My 2018 Recap


Can’t believe today is the last day of 2018 already! It feels like just yesterday I packed my stuff back from Bali at the beginning of this year and last New Year’s Eve, I spent it in Bali.

2018 has been a good ride, just the way I wished it would be in last year’s post. Many things happened and some milestones achieved in this year. Here’s how my 2018 has been so far:

  • 1. Had the best last two months in Bali (Januari – February).

I lived in Bali for almost 6 months since the end of 2017. My last two months in Bali were so special than the first months. I’ve had more friends and got more familiar with the people and the area. I’ve been convinced that this is where my soul belongs to (at least in national level). I hope next year will go as planned and I can stay more permanently in Bali.

  • 2. My first fashion collection launched.

My first step to establishing myself as a fashion designer! I know my way is still long and far from success, but everyone has to start somewhere. I started with my first bridal collection, some of them have been sold out and I’ve had some custom-made orders. I’ve been evaluating my fashion design path and want to shift it from bridal to technical fashion design for apparel manufacturing. For someone who does not have a formal fashion education, I’m proud of myself!

  • 3. Travelling overseas to three different continents!

This year, I travelled like crazy! Out of 12 months, I travelled at least once every month for 11 months. The wicked thing is that I’d never travel abroad before in my life and this year, I just nailed it to three continents in a row, Asia, Australia and Africa and 4 different countries; Malaysia, Australia, South Africa, and Singapore. Travelling experiences has given me new perspectives and knowledge, I love seeing the person I’ve become after every travel experience. Whoa, this world is soo so so big and diverse and I just can’t get enough of it!

  • 4. New skills learned: Digital Drawing & Graphic Design

I know that I’m still doing many things right now even though I really want to niche down my specialization. I just can’t choose one (at least for now), I love both fashion and graphic design. That’s the narrowest I can get my niche for now. I also have to do both for now so that I can still make money because each skill back up each other. I learned how to use Adobe Illustrator and make my hand-drawings into digital products. I wish in the near future I can live off my drawing skills (graphic and fashion). Also I’ve dived into graphic design more to be able to be a better designer. I just love everything about design, the more you learn about the theory and science in design, you’ll be amazed by how this field is really all about understanding human.

  • 5. Another new skill learned: Social Media Management

I just can’t sit still until money comes to my lap, so I always think and look for ways to make money faster if my first plan doesn’t go as planned. Yes, I do have have a stable day-time job for now, but I don’t actually really enjoy the job because I think my time will be more appreciated financially somewhere else. And it seems like the easiest and fastest way to make money is by doing social media management. It’s because I charge in dollars while my expenses are mostly in Rupiahs, so I don’t really need to get and work to too many orders. I feel optimistic that my income target for next year will be achieved, at least in the end of next year.

  • 6. And still another new skill learned: Web design

This is epic! I’ve never thought I would be able to design a web from scratch! Well, what I mean here is not totally the nerdy web development thing with HTML code whatsoever, it’s just a simple WordPress site. I’ve been helped with the existence of Divi builder which is though still not as easy as Wix’ drag-and-drop feature, but still been a big step for me! I realized that not everyone is as fast as I am in learning it, and I’ve seen how it could help me to make another income stream by combining with my graphic design skill.

  • 7. I’ve got a remote day-time job.

I now work full time 8 hours a day from Mon-Fri. The good things are:

  1. This is a remote job, I can work from home and I don’t need to spend on transportation nor make-up expenses. I can work straight from my bed with my pillow face.
  2. The pay is higher than most jobs for Indonesians in general that require them to go to offices with sleek attires. Though it’s still far from the pay I used to earn in my previous job.
  3. I work with an international network and we actively communicate every day.
  4. I work from 5 or 6 am to 2 or 3 pm, so I still have time to do other things.

The cons are:

  1. I don’t enjoy the work, possibly because I feel I could be economically more valued somewhere else.
  2. Even though I still have time to do other things after work, in reality it’s not easy because I always feel drained after doing 8 hours of the thing I dont enjoy.

However, I’ll hold on to it a little longer before I quit. At least it’s helped me to get the knowledge and money to achieve other things. I hope that my online freelance career will kick out as soon as possible so that I can totally leave this job.

  • 8. Electricity purchases: Pen tablet and a new smartphone!

Big purchases this year, a new smartphone and a graphic display monitor! Both are Chinese products and very very good quality. I’m happy I chose them. I’ve converted from an Iphone believer to a Xiaomi believer.

  • 9. A new family member: my baby cousin!

My parents’ house has been noisy with kid’s laughs and cries this year with my baby cousin spending a lot of time in our house due to some circumstances. We’ve never had little kids in our house because my parents kept waiting for me to give them a grandchild. Lucky now we have her, my parents are kinda distracted from the grandchildren thing. I really love my baby cousin, she is very cute and likes to imitate me. She likes to sing and every morning she wakes everyone up with her singing though she cant really speak words clearly.

  • 10. Youtube milestone: 5,000 subscribers!!

At the beginning of this year, I celebrated my first 500 subscribers on my Youtube channel. Fast forward to 11 months later, I now have 10 times that number, which is 5,000 subscribers! This is unbelievable for me! I know it’s probably still a small number for many youtubers, but I dont see them as merely a number, they are people who chose to spend their time watching my videos. I know I should’ve been more focused into making videos regularly seeing stats have been doing very well for a new channel!

  • 11. I snorkelled in the best marine biodiversity site in the world, Raja Ampat!

I can’t be thankful enough for the views I’ve experienced in Raja Ampat, and I can’t forget the amazement I felt the first time my boyfriend taught me to snorkel and he held my hand. That is so so so amazing! All the colorful fish and corals, they have their own kingdom down there. My boyfriend has taken me to many beautiful places and I cant thank him enough, South Africa was, of course, memorable because I met he his family and friends there. But this is the most beautiful place he’s taken me to so far, who had known it’s gonna be underwater!

  • 12. My brother came home to Indonesia.

My only one brother has been living in Australia for 2,5 years and he’s never been able to come home during those years because it’s fricking expensive and we’re all struggling with the education fee (even though it’s already reduced by a 60% off scholarship). But the storm must be temporary, now that he’s been accepted to a full tuition Ph.D scholarship, we can breathe easily and he came to Indonesia. My dad had not seen him in those years because my dad cant travel that far due to his condition. It’s nice having him home at least for the time being we can feel how it was when we were kids and all the kids were home. At least for the next 1.5 months, we’ll have meals in the same table. You know, after high school, this is rare as we already left home.

  • 13. I just registered myself to two whole new trainings!

This is my next big thing for 2019, these two training programs will help me to get the best of 2019 hopefully. The two help me to get more money in two different fields and one of them is Yoga. Already sounds interesting, right?? This is a big investment for me!

  • 14. I’ve started earning in dollars.

I cant believe why I waited this long to finally took a chance to make money in international level with an international currency. I totally just started out, but I’ve been slowly growing. I feel that even if sometimes I got gigs that I don’t really enjoy, at least I feel happy because the pay is good in the end. Actually, the salary I got now from my job is fine for Indonesian standard, but I’ve been surrounded with people that are making in currency higher than mine (my bro, bf, friends etc), so I feel the pressure to also earn in dollars, otherwise I will never be able to pay back what my Boo has given to me, I want to be able to give him a fancy gift someday, it will be hard for me if I just earn in Rupiah as rupiah is very low.

  • 15. Meeting the family

This is one of the most important events happened this year! Both me and my BF had the chance to meet each family for the first time. I was nervous to meet his family because we’re from a totally different culture. I always felt confident when my ex BFs (locals) introduced me to their families, I always nailed it because I know what Indonesians like (if I have to fake, I at least know how to fake, lol.). But this time I totally had no idea, even though I’ve had friends from all over the world, it doesn’t mean I understand their western culture. What if they misinterpret what I do or say and many what if questions I had in my mind. But I knew I could not be anyone but myself, even though there were some awkward moments that I realized, haha! I’m glad that I could learn more about the factors that made him who he is today, now I understand where the habit of giving compliments and thank yous come from and many little things that they probably didnt realize that I was observing and taking notes. Just recently, he also spared a time to meet my family, I cant describe how meaningful it is for me!

  • 16. My relationship, I just love him more and more!

I just love my boyfriend SO MUCH and my feeling for him grows stronger each and every day. I hope that he feels the same. Looking back at how things started, I didn’t even know we could make it this far. He’s been the most important aspect of my life this year (after me, of course. Because I’m a narcissist, LOL!), if I look back, many beautiful things that happened to me this year involved him and I’m looking forward to many years to come with him!


Uke helps the imposter child in me


Impostor Syndrome is a psychological phenomenon in which a person always feels and believes that she/ he is inadequate and an incompetent failure despite his/ her achievements. This syndrome is common in a high-achiever personality, even Maya Angelou and Albert Einstein had it. It can affect not only the talented and intelligent people, but anyone, anyone can have factors in their backgrounds why they have it, for example, what happened to them in their childhood, did the parents always doubt them, compare them to other kids, etc.

I think I am one of the imposters, I’ve known it for so long that I have the tendency to feel that I’m always not good enough and always far from what I want to become, and always feel that if I achieve something, it’s because of luck, not because I have the ability to deserve it. But I didn’t know that it has a psychological term.

This also stems from my childhood and by the way I was treated by people close to me (adults) at that time. For example, when I won some competitions (from English speech contest, drawing, scholarships, academic achievements, etc), I was always told to be grateful because all of them happened because of the help of other people or coincidence–whether it’s God’s help, or my brother’s help, or that I competed in a low-level competition, etc–instead of acknowledging my ability and hard work for it. My parents perhaps did this without negative intention, it’s because they didn’t want me to be an arrogant and cocky person. So they always told me to thank other parties for my achievements, because without them I would never be able to do that.

It may seem tricky from the surface because people wouldn’t guess people like me–who put herself out to the world in so many platforms–are actually doubting ourselves. If you’re doubtful of yourself, then why you’re so confident to put yourself out there?

Well, in my case,  this ‘confidence’ wall is myself fighting against myself. One part of me is the somewhat destructive imposter that always makes me want to hold back my ideas, works and creations, and just throw them away or hide them. This side of me is the one who’s always pushing the standards for me to achieve which sometimes can be good, but also harmful when I let it in total control. I remember when I was in school, I tended to avoid teachers’ attention by never speaking up about my opinions. I always told other kids first, and then others would claim that the ideas/ works were theirs. I was just the invisible student, people knew me just because I was funny, not because I could think or make something.

The other part of me is the one who realizes that this should not let to happen all the time, this part of me is the one who realizes that it was the reason why I felt unhappy about myself and she has to do something about it. The first part of me always waits for perfection, the second is the one who will just launch something without waiting for it to be perfect. Both sides have their own plus points for me.

The second always protects me from self-hating by asking me to do something different from what I always do. Especially when I really like something/ someone so much, I tend to feel I’m not good enough. So the second personality will take over and say, “Let’s take a break from it for a moment and do other stuff.” Blogging and other kinds of documentation of my life are examples of it.

That was the reason why I started blogging in 2009, it was not for other people’s amusement, it’s for myself to look back and to counter from the feeling of  haven’t achieved anything. This time it’s playing ukelele.

A few weeks ago I bought an ukelele, well I actually got it for free by redeeming my points on an online marketplace, I only paid for the shipping. I could have chosen something else among the options, but I thought that I dont have musical skills at all and my brain is very bad at multitasking (that’s why I found it very hard to play musical instrument), so I want to train my brain. And it’s not something that I’m obsessed with, if I fail, it doesnt matter because it’s not my passion. I have no goals to achieve in it. And if I can play it, then it’s good, it’s just a bonus from a side activity. No pressure to achieve anything.

So I was very happy the first time I was able to play the first song I learned, “Somewhere Over The Rainbow”. At first, I didnt even know which hand to play the chords and which one to strum the strings. Then I progress to develop a muscle memory to coordinate my hands but still couldn’t sing along while playing. Then I finally can sing along while I play. From one song, then I learned other songs to add to my library. (Watch me play ukulele in my IG‘s highlighted stories)

This maybe is just a simple little thing, but for me it has helped me to feel good because I’d never thought I would be able to play any instrument in my life. Maybe also because I set no expectation.

I know many people have impostor syndrome as well, and my advice is to take a break and have a getaway with something you set no expectation of. Just do it.

The Hardest Puzzle Ever


Isn’t it funny that sometimes life is just like a mystery puzzle set?

Sometimes you think you need to have every piece, sometimes people can just feel complete without needing to have all of them. Sometimes you think you have everything but still you feel there’s a missing piece that you don’t know what it is.

Sometimes you just wanna barter the pieces you have with other pieces which there’s no guarantee they will fit better.

Sometimes you have 9 out of 9, sometimes you can only find 2 out of 9. Sometimes the number of pieces you have change in every phase of your life, today you have 8, two days later you lose 3.

Sometimes someone becomes the one that completes the missing piece, sometimes that person leaves and costs you more missing pieces. Sometimes you become that piece to another person’s puzzle set.

Sometimes you think how to put every piece in order, which one has to be placed first, or you can just do them randomly. And you think, “Did I take the wrong step if I put this piece first?”

Sometimes you keep looking for the missing piece while in fact it’s been sitting next to your hand for so long and you were just not looking.

Sometimes you steal the piece from others, sometimes you achieve it by yourself, sometimes you’re just tired to think about the puzzle and create another imaginary puzzle set, sometimes you just wanna restart the game and don’t wanna mess up again. Sometimes you just have no choice. What does happiness really mean?

I realized I haven’t talked about my feelings in this blog lately, I mostly talk about my travels and other things that I find interesting and informative as they bring more traffic to my blog. Of course who wants to read about sentimental crap. And yeah I’ve been lucky enough that so far throughout this year I’ve had great journeys and relatively in happy and positive mood. But of course I am not always happy. In every year, there must be gloomy moments. I think it’s the first time this year I have it.

No matter how many times life gives you lemons, you’ll never be as prepared as you thought you will be. I understand it very much that in the end, everything depends on how we react to it. But it’s not always easy. Sometimes I wish I could be an ignorant person, sometimes I don’t wanna understand things that I understand, so that I’ll stop feeling worried, so that I’ll stop feeling sad.

Sometimes I just want to forgive myself to feel like this and make it an excuse to not do anything beside being sad. Then I regret the time I spent being sad, because only the time you enjoy wasting is not a wasted time, they say. And eventually, stumbled upon the quotes that I always come back to, “If you do nothing, nothing happens.” And here I am pouring my feelings through drawing and words. Not a big thing, not even matter to other people’s lives. But life is still a mystery. We’ll never know, we’ll never know.

28 Things in 28 Years

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Yesterday I just turned 28, so, HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME..!

My 27 was so great, and some checklists were accomplished but the journey is still long. I feel fulfilled most of it because I started doing what I love, less stress, met interesting people and had new experiences. I am establishing my fashion brand, RAYU, which I’ve never thought I could be as I didn’t have a good support system in my closest surrounding when I was growing up.

Here are the 28 things I’ve learned in my 28 years wandering in this planet. Doesn’t mean they should be applied to other people’s lives, I’m just sharing these values and principles I hold.

  1. Everything happens for a reason.

There’s nothing such as coincidence, there must be reasons for everything. There are reasons why I wrote this, why you’re reading this, why we met and haven’t met somebody, etc. Most of the time we don’t find the reason right away, it takes time, sometimes an hour, a week, a year, 10 years. But whatever happened, they happened for the best.

2. I can’t control everything.

As much as I want everything to be under my control, I can’t and will never be able to do it. Especially when it involves other people’s feeling, but I am in control of my own feeling and how I should react to everything. And I should not worry over things I know I can’t control, for some things, I have no choice but just letting they go with the flow. If it’s meant to be, it’s meant to be.

3. Nothing is permanent, everything is temporary.

Whether it’s good or bad, things are not gonna last forever. So, when good things happen, enjoy while they last. When bad things happen, don’t worry, they shall pass.

4. Life is short.

I saw people I know passed away or dying or being depressed. I realized how short life is and in this one short life I don’t wanna do and be something I don’t like. Life is too short to be spent in one place, to be someone I am not, to read only one book, to have only one dream.

5. Invest on yourself and experience.

I guess many of us made mistakes in the first time we start earning money, we spent it on luxury. Now I’d rather invest on developing myself, improving skills and gaining experience. Because when I am old and my hair is grey, I will not remember the specification of iphone or gadgets I bought, I’m gonna remember moment. Memory is what we’ll have in the end. And my skills are can take me places.

6. Take a good care of yourself.

Like it or not, we cant expect much from people no matter how close we are to them. I am in my 20s is gonna be the one who takes care of me in my 50s, not my husband, not my kids.

7. Don’t hold grudges.

Life is too short to be mad at others and at yourself. I need to have the ability to forgive or at least forget, because I only have one heart. I should not make grudge a drive to do something. For example, trying to prove to parents because of what they did/ didn’t do. That means I am doing something out of grudges, instead of love. The only reason why I wanna do something must be love and should not be any other drives. Because when you do something because you love it, you don’t need to prove to anyone.

8. People can’t really change.

One’s personality can’t really change permanently. Maybe they change for a temporary, but not forever. So I don’t want to waste my time with people whose characters are soo in contrast to mine. I only have two choices, either to leave or to accept them as they are. If I choose to leave, I should not regret. If I choose to stay, I should not complain.

9. If I do nothing, nothing happens.

The truth is that everything worth having doesn’t come easily, even if you’re born as Paris Hilton. If I say I want to have something but I don’t do anything related to achieving it, I shouldn’t expect it’s gonna be served on my plate because life doesn’t work that way. If I say I wanna be a writer, then I have to at least write a paragraph daily. And I have to react fast to change my own situation. If bad things happen, do something to fix it. If good things happen, do something to maintain and improve it. If nothing happens, do something to make it happen.

10. In life, we need mentors.

Most of the questions we ask have been asked and answered by people before us, so I have to reduce my ego and learn from as many as possible. I was so stubborn before to do everything self-taught, which is not totally bad, but it would have been more time-efficient if I had had mentors, time is soo expensive that no stores sell it once you wasted it.

11. Don’t mind other people’s opinion.

Sometimes being stubborn is good. I can’t please everyone, there’s always gonna be people who disagree or simply don’t understand my choices. But that’s okay, I don’t owe explanation nor happiness to anyone but myself.

12. Stop depending happiness on other people.

I’ve had felt down and really sad many times and I got tired of it, I always evaluated from each failure to find why I could feel that sad. I thought the answer was because of other people who did me wrong. Maybe they did, but it’s not 100% their fault, it’s mine too who had depended my happiness 100% on them, so when they left or broke my heart, I ended up feeling worthless. Until in a meditation class, the teacher told us that most of the people choose to create and rely on unstable happiness, which means the happiness from outside the mind. We feel happy or sad because of what others did to us, that’s why it’s unstable. It’s called ‘outsourcing’ happiness. Meanwhile happiness is the state of mind, so everything that makes the mind happy should come from the mind itself. Hence, the ability to manage how we react to things is very important. I’m learning and meditation helps a lot.

13. Everybody has a different clock.

When we’re still in school, almost everyone go through similar stage at the same time. But after school, everything changes. We go our ways, the roads we are on to some destinations may be in different length compared to our friends’. I shall not compare myself to others. Happiness and success are not a competition anyway.

14. I can’t do everything by myself, I still need other people.

Being independent is good, but knowing how to work smart is better. I sometimes push myself too much and try to do everything by myself. Just because I can do it by myself doesn’t mean that I have to do it by myself. I have to learn how to either drop it, add value to it or delegate it to other people.

15. Look for myself first before I start looking for others.

In life, especially for women, we’ve been taught by fears of not getting something. Therefore, we’re always told to find jobs, or husband/wife instead of discovering who we are first. Seriously, this is so wrong and the consequence is high because you risk your TIME. If being in a wrong job or a relationship just risk money, it still can be repaid. But if I lose time, where should I go to get it back?

16. The opposite of love is fear, not hate.

Money is not the root of all evils, it’s fear. Fears that transform to other names, it becomes jealousy, hate, greediness, grudge, etc. And we fear to admit that it’s fear.

17. Hard work never betrays.

I don’t know how many times I feel down during learning process. I get bored and not rarely I fail. Slowly I see things getting together as long as I do things consistently. Sacrifice needs to be made, but someday this will pay off. Work until I know better, and when I know better, do better.

18. There’s no shortcut to success.

Patience is not one of my best capabilities, I always wanted to get things fast when I want it. That’s why I always tried to find shortcuts, in the end they cost me more in price, time, and energy. From this I learned to be more patient and love the process. Like it or not, not everyone is born a superman, so we need to go through process in order to achieve success.

19. My vibe attracts my tribe

I should not complain about the people in my circumstance because the reason why my circumstance doesn’t change is because I haven’t change myself into the energy I want to attract. So if I want to be surrounded or approached by positive people, I have to reflect it first.

20. Accept change and make friends with it.

Changes are not always scary. Comfort zone is not always good just because it’s familiar.

21. Everything has consequences.

Every decision I make today will result in my tomorrow.

22. What I tolerate makes me worried.

Sometimes being selfish is good, meaning I have to put myself first and learn to dare to say ‘NO’ to people or things that actually make me feel uncomfortable before they mount up. Be brave to leave things or people if it means for the better. It may sound heartless, but we only live once.

23. Niche down. 

Took me years to learn that small circle is better than big one that’s loose and shallow. Growing up, I tried to attract as many people as possible to like me, but that limited who I wanted myself to be. Now my circle has been smaller and smaller and I’m loving it. It also can be applied in business, that I should find my niche rather than targeting everyone into my market.

24. Don’t stop questioning.

Always stay a beginner.

25. Growing up doesn’t mean I have to stop having fun.

I’m not gonna be a boring person. Every child is born creative, I choose to remain creative. I don’t wanna see life as burden, I wanna see it as a playground or a blank canvas a painter would play with colors on. I wanna paint a picture I want to remember, because my name, Citra Ayu, means ‘a beautiful picture’.

26. There’s no such a thing like a ‘collective destiny’.

Just because I was born a female then I have to be and behave certain ways that an area believes in. Just because something didn’t happen to other people, it doesn’t mean it’s not gonna happen to me either.

27. Happiness and beauty are not competition.

I used to think that being an employee for years is lame, but it’s actually not. Just because something is not my cup of tea, it doesn’t mean it should be the same for other people. Just because I wanna be an entrepreneur, it doesnt mean that those who work in institution or housewives have boring lives, they have their own concept of happiness, so do I. And I am happy for other’s happiness.

28. Age is just a number!

I don’t grow old, I choose to grow gOLDen!


taken on the day I officially turn 28

The Truth about Living Your Passion

I’ve passed the phase when I questioned what I want to do to in life, whether I was doing my dreams or somebody else’s which is called the passion searching. That phase was filled with trials and errors and pivoting is common. In the beginning, the picture of what I wanna do in life was blurry, like solving a puzzle. At that time I was not sure what I wanted to do, but I’ve always been sure all the time about what I don’t like and don’t wanna be since I was younger. Along the way it gets clearer, I’ve never been this sure. It’s true that passion searching is important; to believe in it, chase it and live it. But after you find your passion and are sure about pursuing it, what happens next is not less important as the journey to find it.

You can find sooo many motivational speakers on Youtube to help to convince and motivate you to be true to yourself and find your passion. But in the process of chasing it (before you can enjoy your life from it), that job to convince and motivate yourself is on you only. Not many of them will tell you how hard, chaotic, mental, physical and emotional-wrecking it can be.

Unfortunately for most of us, our passions don’t typically fall right into our laps. We have to get out there and take action, often with a little uncertainty, in order to discover them. Hence oftentimes passion changes.

I will say that just because you’ve found your passion, not every body should chase it and risk the comfortable life and career path they’ve had before. Because it’s only for the strong, patient, resilient, and hardworking ones. Especially if you have decided to give up your stable 9-to-5 job and focus on your passion that could be in creative or anti-mainstream field. Be ready for the misery that it will bring too, because love doesn’t always come with joy. I’m still in the striving process too, but it’s been better than months ago. Slowly but surely, the seed that you plant will blossom as long as you do it consistently.

4484This is the phase when you’ll realize that it’s much harder than you thought it would be. That you  will question yourself, compare yourself to others, blame yourself for the things you haven’t achieved yet. Things will not go as smooth as you planned, there will be a lot of errors that test your determination, little things yet can be fatal and make you just wanna give up and go back to the normal life like other people.

You know what, every time I wanted to take my game to another level, there’s always obstacles, my phone got stolen, tablet suddenly got broken, DSLR camera couldn’t turn on, sewing machine didn’t do its job, everything happened in a row in just four months. These devices are my main production and marketing capitals which without them I can’t do much. Furthermore, I’ve been let down by the people I worked with, when they didn’t give the effort and quality they promised. There’s always things that happened to make me quit, for many times I seriously thought about quitting. But then I remind myself, this is only the beginning, too early to quit.

When you work a 9-to-5 job, there is already guidance, what you should do and how you will do it, you’ll risk other people money if you make mistakes, not yours. To make it worse, I always felt that I dont have as much time because I found my passion late, unlike other people who’ve done and got the opportunity to learn it earlier by picking the right major in uni as their passion. Meanwhile I couldn’t and I will never be able to. Even if I had been sure about my passion in creating fashion since high school, I would never have been able to go to fashion school or any design major because it’s so fricking expensive, my family can’t afford it.

And even when I’ve chosen my passion, there’s always parts of it that I don’t enjoy doing or I can’t do well. Don’t think that just because you do something love then you will enjoy every process of it. No, totally not.

Not to forget that it also means less money in the beginning, the duration may take months or years to eventually take off. This can cause another frustration when you’re used to be able to predict what you will get every month and then changed to you don’t even have idea how to survive tomorrow.

I’ve read somewhere a quote that says, the mid process of making a masterpiece always looks like a chaotic and almost-doomed ship. Which is true, every project/ design I’ve done that turned out to be good always made me had doubts in the mid process because it didn’t seem like it would. Meanwhile everything that I did smoothly turned out to be just a so-so result. So maybe that can also apply in life that if your life seems like a mess now, maybe you’re going to a great life in the future. They say, the enemy of a great life is a good life.

The graphic below from Austen Kleon’s book, “Steal Like an Artist”, perfectly describes the phase of executing ideas, where do you think you are now??




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!!

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.”


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


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?