Lessons that Travels Have Taught Me (so far)

Experience is the best teacher and the most experiences I’ve got are from travelling or living nomadically. I’ve moved a lot in my 27 years although none of the places I’ve lived in or visited is abroad. Well my country is big and it’s not easy for a developing country citizen like me to travel abroad. Also, every corner of Indonesia is so different even though it’s in the same island; the people, culture, norms, weather, etc are different. The first time I moved to other city was when I was 17 y.o when my parents decided to go back to their hometown in West Sumatra. I hated it back then, the fact that I had to be separated with the things and people I’d been familiar with. Ten years later, I’ve become a restless soul that always wants to be challenged by new environment periodically. It has given me long-term impacts and lessons that shape the person I am and will be. Even the ways I travel changed. Let me share some things that travels have taught me so far :D.

  1. Travel has made me realize that life is short.

Life is short to do and be something I’m not, to only read one book, to only have one perspective, to stop questioning, to not seek for answers, to be spent in only one place, to only have one dream, to learn only one skill. And most importantly, to not be shared.

2. Changes are not always scary.

Fly High Yoga by the sea in Gili Air

Starting again in new places with new people, situation etc sounded scary before for me. But I survived, I’m glad of most changes that happened, sometimes a reset button is necessary. Breaking the comfort zone is good, just because something is familiar doesn’t mean it’s better. It is when you’re already outside the box then you can see what’s wrong about the box.

3. The world is so big and there are so so so so so many people in the world.

The more places I visited and the more people from different background I met, the more I want to see and experience other places. This makes me realize that for me moving is one of my needs. Many people seek for settling down in one place until they’re old and die, while I don’t think myself belongs to that category. Even if I know Bali is my fave place to live, it doesn’t mean I want to stay in Bali forever. I will someday settle, just not now. Also, knowing that there are billions of billions of people in the world–I mean yeah of course all people know the big number of population, but many of us choose to trap ourselves into small community; like people in our city or our country only–makes me more optimistic in life that it doesn’t matter if one person doesn’t agree with nor like me, there are still billions of people in the world, even Trump is still liked by some people. It doesn’t matter if I feel I don’t belong with people in West Sumatra, maybe I just happened to be a black sheep, I met people who are like me–the black sheep–in Bali, whose homes are away from homes. There will be a lot of places in the world that are more willing to accept who you are, you just need to find where it is.

4. The more I travel, the more I need less.

The moment of packing and unpacking are the times I know I’ve been collecting or wanting things I don’t actually need. It’s the time I have to decide which one to keep in my life. I still don’t travel light, but for people who know me and with so many things I had back home, it’s an achievement to pack my life into just some briefcases. It makes me realize that if I’m ok with it during travelling, then I will be okay with same at home. The more I don’t understand why people could be so obsessed with having a big big family home, taking loans for big house, fancy cars, electricities, etc. That makes more sense to me if it’s for property business, but I can’t see myself living in a big house because I don’t need that. I need plane tickets, enough money and health.

5. Self-discovery.

I’ve read somewhere that if you want to find yourself, leave your home. My self-discovery process happens faster every time I am away from home, my goals get clearer.

6. Travel gives me hope and faith that THAT kind of life is possible.

Since my childhood, my parents and most adults around me taught me how scary it is to have no uniforms, which means a job in institution or company. I believe that every generation has their own advantage from the previous generations, hence we should not live with the same fears. My generation’s advantage is the advance of information and communication technology. I don’t want to miss this opportunity. Nomad living is possible which allow us to make money from anywhere we want. It makes it possible to earn in different currency. That if I really want something to happen, there’s always ways. Travel allows me to meet alike-minded people who many of them are more successful in their 30s than my parents who worked for over 30 years in institutions. And what great about these people are their energy and creativity that are always alive and pumped.

7. Complaint less, be more patient and grateful.

When you just move to a new place, then expect the unexpected, things go out of plans and it’s okay. I saw how people can live with less and still be happy which all too often we forget how to live like that.

8. Shop less, experience more.

I can say I’ve been very lucky to be able to travel myself since young age. But the way I travel and how I see it have changed a lot. I used to only target big cities with big malls during the sale season, travel was only about shopping for me. I always flew back with extra baggage than when I left. Doing it for years, I always felt exhausted after the holiday (and broke, of course), also felt rushed during the travel. I used to list so many shopping agenda in my itinerary for a 2-3 day holiday. I think that’s how most Indonesians are like during holidays, we try to go to as many destination as possible in super short time that we don’t really enjoy our visit anymore, it’s become more like a check-list than a relaxing holiday. Now I prefer to have much less agenda and be more spontaneous. I rarely shop unless it’s something very special that I still think of after 3 days, by then I know I really want it rather than an impulse buying. I buy something that I will use and remind me of the place when I see and use it. Someday when my hair turns grey, it’s the experience that I will remember, not how many and expensive things I bought.

9. Enjoy solo travelling while you can.

The idea of travelling with a partner and family may sound tempting to many. I have friends who missed their travelling opportunities or chances to move somewhere only because of waiting for a life partner to arrive. That’s not me, at least for this moment. Most of the time for me at this moment, I want to have a time for myself. When I get married, I will less likely have it anymore, I will have husband and kids to travel with for years. So now is my time for my self (before I get stuck with them, LOL). It’s nice to have a travel partner sometimes, but not every time.

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So that’s my ode to travel. I’m sure that’s not all yet–at least what I can think of for now. I want to continue living like this, moving place to place, looking forward to more adventures and changes for the better because nothing is more exciting than seeing who I will be at the end of each one. PS: this year I will have my first international travels, can’t wait!!

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Two, O, Seventeen

I’m writing this while lousy new year party’s fireworks are outside, coloring Bali’s night sky, every corner in Bali has its own firework party.

Can’t believe it’s already a brand new year. Time flies fast when you’re enjoying what you’re doing. My 2017 was great, especially since the second semester of the year, after my 27th birthday. Or maybe my 27th is great.

I am happy that every year of my life I’ve never had a dull year so far, hard times yes but never dull. Because I always try new things every year, every age. There’s always new lessons I got, new skills I improved. Haven’t achieved all that I planned this year, because life happened and plans changed, but I have major goals that I’ve carried out.

The greatest thing about this year for me is the fact that I’ve lived in three different places in just one year; Lampung, West Sumatra and Bali. Meaning I moved every 3-4 months. The beginning of this year I started with big decision to come back to my parents’ house in West Sumatra after having been away from home for almost 10 years. It’s actually normal in Indonesian culture for kids to stay at their parents’ even until after marriage, but I had too much pride to do that, to admit that I needed them to help me go through the hard times, in order for me to achieve next steps. I felt very embarrassed before but in the end it’s proven as the right step, I am glad I did, otherwise I wouldn’t have been experiencing what I have now in Bali.

I can say 2017 is my most favorite year of my 27 years dwelling this planet Earth. The more I explore my self, the more I love life and living. 2015 was like the moment I started to be ‘awake’. 2016 was very hard, like my rock bottom since the ‘awakening’ as the consequences of all the turns and directions I decided to take that were very different from what I used to do/be in many aspects. In 2017, things slowly got better, even though the first semester was very stressful for me, affected by my past relationship at that time. But the second semester has been really great, I could put more focus on my plans without feeling being pressured, I’ve been back to who I am, easy-going, chilled, and carefree. I’ve become my own person. I’ve met people from whom I can learn many things, new experiences and led me to have clearer goals and how-tos. Even though maybe we met for just one week, one hour or even 10 mins, there must be reasons why we met.

This year I started my youtube channel and this blog, also made another new blog specialized in crafts and DIYs. My craft shop with my cute aprons has been running pretty well (but since I’m in Bali, I close orders due to my busyness with my course and first collection production. But still I got customers who wanted to order even though I didn’t promote my shop when in Bali.)

In 2017, I went to several cities and places with people I met offline and online. Maybe there are still some aspects in my life that I still haven’t found the best answer yet, but that is life and I don’t want to put pressures to my self about things that I cant control, what I can do is to just react, adapt and overcome. I decided I’m done including other people’s plans in my plans, I just wanna focus on my plans and see who I will meet during the journey. Because I can’t force myself to run in accordance to other people’s timer. Neither can I do the same to other people.

I was not really sure when starting my channel and blog(s), now I’m glad I did what I am doing. Things are just getting better. Slowly but sure.

In 2017, I’ve learned to be more patient, that everything good takes process, endurance and consistency. Can be full with trials and errors sometimes, and I lost my motivation for some moments, because I felt that I’ve tried to give my best efforts, but it resulted below my expectation and deadlines I set for myself. I felt sad and cried, feeding my mind with negative thoughts; maybe I should stop, maybe I am not good, maybe I can never get better, maybe I started things too late. But then I got back to it, evaluate what I missed and try to admit I can’t do everything, but I can either drop it, delegate it or add something to it. And I keep going to that direction instead of taking other new direction.

The only thing that is a bit harder happened this year is only something that happened to my family in the end of 2017. We’re having a ‘not-easy’ time—I don’t wanna call it difficult, because we’re stronger and we’ve been through hard times before and we passed it. I keep telling my self that things can only get better.

My first bridal collection will be ready soon in 2018 and it’s still a long process to build my dreams. I have more dreams than I did before coming to Bali, before 2017. And that’s how life should be, to never stop having goals.

New year, new feels, new chances, same dreams, fresh starts.

Thank’s for the ride, 2017. Let’s bring it on, 2018!

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It’s always been there

IMG_1176I was arranging my bookshelves when I stumbled upon my old notebooks and binders. I realised that I used to always keep two kinds of journals; diary and inspiration books. When I wanted to write about my feelings and experience, I poured in my diaries. Inspiration books are where I collaged everything that I liked from printed media, whether it’s quotes, articles, illustration, language learning, and fashion styles.

These are some inspiration books I kept since 2006. At that time internet was expensive and there’s no Pinterest, I couldn’t just pin-and-save all the inspiration I like. I was a magazine addict, I hunted old English teenage magazines because I wanted to learn English (later I found out, English teenage magazines’ content was too ‘mature’ and ‘experienced’ for an ordinary nerdy Indonesian teen like me, seriously they talked about sex and sexual identity at that age, I was like, “Ouch!! Is it porn?”)

I didn’t keep inspiration books anymore since I befriended more intensely with internet. Also after highschool I was distracted with so many silly things. Also, we often listen more to what other people say than to our selves. Now at this age, 10 years later, re-reading those books makes me realized there are some parts of me that’s always been there and haven’t changed. Yet, at some stage, I didn’t know it :

  1. I’ve always been fond of fashion; about 60% of the content is fashion collage. I cut all the looks that I like, they all have similarity, that explains my style. After learning fashion at 27 y.o, I knew that method is called Mood-boarding, that’s what fashion students and designers have to do to design a collection and to find what their styles are. Meaning I have had done it before I even know that’s a part of a curriculum in fashion design study. No wonder now I go back to what I dreamed at 16-17, to be a fashion designer.
  2. I love languages; I collected vocabs and idioms from books and movies. I always watched English movies with notebook and dictionary in my hands. I watched a movie more than once, first to follow the story, second to check the new vocabularies, third time to re-play with new knowledge I got. And not only English, I taught myself Japanese and Spanish ( I still can understand a little Japanese, but Spanish has been gone forever from my brain and muscle memory, haha!). Now, I am a big fan of illegal movie streaming, too many movies and videos to watch, I can’t waste my 6 hours for just one movie!
  3. I like writing; I created fiction, short stories and sometimes poems. But majority of my short stories dont have endings yet, I dont think it’s because I didnt know how to end them, I just hopped to other stories/ things that caught my attention.

I see I made progress in my drawing and writing, language as well. I think these fashion moodboards by far have given me more inspiration than other resources I have now, because it’s already filtered by the old me to define the future me. The present me is stealing from myself in the past. Like Austin Kleon said, “We steal from ourselves; from dreams and memories.”

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I drew this when I was a Japanese Manga-lover 16 y.o kid.

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Those on the right are from 9 years ago. The green one is the most recent, a month ago.

How about you, what have you stolen from your dreams and memories?

#Forever25

One day before my 27th birthday

Yesterday I turned 27, two years passed my favorite age and hopefully still far from death.

For me in my own world, my age has stopped counting since two years ago. I want to believe and feel–and look–like I’m forever 25 even though I haven’t been bitten (nor kissed) by a vampire.

25 for me was the best age. People said life begins at 30 or 40, I haven’t been both, for me that couldnt be true unless you’re George Clooney, who still looked like 27 in his 40s. Everybody has different favorite age, for me it’s 25 because during teenage years, even though we have the fitness vitality, we’re still emotionally unstable compared to the mid 20s.

My wake-up call in life occurred at 25, where I totally stop being socially dependent on friends or guys and have become more money-wise compared to when I first started making money. Every year, I always try to do new things in life and improve my self, I am happy that none of my 20s so far has been boring, there’s always new things that I did. But my 25 is special for me. I’ve tried many things at 25 and was not even afraid to fail as for me it’s better to fail at young age than feeling dissatisfied in old age. Also, because I was (and still am) not married yet, I had total freedom and financial asset to try and do things I wanted in order to really discover who I am and what I really want in life, I didn’t need to care nor to share, only when I wanted to (luckily, my parents and family don’t need me to help to support them). At my 25, I’ve stopped caring about others’ opinions towards me and stopped following trends. I’ve become more immune to people’s disagreements as I am the one who’s gonna live my life anyway.

By the way, I found this chart on ages we peak at everything throughout life. According to this chart, I’ve passed the peak age for female attractiveness. This hurts, haha, but hopefully it doesn’t apply to me like it doesnt apply to Taylor Swift and Avril Lavigne, seriously those women still look like the first time they appeared in show business!

And after this age, I will be supposedly in the best age for running a marathon! Haha, really? TV series marathon I think… Anyway, I’m still so excited about turning 27, because of my turning-point in my 25, 27 doesn’t feel old at all. Especially because many people still ask whether I am still in college if they first meet me. Lol! I don’t know whether I really look younger or they were just being nice. But if I do, maybe that’s because I keep believing and feeling that I’m 25. Like it or not, I’m forever 25!

25 y.o me

The Most Interesting People

Don’t we all want to be interesting or at least to look interesting?

Well, the definition of ‘interesting’ is subjective. Beauty is in the eyes of the be(er)holder for sure. Some may call other people ‘interesting’ if only either they’re famous, successful, rich, or good looking. For me, what can keep me amazed with a person–who doesn’t need to be famous, could be my friend, or people I just met–is when I can see how much she/ he believes in what she/ he does.

Because, for me personally, if success or wealth is what makes people fascinating, well there are a lot of successful, wealthy people, but still some of them look boring to me. I also don’t think it’s about the kind of job one’s having. Two people can have the same job but one may look more fascinating than the other. Or in other case, a person can have the most boring job, but really, they’ve touched me in some ways.

I see the similarity that these people have, from artists, accountants, writers, pilots, teachers, even a supermarket customer service. They all believe in what the do, a musician like John Lennon who believed in what he sang and created. You can compare the sparks in his eyes when he sang or talked about his music to any other singers who sing just to sing because that’s what they have to do to be famous, who only sing what other people wrote for them. Compare writers who write because and what they believe than writers who write just to make money. Lecturers who teach because they love teaching than lecturers who are doing their job only to support their lives. These fascinating people put their souls into their works, and it shows, then touches others.

I think that’s what interests me most about other people. I love knowing people but I get bored easily if I see he/ she has no interests/ obsessions/ passions in anything. I was amazed with my colleagues in my previous job when I listened to them discussing about types of frogs for one hour. Seriously, I’ve never met people who could talk that long only about frogs and who cares about frogs that much. The topic was not my taste of course but I was amazed that I just kept listening to them. I want to be able to talk like that about something. If I cant talk that passionately about my job, then maybe what I am doing is not the right thing. If I cant talk about what I am doing that long and passionately, means my works won’t be good. Because in the end, the works won’t lie about the artist.

From Break-ups to Break-ups

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I’ve experienced several break-ups so far, still can be counted with one hand but no one knows whether my number will increase or close for the last. Break-up sucks no matter if we had been waiting for it before it happened, still it leaves us a feeling of lost, failure, and ugliness of reality; how come someone that used to be so close, that I always talked to everyday, someone that I (thought I) knew like the back of my hand now becomes so strange and we avoid each other.

I started dating a bit late, not only because I was a late bloomer and awkward geek (maybe I still am), but also because I thought I could plan when and whom I would marry. I thought someone who I dated first would be my husband, I thought I’d played safe to wait until certain age, not like my friends who started dating since middle school. After my first relationship failure, I really didn’t want to have more break-ups, but I still got some. I hated those failures, looking at my friends who already tied the knots, meanwhile I was (or am) still wondering where I would land. It took several break-ups and years until I can see them not as failures, but blessings in disguise. I am grateful for those break-ups, even if they’re painful and ugly and cost three boxes of tissue papers for each, sometimes not only tissue but also unnecessary expensive getaways and impulsive spendings. I am thankful I am not married yet, I am not saying this to make other people who are already married feel bad, things happen differently for us, I am happy if you’re happy, but this what I learned FOR ME. Without those failed relationships, I wouldn’t have been in this state of mind and able to see things as clearly as I am now. Some may have found it early, some are just like me who are in the latter group.

I learned many things from the failures about my self and life. Being in a relationship is not merely learning about other people, it’s mostly about learning our selves, what we lack, what we need to work on, finding out what we really want and need in life and another person, how strong and decisive we could/ should be and many more.

  1. You complete yourself

The most valuable thing I’ve learned after several break-ups and accumulated seven years of failed relationship is that setting marriage as the only main goal in life is the most dangerous and stupid thing a girl can do, she is slowly killing her self. She trades herself for something uncertain. For several years and in some relationships, my decisions were based on the relationship goals I was in. Different partner, different path. I quit things I was enjoying because they could hamper our relationship goals, I started things I was not really sure for the man I was with. I became someone I was not just to show them I was the perfect obedient wife candidate as they said they wanted to have. And when the relationship ended, what did I get? What was I left with? I was always left with NOTHING to hold on nor to be proud of. I wanted to be mad at the guys, but more I was mad with my self, why did I let other people make decisions for me? Why did I base my decisions about my future on other people’s assessments? And why didn’t I directly realize? Why did it take some failures and up to seven years for me to eventually learn??

Only I can give my dreams to me. Being dependent on others to realize your dreams is the best way to ruin your life. You can’t love other people if you can’t love your self first. You cant find other person if you cant find your self. You will never be ready to understand other people if you haven’t understood yourself.

To be honest, I really dislike hearing girls who only want to get married, have kids, and don’t have other goals in life. But sadly I used to be one of them. If one of my past relationships had succeeded to marriage, and I had been married before I really understood why I wanted to get married and what a marriage is, I would have been lost for a longer time without really knowing who I really was and being dependent on other people to give me happiness and I’m sure I wouldn’t have been happy. Those were forced happiness. The best scenario was to have kids, raise them, but then when they’re old enough for school, I would have been still back to the feeling of emptiness in my soul, because I hadn’t finished with my self-discovery. What if he cheated and left me after that? What if he died all of a sudden? Then I would have been left with nothing again beside the stereotypes of widowed woman in this somewhat cruelly judgemental country. I believe that if one cant be happy with his/ her self, he/she cant find happiness in that relationship either.

I want to be able to stand on my own feet. When I get married, I don’t want to only be proud of partner’s success, I want to be proud of my self too. Seriously, people should stop telling young girls to just find a successful man to marry and spend his money. Start teaching girls to be successful on herself and shop with her own money.

  1. If it’s not meant to be, it’s not meant to be.

Break-ups taught me that no matter how it seemed to be right in the beginning, how much we believed the person would be our soul mate, if it’s not meant to be, it’s still not going to happen no matter how hard you tried to make it work. Most of the times, we don’t end up with the person we thought was our soulmate, and that’s okay.

  1. You’re not irreplaceable, he is either

The ugly reality about break-up doesn’t end when you or he said to break up. It’s what happens after the break-up that’s slowly hurting you to the bones. You will have to accept the fact that somebody else is gonna take your place, got his attention that you used to have, smell his perfume that you used to know, live your broken dreams of being together with him, and it’s not your hair anymore that he’s gonna play with during conversation. His phone lock screen will be filled with other woman’s photo. You cannot expect him to be mourning all the time while you yourself are trying to move on. You’ll start over with someone new (only if you give yourself the chance) as well. You’re going to replace his place too with someone else. In the end it’s just life, people move on.

  1. Being single is better than being in a miserable relationship

The pictures of being alone and lonely sometimes scare us. We’re always haunted by thoughts that we could not find somebody else that would love us more than him/ her. Hence, we tend to hold things or person for too long when we’re supposed to let them go. Actually we can only see if the box is not fit only after we get out of the box.

 

Believing in Talent is a Trap

I used to believe in talent, now I’ve stopped. Believing that we’re born better (in some specific fields) than others is as dangerous as believing that we’re less gifted than others.

It is very human that we like to hear only what we want to hear and what we want to hear is that we’re special and other people are ordinary. One might deny it in words, but believes it in hearts.

In my childhood, I was always compared to my brother’s academic achievements, especially in math. I was actually doing fine, I always got good scores and got into top schools and, but my brother always got the best. He represented the province in national championship in elementary school. Hence I believed that I was less gifted in academics. I wanted to move to different school so that I didn’t have to keep up with teachers’ expectation.

As my revenge, I believed I was more gifted than him in other fields. Besides, actually among my classmates, I did well. I felt that I got lucky many times because I rarely studied but always passed the exams safely and sometimes better than others. It started a coincidence then I kept it as a habit. I didn’t like to work hard, I would be as lazy and laid-back as possible just to see how I could still nail it smoothly without even trying, I was proud of it. I teased my friends who were trying to study. I laughed at my friends who were working hard for their goals. I was not alone. I noticed some of the top students in schools had this similar syndrome; taking everything for granted.

But now at this age, in any fields, it’s not my friends whom I thought were talented that are successful today, it’s they who didn’t stop doing and working hard are. They didn’t start with a mile, they started with small steps. Who’d known that their small steps have almost reached the top? But people who I envy most are people who are living my dream; working in creative fields, growing their names in it. I felt betrayed. Not by other people, but by myself.

I felt like, “It’s supposed to happen to me, not to them! How could this happen? What did I miss?”

And you know what I missed?? I missed thousands of days and nights of practice, learning and working on making it to reality. Days and nights which were supposed to use to focus on things I called passion, I wasted for distractions, I wasted on following what other people told me my life should be. I thought that my dreams would still be handed to me without me chasing it. But the world doesn’t work that way.

I looked at my friend who has published some books. Others represented the country in theater. A colleague that used to be ‘invisible’ now can produce wedding gowns.

I won’t be able to be a fashion designer like I’ve always wanted to be unless I start learning how to sew and fashion design. It can’t happen overnight.

Far too often, we believe that our abilities are innate. In other case, we give up many opportunities just because we believe we don’t have the talent for it. “I wasn’t born with the gift of drawing.” Or “I’m not a born leader. Or “I can’t be a writer, I can’t write.”

Without we realize, it’s the ‘myth’ that holds us back, not our ability. People think that the skills in art are based on talent, if you’re not born an artist, you cant be an artist. If that is true, then why drawing techniques and methods exist? Why Mariah Carey still keeps her singing practice until now?

Talent is overrated. Artists are made, not born.