Well hello, 2018! I know it’s been too late to say this but “Happy New Year” everyone! Hope you have a super amazing time with your loved ones at the end of the year. I have been looking at my 2017 travel highlights and gosh.. time moves so fast. 2018 is already here but I do wish all of my faithful readers to keep chasing your dream. Let’s make all of your wish come true this year. And of course, for you ladies who keep preparing for that solo travel you have been postponed, just booked that damn ticket already! There will be no other suitable time if you were waiting for it, might as well go now! I truly wish that more and more Indonesian solo female travellers could be born within this year. 🙂
I know that I have not update more on my blog (lazy me!) due to the workload and many trips that I have been going through. I am not a splendid journal writer, but I will try to make it up in 2018.
One year has passed and I have been having such a weird feeling since I came back to Indonesia. How could time move so fast? I still recall on what has been going on with me on 2016 and embracing 2017 back then. I was on the edge of figuring out on what I want to do next on my life and voila, 2018 is here! So let’s recap of the things that I have been gratefully blessed. I can honestly say that I love my life in 2017.
Back to the best team and job ever!
After graduating from Leeds University, I had my time when I was struggling to choose job offers that were flowing down. I had lots of considerations here and there about where I wanted to continue the next chapter of my life. Location wise I was definitely interested in coming back to Bali and living the island of paradise. Then again, won’t I be just coming back to where I first started my nomadic life? Don’t get me wrong, Bali definitely suits me well, but – if only I were 27 years old, with lots of energies to do beach hopping, endless parties, midnight crashing and fling friends. Boy, that sure was fun. But age wise, that was not what I wanted anymore.
What I really wanted was to reunite with my family again, have some place on my own, have some movie marathon nights with my fellow, midnight chitchatting with my best friends and most of all, I miss doing some design stuff for the blockbuster movies. Before I knew it, I accepted the job that I have been doing for the past 7 years under the new company brand in Jakarta. For those who don’t know what kind of work I have been doing on and off – I am a motion graphic designer for a digital agency based in US and Jakarta. I have been doing this job since 2010 where I work remotely online and finally settled down in Jakarta’s office in 2015.
And so, I came back to the normal life as I had back then in Jakarta. But this one is a bit better since I finally take a grasp on how to live a life here. I came back to the job that I loved, work even harder than before, and learn new responsibilities which mould my personalities. I reunited again with my old colleagues and caught up with the new ones in a flash. Each one of the members has different vivid characters, which surprisingly makes some great cooperation among all of us. Despite how hectic the job is, every day always filled with laughter. No other way I could ever ask for this kind of good team.
Not a (really) solo traveller anymore
After I came back to Indonesia, I have been making lots and lots of travel plans with friends and family. And boy, I finally taste how messy it is to organize a trip with many people in it. It was a headache at the beginning, but then we had a great time together in the end. I also learned that not all people can be your travel buddies, you can be friends with everyone, but be picky to select your travel mates. Read on how to find a perfect travel buddy here.
This year I am happy to be back to Bali for some creative meetups and snorkelling trip with my new friends. It was also great to finally reunited with some old buddies. I also quite satisfied gathering my friends from different circle of groups to Derawan trip. We were all getting along so well and had so many funny moments in it. I am also glad that I am able to introduce snorkelling to them.
I also finally able to take my sister and my mom on a trip together to Singapore, where we had lots of laughs and screams at Universal Studios. Absolutely happy that I was able to take my loved ones to a foreign country and make them fall in love with travelling.
And of course, you can guess right that I kinda miss being on a solo journey again. (Told ya that solo travel can be an addiction). So, this time I made my decision to tick off my bucket list – visiting South Korea! I had such a great time spending 2 weeks in a couple of cities where I got to meet many nice and cool Couchsurfing hosts. But the highlight of my trip is that I also able to meet with an old friend from Leeds and dressing up in Hanbok together. Of course, some Korean food hunting was also the best part of all with Mandu, the girl I met in Cappadocia back then (Fun times!). I guess I was happy to be reunited again with some familiar faces.
Found a love and lost one.
As I rarely speak about my love life, I have to say that 2017 was a big heartbreak for me. For those who know me well, I am a picky person when it comes to love and it is always hard for me to fall. But who would have thought that I met someone who was not any of my boyfriend criteria (surprisingly) and for the first time, I felt like we were really meant to be together. Funny thing is, I am not devastated when it reaches an end. As I probably always known that we both feel belong to each other, but we would not achieve our own dreams if we stayed together. Like all of those love song lyrics, ‘loving someone does not mean that you have to be together’. I learned that sacrificing time, energy, and even your dreams for someone you love – is a two-way street. I thought that I was ready for it, but then I realised that I am not ready to give up my dream yet.
So, after recovering from that heartache, I am still a no man’s woman, single and free again. Regardless of what mostly my friend’s decisions (also my sister) to finally take the step to get married, I am not tempted to have one yet. Marriage is not an end game. I never really partake finding a husband as a life goal, more or less I think that it is never a big deal. I was taught to face the problem by myself since I was a child and regardless how independent I am, I honestly feel so blessed that I have so many loving friends who always ready to help. The perks of becoming an Indonesian solo female traveller indeed. So for me, with or without a partner, it doesn’t make any difference. Sometimes it breaks my heart when I met amazing successfull women who were just so desperate getting married as if it would be their last chance. It’s not the end of the world, ladies. There are much more important things happens in the world. It may be not the usual perspective for an Indonesian girl, but there were never any regrets for not getting married sooner (thank God for that). This stage of my life is the most productive and best time I could ever feel.
“Don’t make a person as a centre of your world. Happiness can be found in so many ways”.
Back home to the sea.
If you asked me what is the greatest thing that has happened to you in 2017? My answer would be one and only, “Back home to the sea.”
You can easily guess from my name that I am truly an ocean lover. You can read more about me here if you haven’t figured out who I really am. After living one year in Europe, I keep imagining the tropical island vibe, with a good underwater scene, blue turquoise water, coconut tree, sun and white sand. Don’t get me wrong, I had an amazing time when I was in Sicily island in Italy, but there’s no way to beat Asia’s beach. So celebrating my 30th birthday, I immediately took a journey with my travel buddy, Ali, to Phuket and Phi Phi island. And there I was, laying down on the beach, floating on the water, swimming with the fishes and doing some major islands hopping. The sea always makes me feel like I am supposed to belong there. Geez… I am home!
I also came back visiting Menjangan Bali with my snorkelling buddies where I met my diving teacher again. It was still as beautiful as I remember. But the highlight of my journey back “Home”, was the trip to Derawan island that I have been dreamed of for so many years. And I was super happy to finally cross off my bucket list to swim with a whale shark. See the video here below.
At the end of the year, I also went back “home” to Lombok and Gili Trawangan with two of my best girls. I finally able to travel together with Putri Moxi and a good friend of mine who came to visit from Germany, Anja. It was also special moment as I finally took a diving refreshment class after 2 years been off. Best time ever. We went diving at the Shark Point, saw many amazing underwater creatures including the sharks and (lots of) green turtles. It was the best decision to be at the sea for closing down the 2017 chapter.
Wow. It all happened in one year? Looking back, I realised that I have done a lot in one year. So I truly grateful for every piece of opportunity that I faced this year. Looking back I realised that I have grown so much – I am finally getting used to planning my trip with time and budget wise, more relax and calm throughout waves of problems, be more friendly with anyone I met on the road, and not a destination priority anymore but into sharing experience with loved ones. Although I travel a bit slower and longer, I was able to inhale the culture or travelling deeper this time. I truly enjoy the moment of getting lost. I believe that everything happens for a reason and it all builds upon who I really am.
New foreign countries, new friends and exciting experiences. I can’t wait to see what 2018 will bring! 😉
© 2017 Writing & Images copyright of Marina Utami.