Welcoming July by getting to know this lovely lady who likes to record her own journey with video. Wow! It’s not like every day you can find an Indonesian solo female traveller who does vlog. And yet it was kind enough that Indri Indhoy introduced me to this cool woman. Another good set of example that Hijab lady doesn’t need to be afraid travelling by her own. Whilst, Endah and Asmarani were already showing us their travel time by writing their story on the blog, Annisa Syifa Adriana shows us visually how she truly travels with video.
So, without further ado, let’s get to know how she gets the travel bug also watch her adventure on her Youtube Channel! Psstt.. She also writes so many amazing tips how to travel solo!
Name: Anissa Syifa Adriana
Occupation: Int. Development & ESL Teacher
What inspired you to travel solo for the first time?
It was technically due to a Long Distance Relationship (LDR) that I had in 2014. At that time, I had no idea that solo travelling is a thing. I was just visiting him in Singapore for the first time and thinking that there is no way I asked any of my friend to come with me. I thought it was just too much of a hassle. Being paid USD 250 from my job at that time, buying a USD70 return ticket to Singapore seemed to be a huge deal. Funny thing, we had a huge fight and decided to part ways even before I left for Singapore. Then I thought, why would I need to go to Singapore if I couldn’t see him? But then I thought, it was my hard-earned money, I couldn’t ditch it just like that. I then for the first time used Couchsurfing properly, refined my own old profile, and send a couchrequest to nearly 50 possible hosts. I was declined by almost 90% of them and got last minute reply from an Indonesian student who studied in Singapore, who become a good friend of mine until now. Despite all the fears I had at that time, I was still very determined to go.
Tell us about the first time you travelled alone. Where did you go and what did you do?
The first time I went travelling solo was in 2013, to Yogyakarta. At that time, I also used Couchsurfing but didn’t really know how to do it properly. The experience was okay but not until I went abroad for the first time to Singapore, had I realised and comprehend the whole sense of travelling. With only SGD 100, I maximised my limited amount of time to do things that didn’t cost much. I basically was backpacking, and have always been even until now. At that time, I encountered 2 Couhsurfers and another friend of them. We wandered around Singapore, basically just conversed, exchanged stories and perception about life. I have always been so fascinated by deep meaningful conversation. Everything seemed so foreign, liberating, and mesmerising. I knew that I had such hunger for experience and thirst for wisdom. Little did I know that travelling would become a huge part of my life.
So what are the love/hate things you experienced travelling alone?
Lucky enough, I have always seen this whole solo travelling thing as one component. I dont have thing that I hate about it, but I have learned a great deal from three different things that I do solo; short-term traveling, long term traveling, and living abroad. Those three are very much interwined from one another, but I realized the aspects that affect your psychological from each situation are very different. I guess I am basically an introvert person inside. As much as I love meeting different people and travellers from all facet of life, I enjoy my own company. Being on my own, I get to have all kinds of self-talk with myself. I get to experience and explore my inner world as the outer world. It helps me a lot to understand the true desires of my hearts and the growth of my soul. The soul comes to pick up knowledge and experience the world. It sounds very cliche, but travelling is indeed my spiritual journey.
Nonetheless, travelling solo can be very isolating and lonely at times. Yes, you will meet plenty of new people and encounter bunch of travellers. Yet, these people will have a different travel plan with yours. Sometimes, when you get lucky, you travel together. However, often times, you don’t. It may be scary for some people, but such loneliness and solitary are good for the soul.
Who’s your travel inspiration?
The travellers whom I met through Couchsurfing. Through exchanging our travel tales, it gives a certain realism to the dream of travelling because you need a first person account of an experience to bring something to life. These travel stories are oftentimes full of inspirational lessons as every person’s journey are different and complex.
What are your favourite websites and travel apps do you often use?
Couchsurfing, Skyscanner, Booking.com, Maps.me and Workaway.
What is your favorite country so far? Any recommendation for female solo traveler?
Despite the fact that I have only travelled in Asia thus far, I have this special feeling about Vietnam. Since 2015, I have been to Vietnam for at least 4 times and every time I visit the country, there is a contentment feeling about everything that I encounter and experience in Vietnam. From the food, the people, the innocence, the crowds, the language, the noise, and even the traffic. I believe every country will always give such feeling and vibes differently. Therefore travelling can become a very personal journey because my journey will never be the same as yours, and vice versa. Perhaps, I will have another new favourite country in the coming years once I discover another continent.
I don’t have any specific recommendation for new female solo traveller other than always challenge your comfort zone and be open to any kind of possibility. At the end, it is not so much about your destination, not about which country or continent, but how these journey of your own grow you as a person.
What are some important things you bring when travelling solo? (Beside money and passport?)
As much as weird as it sounds, I will always bring a set of make-up and skincare. I am such a die-hard fan when it comes to taking care of myself. It is my form of self-love. During my long term travelling, I simply became minimalist. It took the time to completely implement and comprehend why minimalist can be deliberating. I used up all the make-up and skincare products I had because I commit to the same products for months. Surprisingly, it was such a rewarding feeling to discover and experience it at first hand, that you indeed don’t need a lot of life and value what you already have.
Everyone has their quiry thing when they travel. I love doing temple hunting and visiting museums. So what’s yours?
I have a confession to make. I barely do any of those. I don’t do plenty of sightseeing here and there during my travel. I usually use Couchsurfing to meet possible host, or any travellers alike. However what I like the most is to see and immerse myself with the ambience of that particular place, such as local’s daily routine. I love people watching. I have tried to blend in with the day to day activity that local people usually do, so instead of travelling, I simply was living.
I also very much love motorbiking. I have done it 3 times in South and North Vietnam, 1 time in North Thailand and recently in Cambodia. I simply enjoy riding and see the unseen. I also realise that I don’t need to see everything. Travelling is not a race nor a competition.
Share your tips for any first time solo traveller?
One of the most common concerns for first-time solo traveller is safety. The good news is, you will be most likely safe on the road. It is frankly easier than you think because the skill that you need to survive is the same methods we all use to stay safe at home. My most important tip would be; trust your gut. I always listen and trust to my own instinct, the power of intuition. It is my compass to navigate in life. Yours should be too. The rest are practical. You will figure it out by yourself along the way and it is what so empowering about solo travelling, to discover what’s inside you. Solo travelling doesn’t have to be dangerous or scary, it just requires the right amount of preparation and alertness. Be prepared and stay aware of your surroundings.
What’s your favorite travel quote that’s best describe you?
“When travelling solo, we’re removed from all that is familiar. We discover who we are when no one is looking. Thrust into unfamiliar situations, we sometimes learn that we are not who we think we are – we discover aspects of our personality that we weren’t aware of. And when we have to rely on strangers for help we learn to trust our intuition. All these experiences, this learning, promotes spiritual growth.” – Oriah Mountain Dreamer
Syifa was born and grew up in Jakarta, Indonesia. Since childhood, she has always wanted to see other countries than her own. However the idea of travelling as a luxury thing to do and requires a lot of money always stopped her from actually doing it. Not until 2014, where she got her first official yet low-paid job, she went abroad for the first time. Since then, she travelled extensively around Southeast Asia. After waiting for 2 years, in August 2016, she left Indonesia for long term travelling, a thing that she has been dreaming of. With only USD 1000, she decided to travel slowly, maximised the use of Couchsurfing and Workaway. For her, the whole aspect of the journey is so much more crucial than the destination itself. She is now residing in the Northeast of China for an English teaching job.
© 2017 Writing & Images copyright of Marina Utami.