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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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?

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.

This is for You

**This is actually an old writing from my R.I.P blog that I wrote in the end of 2016. I repost this in favor of someone who said that he often visited my old blog to read this post whenever he felt down. You, you know who you are, this is for you. 🙂

This writing is for you who are in your mid 20’s—and older—but still feel discontent about your life, always feel that you haven’t achieved anything to be proud of.

This is for you who sometimes doubt about chasing your passion but too reluctant to do something that you hate doing.

This is for you who think that life is not as optimistic as you thought it was when you’re seven. You had never thought that you would have landed in your current situation.

This is for you who have decided to leave your comfort zone and now sometimes question whether it was the right decision.

This is for you who have failed and been rejected many times that you just want to give up.

This is for you who feel that every day is just another new low, no matter how hard you try to make things work.

This is for you who think that you could’ve been more than your friends with all your talents and skills, but at the present you don’t. And that hits your self-confidence.

This is for you who feel that anyone lives a much better life than you, including the welcome-girl/boy at the restaurant.

This is for you who feel like the whole universe conspire against you.

This is for you who hold a degree yet believe it’s a mistake.

This is for you who keep comparing yourself with others.

This is for you who feel like your parents and family think of you as directionless. And you sometimes feel that they could be right.

This is for you who feel bothered to tell people about yourself.

This is for you who keep telling people, “I’m okay”, when you’re not because you believe you can’t show people that you’re weak.

You, whoever and wherever you are, you’re not alone.

You are in a transition phase, okay? A transition to somewhere better and greater. This is just a phase. It’s temporary, no matter how long it will be, it’s temporary. It doesn’t define you and your future. Many people have been through this, if you’re never in this situation, it means you have no dreams. The poorest man is not without a cent, but without a dream.

But, only believing that it’s temporary is not enough, YOU have to make it temporary. No change will ever happen if you do not make it happen, if you’re just planning without execution, if you’re just laying on your bed all day, if you’re just hoping for a miracle (because it doesn’t exist!), if you’re just doing things unrelated to your dreams, if you let other things distract you from the big picture, if you just keep your eyes glued on social medias of the lives other people are trying to portray. Because it’s not only what you believe, it’s what you do.

Do not underestimate any little daily goals because they contribute to the big goals. Don’t underestimate yourself, you’ve been brave enough to leave what you believe you don’t want to see yourself in the future. No matter how hard it is now, it will still be better than doing something you don’t like. Youth is not forever, better spend it on something you like to remember.

This is not a matter of age, number or degree. No degree is better than others. You may have a degree in medicine but still fell discontent. Anyone can be in this situation. Because it’s a matter of personal dreams trapped in a phase.

At age 23, Tina Fey was working at a YMCA.
At age 23, Oprah was fired from her first reporting job.
At age 24, Stephen King was working as a janitor and living in a trailer.
At age 27, Vincent Van Gogh failed as a missionary and decided to go to art school.
At age 28, J.K. Rowling was a suicidal single parent living on welfare.
At age 28, Wayne Coyne (from The Flaming Lips) was a fry cook.

You don’t need to burden yourself with the thoughts of being successful at such young age. It doesn’t matter if you can’t be a young college-dropped-out billionaire like Mark Zuckerberg. It doesn’t matter if you can’t publish any novels before 20 like Jane Austen. You are you, you are meant to be you. Comparison is the thief of joy.

Breathe, live, love, laugh, and believe, “This is just a phase. I was born to be adorable.”

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(For Some People) Life Begins at 26

Hello Blog World! This is my first post on this new blog. Before, I had one on Blogspot that I started in 2009, but I decided to shut it down for good for some reasons:

  1. Some of the early posts were about fashion with useless, embarrassing, shallow narration. Yeah, I’m not proud of my past especially with the hashtags I used at that time.
  2. It’s too pink, both the layout and content. Not the charismatic, elegant pink, it’s Barbie pink, and I’m not a fan of Barbie. I’m Patrick’s fan.
  3. For some of you that already know me in person or have been friends with me on socmeds, you might notice an obvious difference on my look that I had changed publicly in 2015 and I don’t wanna be related to that person anymore. I want to start fresh. For those who don’t know, here’s the clue, I used to be the Pink Power Ranger. Is it a clue?

I’m now 26 y.o. The age where I understand what Britney Spears means by “not a girl, not yet a woman”. Even though I’m not a fan. I’m Patrick’s loyal fan. Just Patrick.

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In Indonesia, people get married at young age, some of my friends are already Mrs. Somebody with kids, some are already ex-Mrs, and the rest are settling down with their career that seemingly they will do for a long time or forever.

They seemed settled down and satisfied. From the outside.

In the west, people say that life begins at 30 or 40, because at that age you’re (hopefully) financially stable and have the confidence that makes you shine. You’re in control of your self and life, you have the bargaining power. In Indonesia, things go a bit different; life starts whenever you’re married. Meaning that my friends who are already married are supposedly in one of the happiest states in life.

Anyway, I have never been 30 or married yet, so I don’t know if it’s true. But I know that mine starts at 26. Why? Because renaissance always comes after a crisis. I’ve been through that so-called a quarter-century crisis when I looked around and everyone seems to be doing so much while I am still here wandering around with my flat shoes looking for what was missing but I didn’t know what that was.

When you’re a student, you have structures and conventions to support you. It sounds like you have a life or identity. Then, you have to make grown-up choices after graduation. I got a job right after I graduated. While many people were struggling to get jobs, I booked one easily, so I thought I should enjoy it until other socially-constructed goal is achieved; marriage. The downside of getting a job directly after graduation is that you don’t have time to think whether it’s what you really wanna do. In 25 years of my life, I always had been occupied or distracted by other things that couldn’t make me feel content. Lucky that I haven’t been married yet, otherwise I could’ve been distracted for a longer time.

Actually, this self-discovery process could’ve been shorter if only I have mentors in my environment when I was teenager. But my parents are so simple minded, I can never discuss with them about life, study or passion, I didn’t have anyone directing me the right way, hence I started looking for mentors from outside my family.

At my 25, I stopped working the job after three years, I joined many communities and took various activities; arts, yoga, gym, dance, knitting, education, charity, even a singing course. I ran a culinary business, but short lived. Because the field was not what I am passionate about. Lessons learned: Business is not only about opportunity, it has to be about passion. If you do it without passion, you’ll lose opportunity. But passion pushes hardwork that can create opportunities.

I did this because I wanna see how people who live their passions are, what makes them different, succeed or fail. From what I observed, people who work hard for their passions is more fulfilled emotionally—and most are financially superior—than, let’s say, the modern slaves after 20 years of working. I compared my theater club director, who is an Indonesian renowned playwright, to the lives of my parents. My parents retired after 35 years of dedication, what did the companies do to them after that? Nothing. They’re forgotten and replaced. Meanwhile, on my theater club’s 20th anniversary, I quietly looked at how my director enjoyed his hardwork and dedication to arts and his ideology. Pride, passion, price, and prestige altogether sparked in his eyes. I want to be like that, I want to grow old like that. I don’t want to be like my parents.

Now, when I see other people, I see them differently. I used to see them for what and who they are at the moment, what they have and do. Now, it’s different, I picture them in 30 years later. What we do today is what is going to save and define us in the old age. When I turned on the TV and watched typical slapstick comedians, I felt pity for them.

I doubted before whether 26 is already too late to start. But hey, I said the same thing when I was 22. I said 22 was too late to think about passion, you should just try to accept the flow. Now, I wish I were 22 when I figured this out. But toast can’t never be bread again. The best I can do is not to make the same regret when I am 28.

I have to start from zero, but there’s no instant success that’s long lasting. It’s hard that I have to give up some other things temporarily. It’s the hardest. But give me two years, you’ll see the difference. I have never been as certain about my self as I am now. Hence I am really excited about this year and what it’s going to be.

Some of you might have already figured out things in life earlier than me, some perhaps are still trying to figure out, some could be still in hesitation like I was. Those who already did should help those who haven’t.

Find your passion. Have a faith in it. Do it consistently. Live it. And share with others.

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