what I wish I knew when I was 20

True, I lived alone in a lodging when I was 20 years old. I was in my 3rd year of undergrad and felt like I knew a lot of things. Truth is, I knew nothing back then. Now I wish I knew these things:

  1. A relationship can either be toxic or healthy. Yes, I was never in a relationship when I was 20. And I’ve been in 3 in the past 10 years. And yes, I have been in both the toxic and healthy ones. To put it simply, healthy relationship will make you a better individual, while the healthy one the opposite.
  2. Your career is determined by your first job. Well, how could I have known it? I was just a 3rd year student, still more than one year away from having to think about working. I didn’t even think much about graduating. LOL. Thank God I have my mom who guided me well during the job offer selection. (Otherwise I might have been trapped into working a job I will regret later.)
  3. Your family will be the part of your life that you appreciate most. Everything in your life starts with your family. Now that there are many sad stories about broken home families I heard, I’m feeling even more grateful for the family I was born into. It is true that you cannot choose which family you’re born into, but in most cases, they are the persons who will love you unconditionally.
  4. Who your family is or where you went to school doesn’t matter in life – who you are does. During school years, most students are dependent to their parents. That’s why most children will feel that family and school are important. The opposite will happen after you’re becoming an adult – who you are matters.
  5. Getting a job that pays you decently is hard, but managing to collect money is even harder. I was a fresh graduate when I worked for my first job, with lower salary than most of my male college friends. I’d then continued to Master’s, where after graduating, my first job also paid me lower than most of my male friends. According to research, women tend to get lower pay due to lower self esteem and easier to be negotiated. This is because women have the duty of taking care of their families more than guys do, making them less productive and work less hours. I think I should just live with the fact and stop living a fancy lifestyle, no? ‘No’ would be my answer then, still tempted to eat at fancy restaurants, have coffee at fancy cafes and go on holidays now and then. 😀 Those, for me, are money well spent – an even better investment than bank deposits.
  6. Your friends are not gonna be with you forever – they get lost with time. Research proved that friendships that last more than 7 years are going to last forever. From my experience, only a few high school and college friends are still in contact with me. And even fewer that I still regularly meet. Sometimes I think my parents are right – no friendship lasts forever.
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to the broken-hearted 25s ladies (P.S: happy ending is for everyone)

Dear Beautiful Ladies,

I am writing this ‘letter’ to motivate all of you who are broken hearted, especially if you are 25 years old or older. Hopefully this will help you find yourself (a) happy ending(s).

First of all, let me tell you a story about me and my ex (for privacy purpose, let’s refer to him as A). We met when I was 23, very young and pure (I didn’t even drink beer back then), and he was 27. We worked at the same company, so you can say that we had cinlok (‘local’ love) at first. Then I went to Australia for Master’s, and we somehow managed to maintain the long distance relationship until I came back to Jakarta for good.

Long story short, we had always planned for a serious relationship, so it wasn’t very shocking when we finally discussed about marriage. Being a defensive kid to my parents, I still needed (and still do) their blessings for the big step of my life. When I brought up the topic to my mom, she only replied with a question: “Are you sure he’s the one?”, which I could not answer confidently. She’d then suggested me to rethink about it, and after a careful thought, I decided to break up with A. It wasn’t an easy decision; both A and I were badly heartbroken. I never really know what happened with A, but for all I know, he’s happily married now (which was another reason for my second broken heart with him).

It’s just natural that I spent several months despairing about our break up, and another 3 years looking for the best guy. I might be a strong girl that I didn’t think about committing suicide or depending myself on drugs that might kill me as well, but I did drink alcohol (which I never did before!) and thought about smoking (thank God I was surrounded by good friends who prevented me from doing so) during the desperate times. I became a different person to my family and friends, keeping a distance from them. Oh, and I cried a lot too. Time really heals any kind of wounds.

Soon after I made peace with myself (and family and friends), good things keep coming to me: I found myself happiness, made new friends, reached a career goal, achieved self actualization, and went to amazing places that I never thought I would visit. However, I was still single; I was happy being single at first, cleansing myself from all the downsides of being in a relationship until at one point, I felt that I needed a boyfriend, so I started looking. 🙂

The journey of finding the best guy was not an easy one, as I was looking for a life partner, not just a boyfriend for fun. Hence, 3 years were spent. I dated some guys and even tried online dating (which doesn’t work for me!), got my heart broken several times, and was involving myself in a drama (re: dating 2 guys at the same time) before I decided to settle with ‘the one’.

How to decide if someone’s ‘the one’:

  • Keep in mind that a perfect guy doesn’t exist (he only exists in fairy tales).
  • Keep yourself open for options before settling down.
  • Pay attention to yourself: if your heart beats faster every time you’re with the guy, then he’s not the one (and you should probably check yourself to the cardiologist :P). ‘The one’ will make you feel calm, comfortable, and at peace when you’re with him.
  • Pay attention to the surroundings: when you’re destined to be with someone (‘the one’), your surroundings will change too. This includes your family and friends support you, the universe seems to send you fortune and luck, and you just ‘click’ like you’ve known the person for your whole life, even though you just met him recently.

Ladies, I know that you might be totally heartbroken at the moment, or even decided that you don’t deserve to be happy with a significant other ever. Please feel free to think and feel the way you want to think and feel. When the time comes, all those feelings and thoughts will be over. Fill your days with meaningful things, smile a lot, and accomplish any dreams you have. It is when you’re happiest with yourself that you will find love.

Everything I write here will sound too dreamy for you, but it’s the truth – I went through it all. You have to believe that if I can, then you can too.

Be happy and love yourself.

XOXO,

Inez

Komodo Trip

The talk about going for another holiday has long been around my close friends and me. However, with the marriage of a friend and the marriage plan of another, not to mention earlier long overseas trip 3 of us had, the idea seems so far away from realization (time and money were really the issue). It was pretty shocking (and again impulsive) that we decided to go for this Komodo trip. Again, it started only with the 3 of us, then the group expanded to 8 people, enabling us to open a private trip. The holiday EO this time is Rani, and we went with Salamransel crew for a 4D3N Sailing Komodo Trip (visit their website here).

Our first day started on Saturday at 3 AM (I can’t recall the last time I woke up this early for a first flight, on a Saturday), when we met up at the airport to catch our flight. We flew Jakarta-Denpasar with Lion Air and Denpasar-Labuan Bajo with Wings Air. Thank God the flights were not delayed so we arrived in Labuan Bajo on time at 9.30 AM. We were picked up at the airport and headed straight to Kampung Ujung Port to start our Sailing Komodo trip.

Our first destination was Pulau Kanawa. We went trekking the small hill and snorkeling there. OK, we weren’t too much impressed by the island but it was a good start. Then, off we go to Sebayur for another snorkeling session. I like the underwater view better here, since the fish was more colorful and various here. Tired of snorkeling, we headed to Gili Lawa Island, where our ship was anchored for the night.

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Day 1: Kanawa

Our second day started quite early, we woke up at 4 AM in order to trek up the mountain (I cannot say that it’s a hill – it took us 40 mins to get to the top) and catch the sunrise view in Gili Lawa. I started the trek with a lot of complaints, especially since I got really tired of climbing and it was really dark when we started, but what I saw when I reached the top made me forget all those complaints – the view was really breathtakingly beautiful. After a lot of pictures, we went back to our boat and headed to Manta Point, where I didn’t dare to swim (the flow was quite hard and it was a deep, free sea, so it’s a no). We waited there for 30ish minutes until we finally saw 2 mantas swimming around. Quite satisfied with what we saw, we headed to Taka Makassar. At first, we questioned what the place was, and apparently it’s a small vacant island consisting only of a few trees and sand (the sand is half white-half pink), just like Pulau Gusung in Derawan and Karimunjawa. When the sand is covering a wide area with pretty, clear water, take pictures. A lot of them. So that’s what we did.

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Day 2: Pink Beach – doesn’t look too pink in pictures

Tired of taking pictures (well, it’s a lie. We don’t get tired of taking pictures. Never did), we headed to Pink Beach for (tired sigh here) another trekking and snorkeling. (I like snorkeling but I don’t really like trekking, especially with the extreme heat in Komodo.) You cannot really see the pink sand from the picture, but if you’re there, then you’ll be able to see that the sand is really pretty pink. So sad with the fact that Pink Beach was our last snorkeling (the underwater experience was very beautiful, by the way), we headed to Pulau Komodo afterwards. I guess it’s a must visit place for tourists, since it’s where the Taman Nasional Komodo (Komodo National Park) is located. Going there, you have to be accompanied by 2 rangers per group, 1 in front and another 1 in the back, since komodo (komodo dragon is the more popular English name) is a carnivore predator that can attack people unexpectedly. Luckily during our visit, we got to meet one by the beach (seems like it needs some dose of the sun also! LOL) and took pictures with it. Our last destination for the night was Pulau Kalong, where we were supposed to see a group of bats flying above our ship during sunset. Unfortunately, the bats didn’t come out that night, probably because there were too many ships anchored there.

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Day 2: komodo by the beach in Pulau Komodo

So we’d been warned: trekking on our third day would have been really tiring. It was proven. We started our first day at 5 AM (well, the ship crews started it that early, we only woke up at 7 AM when we’d arrived at our destination) to head to Pulau Padar. It was the highest track we climbed; the track was really slippery with sand and very few rocks to hold on to. We trekked for 45 minutes, but then what we saw was really pretty – we saw 3 gulfs surrounding the island, all 3 with different colors: black, pink and white. It was really pretty that we even recorded a music video there (for private use only LOL). Next, we went to Pulau Rinca, another island with big population of komodo. We also trekked the hill there, but it was not so sloppy so I survived. The komodos were smaller than the ones we saw in Pulau Komodo, so they are said to move faster. Our (certainly) last destination was Pulau Kelor, for another trekking. Due to my shoes condition (the soles didn’t survive Pulau Padar they fell off) and the tour guide’s story that the track there is the hardest one, I decided not to climb the hill. It was not so high, but my friends told me that the slope is 45 degrees and the rocks are located far apart from each other that they had to duck on their way down. After Pulau Kelor, we went back to Labuan Bajo to (finally, yeay!!) stay in the hotel there.

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Highlight of the trip (top-bottom): sunset (day 1) and sunrise (day 2) at Gili Lawa, and 3 gulfs at Pulau Padar (day 3)

We spent our last day in Labuan Bajo getting to know around our hotel, trying to find souvenirs (failed) and eating good seafood before we went back to Jakarta. The most interesting thing we tried was Jungle Juice (thanks to Reni for introducing the drink to us) in Treetop Restaurant, a combination of aren (traditional alcoholic drink), Kratingdaeng (red bull), and soda. After a good lunch, we thanked our tour guide and were taken to the airport. The flight home was delayed for 1.5 hours, by the way, which we spent playing cards to kill time (because there’s no reception there for carriers other than Telkomsel). We flew with NAM Airline for Labuan Bajo-Denpasar and Sriwijaya Air for Denpasar-Jakarta.

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The peaceful sea view from inside the ship

Arriving home safely, I just realized that I got sun-burnt really badly (my sister would stare at me from head to toe when I arrived, then said: how come you are so tanned), but I am happy. The trip was worth all the sunburn (and I didn’t shower for 3 days during my time at the ship); Komodo is a very beautiful place that I would recommend everyone to visit. However, if you got time, you might want to exercise a bit before going there – one thing I regretted was I didn’t exercise enough that I wasn’t physically fit when I was there. Please, please, please do not let it get dirty. Tourists, please be responsible with nature. Take only pictures, leave only footprints.

 

 

Japan Trip

My best friend and I had been planning on going on an overseas holiday, to a country we’d never been, ever since she returned from her study abroad 2.5 years ago. Our savings had only allowed us to actually make the plan real this year. Followed by 3 guy friends, we finally purchased our tickets to Japan end of last year. By the time I’m writing this post, we’ve been home for almost 2 weeks after the joyful vacation (and trying so hard to move on with our lives). So here’s to sum up our trip. *Thanks a lot to Tata for arranging things.

Day 1: 29 Apr 2016 – Tokyo to Osaka

Despite the fact that I coughed throughout the night at the plane, prohibiting me from getting appropriate sleep, I can say that the flight was smooth. We arrived at Tokyo Haneda airport on time, collected our baggage, exchanged our pre-purchased 7-day pass JRPass at the locket (I’ll get the picture later – this is somewhat a “magic” pass that got us here and there), had brunch (because I believe everyone agrees that 10:30 AM is too late for breakfast and too early for lunch), and continued our trip to Osaka by Shinkansen (the super-fast capsule-like inter-city train).

It took us 3 hours from Tokyo to Osaka, and by the time we arrived at Osaka, it was already noon (around 3 PM if I’m not mistaken). It took us another half an hour or so to find our pre-booked apartment. We then agreed to shower and get some rest before we walked around the apartment for dinner. We had the infamous Osaka Takoyaki (octopus balls) and a sip of sake near our apartment as an entree, then walked around Dotonbori area till drop (tried out Yoshinoya there!). *All stores are closed at 9 PM, so basically the stores were closed before we were.

the infamous Osaka takoyaki
Sherlock Holmes house in Kobe

Day 2: 30 Apr 2016 – Osaka Castle, Sumiyoshi-taisha Shrine, and Umeda Sky Building

Second day of the trip was dedicated to get to know Osaka’s places of interest. We went to Osaka Castle in the morning (we didn’t go inside the castle though, considering the crowd), dropped by Sumiyoshi-taisha Shrine in the afternoon, and to Umeda Sky Building (again, we didn’t go to the top of the building considering the ticket price and the absence of a tripod that will be required to get good pictures). Last but not least, we visited the must-see in Dotonbori: Glico Man (then tried out Pablo‘s cheese cake).

Day 3: 1 May 2016 – Kobe

Before I went to Kobe, I would’ve answered Wagyu when someone asked me the best beef I ever had. Kobe Beef has, however, changed my mind. The meat was so tender I could cry when it literally melted in my mouth. We tried the infamous Kobe beef in Kobe Steakland, the cheaper option. After we were full, we walked around Kobe area (it’s a very beautiful small city) to find a fundraising event for Kumamoto earthquake and visit the newly-opened Sherlock Holmes house. When we were back to Osaka, we sat for an afternoon snack at Max Brenner, then on the stairs in front of Osaka Central Station.

Day 4: 2 May 2016 – Osaka to Kyoto

Time to say goodbye to our very nice apartment in Osaka and move on to Kyoto on our 4th day. It took us only approximately 30 minutes by Shinkansen from Osaka to Kyoto. Kyoto offers different vibes in the sense that it felt more traditional and friendly. Since we could only check in at 3 PM at our hostel, we put our baggage in coin lockers and got on a bus to go around the city (we bought a 1-day bus pass so we could freely hop on and off).

Our first destination was the golden Ginkakyu-ji temple. After getting some snack at the food stall there, we went to get our baggage and check in at the hostel, and continued to Fushimi-inari, which is famous for its orange gates. By the time we got back to the bus stop, it was already dark, so we decided to have sushi for dinner at Kyoto Station.

Day 5: 3 May 2016 – Kyoto to Tokyo

Prior to heading to Tokyo, we visited the other must-see in Kyoto: Kiyomizu-dera, where the temple was built on a cliff. The view was very pretty and it’s amazing how the old building can hold up until today. Being in Kyoto has somehow brought peace to our minds, especially with the old temples and traditional houses around the city.

At midday, we again hopped on Shinkansen to Tokyo. The trip from Kyoto to Tokyo took 2.5 hours, so we arrived at noon and headed straight to our pre-booked apartment in Asakusa area. Stayed near Asakusa, we visited Asakusa Temple only once at night when the iconic lantern was folded up. LOL. No regrets. Later that evening, we had sake out of curiosity.

Day 6: 4 May 2016 – Ueno Park & Hakone

My biggest curiosity about Japan has always been the hot spring (onsen), so I was so excited that Tata actually put Hakone into our itinerary. After a morning walk at Ueno Park (I always LOVE sitting in a park – I really wish we have something like this in Indonesia), we headed to Hakone. It was quite a long trip – 2 hours from Tokyo, but soaking myself in the hot water made me forget it. The onsen experience was very relaxing and lovely. The sore that I felt in my body due to the previous 5 days walk had been magically lifted by the hot water and the mountain view around the hot spring.

Day 7: 5 May 2016 – Nikko Edo Wonderland

When I suggested that we go to this place, what I had in mind was that I cannot visit Japan without seeing ninja or anything close to it. Never did I think that it would take 3 hours from Tokyo to Nikko and we should’ve left Tokyo earlier that day to maximize our day in Nikko Edo Wonderland. The half day visit to this theme park, despite the expensive entrance ticket, was totally worth it. There weren’t a lot of international tourists like us; most of the visitors are Japanese who took their kids to introduce old-day Japan to them.

Day 8: 6 May 2016 – Tokyo Disneysea

Tata is crazy about Disney, so we believed that 40% of the trip was dedicated to this day. She woke everyone up so early so we wouldn’t miss lining up at the entrance before it was even opened (we arrived there at 08:20 AM and the gates were opened at 9 AM). Good thing was she did her research for Disneysea that the order of rides has been decided and the long queuing was successfully avoided. We spent the whole day there (still we didn’t finish all rides), from 9 AM to 8 PM when Funtasmic! show finished (Tata almost cried like a baby when they cancelled the fireworks due to rain), and agreed that the best rides are Journey to the Center of the Earth and Toy Story Mania. Personally, I also like Tower of Terror, which Kifli said is less fun than the one in Disneyland Paris (OK, Disneyland Paris, wait for me!).

Day 9: 7 May 2016 – Tsukiji Market, Shinjuku, Harajuku, and Shibuya

It was the only day I didn’t have breakfast in our apartment before going out, because we were having our breakfast in Tsukiji Market!! 😀 It is basically a fresh market specializing in fish. We walked around the alleys and decided to eat at the cheapest restaurant. The fish (I had eel) was really fresh I’m drooling when I remember how the food tasted like. From Tsukiji Market, we went to Shinjuku only to buy Tokyo Milk Cheese, then continued to Harajuku to shop here and there (I bought so many stuff at Daiso – everything is sold for 100 Yen). Last but not least, we went to Shibuya to take some pictures with Hachiko statue right in front of the station, get the feeling of crossing the very crowded crossover, and again shop at Uniqlo.

Day 10: 8 May 2016 – Akihabara & Odaiba

Our first destination in Akihabara was Yodobashi – a giant “heaven” for toy and electronic lovers. It practically sells everything you want – from cellphones to camera, from stuffed animals to action figures, and even cosmetics. Tired of walking (not only that day, but the whole trip), Tata and I decided to just sit in a cafe while waiting for the boys to return from their other adventure to see similar “heaven”. At noon, after the boys have spent most of their money at Akihabara (or Akiba, in short), we went to Odaiba to see the 1:1 Gundam. Tommy was the one who got really excited by Gundam – he was literally lost for almost half an hour there. After buying some food to be taken to Jakarta, we went back to our apartment.

Day 11: 9 May 2016 – Tokyo-Jakarta

I must say it was a pretty hard last day in Tokyo, having to push ourselves into the train full of people who are going to work with all our baggage (which, trust me, have all been doubled in either weight or size). Thank God we survived it and arrived safely at Tokyo Haneda airport, not wanting to but have to be ready to go back to Jakarta. The flight was once again pretty smooth and we arrived in Jakarta safely.

I couldn’t believe that the holiday was over, but life must go on. We have to return to work in order to get more money and arrange another vacation next year. 😀

Special thanks to Nova and Dia for being our private interpreters for 3 days in Tokyo. xD

Tee-hee!

*PS: I’m gonna add some photos later.

Karimunjawa Trip

The idea of having another holiday with friends has been there all along after our last year’s trip to Derawan (post here) and since my traveling buddy was so busy with his thesis this year, we finally decided to take a short holiday instead of a time consuming one. Our choice fell for Karimunjawa, an archipelago consisting of 27 islands located in northwest of Jepara, Central Java. There were only 3 of us when I first arranged the trip, but we ended up as a group of 10. Some friends went there back in 2010 and the review was pretty good. You might want to know more about it here. As we did when we traveled to Derawan, we joined WisataKita again this time.

We actually took the 3D2N tour, from Friday to Sunday, but since the ship will depart early on Friday, we had to fly to Semarang (the closest airport to Jepara) on Thursday evening, go directly by land to Jepara and stayed there for 1 night. None of us had been there before, so the transportation method reference from Jepara’s tourism website was really helpful. I contacted all 5 travels listed there, but finally chose Panama Travel as they are the most flexible one – the others would only depart outside of their regular service hour at a higher price. So off we go to Jepara from Semarang airport and stayed the night in Samudra Hotel, located near Kartini port at Jepara.

We met WisataKita crew at 8 AM in Kartini port, from where Bahari Express will depart. For your info, there are 3 options to go to Karimunjawa: KMC Kartini departing from Semarang every Thursday, Friday and Saturday with the duration of 4 hours, Bahari Express (which we took) departing from Jepara every Monday, Tuesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday with the duration of 2 hours, and KMP Siginjai (ferry) departing from Jepara every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday with the duration of 4.5 hours. Bahari Express departed on time at 9 AM and we arrived in Karimunjawa port at 11 AM.

Bahari Express that took us to and from Karimunjawa
Bahari Express that took us to and from Karimunjawa
Day 1 - so glad to finally arrived at Karimunjawa
Day 1 – so glad to finally arrived at Karimunjawa

Again, instead of staying at villager’s houses, we upgraded the accommodation to Kelapa Karimunjawa Beach Resort. It was the most distant accommodation the tour participants were staying as it is located 2-3 km from the town square (alun-alun), so WisataKita team booked a minibus to pick us up every time. As soon as we arrived, we were picked up and checked in at the resort to have lunch and arrange our belongings before we continued with the activities.

At 2 PM, we were back at the port to go to Cemara Besar island and snorkel there. The first impression when our boat set sail there was how clean and beautiful the sea was. When we snorkeled, however, the coral reefs are not so colorful (or maybe it was the effect of me having seen Derawan before). After snorkeling for 1 hour, we went back to Karimunjawa island to chill out at Tanjung Gelam beach. The beach is so clean with white, soft sand that is so beautiful during sunset. After sunset, we went back to the resort.

Day 1 - Tanjung Gelam beach
Day 1 – Tanjung Gelam beach
Day 2 - sea view from Kelapa Karimunjawa Beach Resort
Day 2 – sea view from Kelapa Karimunjawa Beach Resort

Our second day started at 8 AM, when the minibus again took us to the port. We spent the whole day on the boat (we cannot do much at the resort anyway, since there is no electricity from 6 AM to 6 PM!). First destination was snorkeling at Pulau Kecil, where we saw beautiful fishes and quite colorful coral reefs (again, not as colorful as the ones in Derawan) with clear view. The downside, though, was the sea level is so low that some of us hit the coral reefs (which only later I know would cause great itchiness to the affected skin). The trip continued to Batu Topeng beach, again located in Karimunjawa island, where we had lunch and had some time to play frisbee and chill out.

Day 2 - Batu Topeng beach
Day 2 – Batu Topeng beach

After lunch, off we go to another snorkeling at Pulau Tengah. Unfortunately, the sea level was quite high that Pulau Gosong (a sand island with an area of only 5 m x 8 m) didn’t appear on the surface so we didn’t go there. After snorkeling, we directly went to Pulau Menjangan Besar to see the shark captivity. Then, we went back to the resort. Later that evening, we were taken to the town square to buy some souvenirs. Instead of buying souvenirs, we were tempted by the very cheap fresh seafood (we were too late to taste the lobsters and clams but we still got to taste the giant squid priced only 35 kIDR) and ordered grilled squid, and very tasty kelapa bakar (grilled coconut – they put the coconut on fire and after the shell turned black, they crack it open to put in some cracked grilled ginger and honey). Satisfied with the snack we had (that was after we had dinner at the resort), we bought some firecrackers and fireworks before we went back to the resort.

Day 1 - sunset at Tanjung Gelam
Day 1 – sunset at Tanjung Gelam

On the third day, we had to finally say goodbye to Karimunjawa – our ship departed at 9 AM, 2 hours earlier than the scheduled time and arrived at Jepara port at 11 AM. Well, it wasn’t the end of our trip yet. Our flight was at 7.20 PM so we still got plenty of time to have some culinary adventure in Semarang after we arrived there at 1.30 PM. We had the famous lumpia semarang, nasi soto ayam, wingko babat, another famous Oen ice cream, nasi gandul, and nasi ayam until 6 PM when we went to the airport.

***curcol part***

Apparently, God didn’t allow us to fly back to Jakarta that night. It was the day of the JW Lounge incident at Soekarno Hatta airport, Jakarta and somehow no Garuda Indonesia flight was departing that day. After waiting for almost 6 hours at Ahmad Yani airport, Semarang, we decided to stay for another night in Semarang and fly back to Jakarta the next afternoon by other airline, to prevent another delay by Garuda. Thanks to my situation-maker traveling buddies, the tense was not too high and we enjoyed the extra night. We even had some lunch box from another famous restaurant in Semarang and the famous lekker Paimo before we took off. The trip that was supposed to end on Sunday evening had finally ended on Monday afternoon and we all had fun. 🙂

Overall, one thing to remember when you book your trip to Karimunjawa is to go there before you explore the eastern part of Indonesia. Otherwise, you will be a bit disappointed. The place is beautiful, with the clear blue sky and sea, but still the sea creatures are lacking compared to those of eastern Indonesia, say, in my case, Derawan.

My message to other travelers (I heard this from Adam, my tour guide of Great Ocean Rd trip back in 2012): leave only footprints, take only pictures. Wherever you’re going.

Sawarna Trip

The trip started with a short conversation and impulsive decision coming from a friend and me on our way back home. We agreed that we needed a short getaway (after our last vacation to Derawan back in July 2014 – see my post here) and this busybody friend of mine proposed to go on 1-3 January 2015, with the 4th as a spare day for a rest. I’d then suggested to go to Sawarna, a beautiful (I’d only seen it in pictures back then) beach located in Pulau Jawa. (To be exact: in Lebak, Banten.)

As always, I took the initiative to ask some friends for options: first option is to drive on our own (this was our initial plan) so I asked for cheap and clean homestay contact numbers and the second one is to join a tour with all-in package including return transport from Jakarta to Sawarna and homestay. After some quick calculation, we decided to go with the second option, joining LiburanBareng (this is another small local tour agent).

Our trip started on 1 January 2015 near midnight (we departed from our meeting point in Plaza Semanggi at 11 PM) to arrive in Sawarna on the 2nd at 4 AM. (The predicted trip duration was 6-7 hours, so we were ahead schedule.) We weren’t able to check in to the homestay that early, so we took some rest and had breakfast at the homestay owner’s house before starting our “adventure”. It was raining but didn’t stop us from going – at 9 AM, we started our walk to Goa Lalay (‘lalay’ means bat in Sundanese, the local language) for caving. There are several routes for caving that you can choose, but we only took the shortest, easiest one. It took us approximately 2 hours from getting in until we got out. The walk was slippery but pretty fun, especially because you can see bats sleeping on the cave ceiling. I’m wondering how it looks like in the inner parts of the cave – the local guide told us that the stalactites are prettier and more natural since there are fewer people going there.

Going back from Goa Lalay, we checked in at our homestay, got cleaned up and had lunch. After a power nap while waiting for the rain to stop, we took another walk to…. *drumroll* the beach. Finally. Our first purpose going to Sawarna. So the first beach that we visited was Pantai Tanjung Layar, located not so far from our homestay. After some pictures and coconuts, we walked back to our homestay to have a rest.

The last day, we were supposed to wake up early so we can get the sunrise view from Pantai Karang Bokor and Pantai Karang Taraje (‘taraje’ means ladder in local language), but due to tiredness from the previous day, we all overslept and only went there after sunrise. We were lucky though, it was sunny when we got there, in contrast to the weather the morning before. So we walked from one end to another, sunbathed (unplanned, but all of us were sunburnt by the time we got back to the homestay) and took a lot of pictures. These 2 hidden beaches (it was actually 1 beach area divided into 2 or more attraction points) were worth the 2 km walk, not to mention the elevating and slippery routes. After cleaning up and lunch, we had to say goodbye to Sawarna to go back to Jakarta.

(The trip to Jakarta was pretty torturing – we left Sawarna at 1.30 PM, only to arrive at Jakarta at 11.30 PM.) Overall, I’m quite happy with our short getaway, regardless the less active trait of the tour guide. Sawarna is a recommended place for those who want to have a short vacation from Jakarta.

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Pantai Karang Bokor, Sawarna

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how to use social media and not get addicted to it

Starting with Friendster in 2004, I couldn’t count how many social media accounts I’ve had since. 10 years of getting my life socially available online has taught me how to be wise in posting things online and not addicted to the media. Throughout the time, I always have my (at least) 2 favorite media, which are changing from time to time, depending on where my friends are.

image taken from growingsocialmedia.com
image taken from growingsocialmedia.com

Being someone whom my friends consider as a social-media-wise active, here’s me sharing how to use social media and not get addicted to it:

  1. Know where you are and who you are with in real life. I know being in social media means you’re virtually close to everyone – some people even said that “it makes those who are far by distance closer and those who are close further” – I was dragged into it also for some moment. In order to get out of it, you need to be aware of where you are really. The best time to browse through your social media is when you’re alone in your room (I normally do it before I go to sleep and after I wake up in the morning), NOT when you’re surrounded by real human beings. Please please please, for those teenagers who ignore people around them, don’t do that. You’ll regret it later.
  2. Self control. So you’re newly single, you can’t tell stories to your family members and all your friends are in a relationship? You’re not alone. Well, sometimes your hormones are telling you to post things online so EVERYone (this will include people you don’t know from around the world, other than the one you want to transmit the message to). I can’t blame you for that, because I did that too. And regret it later. If you can still control the sadness and anger, please don’t. Ever.
  3. Privacy is number one, and you’re the only one who can control what you post online. If you’re someone who posts everything you do online, then you’re not alone. But if you think about it, do you really want someone you barely know, or even a complete stranger, know that you’re, let’s say, hanging out at mall A. I might sound paranoid, but what if a bad guy comes to you to mall A and kidnaps you?!?! :O
  4. Keep in mind that social media is there to let you interact with people, not to give them freedom to stalk you. I was quite amazed when one day a friend asked me: how was the food at restaurant X? I posted that online, but I wasn’t aware that someone would actually notice the detail until she asked me. After the incident (I call it incident since I don’t really like someone knowing what I’m doing and where I am, at least not until it’s over), I become more careful in posting things online.
  5. If you know you’re someone with lack of self control, don’t even start it. Social media is not created for those who lack of self control.
  6. Don’t overdo it. During the presidential election campaign period a little while ago, some friends suddenly became these fanatic when it comes to politics. They would post good things about the candidate they support (that are sometimes overly good – too good to be true) and bad things about the other candidate. In my opinion, it’s them overdoing it. It’s totally OK to show people which side you’re standing for, but it’s not OK when you’ve started posting about it every hour, not to mention posting bad things about others whom you don’t actually know.
  7. If you don’t have something good to say, then be quiet. When you post something negative, it will sooner or later bring negative effects to you too. Keep posting only positive things, keep your image virtually positive, for your own good.

Hope it helps.. 🙂