow, you’re so brave!” but for some perhaps just “ah, cool. I’ve done that too.”

This is one of them. That time when I impulsively buy a ticket for a weekend in Bali and decided to climb a mountain. And ride a motorbike on my own for four freaking hours.

Let’s cut it short (because the story of how I get to Bali will be on another post). I was browsing on the internet of best places in Bali to see the sunrise. There’s Sanur Beach, Mount Agung, Ubud, Tanah Lot, and many more. And then there’s Mount Batur in Kintamani. It’s not as high as Mount Agung (Mount Batur is 1.717m) and it seems doable and I was looking for something that is adventurous but not too heavy because I haven’t been climbing for about two years.

I decided to go to Mount Batur and start looking on how to get there. A lot of tour package of course, but it so damn expensive. Then I look it up deeply into the deep web (heh heh heh) and I found the cheaper way. I just need to stay in Kintamani, close to the climbing point of Mount Batur and hire a guide from there.

And then there’s another problem. How to get to Kintamani? Of course, there’s buses and rental car. But again, it’s expensive. So I decided to…rent a motorbike. And drive alone to Kintamani from Kuta. I asked my friends whether it’s safe or not for a lady to drive motorbike in Bali and she said it’s okay. Bali is mostly safe, but she did remind me to be careful because I’m clumsy af. Yeah right.

And there comes the day! I rent a motorbike (Rp50 K/day) and drove down from my hotel in Legian for a breakfast in Revolver. My plan is to leave Legian/Kuta area around 12 so I could be in Kintamani by 4. But of course, a plan is just a plan. When I was having breakfast, I got email from work, there’s a deadline due that day. So…I stayed in Revolver, finishing my job until 1.30.

After that, leaving for Kintamani! I was excited and scared, actually. I don’t have driving license, but I’m a pretty good motorbike rider. I was wearing my tank top and shorts, I was worried about cat calls and everything but no! It’s Bali and all okay there.

I used Waze to direct me to Kintamani. It says I’ll get there in 3.5 hours. Unfortunately, I lost my earphones so I wasn’t able to listened to the GPS lady; I have to put my phone on my small bag (which lay on my lap) and constantly checking it up. It’s dangerous kid, don’t ever try that.

The road from Kuta to Kintamani is relatively quiet, although closer to the mountain, there’s a lot of sands everywhere. Be careful, because it made the road slippery and if you hit the break, there’s chance you could fall down from your motorbike (I know because it happen to me).

The joy of driving on your own is that I can stop at anywhere. Like if I saw beautiful view, I could just stop right away and took some pictures. I admit that it’s very quiet that in 4 hours I have no one to talk to but hey, isn’t that the part of traveling alone you have to endure?

Around 5, I arrived at Black Lava Hostel in Kintamani. I can’t feel my arse! It’s numb! But I love the hostel. It’s a nice, small guesthouse with hot spring pool overlooking the mountain. Fucking awesome.

After I check in (dorm room, Rp150.000) I put on my bikini and jump into the pool! Maaaan, that was something. Hot spring really help relieving the pain on my back after driving for 4 hours. I stayed in the pool for about 1.5 hours, having a chat with two girls from Belgium and France. We then just sat there, looking over the sunset by the mountain. Fucking bliss.

Photo 5-26-17, 5 13 25 PM

We were told by our guide that the trekking will start at 4 in the morning. So that night, I slept around 7 to make sure that I got enough rest and able to wake up early. By the way, Kintamani and Mount Batur is not as cold as I thought it would be. I brought two jacket and I don’t even need one. As I recall, Bromo, Dieng and Prau was much much colder than Batur.

The trekking package cost me Rp450 K, that include breakfast, walking stick, headlamp, two mineral water and the guide. If you are on your own, you have to pay Rp650 K, so it’s best to find someone to share the guide. I share this package with the french and belgium girls.

We start walking at 4, and the guide said that the trekking will take about 1.5-2 hours to get to the summit. I imagine that with that short duration of walk, the trekking route must be steep and rocky. Well…it kinda is.

On the first 45 minutes, I don’t have any problem. Good thing that in Jakarta I used to spend my time walking around the city at least 10km per day so my feet doesn’t feel sore at all. I thought it’d be cold so I wear my hoodie, but after 30 minutes I took it off because I’m sweating. Lots of hikers only wear shorts and tank top, and yes it’s all okay.

The trek start with “Ah yeah, I can do this” to “What the duck?” in an hour. After halfway, the trek gets steeper and harder. Lots of rocks and sands, so if you’re not careful you could get slip. The walking stick really help! One time, we stopped and the guide told us it’s only 20 minutes away from the summit. We sat for a while and look behind…amazing city view from above. Clouds. Everything. And I remember, this is what I love the most about climbing a mountain.

We get to the summit around 5.45. It was pretty crowded up there, and I remember I’m the only Indonesian (aside guides) there. Most of them thought I’m a filipino or thai because they said they never met Indonesian girl who traveled alone. Hehe.

Our guide told us to sit there and wait for the sunrise while he prepared breakfast. Too bad, the weather wasn’t really good that day so we didn’t catch any sunrise. Aww, bummer. But the breakfast was pretty surprising. He gave us egg and banana sandwich and tea, and I never thought I’d love banana sandwich.

We gave up on waiting for the sunrise, and prepared to climb down mountain. We’re taking the longer route, because our guide believe that we could get better view from there.

Not only longer, this route is narrow and full of sand too. Note to self: wear proper shoes. I was wearing my walking sneakers and sands get inside my shoes. It was fine, but you know just a bit uncomfortable for a while. But I LOVE the way back! It was still cloudy but it feel like the set of Game of Thrones somehow with all the mist and the clouds. It took us 3 hours to get down from the mountain because we stopped a lot, waiting for the cloud to leave so we could see the view. Eventually we did. The view of mountain and lake surrounding Batur was pretty stunning. I stood there in silence for a while, can’t remember the last time I feel this…relaxed? And at the same time I also feel like sharing this view to someone I feel so dearly. But oh well.

Down in the forest, it gets better. The sun was there, and it made everything looks greener than it should be. We even discovered a hidden Pura! It was a bit like Tomb Raider scene, only smaller. Then after we get out from the forest, we could see the top of Mount Batur from below. We were there! It was unbelievable. And that is one of the amazing thing about climbing a mountain, when you see the top of the mountain from different perspective, you can help but thought,”Wow, I WAS there. How did I get there?”

We reached the hostel at 10.30. We changed to our bathing suit and dipped in the hot spring again. That was the best feeling in the world, when you feel all your muscle screaming and you calmed it down with hot water..fucking amazing.

Then I remember I have to drive back to Kuta for another 4 hours.

2016: A year to Go

Damn I left this blog too long. And even worse, my last post is a cheesy piece about shattered heart (which I am totally over it right now. No, really.)

So. Happy New Year 2016! Mine start with something good and I hope so will you. When I re-visited this blog, I feel guilty for not being able to write as much as I used to. Not trying to blame anything but I haven’t travel much either these past few months.

But I was having some greatest moment in terms of traveling though. Back in September I was sent to Seoul to write about the business tourism activity of the city. Met lots of great journalists from all over Asia, build good network with them and it was a really fantastic journey eventhough most of the time I was working and don’t get to see around the city much. Seoul was my first time going out of South East Asia and it was very memorable trip, it’s a really fantastic city, great food, I hope I can come back to Seoul again someday.

Then what else…oh, for my annual birthday trip I went to Bali in October. I spend almost nothing for the trip; my airline ticket is free, I got free stays in five-star hotels (in exchange of writing) and also free transportation. So that was very relaxing, I get all the best thing a girl could have and spend my birthday on the beach all day. Got lots of surprise as well, so it was a pretty awesome day.

I think about how much I travel in 2015 compare to 2012-2014. I didn’t go out that much, not like in the previous year where almost every month I visit some place new. Aside from that my job no longer allowed me to travel as much (and I just moved to new place that even require me to stay in the city all year long), I think I just kind of lost passion to visit places.

So, for 2016.. I want to get back to that. Be more ambitious about traveling, visit new places, get out more. I end 2015 with feeling a little bit hollow inside (even though that was a good year, I had fun–perhaps even too much) and maybe going to lots of place just what the doctor ordered. I want to go back to Vietnam, see art exhibition in Singapore, celebrating my birthday in Nepal and visit more and more beach.

Happy 2016, may all our wishes comes true!

(photos will be updated soon)