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.


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!!


Jakarta, oh, Jekardah

Jakarta as the country’s capital is just another big city like any other big cities, harsh in its beauty, or beautiful in its harshness. Many Indonesians moved to Jakarta hoping to reach their Jakartan dreams; the high desires for lifestyle, convenience and fame. For me, I cant stand Jakarta at all. I don’t understand how people can enjoy life in Jakarta, because you have to have the ability to ignore your surrounding and turn off your empathy.

Jakarta is the ugliest face of this country for me. It’s not only about the traffic and politics, but also the face of social gap that it serves right in front of your eyes.

You work extra just to be enough to pay the bills and spend extra hours stuck in the traffic, wake up at 4 am and reach home at 8 pm. Can’t even imagine doing that for two weeks, don’t even ask me for years. It’ll age and drain me emotionally and physically. And will that job be able to pay your health issue later?

Having stayed in Bali where sexy is make-up free, cheerful and relaxed, I was feeling strange when I came to Grand Indonesia Mall in Jakarta. I didn’t know what it was, then I realized that I felt strange because I hadn’t been seeing that much hair extension, thick makeup, and 8 cm heels for a long time. People looked uptight, I don’t know whether its the botox/ facelift or that they dont wanna crack their make-ups. I passed a pillar mirror and saw how barefaced I was from head to toe compared to my surroundings.

The big malls I visited in Jakarta are always busy in the cafes, food courts and restaurants. I checked the price and it’s more expensive than the bule cafes in Bali, but still I always saw many Indonesians lining up for those expensive cafes in those fancy malls. I couldn’t believe what I saw and asked, “Are we that rich? Really?”

As soon as I walked outside the big mall, I saw similar view outside the building at the street food seller next to a smelly dirty water drain. I don’t want to dare my self with Jakarta street food, coz I always got bellyache and diarrhea right after it. Most of them were store employees in the mall. Ironically some of the people were wearing the uniforms of restaurants from the malls. That’s Jakarta, that’s Indonesia.

In Bali, beauty is for everybody to enjoy, whether you’re rich or poor or middle class, it doesn’t really show. In Jakarta, beauty is luxury and people want to show off how rich they are compared to the other people around them. You may see them taking GoJek, but at the same time holding their Zara, HnM shopping bags, these brands are not cheap for Indonesians.

For Indonesians–which are very different from the developed western countries–, living in a small room in a tall-apartment building means that you’re rich, rather than having a house with a garden. These apartments are mostly equipped with swimming pool, gym, convenience store, cafe, daycare, playground, tennis court, etc. The fancier ones even have sauna, jacuzzi, library, coworking, etc which are included in the fee they pay every month. But these life-indulging facilities are often lonely. People don’t have the time to enjoy it, they’re either busy working overtime or stuck in the traffic.

You can’t be impulsive in Jakarta, you need to know what you wanna do and go every day because it’s not easy to move around. Sometimes one km can take up to 30 mins or an hour.

But what for me is really frustrating is that the fact that even after you pay a lot for convenience in Jakarta, it’s still not worth it. You live in your expensive apartment but every time, every morning, you are served with the view of Indonesian poverty, the slum areas which are located right next to your apartment. If you look straight to the horizon, you see the optimistic tall buildings that are far away from you. But when you look down, just 10 meters from your place are houses made of paper boxes. Why do you pay so much if this is what you are going to see everyday?

What really slapped me in the face was when I was taking my baby cousin to the play room in a fancy apartment that my uncle owns. One side of the room is a glass wall so you can see everything outside. In that play room for the rich kids, the toys were complete, I’d never had that many toys in my childhood. What sit right next to the big glass wall was a 1.5 meter wide doll-house, complete with the tiny furnitures, I never played with a doll house when I was a kid, nobody in my neighborhood had a doll house. How ironic the contrast of the doll house and the view of human houses outside the glass wall is. Even dolls, non-living things, have a more decent house than human houses. What should I tell my baby cousin later about it when she starts to speak and ask questions? Other kids in the room were so loud and naughty, they just didn’t care about it, maybe they’ve been used to it that they didn’t even bother to ask what are the paper boxes with roofs outside the window.

This is Jakarta, this is Indonesia.

Co-working Spaces in Bali

Millennials have brought a new style in work habits in which we prefer to be able to still make money from anywhere we want. Bali as the holiday destination is also in the digital nomads’ travel lists where they want to travel yet still be productive.

Co-working space is basically you’re renting a desk instead of a whole room or building as a place where you go to be more productive even when you’re working freelance or on your own stuffs. Maybe this sounds a bit strange, why would you leave your job to later spend money just to go to an office? Well, for many people, we can be more productive and motivated when we’re surrounded with people with the same working ambience, while at home or a nice cafe, we tend to procrastinate.

To be honest, I didn’t know about this concept until August 2017 when I came to Bali. I was totally amazed by this idea, also the fact that most co-working spaces in Bali have communities and interesting programs that help you to network or improve your knowledge in other fields. Here are some co-working spaces that I’d been to during my stay in Bali from October 2017 to March 2018. These places are located in different parts of Bali, if you don’t know, one good thing and very unique about Bali is that every area has different vibe and different characteristics of people. Say, Ubud is more like the meditation and yoga center, Kuta is for party animals, Sanur is where the oldies go to, Canggu is creative and relaxed.

  1. Kumpul Coworking

Kumpul is located in Sanur and shares the building with a creative house Rumah Sanur, a cafe and coffee shop, then a shop. Equipped with a good internet connection and office equipments (printer, fotocopy, skype rooms, lockers, infocus etc), it has a well-balanced proportion of members between locals and foreigners. Faye Alund, the founder, is also an amazing woman who likes to share and help women and communities as I’ve attended some events for women entrepreneurs that she held. It collaborates with Google and became the place where Google’s Gapura Digital initiative took place. Various membership package starts from Rp 30.000,- (USD 2.2) for hourly drop in, one day visit Rp 200.000 (USD 15) , weekly and monthly packages for 20 and 40 hours, and unlimited monthly and weekly. There’s discount for Indonesians too. However, I didn’t register myself here because lately there have been less events and people, also I’m not a Sanur people.

*Photo source: Kumpul’s IG

2. The Night Market Cafe and Coworking

It’s located about 5-7 km from Seminyak, I don’t really know what the owner’s concept of the place is. The building is nice, the cafe is also good and cheap, but for a coworking place, the music is too loud and there’s no office equipments nor community like other coworkings. But it rents out meeting rooms also with good internet connection, with electricity socket almost in every table. There’s no border between the cafe and coworking, so you can be in the same room with lovey-dovey couples, families, etc while you’re working. There’s no membership fee either, you just need to buy the food. It doesn’t open 24 hrs, and I don’t recommend coming at after 16.00 as the cafe starts to get busy.

**Photo source: The Night Market’s Instagram

3. Genius Cafe and Coworking Sanur


with my besties, Jennifer and Gaby on my last day.

Even though Sanur is not my fave in Bali, but I came to Sanur Beach almost every week for the free talks that the place holds every week. Every day it has regular free events, and my fave was the talks where people who are already experts in their own field can register themselves to host a talk, mostly business coach. During the talks, they give 50% discount on food and drinks for Indonesians and Genius members. Although it also doesn’t have office equipments, skype rooms and indoor rooms, it has a very nice community with very positive vibe. The staffs are very friendly, they remember our names. I met some good people here where I’ve learned a lot from, including Dee, the owner and founder of the place. She’s a Rusian woman with a love for Bali and dedication to women empowerment. When I visit Bali again, Genius cafe is in my must-visit list for sure, I miss the people already! Check out its price here.

4. Hubud

Hubud is the first co-working space in Bali, one of the two coworkings in Ubud. Hubud is for me one of the best, it is designed with an open space concept, surrounded by gardens, and equipped with amenities such as fast internet, a printer, a scanner, a copier, and a seminar room. Located near The Monkey Forest, next to Habitat Cafe. The people in Hubud are fun, also every week they hold regular events and most of them are free. Too bad I’m not an Ubud person, but would like to visit Hubud again in my next Bali visit.

Check out its price here.

5. Dojo

Dojo is the winner, it’s my fave coworking space, also because I’m more of a Canggu person. Well, you’ll know what I mean if you’ve been to Bali. Dojo has the coolest office place because it has a pool! Yess, you can work by the pool on bean bags and if you’re lucky, hot guys usually jump into the pool, what a distraction you wish you have in your office, right? It opens 24 hours and offers you a night worker membership for you who work like an owl (read: at night). The coolest thing about Dojo is the vibe that you get from the people there, every week they hold free talks for members and public, Dojo also provides events where start-ups can meet up and network. Some successful youtubers and vloggers did talks here, I was lucky to get knowledge from them. It also has regular photography meetings. Btw, in Canggu and Ubud, people are either barefoot or in flip-flops, and when you enter the coworking space, you leave your flip-flops outside and work barefoot. Also, there’s no AC in Dojo, unless in the meeting rooms.

Check out its gallery, price and events here.

Actually, I made a youtube video on this topic, I didn’t take pics, hence I’m using photos from their own IG accounts. But if you wanna see a tour of the coworking spaces, please kindly watch my vid 😀

Happy nomad life, everyone!

#BaliDiary: Gak Enaknya Tinggal di Bali


Satu-satunya daerah di Indonesia yang gw bikin gw jatuh cinta pertama kali adalah Bali. Sebelumnya gw udah pernah buat tulisan kenapa tinggal di Bali itu enak. Tapi gimana pun juga, semua hal ada plus dan minusnya. Tulisan kali ini membahas kurang enaknya tinggal di Bali, bagi gw hal-hal berikut ini hanya hal minor, gak sebanding dengan plus pointsnya. Anyway, hopefully ini bisa jadi informasi dan bahan pertimbangan buat kamu-kamu yang niat pindah ke Bali temporarily or permanently 😀

  • Bali = Banyak Libur

Bali bisa jadi singkatan dari “Banyak Libur”. Hari libur di Bali bisa dua-tiga kali lipat libur nasional. Orang Bali yang masih menjaga tradisi memang hobby banget bikin perayaan dan upacara. Jadi di Bali berlaku kalender libur lokal. Eits, mungkin bagi beberapa, banyak yang malah seneng ya kalo banyak liburnya! Ya mungkin aja, kalo kamu bekerja sebagai PNS atau kantoran. Tapi bagi kamu yang menjalankan usaha sendiri, jadi repot deh kalo toko-toko pada tutup dan para pekerja kamu pada cuti libur, deadline jadi ngaret karena libur. Makanya sekarang banyak usaha di Bali yang memvariasi karyawannya dengan agama dan asal dari daerah lain biar bisa tetep jalan di hari libur lokal.

  • Penutupan Jalan yang Bikin Macet

Masih berkaitan dengan poin pertama, kadang-kadang upacara keagamaan seperti ngaben, bisa memakan jalan sepenuhnya dan berakibat penutupan jalan. Alhasil jadi macet di jalan alternatif. Tapi ya maklum lah ya namanya juga Indonesia, hampir di semua daerah di negara ini adalah hal lumrah yang namanya ‘makan’ jalan umum buat acara hajatan. Bedanya, kalo di Bali, bisa nutup sepanjang jalan, bukan cuma gang depan rumah aja. Hehe… Repot dah kalo lagi buru-buru naik taxi online, mana jalan di Bali pada kecil-kecil –..–“

  • Balinese are (too) slow and relaxed

Waktu gw di Lampung dulu, orang-orang Bali terkenal dengan keuletan dan kerajinannya, makanya banyak orang Bali yang sukses di Lampung. Ternyata Balinese yang tinggal di Bali jauh berbeda. Yah sama lah ya, orang Minang di perantauan dengan orang Minang yang belum pernah merantau juga kan beda. Mungkin ini efek tinggal di daerah yang terlalu nyaman, alhasil gaya hidup mereka terlalu nyantai alias gak ‘ngoyo’. Secara background gw Sumatra, jadi kerasa banget. Salah satu kelebihan di SumBar adalah orangnya cepat tanggap, contoh kecilnya aja kalo di tempat makan. Kalo di SumBar, mayoritas pelayanannya cepat tanggap. Tapi di Bali, sloooowww banget, gw keburu starving! Huhu… Ternyata bukan cuma gw aja yang merasakan ini, temen-temen bule gw juga merasakan hal yang sama! Di pekerjaan yang lainnya juga begitu, hal ini jadi berdampak ke beberapa industri di Bali yang akhirnya kalah bersaing dengan negara lain. Salah satu contohnya adalah usaha garmen. Pernah ada masa dimana industri garmen di Bali laris manis, namun sekarang investor-investor asing banyak yang sudah berpindah ke Filipina dan China, seperti yang pernah gw dengar dari podcast tentang seorang fashion designer yang pernah mencoba produksinya di Bali. Kebanyakan businessmen garment yang bertahan di Bali adalah new businessmen atau mereka yang tulus cinta kepada Bali dan memilih membantu kehidupan di Bali.

  • Misinterpretasi cueknya orang Bali

Salah satu yang bikin betah tinggal di Bali adalah karena orang-orangnya yang tidak ngurusin urusan orang atau pun memaksakan sesuatu ke orang lain. Namun, karena terlampau cuek, orang Bali bisa disalahartikan sebagai tidak ramah. Apalagi kalo kamu berasal dari daerah dengan tingkat basa-basi tinggi seperti Sumatra Barat dan Jawa. Gw pertama kali dateng agak shocked, kenapa ya ni orang-orang kok sensitif ke gw, apa ada yang salah dengan muka gw yang membuat mereka jadi bad mood. Ternyata memang orang Bali begitu, kurang berbasa-basi. Kalo ada temen-temen gw dari Sumatra yang datang berkunjung, mereka juga merasa begitu dan gw harus menjelaskan bahwa sebenernya mereka gak berniat seperti itu. Yah begitulah, di Sumatra kebanyakan basa-basi alhasil kepo. Di Bali terlalu cuek, jadi gak ramah. Haha, serba salah ya!

  • Susah Cari Parkiran

Jalanan di Bali itu kecil-kecil. Mungkin karena berasal dari desa-desa kecil dan gak menyangka kalo Bali bakal berkembang seperti ini, jadi infrastrukturnya masih skala desa. Menurut aku, tempat paling mudah di Bali untuk cari parkiran cuma di Denpasar yang merupakan kota tuanya Bali, karena Denpasar dari dulu sudah dirancang sebagai daerah pemerintahan (that’s why Denpasar is the most borrriiing part of Bali for me, but I lived there, hiks!). Contohnya jalan-jalan di Ubud dan Kuta yang sempit-sempit banget, toko-toko gak punya parkiran, satu parkiran untuk semua. Jadi kita harus jalan kaki ke tempat yang dituju. Walau pun enak juga sih jalan kaki di Bali, cuci mata liat toko-toko yang unik-unik, tapi kalo lagi buru-buru kan susyeeh jugaa…

  • Kurangnya variasi jenis pekerjaan

Hal ini gak berlaku bagi gw sih, karena di Bali sebenernya cocok dengan gw dari semua aspek, berhubung gw juga enterpreneur. Namun hal ini pastinya berbeda dengan kalian yang sudah terbiasa dengan dunia korporasi. Bidang yang paling berkembang di Bali adalah pariwisata, jadi kebanyakan lapangan pekerjaan yang tersedia adalah yang berhubungan dengan pariwisata dan lifestyle. Katanya sih, kalo kamu bisa berbahasa Inggris, sangat mudah untuk mendapatkan pekerjaan di Bali. Tapi ya gitu deh, otomatis range jenjang karir tidak seluas di kota-kota besar seperti Jakarta. Bali cocok banget bagi orang-orang yang bekerja remotely (digital nomad), tapi buat orang-orang yang kerjanya bergantung dengan lokasi dan korporasi, agak susah sih untuk pindah ke Bali.

  • Almost Everything is Imported

Bisa dibilang, ‘nyawa’ Bali terletak di bidang pariwisata. Bali bukan daerah penghasil sumber daya alam, hanya bergantung pada pariwisata. Walaupun masyarakatnya masih banyak yang bertani dan pergi ke sawah, tapi itu lebih kepada tradisi dan kebiasaan (kerjanya sih di sawah, padahal income-nya dari villa, hehe), namun hanya cukup untuk kebutuhan sendiri, gak cukup untuk memenuhi kebutuhan industri pariwisata di Bali. Kebutuhan makanan (dari bawang, cabe dll) dikirim dari Jawa atau Lombok. Kain Bali pun bukan dari Bali, tapi dari Jawa. Tas rotan yang lagi ngehits banget dan disebut Tas Bali, sebenarnya dari Lombok dan dijual murah banget di Lombok, sekitar Rp 100.000, namun di Bali harganya udah naik starts from Rp 200.000 sampe Rp 700.000! Tapi tetep aja banyak yang beli! Haha.

  • Terlalu nyaman

Nah, lho! Kok bisa terlalu nyaman malah jadi gak enak?? Well, di satu sisi kita penting juga untuk menghadapi ketidaknyamanan kalo kita mau berkembang. Apalagi kalo kita disekeliling Balinese yang slow and relaxed. Akhirnya gw lebih sering bergaul dengan bulenya di Bali biar jiwa kompetitif gw tetep hidup. Terus, di Bali gak ada demo, gak ada spanduk-spanduk hate-speech atau provokasi. Jadi gak kerasa kalo negara kita ini politiknya lagi kacau balau. Di satu sisi bagus sih, bikin kepala dan hati tenang. Tapi buruk juga kalo kita jadi gak mawas diri bahwa hal negatif tersebut ada.

  • Second-Class Citizen

Kalo di postingan yang sebelumnya gw mensyukuri karena sering dapet diskon KTP, kali ini gw bahas kejadian yang bertentangan dimana WNI diperlakukan lebih rendah ketimbang WNA, dan mirisnya lagi perlakuan diskriminatif tersebut malah dilakukan oleh sesama WNI sendiri! Gak semua sih seperti ini, hanya sebagian kecil, tapi sangat menyebalkan kalo melihat ‘saudara’ sendiri malah mendewakan bule. Biasanya terjadi di tempat hiburan seperti cafe dan clubs. Mereka memprioritaskan tamu bule untuk memenuhi tempatnya agar terlihat lebih eksklusif, padahal kan harga makanan yang dibayar juga sama aja! Contohnya aja di sebuah club malam yang lagi hits banget saat ini, yaitu La Favela. Gw udah kecewa banget sama club satu ini, udah banyak review buruk di internet juga buat tempat satu ini yang mana hanya memberikan free entry ke tamu bule. Karena disangka bule (entah darimana sih gw ini bulenya… –..–“) awalnya gw disambut baik, tapi pas gw udah ngomong bahasa Indonesia, langsung disuruh memperlihatkan KTP dan no free entry, pake waiting list lagi, katanya lagi full. Begitunya ada tamu bule, langsung diperbolehkan masuk. WTF banget kan, no more waiting, langsung aja gw cabs! Langsung deh gw udah black list semua tempat yang masih satu group sama La Favela ini, termasuk yang di Canggu, La Brisa, udah ilfeel duluan gw untuk berkunjung kesana.

  • Bersaing Lapangan Pekerjaan dengan Bule

Ada beberapa pekerjaan yang mengharuskan lw untuk bersaing dengan bule dan pasarnya sendiri lebih memilih yang bule ketimbang orang lokal. Salah satu contohnya adalah pekerjaan sebagai guru yoga dan instruktur surfing, secara gitu gaji dua pekerjaan ini sangatlah menggiurkan. Bali kan terkenal banget sebagai mecca nya yoga setelah India, sehingga yoga di Bali diperlakukan sebagai komoditas untuk dijual ke turis-turis, baik turis domestik mau pun internasional. Sedih juga kalo liat turis domestik sendiri lebih prefer sama pengajar bule dan memandang sebelah mata kualitas bangsa sendiri. Well, pengalaman gw yoga di Bali, kalo dibilang masalah bahasa, Bahasa Inggris para pengajar yoga WNI yang gw temuin udah super duper banget! Malah yang pengajar bule dari negara-negara seperti Perancis dan Rusia lah yang kacau balau yang merusak konsentrasi gw. Pengajar Indonesia juga gak kalah kompeten kok! Gw pernah bayar mahal sama pengajar bule di salah satu tempat yoga yang tenar, namun kecewa banget karena ternyata cuma dapet fotokopian kertas berisi lima kalimat. Usut punya usut, banyak kejadian di Bali dimana para bule-bule ini bekerja tanpa KITAS atau pun visa kerja. Mereka orang-orang yang baru lulus teacher training (yang mana juga digalang tiap kali owner yoga studionya lagi butuh duit) sehingga penghasilan mereka itu gak dipotong dengan pajak. Sedangkan para guru yoga WNI harus bayar sertifikasi yang mahal dan pajak penghasilan. Sedihnya lagi, hal ini terjadi juga karena adanya korupsi di level pemerintahan. Awal-awal dulu gw juga tergiur dengan this so-called bule charm, namun setelah tahu hal ini (gw dapet bocoran dari tenaker lokal dan orang dekat para businessmen bule ini), gw lebih baik bayar mahal tapi masuk ke saku orang Indonesia sendiri daripada bayar lebih murah di tempat yang gak mematuhi peraturan negara gw.


However, I still love Bali and Bali is still the best for me! I will leave Bali soon, but I leave to come back. Bali, I will come back for sure!

#BaliDiary: Enaknya Tinggal di Bali

Setelah 27 tahun hidup di dunia, hal yang gw pahami tentang diri gw adalah bahwa salah satu bentuk kebutuhan gw untuk saat ini adalah merantau, millenial banget gak sih… hehe, ya gapapa toh, mumpung masih bisa! It’s when you break out of your comfort zone that you really find yourself. Dan gw percaya bahwa everyone in life is looking for a place to call home, gw gak percaya bahwa hidup adalah hanya menerima pilihan yang dipilihkan orang lain buat lw, meaning that bukan berarti the place you’re born in atau pun your parents’ origin bisa dipaksakan menjadi identitas seseorang. That’s why I’m moving places to places to eventually decide which one is really my home.

Gw udah pindah-pindah tempat beberapa kali dalam hidup gw, tapi so far, mostly di Pulau Sumatra. Destinasi perantauan impian gw dari dulu adalah Bali, gw penasaran banget sama Bali, saat ini dan sejauh ini, menurut gw satu-satunya daerah di Indonesia yang ‘Cihud Banget!’ adalah Pulau Dewata. Dan akhirnya ketika gw memilih untuk melanjutkan studi untuk karir impian gw, gw memilih melakukannya di Bali ketimbang di daerah lain seperti Jakarta atau Surabaya etc. Karena juga, dari masalah kualitas seimbang dengan harga yang jauh sangat lebih murah. Sampai dengan tulisan ini dibuat, gw udah tinggal selama 1,5 bulan di Bali. Satu bulan sebelum pindah, gw sempat 2 minggu liburan di Bali–terakhir kali gw ke Bali di tahun 2009–yang membuat gw makin mantap untuk memilih Bali.

Namanya juga hidup, kenyataan seringnya gak seindah mimpi kita dulu. Pasti lah ada juga yang bikin gw sebel tentang Bali, pasti lah ada juga bad days. However, buat gw, lebih baik having bad days in Bali than having bad days anywhere else. Yang gw bakal bahas sekarang yang enak-enaknya aja dulu, dari sudut pandang gw sebagai sesama orang Indonesia juga.

  1. Banyak hiburan yang MUDAH DIJANGKAU

Terutama wisata alam, alias banyak banget pantai-pantai yang indahnya pake banget tapi lokasinya juga gak jauh-jauh amet dan tiap daerahnya memiliki keunikan sendiri-sendiri. Nuance yang lo dapetin dari pantai di Kuta berbeda dengan yang di Canggu, beda lagi dengan yang di Uluwatu, Sanur, dll. Dan yang paling penting adalah MUDAH DIJANGKAU, alias gak jauh-jauh amet. Jalan 30 menit juga udah ketemu pantai, pantainya bagus lagi! Di kota-kota yang pernah gw tinggali sebelumnya, hiburan terdekat cuma mall atau pusat perbelanjaan, sedangkan gw bukan anak mall. Di Pekanbaru, untuk nemuin wisata alam aja harus ditempuh dalam 6 jam dulu deh ke Sumatra Barat, itu pun baru ketemu air terjun Lembah Harau, apalagi kalo mau ke pantai, beuh… makin panjang lagi perjalanan! Gw suka wisata alam, tapi gw juga gak suka kalo harus terlalu banyak effort dan preparation untuk menjangkaunya. Emang sih jumlah transportasi publik di Bali sangat minim, tapi untungnya sekarang udah ada taxi dan ojek online dengan tarif yang murah, sangat membantu buat orang yang gak bisa mengendarai motor seperti gw ini. Makasih banget, Bang Nadim!

2. Gak banyak mall tapi fasilitas lumayan komplit

I’m not a big city girl, not a fan of big malls kayak yang di Jakarta. Tapi kalo tinggal di daerah yang semuanya serba sulit di dapat atau pola pikir orang-orangnya masih tertutup, gw juga gak nyaman. Di Bali cuma ada sekitar 3 pusat perbelanjaan yang bisa disebut mall, itu pun kecil-kecil kalo untuk ukuran mall. Namun fasilitas lumayan lengkap kok!

3. No macet

Dibilang gak ada sama sekali sih ya gak juga, ada juga macet di daerah-daerah tertentu dan kadar macetnya masih level tempe, cuma dikit dan lw masih bisa bergerak, bukan berarti stuck total berjam-jam seperti Jakarta. Sehingga, hidup lw masih bisa impulsive, kalo tiba-tiba mau ke suatu tempat, masih bisa dilakukan. Gak kayak di Jakarta yang hidup lw tiap harinya hanya bisa memiliki 1-2 rencana. Dari lokasi gw tinggal ke Pantai Canggu jaraknya 14 km dan hanya memakan waktu 30-45 menit.

4. Balinese’s high tolerance to differences

Aset Pulau Bali bukan hanya kekayaan keindahan alamnya, tapi juga manusia-manusianya! Suatu daerah gak akan bisa mengembangkan potensi pariwisatanya kalo belum mampu menghargai perbedaan. Mau dibangun fasilitas infrastruktur semewah apa pun juga, kalo orang-orangnya gak bisa memberikan rasa nyaman, tentunya gak akan maju. Nah ini dia kerennya orang Bali! Mereka memang terbuka dengan perbedaan, tapi bukan berarti mereka kehilangan jati diri mereka. Adat mereka tuh masih kental banget lho, tapi mereka gak pernah memaksakan itu ke orang lain. Jadi turis-turis yang datang pun merasa nyaman namun tetap dapat melihat sesuatu yang eksotis.

Sudut pandang mereka tentang aspek-aspek kehidupan pun menurut gw unik. Bagaimana mereka bisa dibilang lebih spiritual ketimbang religius, toh yang mengaku religius pun belum tentu spiritual. Makanya gw lebih sering ngomong sama orang Bali ketimbang sama bule-bule disini, karena gw udah bosen ngomong sama bule, toh gw bisa ketemu bule lebih sering, tapi jarang-jarang gw bisa ketemu sama orang Bali.

5. Biaya hidup masih terbilang standar dan ada pilihan

Well, masalah harga, kemampuan seseorang berbeda-beda. Yang bagi gw standar, bagi orang lain mungkin murah atau mahal. Semua ragam harga untuk kebutuhan sandang, pangan, papan ada di Bali, dari yang murah sampe yang mahal. Kalo dibandingkan dengan daerah kecil lainnya, pilihannya termasuk lebih banyak. Harga kamar kosan tergantung lokasi, kamar kosongan seharga Rp 500.000 – Rp 800.000 masih banyak kok ditemukan, untuk kamar kosan lengkap (AC, water heater, bed, cupboard, wifi, fridge, mini kitchen, TV) range harga dari Rp 1.800.000 – Rp 4.000.000 (tergantung lokasi). Untuk transportasi, karena Bali kecil, dari satu tempat ke tempat lainnya palingan cuma berapa Km, jadi gak boros ongkos ojek online. Makanan pun pilihannya beragam, dari masakan asli Bali, provinsi lain dan negara-negara lain ada. Mau harga dari nasi-lauk (nasi kucing) yang harga Rp 5.000 sampe air putih yang harganya Rp 100.000 juga ada. Oh ya, berhubung gw udah jarang makan nasi putih, jenis makanan yang gw konsumsi (biasanya untuk sarapan), seperti quinoa, couscous, almond milk, chia seeds dan kawan-kawan mereka yang lain, lebih mudah didapatkan, merk dan harga pun variatif.

6. KTP = Kartu Diskon

Yang baru gw temuin di Bali selama tinggal di Indonesia adalah fungsi lain KTP Indonesia. Biasanya KTP cuma digunain untuk administrasi pengurusan apaaa gitu, tapi di Bali, dengan menunjukkan KTP Indonesia bisa mendapatkan diskon di berbagai macam events dan tempat hiburan seperti cafe, tempat gym, coworking space, amusement park, penginapan, bahkan yoga studio! Diskonnya juga gak tanggung-tanggung, kadang sampe 50%! Di beberapa tempat, kalo lo memiliki KTP Indonesia dan berasal asli dari Bali, diskonnya bakal ditambah! Anehnya, tempat-tempat yang memberikan diskon KTP ini adalah bisnis-bisnis yang dikelola oleh bule. Gw pernah berbincang dengan salah seorang bule pemilik yoga studio, dia bilang kalo alasan dia memberikan diskon adalah karena dia tau bagi orang Indonesia, harga Rp 130.000 per visit itu mahal banget sedangkan bagi standar bule hidup di Bali adalah murah pake banget. Jadi gak bisa disamaratakan antara orang Indonesia dan bule. Sedangkan tempat-tempat yang dikelola oleh orang Indonesia sendiri malah lebih sering menyamaratakan harga, malah kadang lebih mahal, padahal mereka sebagai orang Indonesia seharusnya lebih tau lho susahnya orang kita cari duit! Hiks!

7. Banyak museum

Well, gak semua orang sih bakal suka museum, tapi gw suka dan gw mendatangi suatu tempat berulang-ulang. Banyak seniman internasional yang memutuskan untuk tinggal dan menghabiskan masa tuanya di Bali lalu membuatkan museum untuk karya-karyanya.

8. You’ll be surprised with the persons you run into

Banyak orang yang merasa pencapaian karirnya sudah cukup dan merasa ingin tinggal nyaman di Bali, atau orang-orang yang berprofesi sebagai digital nomad. Misalnya ngajak ngobrol orang di kafe, eehh ternyata si kakek penulis buku apa gitu. Atau malah ketemu youtubers yang ternyata kondang banget di suatu negara. Atau orang-orang yang sangat ahli di bidang-bidang tertentu, orang-orang yang kerja di Google, Microsoft atau retail fashion besar, etc. Orang-orang ini juga gak pelit ilmu, kadang mereka suka berbagi ilmu gratis di tempat-tempat seperti cafe dan coworking space. Gw belajar tentang basic web design, online marketing sampe cara membuat channel Podcast dari orang-orang yang gw temui disini. Paling berkesan adalah ketika gw ketemu Mbak Niluh Djelantik di Ubud Writers and Readers Festival 2017 kemaren dan youtuber fitness cewek Indonesia Yulia Baltschun karena gw ngefans giling sama dua perempuan Indonesia ini! Pernah gw baca di buku seorang travel writer, Becky Wicks, bertuliskan, “People don’t choose Bali. It’s Bali that chooses people.”

9. No radicalism

Pasti tau donk situasi politik di Indonesia lagi panas-panasnya banget, liat TV dan timeline dunia maya malah bikin esmosi, apalagi semakin mendekati masa akhir jabatan presiden Joko Widodo. Di daerah-daerah yang gw singgahi belakangan ini, sering gw melihat spanduk-spanduk provokatif di ruang publik yang sangat bersifat politis, beberapa pernah gw liat membawa-bawa agama. Yang paling parah yang gw inget adalah waktu gw maen ke Jakarta di bulan April 2017, ada yang berdemo dengan tulisan “Kami mau ulangi lagi Mei ’98 demi keadilan!” Astagaa… kurang cukup ya sejarah massacre di Indonesia? Hal-hal seperti ini membuat gw merasa gak nyaman. Kebayang deh gw gimana stressfulnya mereka yang hidup di Jakarta yang rajin kebagian demo. Nah yang begitu-begitu tuh gak ada di Bali, setidaknya sejauh ini, dari hasil ngobrol sama Balinese, gw belum menemukan radikalisme apa pun mendapat tempat di Pulau Bali. Di satu sisi, bagus sih bikin awet muda kalo hidup tenang dan menjauhi fake news. Tapi di satu sisi juga, just because you ignore it, it doesn’t mean it ain’t happen.

10. Kesadaran Go-Green lebih tinggi

Salah satu dampak positif dari wisatawan yang datang adalah mereka umumnya orang-orang yang sangat concern kepada lingkungan. Ada banyak organisasi-organisasi non-profit untuk menjaga lingkungan yang didirikan/ dikelola olah percampuran orang bule dengan lokal, seperti green shools. Bule-bule ini menularkan konsep responsible business yang menimbulkan awareness effect walau dalam hal kecil seperti no plastic bags use di toko-toko. Jangan heran kalo setelah belanja takeaway food atau produk lainnya kalian tidak diberikan plastik bungkus, kalau pun ada, terbuat dari kertas daur ulang. Concern tentang Go-Green ini lebih tinggi jika di daerah-daerah wisata seperti Ubud, kalo di Denpasar yang paling minim turis, penggunaan plastik di toko-toko masih tinggi. Pernah gw makan di salah satu cafe di Ubud, ada bule yang complain kenapa itu cafe masih menggunakan plastik. Complaint-nya serius lho, bukan cuma sepatah-dua patah kata. Saking niatnya ni bule complaint, ternyata dia kontak temen-temennya dongs buat dateng ke itu cafe. Terus rame-rame mereka ceramahin si manager cafe yang langsung minta maaf ke bule-bule itu, malah dibilang, “Jangan minta maaf ke kami, minta maaf ke alam. Minta maaf ke Bali.” Abisnya ya mereka ngancem, kalo sampe ini cafe masih menggunakan plastik, mereka gak mau datang ke cafe itu lagi dan bakalan bilang ke turis-turis yang lain berita yang sama. Nah lho!

11. Balinese massage is easy to find

Gw rutin melakukan massage sekali dalam 2 minggu dari gw masih SMA sampai sekarang. Ada nenek temen gw yang waktu itu kulit badannya (bukan cuma mukanya doank) yang masih terlihat begitu muda dari umurnya, dia bilang salah satu rahasianya adalah rutin massage dari umurnya masih 20 tahunan. Ternyata gw udah ikutan melakukannya juga selama bertahun-tahun, haha. Namun waktu pindah ke daerah Sumatra Barat, susah banget cari tempat pijat yang maknyoss, biasanya harus kenal sama orang yang bisa buat dipanggil ke rumah. Mungkin karena di daerah itu image massage masih negatif dan walau pun sesama perempuan, masih banyak yang gak nyaman untuk buka baju almost naked. Tapi di Bali, spa dan massage tiap sudut ada! Eits, jangan langsung negative thinking ya sama semua tempat massage, karena masih banyak kok spa and massage yang bener-bener pure relaksasi, without ‘happy ending’ buat kaum pria.

Balinese massage itu asooy banget deh. Di Sumatra, gw harus coba-coba dan cari-cari tempat langganan yang pijitannya endang. Sedangkan di Bali, gw asal nemplok aja kayak cicak jatoh dari atep, tetep aja sampai saat ini belom ada yang mengecewakan.

12. Surga bagi yang berkulit coklat

Umumnya orang Indonesia sangat memuja-muja kulit putih. Sedangkan di Bali, jumlah produk tanning lebih banyak dibandingkan produk memutihkan kulit. Di Bali, lebih banyak orang-orang berlomba mencoklatkan kulit ketimbang memutihkan kulit. Gw yang memang sudah dari dulunya suka banget sama kulit coklat juga ikutan mencoklatkan lagi kulit gw yang sudah coklat ini sampai mencapai coklat maksimal. Beuuh, kalo kulit lw coklat, rambut lo item, udah deh… melenggok-lenggok jalan lo disini bak Miss Universe. Tingkat kepedean dan kesok-cantikan kalian disini akan meningkat karena disinilah kita benar-benar dianggap eksotis! Yeahh! Hidup brown skin!

#BaliDiary: Who Let The Dogs Out

Bali is known as The Island of Gods. Many people come to Bali for the spiritual quest. Been living in Bali for over a month, I can give another title to the island as the Island of (wild) Dogs.

In the island I am from–Sumatra–people don’t like dogs, mostly for ‘religious’ reasons so that they can do irreligious things to this ‘haram’ animal; like throwing them with stones for no reason, even kick them out if the dogs just want to lay down under cars for shade during a super hot day. I’ve never had pet in my life because my parents never allowed us to have one. So until now I don’t know how to pet one even though I actually want to. In Sumatra, especially West Sumatra, the dogs are afraid of humans. I feel sorry for the dogs and I never want to hurt them or any other animals. My achievement was when a dog which was beaten and kicked often was not afraid of me because I let her sleep under my car for shades and I talked to it–from a distance, because I still don’t know how to do physical contact with animals. I told her that she should not listen to those mean humans, she’s a normal beautiful animal and those people are just shallow. I don’t know if she could understand human language but she became protective of me that when a stranger came to my house when I went to a nearby ‘warung’ and let the door open, she barked at him and stood in front of my door. The guy was a delivery courier though.

I found it sweet and that they’re very very loyal. Reminds me of some movies I watched in my childhood in which dogs joined in and played  for a hockey club. So I began to imagine to play and run along the beach with cute fluffy short-legged dogs, with my long-black hair down and beautiful sunset sky. Imagine how sexy that scene would be in a slow-motioned clip. I was waiting for it to happen before my flights to Bali.

When in Bali, it happened, unluckily with some modifications. Instead of running along with me, they ran behind me to chase me for no reason with unstoppable barking. The dogs in Bali, especially in Canggu and Ubud, are very different from what we have in Sumatra. They’re not afraid of humans, but also not in a friendly way. They’re as scary as Japanese Yakuza (though I haven’t met Yakuza in person).

I wanted to do a morning walk. A morning walk in Bali, that sounds like a movie, ain’t it? What happened next was indeed like in movies,  HORROR MOVIE though. Sensing I am an easy prey and has a lot of bones, three dogs chased me. WTH, they have 12 legs and I only have two!! I screamed for help in my girly sundress, made me look more like Annabelle than a sexy sweet beach girl that I planned to be. I literally almost cried having thoughts in my head that my family and friends would read my name in newspapers; GIRL KILLED GANG-CHASED BY WILD DOGS IN CANGGU. Luckily a tourist couple helped to rescue me from the frustrating situation meanwhile three local guys–who previously cat-called me–just laughed and one was ready to record a video. How dare you, you son of sandwich!!

That was just one of my numerous thriller experiences with wild dogs in Bali. These dogs are not always street dogs, they have owners. But how could they be so different if I compared to dogs that the tourists bring. In Bali, you can find people drive bike with dog, even two dogs in one bike, that looks very cool and cute. And these dogs are swag, friendly and tamed. I believe that the way animals behave to humans are the reflection of what is wrong/right about the community.

Later I made friends with a local who loves dog so much and always travel with two dogs on his bike. He loves dog from the heart as real friends, not as fancy accessories or toys that you sell when you get bored of. He told me that many locals treat dogs just as house security and don’t give them care and affection that they long for. Also common that they’re left in the street when the owners don’t need them anymore. Well, even humans can behave wildly in that situation. So please, if you can’t love your dogs, don’t have one so that a sweet girl in sundress like me can have a peaceful walk in Bali.

PS: Not all areas are like this. Only in Canggu and Ubud that I found dogs are a bit uncontrollable. Other than that are safe(r), people treat dogs as pets they love.

Cihud Bali Dogs