Sunday, December 31, 2017

Merci, Deux Mille Dis-Sept

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Oh it's that time of year again, n'est-ce-pas?

At the verge of entering a new year.
Reflecting what I've done right last year.
Well I've done alright, I think. Even better.
Because not only I succeeded—I enjoyed it.

Of course, because this was

"The Year of Doing It All Again"

The year of restarting what I've been liking.

You remembered what I assigned myself for 2016? Yes, settling down. I was so focused in finding the best job, discovering what I wanted, searching myself. I only went to Bali and Singapore -though each of which were visited three times, but that was only because I just finished a big draining year in 2015 -Hong Kong for two weeks, and Japan for six weeks, remember?

So me not having a big trip in 2016, is somewhat a drive for myself to DO BIG in 2017. To do again what I did in 2015, in 2014, 2013 even all the way back to 2010 and beyond. And I really meant it. I did it. So many things I thought I wouldn't be doing again, I did.

Even better.

Excelling in career, done. Even better. As I helped winning two new businesses for my company. Going on another long haul vacay with family, done. Even better. As it was Manado, our long-desired destination we were dying to visit. Showing that I'm a valuable adman, done. Even better. As I was shortlisted in one of Indonesia's best advertising festivals. And finally, fulfilling my never-ending hunger as a traveler, done. Done, done, done, DONE and of course, EVEN BETTER.

As this year, 2017, for the very first time in my life I did two big trips. Went on two grand journeys. Visited two big countries and best part of that is, I unlocked two new continents.

In just one year.
Damn I can't believe myself.

It's always been at least one big trip each year. Or maybe two, one big, the other one was still, yea, tolerable. Like in 2013 I did Malaysia-Thailand and The US, or in 2015 I did HK-Macau and Japan. This year, it wasn't South Korea and Australia. Or Taiwan and France. It's Australia and France, for God's sake, and EVEN BETTER. I'm doing the latter for Christmas and New Year -literally DOING as I'm now in France! which I never done before in my life!

So yeah.

Thank you, 2017,
Merci beaucoup!

Restarting what I've restarted this year. How cool is that???

I purely enjoyed every single day of the year. And I truly appreciate the way it motivated me. Because this big achievement I've done this year, makes me want to do something even bigger. Even better than ever. And I have this strong feeling that next year will be the start of it. The preparation.

So yeah, 2018.

I don't think it's going to be you,
Who would come to me and say,
"Brace yourself, Vick"

No—even better.

It's going to be me,
Who will say to you,
"Be prepared"

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Restart Ends Here

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If you’re aware of what I've been doing this past 12 months,
Yea, everything, well no—most of them, are something to do with

“Restarting”

From revisiting places I’ve been to, doing a big solo trip again, vacationing with family, having a Lebaran getaway with them, to trinkets like short Bali trip, F1 escape, and hosting a friend from abroad and doing that local exploration, yes, it was all, clearly, restarting things I haven’t done in a quiet long time.

That, all happened throughout the year. Literally. From that wild night New Year office party all the way to Citra Pariwara celebration some weeks ago -I was a finalist of Daun Muda Award, for God’s sake!- yea, things kept restarting—until now, when I think that this is the peak of it.

"The peak", I said, because it’s not only restarting what I’ve done years ago. But also restarting what I just did six months ago, on this exact same year.

Yep. Another big trip.
My ultimate “Restart Moment”.

F R A N C E

I know, I know, France is not all about Eiffel but dude can I have my own moment here???
Oh, the photo's from here by the way.

No. I haven’t been to France. I haven’t even been to Europe.

But I’ve been in my position I am now. Sitting restlessly, waiting for the date to come. Feeling anxious yet excited because this’d be my very first time ever going to a certain place. Yes, I’m restarting what I’ve once felt for my previous big trips.

And I’ve been in this situation before. A trip so big that it requires so many things from so many layers of myself. A trip with lots of preparations, plannings, and considerations. A trip where I could celebrate Christmas and New Year outside my own country so yes—this kind of journey, is restarting in my life.

Wow.

Never thought that it’d end this way. Really unbelievable. When I first bragged about all these “restart” shits on January, I was only foreseeing it for the next 6-7 months. Never had I imagined that it'd last until the very end of 2017, wrapped up with such amazing trip.

And this trip, will mark the final restart of this year.
The timing is right, the size of the moment is right,
So with this, I’d like to proudly say that,

Restarting succeeded

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Thank You, Malaysia

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Mmm no. If you think that the country had done anything good to me and my life, no. I still hate them for whatever they did to my nation—but hey! Let’s not talk about that now. Let’s talk about, real goodness that Malaysia did for a particular interest of mine.

Yep, Formula One.

Sorry guys, the topic is not over yet.

I believed I mentioned that this year’s Malaysia Grand Prix is the last one ever, right? I know, it’s really sad. Although this guy inside of me felt a bit happy because if us Indonesians can’t enjoy the race, what makes you Malaysians can? But when I get to think it thoroughly, yea, it’s plain sadness.

Because I just realized that the GP is the cheapest I could get in the world. Singapore may be closer, but the price of the ticket is criminal. They’re so fucking commercialized that people are forced to spend SGD200-300 to get the shittiest spot, for just one day entry –come to think of it, I was so robbed, fuck! I payed less than half of Singapore for Malaysia, and guess what, I got to access all three days of its event! Now that the GP will no longer be there, the cheapest I could get would be China or Japan. But getting my ass up there would cost me the same price for the ticket alone in Singapore. Am I screwed?

My heart is broken, for real. I discovered just the most suitable way to fulfill my budding F1 hunger, exactly on its last time running. But who am I kidding? If there are people whose heart break more, it should be those Malaysians.

I mean, seriously. It’s been on for 19 years, and has been an integral part of the country’s annual agenda. Malaysian guys my age grew up watching each and every single races, and Malaysian kids were raised knowing that the GP has always been there. And now, what, it’ll all be gone.

I met an Indian-Malaysian guy while queuing –uselessly– for the drivers’ signing. He was from Johor Bahru, going all the way to Sepang only for the race. When I asked how he felt knowing that this’d be his last race, he said he was okay. Maybe because he just began to like F1 for the last 2 years. But I knew he lied. He liked F1 just as much as I do –as we talked about F1 really a lot, making my useless 2 hours of waiting didn’t seem that long, and if I were him, I would really be devastated.

Because it’s one hell of a pride, hosting an F1 race. It’s such a big brag to see the name of your country lined up with other exclusive nations who are eligible to hold a Grand Prix.

But well, I think that new friend I met wasn’t fully lying. Because when I looked around, I didn’t see even one Malaysian looking all sad and gloomy –one thing I’m pretty sure I’d fail to do, if I were in their shoe.

Everybody seemed to be enjoying their finale. Everybody acted like there would be another race next year, as what they had always feel every year. The whole event was a blast, and I must say, as a customer, I was more than just satisfied. They did great. And ended things up with such awesome dignity.

I wonder how it feels to create the line....


So dear Malaysia,

Personal hatred aside, I feel your sorrow.
And for that first yet last race I had last week,

I thank you

Monday, October 2, 2017

Closer, Closer

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So I missed the plan for the second half of 2017.

Damn I've been crazy busy lately you won't ever imagine how it's like to be me -lol who am I again?? But seriously. Juggling with three jobs, two personal projects, and one busy life as an adult at the same time is not quiet like a good idea. I feel like I barely breathe, and have much too limited time to do stuff including to update this blog, and the next thing I know, boom, it's October, and I missed the plan for the second half of 2017.

But no worries. On July, I still had no idea what I was going to do for the rest of the year anyway, so the post will only be full of bullshit. Oh but wait. I knew at least one plan. One, thing, that I did last year so randomly, and I kinda suspected that I'd do again this year. One thing that really matched my "Restart Project".

Formula 1 Race.

Yep. I did it again this year. Was talking to a co-worker about F1, and this little -yet awesome- spontaneous guy inside of me somehow urged me to "buy the ticket for a Grand Prix like right now!" and ta-dah, there I was, in front of my desktop, with my credit card raped.

No, it wasn't Singapore again -man, the price of the ticket was such a ripoff!- so I bought the other one that you might guess. Because as the second GP ever in my entire life, of course I would try the second closest one from home. Yea, it was

MALAYSIA GRAND PRIX

Pic's from here.

No considerations. But no regrets. Especially because the ticket consisted all three days of the Grand Prix -the freaking expensive tix I bought for Singapore, was only for the Race Day. But nothing made it better when they announced that it was going to be the last ever Grand Prix in Malaysia. The image of me being a part of the ending of what had been going on for the last 19 years, and how it matched my coming there, I couldn't be any more grateful of that.

The waiting was extra draining, but it was worth the excitement. As when I saw the drivers arrived one by one in Sepang, knowing that they were only 5000kms away and one hour ahead of me, I INSTANTLY FORGOT ABOUT ALL THE WAITINGS!

Then came the weekend. It was oh another spontaneous trip I haven't done for a fair long time. Only packed one bag, which I brought to the office -yes, I didn't want to lose any dayoff so I still went to the office before my flight, caught a late night flight to Malaysia, arrived early on  Saturday morning, took a quick power nap by the airport lounge before heading straight to the circuit which was only several kilometers away from the airport, and decided to stay at a capsule hotel at the airport, well, I must say, I never know anybody who can plan a trip more effective than myself! HA-HA.

Okay enough talking about the trip.
This is not a post about traveling, Vick.

Okay, day one! Day one, was quiet of a bummer at the beginning. Overall it was unbelievable, of course, to be able to wander around the F1 circuit one more time. Plus, this one was much better as I had more access. But I missed the first session of the drivers interview on the stage. And it was Red Bull, the team I'm supporting! Still I got to see Lewis Hamilton, Valtteri Bottas, Felipe Massa, even Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel but, I WAS FLYING THERE FOR DANIEL RICCIARDO OH GOD AND I WAS SO CLOSE IN SEEING HIM!

Alright! Chill.

So I missed the interview, not a big deal. It's not like Daniel talked to the fan one by one -if that's really what happened, I wouldn't forgive myself for missing the interview. I still got to enjoy the whole day by taking photos here and there, getting free 360 and free podium jump celebration photo ops, shopping trinkets, enjoying the Free Practice and hell yeah, the main course of the day, the Qualification. After all I returned to the airport fulfilled and hopeful, because on the following day, there was still the drivers signing thing I could take part of.

And so I woke up earlier on Sunday.

Checked out early from the hostel, had early breakfast, and took the earlier bus to the circuit. But of course, when you thought that you did good, somebody else did better. When I got there, the line was like that of a Justin Bieber concert. And that's only the line entering the circuit. When I reached the stage where the signing would take place, God I swear, I felt like I lost any faith in life. It was too long, the queue. And all the people around me were pretty sure that we didn't stand even a chance. But what the heck I tried anyway. Even if it was only Jolyon Palmer, I wouldn't mind -at least he could tell Daniel that I said "hi" to him.

But I think God still wanted me to try harder.
And so they announced that the signing was over.

I was so pissed. Two hours standing, less than halfway to go. If only I woke up even earlier, and ran even faster, I could at least be close enough to the stage that I could shout to attract Daniel's attention. But well it was just a bonus. The main dish was still the main race, and so I kept my head held high and stepped to the grandstand I was assigned to.

Luckily, the race was damn good.

I was so worried that rain would ruin the whole race, but it only showered until a minute before the lights out! So all my worries about this race would end up so boring-ly like Singapore two weeks earlier, it all washed out along with the rainfall. And the race itself was, I may be biased because I was there and it might sound a bit defensive, but the race was to me one of the best in 2017.

The drama was real. The leader changed from the default Hamilton to Verstappen, who had been a bit underestimated because of all the engine problems he suffered. The slippery track made it even more exciting. But of course, the one I screamed so loud about, was Daniel's attempts to regain his place on Top 3 from the Force Indias and Bottas, and, to defend himself from Vettel who surprisingly accelerated like devil from the bottom to P4.

I swear I was all squeaky like an old lady. It was so tight towards the end, between Daniel and Sebastian -I'm sure if there were one or two extra laps, he's done. Best part was, I was surrounded by Ferrari fans. So being all so loud and cringy while Vettel was trying so hard to reach Ricciardo's ass, I swear people were looking at me. But I don't care because I WAS FLYING THERE FOR DANIEL RICCIARDO OH GOD AND THOSE MANEUVERS WERE SO CLOSE!

Finally it ended, and Daniel finished third. Never once in my life I felt so manly -or not?- for supporting some sport stuff with all my heart. Well. What a race. If my day ought to end on that exact second, I wouldn't mind.

But I think God still wanted me to try harder.
And so they opened up the gate for us to go down under.

My adrenaline came rushing. This could be my only chance to get closer to Daniel, remembering that I missed both of the first two chances. Plus, he got podium. Along with Verstappen who finished first. There had to be something going on around the main grandstand.

So I pushed whatever was in front of me. I swifted like an antelope, snatched any empty spot like a cat squeezed itself inside a cardbox half its size. I ran like I've always trained myself days before the race, leaving those slow weaklings before me and joined they who had arrived there in front of the main grandstand. The Dutch national anthem finished playing, and the trophies were all distributed when I arrived in front of the podium. I was so close to him...

I took photos like it was my wedding: A LOT. And even after the drivers left, and people got fed up taking pics, I stayed. I didn't know why but I told myself that I needed to stay, just to fulfill my need to be around the atmosphere. After 30 mins I felt like I had enough, so I began to clear away from the podium front, and walked along the garage.

And I saw these people climbing up the fence in front of a garage. I was too tired to do the same, but like a spotlight from heaven, I saw this one empty spot among these people, ONLY ONE AND I'M NOT TRYING TO MAKE IT LIKE A SWEET SERENDIPITY, calling me with such grand bliss, waiting to be climbed.

You wouldn't believe what happened next. Or you would: I climbed, of course. But what you wouldn't believe is what I saw in front of the fence I climbed.

It was Red Bull's garage.

I don't know how else to say how lucky I was. To stand right in front of their garage. Exactly theirs like, theirs only! And the cars were being dragged inside, the mechanics and engineers were working on some parts with such joy, and us here lining up the fence looking at them with pure happiness. It was quiet for a long time, me standing there doing nothing but looking at the garage. But my guts once again told me to stay for at least 15 more minutes, without knowing why.

And he was right.

People from my right started shouting. That kind of shout in a concert where people realize that it's about to start. That kind of atmosphere in a gig where the main star shows a bit of his presence.

Yep, Daniel appeared.

With Max. And the old lady I unleashed earlier during the race, suddenly came back. As a crazy fanboy who seemed ready to jump in and crouch the idol. My brain was blank, and my mouth kept shouting Daniel's name. Only the name, nothing else. I was blinded by excitement I think I forgot other words but his name. No shame at all, because thanks to that restless shouting, he FUCKING WAVED AT ME, WHAT THE HELL WHY AM I SO EXCITING AND TYPING IN ALL CAPS AGAIN? OH YEAH BECAUSE IT WAS DANIEL RICCIARDO WAVING AT ME, AND HELL YEA IT WAS THE CLOSEST I COULD BE TO HIM!

Fuck, chill Vick, that's not even the best part.
No, I lied. Of course it was the best part.

Although what happened after that was also unforgettable to me. They were appearing in front of the garage to do the trophy shots, as they got double podium that race. My camera never once stopped working. Photos, videos, photos, videos, stupid selfies, photos, I didn't want to miss even one second.

Because I was too lucky, and I wanted to keep this forever.

It looks like a photo taken by journalist, eh? But no. IT'S ME!

No considerations.
But no regrets, at all.

Because all my random plans paid off. All my tight, not-staying-in-downtown-not-even-staying-away-from-the-airport schedule succeeded. And most importantly, my wish to get real close to my idol came true -lol it made me sound like a freaky psychopath BUT TO HELL WITH THAT!.

But I think God still wants me to try harder.
Because after all, I still don't have any photo with the honey badger.

Maybe next time, next time for real.
In Japan, China, or maybe his home Australia,
I'll be actually that close

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Around the World

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When I was younger,
That phrase, “around the world”
Seemed to be like mere aimless fantasy.

That “world” we’re talking about is a real deal. It’s big. With so many places most of which are even untouched. So I took it for granted, treated it like another popular term I never considered seriously, and lived on believing that it’s just a beautiful proverb too good to be true.

But as I grew up, as my thirst of exploration deepened, and as the trend of traveling bloomed, somehow that so-called proverb seems...

Possible.

It’s been four years since my first ever solo trip abroad. And it hasn’t stopped. I’ve been here and there, slowly crossing places I’ve been dying to visit off of my list. The plans were neat and carefully thought, leading me to bigger journeys and greater places. Making me able to actually start dreaming of traveling around the world—no longer treating it as a fantasy.

It’s a big deal, yes, but I didn’t notice about it,
Until I got in touch with this masterpiece. A book.

“Around the World in 80 Days”

Pic's from here.

You must know about this one. It’s a classic. From around 1800s, talking about a wonderful adventure of this guy around, well, as the title suggests, the world.

Let’s not talk about the book. It needs a separate post because, God, I really loved it. The guy, Phileas Fogg, is basically me. With all his plans, all his calculations of departing from one city and arriving in another to catch trains or steamboats to even further places, yea, that’s what I’d do in each and every single trip of mine.

So following his journey, from London crossing mainland Europe to Greece, sailing the strait to the gulf countries towards India, riding trains and elephants to reach the border of Southeast Asia, entering Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan and China to cross over the Pacific Ocean and land in America, only to head back to England it was like, damn—if he could do that, in just 80 days, and it was for God’s sake the year of 1800s where even no one dared to dream about flying, well, how could I not do the same??? It makes much more sense to do it now, to actually live my long lost dream.

But then you can’t call it a dream if you don’t have any obstacles.

I have a life. And responsibilities. Traveling for 80 days is actually possible, but, maybe not now. I did travel for nearly 80 days in Japan two years ago, but it was partly business. While for pure exploration, I don’t know, I should’ve done that in three years back or so, when I was free as a bird. But then I didn’t have the money. Now I have the money, but responsibilities got me caged like a... bird.

Well I’m not that trapped though. As I said, I have travel plans to do. Even now as I’m typing this, I’m currently lying down on my capsule bed in Malaysia, just finished a chapter of that book I’m currently loving, now trying to get some sleep because I have to wake up early and head to Sepang for an F1 race. So yea, I’m not THAT trapped.

And something inside of me is convincing me that, what I’ve achieved since 2014, it deserves a massive recognition.

So I made a deal with myself, right here when I’m on a trip, and with Jules Verne’s travel bible on my hands. A deal to complete my exploration of the world, just like what Mr Fogg did—even wider, but with a twist.

“Around the world, in 80 months.”

These are the witnesses of my oath.

Just because I had to keep my lust to travel always on, yet I had to be realistic.

Let’s do the math. I began all this traveling thingy on January 2014. 80 months from that, and my deadline would be on August 2019. Nice, I still have time.

Now let’s do geography. Mr Fogg’s journey may be damn long, but he didn’t reach Africa and Australia. Yet his book is still called “around the world” anyway. My story, therefore, should be complete for me to be able to call it “around the world”. Well of course by ‘complete’ I didn’t ambitiously vision myself to visit multiple countries in one region.

So my version of "around the world", is to complete my continent visit. The number of countries won’t matter, it’s the continent that I’m counting. I’ve been around Asia many times. America once, to The US, and Australia just this year, visiting three states. I’m traveling to Europe for Christmas New Year so, right, there I am! I only need to land my ass in Africa!

God I'm so excited about this project!

Excited because I never realized I'd actually make a phrase I took for granted 15 years ago to actually come true. Excited because all the jealousy I felt towards all the characters inside Jules Verne's book will soon pay off

Excited because I'm on the verge of telling the world
That there's no such thing as "Impossible", to travel

Around the world