During my year of living in the UK, I have been visiting this girl so many times. She was also an Indonesian student who likes to travel solo and has been doing many crazy decision in her life. She was a journalist, a musician and now miraculously she is a lighting designer. Therefore, I am featuring her as one of the Superwoman of the month, the Indonesian Solo Female Travel Putri Dwimirnani!
First time I met her was when we had a scholarship gathering (LPDP) in Bandung, and even though we only met once back then, I quickly noticed that we have the same funny and clumsiness aura (in a good way, Put!). We kept in contact afterwards and became really close! Yet, she offered me a place to sleep whilst I transited or travelled around London – which made me knew all of her flatmates like I have been living with them.
She is one of an independence female traveller that I rarely see from my hometown. So I think it is worth to feature her in the Superwoman page 🙂
Name: Putri Dwimirnani
Occupation: Lighting Designer
What inspired you to travel solo for the first time?
I planned my first solo travelling when I was 17. I tried my luck by joining a programme called ‘au pair’ and found a lovely Italian family, with whom I still keep in contact until now. The journey was cancelled due to the visa issue, but I believe that was the basis of my future solo travels. The main reason I wanted to travel alone is to challenge myself; to know how well I would survive in extremely different conditions. Another reason is because I love strolling around randomly without plans and destination, which can never be done if I go with others.
Tell us about the first time you travelled alone. Where did you go and what did you do?
I had a lot of solo trips before, but my first dedicated solo travelling was in 2014. It was a week before my birthday when I took a train ride from Jakarta and rent a room in Bantul, an area that is surrounded by paddy fields. I explored the city by bike without using GPS. I let myself lost in the way, pedalled fast until I got tired, then took a break in any street vendors I found. It was my first time solo travelling by bike, and I was addicted to it. People were very nice and friendly knowing I travelled alone by bike. I remember a man gave me a free tour to Taman Sari (water castle) just because he was amazed by what I did. At the end of my travel, I was exhausted and sick; my skin was badly burnt; my phone fell off the bike and dented; and I was, of course, broke. Even so, it was an amazing experience. In fact, I started cycling daily to my workplace soon after, which I still do until today.
So what are the love/hate things you experienced travelling alone?
Serenity is what I seek in most of my travels. Going somewhere with a few close friends is fun, but the feeling I get from travelling by myself is irreplaceable. I can see the world better without any ‘distractions’ from the social activities, I can go wherever I want or do whatever I wish without any concern of others. I love walking randomly without any plan or destination that may upset most people. Going alone gives me unlimited possibilities during my travel.
The only thing I hate when travelling alone is the awkward situation when I suddenly want to eat in a nice restaurant where nobody comes alone. I would end up eating alone anyway, but it would be nicer to have someone to share the table with.
Who’s your travel inspiration?
Samantha Brown. I started to fill in my bucket list after seeing her going to interesting places around the world. She is a warm-hearted person who always finds the beauty in everything. Not only an amazing host and traveller, I think she is also a wonderful person.
What is your favourite websites and travel apps do you often use?
For me, Lonely Planet is still the best source to find interesting activities and places. I consider myself conventional, so I rely my life on Google (esp. Google Maps) for navigation and transport information; Booking.com, Hostelworld, and Airbnb for accommodation; and Muslim Pro for the local prayer times and direction, halal food guide, and nearby mosques. If there is an app to help me find the nearest toilet, that would be my favourite as I have a small bladder.
What is your favourite country so far? Any recommendation for any female solo traveller?
Japan is on my top list. It is amazing to see how they preserve the nature and energy; keep their lives balanced; and maintain serenity between the busy life. Japan is also very safe, as we all know, and lots of solo travellers are actually coming from Japan. So, female solo travellers should definitely visit this country!
Italy comes to the second, especially the Southern area. Local people told me that the Norths are rather ‘posh’ and the Souths are more friendly. I love the culture, love the food, love the gentlemen who always treat women well. The only thing that may annoy people there is the pickpockets, but I live in Jakarta so I’m quite used to it.
What are some important things you bring when travelling solo? (Beside money and passport?)
I never go without bringing some Tolak Angin and cajuputi oil (with the specific brand) with me. A universal adapter is also a must; power bank is a necessity for me since 2015; eye mask is essential; and a head scarf.
Everyone has their quirky thing when they travel. I love doing temple hunting and visiting local market. So what’s yours?
I am obsessed with so many things. First, I always love visiting local markets to find their signature food or drink; I prefer street food (or home cooking) over fancy restaurants. I also have an intense love of tea, so I always feel the urge to taste the local tea: from classic Japanese green tea, fresh Thai tea, to the unique blend Turkish tea, I drink tea wherever I land. As a lighting designer, a night walk is also a must to feel the different ambience given by the controlled lights. Last, I am highly obsessed with orchestral music and theatre as they are highly related to culture. Visiting concert halls or theatre is a must.
Share your tips for any first-time solo traveller?
Just believe in yourself. The only thing that stops anyone from going solo is fear. Once we conquer the fear, it will become a necessity. Don’t be afraid to approach people and start a conversation, because it’s always amazing to share stories with strangers. Always bear in mind that nobody knows you when you’re travelling, so it wouldn’t do any harm just by doing stupid things or asking silly questions.
What’s your favourite travel quote that’s best describe you?
I love the quote they put in the Ghibli Museum in Mitaka, Japan: Let’s get lost together.
I have a terrible navigation skill that has made me lost most of the times, but I think that is just my way to acknowledge a place. Getting lost means you explored things until the very end, and it helps me find hidden gems so many times.
Putri was always a weak kid who couldn’t stand road trips without feeling nauseous; she needed to take medicine to keep her asleep during the trip. Despite the weakness, her mother always said, “This is a sign that you would travel a lot when you grow up.” Apparently, the mother was right. Aside from the necessary business trips to multiple cities and countries, Putri finds travelling as one of the keys to have a balanced life. It is a way to learn and comprehend the beauty of diversity. As a lighting designer, travelling is not only obligatory, it is part of her life. She enjoys all kinds of travels, either low budget or luxury treats; from the mountain to the open sea; although she prefers a relaxed journey that would help her merge into the local culture. Her personal motto is “I do not travel. I live in the moment.”
Are you one of the cool solo female traveller with Indonesian blood that has abundance of story to tell? Get featured here as the Superwoman and help to inspire other solo female traveller wannabe too out there! 🙂
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© 2017 Writing & Images copyright of Marina Utami.