I have been racking my brain trying to find things from my trip that I think is worth sharing, alas to no avail. Oh well. Too bad I did not keep notes along the way. So I guess this would be the last post of the series.
It would be nice, of course, if after I got back from the trip, and after all of my posts, my girlfriend took me back. Or if during my trip I met someone new. But no. This is not a tv drama. Life does not work that way.
But at least I learned a lot.
So, if you have never done this kind of trip, I would really recommend it to you. Trust me, it will worth your while.
I will use this post to share a few pointers that I learned, to hopefully help you have a better trip and better experience than I did.
1. The logistics
You all know this: Travel light, make sure the clothes you have are easy to clean and quick to dry (that means no jeans). Wear comfortable shoes, bring a raincoat (not umbrella) and bring enough cash. (Do not rely on ATM). Secure your cash in separate pockets. (I used a pouch that I hang on my chest under my shirt for my 'cash reserve', and put just enough for the day in separate pockets for easy access.)
2. Go alone
I am not sure I recommend this to the ladies because I am not sure if it is safe, but if you are a guy like me, do try to go alone. Of course it is more fun to go with your friends, but unfortunately, it won't be the same. If you are in a group, you will care more about your group and less about your surrounding. You will talk more among yourselves and less to the people you meet along the way. When you are alone, you have no choice but to listen to yourself and to the people you meet.
3. Set yourself free
I had my cellphone with me during my trip, and from time to time when I lost signal coverage on my phone, I got really anxious.What if someone called me? What if something happened at work that needed my attention? What if I received an important email? What if this and that and the other?
Every moment felt like my life is passing me by.
After a while, I realized that actually it is the opposite:
Actually, when I spend my time worrying about all the above, THAT's when my life is passing me by. Life is what you see, what you hear, what you feel. Life is what happen at this moment. Not the what ifs.
So don't be like me. Set yourself free. Turn your phone off.
In your deathbed, you will never wish to have a little bit more time to use your cellphone or to check your email. No. But you'll probably wish you had more time to go places, see more, hear more, taste more, know more, experience more. This is your chance.
4. Not too long, not too short
I went for about three weeks in total. To me it felt a bit too long. After a while, the experience became increasingly similar from one city to the next, and the vanity started to wear off. I began to feel tired and bored. When that happened, I failed to experience things. I failed to appreciate my surroundings. I lost focus.
In the future, I probably would go for two weeks max. Three weeks is a bit too long and one week is probably too short.
5. It is not a walk in the park
I am not going to lie to you. The trip will be tough. It's not easy, and at times, no fun at all. There were moments where I found myself eager to just drop everything and go home. (In fact, if I did not have all my friends betting against me, I probably would have given up).
My most favorite thing about my trip is this:
The people. They are nice. Beautiful wonderful amazing people.
And the least favorite thing is:
The people. Some of them are just plain annoying.
Sure, the nice people outnumber the annoying ones, but it just takes one annoying a-hole to really ruin your day. And unfortunately, They are not in short supply. Annoying people are everywhere, ready to draw your anger and make your day miserable.
To handle this, let me tell you a story:
When I was a kid, my neighbour had a monkey (The small grey type we commonly see in Bali). The monkey was chained by his waist at the front yard, by a tree. Obviously, he was one grumpy monkey. (I would be too if I were chained like that. Not sure why my neighbour would do such a thing).
So this monkey would throw stuff at people passing in front of the house. He'd throw his food, branches, anything. And the worst that happened to me was when he threw his feces at me.
Bad, bad monkey.
But even after all that, I was never angry at him. Never. He's a monkey. Monkey does not think like us. I understand that. I understand him.
So that's what I do when I meet annoying people.
I picture them as my neighbour's monkey.
That way I can prevent myself from getting angry and ruin my day.
(And now that I am back at work, I started to see more and more monkeys at work too...)
The point is, you are the one in control. Not them. Do not let anybody or anything ruin your day.
Your trip can be fun, or it can be miserable. It's (mostly) up to you.
Well, that's it from me. Feel free to add more if you think you have some pointers that would be useful for me and other readers.
Before I go, I would like to thank all of you who set aside some time to leave comments on this series. Among them are: Felicia, Piqs, nCy.vLa, Ronzak, Colson, Hendro, John Orford, Hilmy, Silverlines, Kamil, Michael, Oscar Guo, B4nch4, YuGho, Kutubusuk, Roi, Nancy Indrawati, Nena, and others I may have missed.
When I started this series, it felt like I was talking to myself when I wrote it. But after a few posts and receiving your comments, everytime I started a new post, it felt like I was talking to you. As if I was telling you my story. Suddenly writing is not a solitary activity anymore.You guys are great and I thank you all.
I also would like to thank Jakartass
, who has been very kind in giving me a few pointers to correct the grammatical errors in this series, as well as a generous plug
Lastly, thank you to my Indonesia Anonymus (IA) colleagues, who lend me this space and showed me the joy of writing. I shall seriously consider your advice to start my own blog someday. I never thought writing can be so much fun.
Thank you. To all of you.