Monday, December 31, 2018

Gracias, Dos Mil Dieciocho

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2018 was "Year of Preparation"
Well at least that's what I said when I welcomed the year.

Initially it was about preparing to living abroad. Preparing for masters degree, preparing for working somewhere outside Indonesia, preparing for THAT!

But then as you know, life usually has its own, preparation.
So instead of preparing for those dreams I've been dreaming for,
I ended up preparing for something else this whole year.

Which apparently, was

Preparing for Greater Goods


As it turns out the term was beyond just around traveling context, or career context, or of course way so far from academic context—it's about all of those, in one.

Let's take a short, one year ride back to the beginning of 2018.

It began oh so pleasantly. In January I just finished my trip to France. My first ever European trip, which I couldn't really successfully move on from. Too grande, too beautiful, and I gotta admit that this trip, along with the fact that I was on the brink of getting tired of my work, made me think that this year would yet be another one dedicated for traveling. And oh was I so true about that!

Throughout the year, after France, I did six fucking more trips! SIX, for God's sake! I didn't even know how I could cope with that! Financially, bureaucracy-wise -giving the fact that my EX-company only grant me one annual leave per month, and more than that would mean that I got my salary cut- not only about the policy, but about getting the permission for my boss, because, HELL, what I do at work, it's a team work so the more I traveled the more I ruined the pace. But then again, I underwent all six trips nicely, with not much drama -as far as I know... So yea all those trips, I guess it helped me prepare myself to be oh so much better in the world of traveling. And negotiating, and compromising, and hard working, GOSH, a lot, really!

Like my trips to Bali. Oh yeah, I did twice of them this year. One during the religious day of silence, and the other one is for a friend's friend's wedding. See those motives, really uncanny, eh? People who don't travel a lot see me as a very avid traveler, that I now am on the stage that I go to Bali no longer for holiday purposes, but for something, greater!

Then my trip to Korea, who seemed to be normal, actually, but giving the fact that it happened two months from Bali, and a fucking three weeks after Macao, damn, my colleagues start questioning me if I was overpaid -which pissed me off, actually, because it wasn't for my salary cuz I had one of the suckiest paycheck on the company so it totally thanks to my saving skill in which I didn't go out and hangout and buy food and snacks as much as they did, GOSH, I feel like I wanted to slap them for saying that.

So yeah, back to my trip to Korea. It was my annual trip, actually, so like any other annual trips I ever done, I haven't been there. But it turned out to be so amazing, so socially and personally powerful that my five-month streak of can't-seem-to-move-on from France suddenly vanished! I did stuff people don't usually do when in Korea, made friends out of my solitary holiday, and it was always been fun to see how people would react the way I travel.

The same thing applied to my trip to Japan, too. Which happened five months after Korea, and only a month after my second Bali. At this stage I really didn't care about how my friends would react anymore, because I think I was already hinting of leaving the company anyway. I didn't care about how many days of leave I needed to request, how much works I needed to abandon, FUCK, I didn't care anymore! And it turned out to be one of the most refreshing escape I ever done. And on top of that, this trip to Japan was to fulfill my thirst of F1 -yet another fucking uncanny reason to visit Japan I bet not a single Indonesian had ever thought about it before, and to have this amazing social visit here and there -which I'm pretty sure NO ONE could ever equal the way I treated Tokyo as if it was my hometown.

And here's one more trip I didn't know would leave a mark on me. I didn't even see it coming: Macao. Not as a traveler, but as an influencer. Gosh, those days of being treated as royals... I just discovered how life as influencers were totally amazing. At first I thought this could be the life I wanted. I've been working so hard building my travel writing career, and being a travel influencer could be the peak of all, and all this shit of "preparation" blah can switch from preparing what I've always tried to prepare, to preparing myself in becoming an influencer. Turns out, it was a silly consideration. The trip opened my mind about how, -should I use that word?- well, unsuitable a life as an influencer to me. The trip eventually prepared myself to become a more, let's say, pure, unfake, and smart traveler I knew I would always enjoy being.

And that, leads us to other things I achieved this year. My fifth book, the one with Australia. It was out this September. Followed by my FIRST EVER DestinAsian article, on October, right before I flew to Japan—see? All this year was all mostly about traveling! And these works specifically, they helped me prepare to be the more ambitious travel writer I've always dreamed of becoming.

But hey, that didn't mean that I ditch work at all. To my surprise, I actually did well on my advertising side. My ideation skill got honed, my presenting skill got loosened, some of my thoughts and ideas were actually come to life that really helped building my portfolio, I got more chances to work with the company's high-ups and with clients, I won pitches, but as the cherry on top of everything, it was when I made it through to Young Spikes finals. It's the fucking major proof that I'm a worthy adman, and it helped me preparing myself to be a better one.

But again, as I mentioned before, it was money that had me thinking twice to stay. My urge to learn and do more of ideation and advertising grew oh so big, and hell yeah Ogilvy could provide me even more. But I got to be realistic, so out was I of Ogilvy—a decision so big and so brave, but I know it's a part to prepare that GREATER GOODS for me so, yeah...

The resignation marked the end of my 2018 journey.

I quitted the company with no fixed plan of what to do, and which company would take me, after this. I just wanted to show the world that I had all the courage to do whatever I thought I was afraid of, and to show that my preparation had been completed that I'm now ready to embark something greater.

So here I am in Madrid, in the middle of my 21-day-long Spain-Africa journey which is the longest I ever done, waiting for the clock to strike twelve and 2018 turns to 2019, unemployed yet celebrating my bravery to move on.

But before that,

Muchas gracias, 2018.I really enjoyed this year!

Whoa.

I've never ranted this much about my achievements.
But I'm sorry I can't help but being so proud of myself.
Because I've done such great preparations all year long.
And I know next year, something big is coming along.

Guess it's time for some
Redemptions?

Friday, December 7, 2018

Goodbye, David

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"And this time I'm convincing myself not to go anywhere else, unless it's for the master degree. I've explored enough, and this company I'm now working at, is too hard to get and too big to ditch."
.
-- an imbecile, somewhat 2 years ago.

And that imbecile, was me.

That's the line I told myself on my second day of work at Ogilvy. Well, did I tell you already? That Ogilvy is actually a company I used to dream of working for.

Since my college days, the name was on top of my list. To work here and live life as a copywriter, was like a combination I'd kill for. When it was time for us to seek for internship program, this company was the one I approached though it didn't go as planned.

No, no, I got the interview call, indeed. It was like only one step to acceptance, then I think my chance got blown away when I told them I only had two months to do the internship—whence they required three -thanks to my already-booked Bali trip, but then, I would never regret it because it became a very memorable trip! BBDO was eventually the one accepted me.

Then came the actual professional phase. When all college bullshit ended and real shit came greeting. Again, Ogilvy was among the first I sent out my -enhanced and super beautified- portfolio. And again, I got the freaking call. I nailed the interview too, I guess. With two expats I remembered them vividly even until now. But their offers weren't really appealing it seemed they looked down on me. Well no matter how much I adored them, I still have dignity no? So I went for SOGO instead.

I quitted SOGO, went for my amazing internship in Japan, and came back home once again, unemployed. And once again too -and I guess I claimed to myself that it'd be for the last time- I turned to Ogilvy for yet another application. This time for the Social Department.

One interview -with both supervisors- nailed. Interview two, now with the boss of social, well, nailed that one too. Final interview was with the creative director, and my senior in college, so I guess I totally nailed that one. Plus two given assignments submitted on time -and on point too, I assume- plus rather smooth negotiation plus a bit of luck this time,

I got the role.

Fuck man, finally. I'm an Ogilvy-an. Three attempts for three different role in just one company, and only got accepted on the third try, well, I guess in this case third time's a charm.

See my fight to get into this company I really dreamed of, wasn't quiet easy. It took me three fucking years! No wonder if at the end of the day -during my first days, exactly- I promised myself that I wouldn't ever want to leave the company unless I was to get my masters degree eh? No other job, no other abroad internship and no other thing could steal my attention this time!

It seemed so easy to convince myself to do that though, at the beginning, because life was oh so amazing back then. I could get to live my dream copywriter life, and at the same time learn as much as I could to be a good digital-social media practitioner slash amazing creative. Overtime works were totally bearable, company benefits were really enjoyable, parties was crazy, and, don't forget about the incredible outing to Hong Kong and Macau that was interestingly exclusive to Social Team only. Yes, others didn't go because it was only us that reached our KPI.

Coworkers were another reason why I enjoyed my life in Ogilvy. Oh my God how we were like playmates at the office. Works seemed like playing, and clients were like teachers we could make fun of on their backs. Things could get tough sometimes, but with them, it felt just fine and, weirdly, fun.

But then I guess good things couldn't last forever, eh?

Tables turned gradually. Good life started slowing down to such sorrowful hole, works became too much and depressing, colleagues began leaving, and I felt like it was getting too much.

I might still look happy from the outside, but I couldn't lie, I burnt out from the inside. I didn't know what held me back from leaving, because everybody else seemed to be doing it so easily. Well I guess I know: it's my super soft inside that kept me there. You know, when you feel like you're so solid with your decision, and then some minor joy at the office -like, making it to an award finalist?- restored your faith for the company and the next thing you know, you procrastinated your resignation.

Well... I guess that's just not all.

It's my old me, me from campus life, me who got rejected for the internship, me who got disappointed for the offers, THAT me who adored Ogilvy so much I promised myself not to leave the company—yes, he was the one who held me back from leaving.

At some point I owed him so much for his struggle to get me this far. At some point I felt like I hold accountability to keep his trust for not leaving. At some point, I just, don't want to disappoint him...

But also at some point, it was him who came to me,
Telling me that it's time to let go of my stupid ego.

So I made my decision.
I quitted from Ogilvy.

It wasn't easy, I swear.
But I know it was the right decision.

I've proved myself that I could get what I wanted, and it meant that I could do that again in the future. And in order to do that in the future, I needed to get out of whatever I was clinging at, no?

So yea all my struggles to get a spot inside the company, all the lessons I've learned from literally everything I encountered there, all the sweats and tears and bloods I shed during my service, all the memories, all the fun, all the laughters, fuck, I would cherish it all.

Thank you, Ogilvy, for those amazing stuff.
And no thank you for the shitty parts, really.

Goodbye.

Saturday, October 20, 2018

The Social Trip

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Now let's talk about the trip itself!

Yea, yea, the main goal was to watch Formula 1, but of course I wouldn't miss the opportunity to explore Japan and go straight back home after the chequered flag, eh?

So yea I did take the opportunity to improve my Japan glossary. Visiting new places I didn't go before -Nagoya, Asakusa and Sumida, Daikanyama, Shimokitazawa, Kawasaki, Yokohama, Hitachi, Izu, dang, I made the most of this trip! Experiencing some new cultures -JapanGP, mud onsen, seafood izakaya, sunakku, karaoke. Doing some amazing childish stuff -Fujiko F. Fujio Museum, Pokemon Cafe, hopping on and off every toy and cartoon stores and game arcades.

Lots, eh? I know. But if I could only pick one highlight that I really, REALLY enjoy from this trip, and made it as the title of the whole journey, I could easily say that the theme of this one would be 

The Social Trip

Should I explain more on this?
Well, okay I think I should.

In each of my trip, my SOLO trip, since I'd be having no one to talk to, I'd be somewhat 'forced' to make friends with people. To talk, at least. And he or she could come knocking into my life from anywhere! Be it during my long haul bus or train rides, or even flights, or my room mates, or people I ask help taking my photos, people who gang up with me on a visit to some attractions, people whom I meet at the hostel's common room, people who participate on the same tour service with me, ANYONE!

This trip specifically, I meet lots of people from so many layers of my trip. And since it's Japan, where I have lots of histories behind me, I have some people I already know whom spared their time to meet me again during this visit, making it even more qualified as that "SOCIAL"! For the F1 itself, unfortunately, since it was super high paced, I didn't meet anyone. Well, I was so busy too, jumping from one place to another thanks to my curiosity to operate my new camera.

But when I reached Tokyo, the amazing touch of this Social Trip began, amazing people from all walks of life starting to appear, forming myself another trip I will forever reckon as "Amazing".

The True Japanese Pal
Whenever I'm doing a trip, I will always work my ass off to meet at least one TRUE local, not an expat who's been living long there, or a pure-blood who's been overseas for some time and making their way back home for some time—no. A true, local, who's living their whole life in that city, who doesn't even speak English on a daily basis. God created Naoyuki for my trip this time.

And I couldn't even ask for a better companion. He introduced me to this traditional Japanese breakfast restaurant, then spared his time to accompany me to Yokohama, in which I never visited before, and he showed me around from the daylight to nighttime, seeing this and that, riding trains and boats, eating more and more, showing me some sides of Japan I never knew should I never met him.

The Local Duo
I know a friend who had a Japanese friend. And this Japanese friend had another Japanese friend. And so whenever I think of Japan, I always think of this Local Duo. Their names are Nana and Maya. I've known them since 2015, on my very first visit to Japan. I even met Maya for some more times as she traveled quiet a lot, including to Indonesia. So coming back to Japan without catching up with them would be a total sin, I guess.

We only met once during this trip, but it was amazing for real. They took me to this traditional izakaya where I discovered yet a new Japanese menu I never tried before: sea urchin, and half tuna which needs clam to peel and eat it! The journey wasn't just finished there. Just when I thought our meeting was over, Nana got this super brilliant idea to bring me to yet another Japanese local gem. A traditional snack bar named sunakku, where we can DO FUCKING KARAOKE! AND HELL YEA OF COURSE I SANG! Digimon's "Butterfly", my all time favorite anime anthem, sang right in the heart of Japan, in front of some locals -excluding my friends, of course, and got applauded too, I swear this was the best traditional thing I ever done not only in Japan, but in my entire traveling history.

The 'Local' Duo
Remember my ex-colleague from Ogilvy who quitted her job to move to Japan whom I labelled as the "Swag-chan"? Yes I met her for this trip, along with her husband who's even more swag I think she learned how to be swag from him. Her name is Ratu, anyway, and her man is Aril. We met at this local band gig -and by 'local' I meant Indonesian, with Indonesian organizer and of course Indonesian crowd, and now you know why I put apostrophe in word 'local' eh?- and had some dinner together. A bit random, because I didn't expect to feel so much like at home while I was in the heart of Tokyo, but then it's something new I never experienced!

The Colleagues
Nope, not from Ogilvy. These are my other colleagues, who were actually based in Tokyo. I think I've told you this before that I have a part time role in this travel website called JapanTravel, and it's the one who actually brought me to Japan for the first time, with its internship program—so yeah, of course I made plans to meet them this time!

I went to their office—well, OUR, office. The building was not the same with the one I visited in 2015, so it was my first time there. Meeting all the colleagues I met 4 years ago, meeting some more that I've only been able to chat online, meeting the CEO I never actually had the chance to have a face-to-face talk, and all were so excited to welcome me! I thought that was it, but then I was told to wait for the lunch break because they were planning to take me to some katsu place nearby -wanna hear something sucks? I just had that breakfast with Nao before coming to the office...

Now, wanna hear something amazing? It wasn't just with one, or two of them, but the whole team of six came to have lunch with me! I felt like I was a star for the whole noon but of course that's not the highlight. To hear their stories about how works at the office done was the thing I really enjoyed from the lunch because hey, working in Japan has always been my dream, remember?

The Roommates
Okay meeting locals, and people I actually have known, are things that could be considered, well, piece of cake. The real deal is to get myself acquainted with people I never known before, that had the same goal with me: fellow travelers. And where else to find them but at the place where I stayed at? Good God I made friends from my dorm room with not only one, but two people! They were my neighboring bunk mates, coming from the US and Norway.

I forgot the name of the US guy, because he was there for freaking work, and so we could only catch up at night after he'd be done with his workshop thingy. The Norwegian guy's name was Jacob and since he was in Tokyo for traveling, I got to talk to him more. The highlight for all three of us was when we were accidentally all home at the same time, and the US guy had this amazing sparkling sake drink -which tasted like Moscato- and he invited us all to come down to the traditional tatami dining room to sit together and just have a chat, getting to know each other much better -though still I couldn't remember the American guy name ha ha. Some simple gestures that really add up to my amazing Social Trip :)

The 'Soulmate'
Lol that's a pretty strong word to pick, but I'm afraid I couldn't find any better word that suits this guy. Meet Ramtin, a German-Iranian traveler who shared quiet a lot of common interests with me. He wasn't a member of my room, but we were regulars of the hotel's main living room so yea that's where we met. There were actually other people hanging out with us too back then, but somehow I just clicked more with Ramtin. And so we decided to extend this friendship to the following day.

We made an appointment to meet at Shinjuku the next day -an area I never cease to love, that he hadn't visited yet because this was his first time in Japan- to explore around, talk about our traveling stories, future trips, interests, jobs -which he didn't yet have because he was still freaking 22 FOR GOD'S SAKES! take photos of the amazing skylines and its buildings, as well as Shinjuku Godzilla too, eat off the streets -we did some random super tiny yakitori stall in Omoide Yokocho! and, here's what I liked the most, did some arcade games in which I never tried before!

Oyea, this is that "a lot of common interests" I was talking about. The guy was also trapped in childhood. We played Mario Kart and some zombie survival game, went to a freaking Crayon Shinchan store, and saw the real Mario Kart parade strolling around the streets—ALL IN WHERE THEY ALL COME FROM THAT IS TOKYO! I really enjoyed his companion because hey, we didn't only do the tourist stuff. We did what Japanese do!

The Fight Club
So Ramtin and I actually started from here. One night, after returning from Pokemon Cafe -fuck HOW CAN I NOT LOVE THIS TRIP!?- I crashed by the hotel's living room. There were two guys playing PlayStation, and guess what the game was: Tekken -LIKE, SERIOUSLY, COULDN'T THIS TRIP GET ANY BETTER? It was Ramtin and some blonde guy which later I discovered was from Germany, who were on the console.

Tekken is like, totally my game. So I was just sitting there, looking at these two amateurs fighting like noobs, waiting for one of them to start feeling insecure for being stared at by me. And it worked. The blonde guy offered me to play, and of course being an Asian I refused at first, but after some pushes I gave in, and the joystick was all mine. And so was the game, because Ramtin sucked at it. The blonde guy replaced him, and he sucked too. I was like the master of the night, and we all laughed and started getting to know each other and bonded and stuff, and they began being frustrated they started questioning me how I did those amazing capoeira shit with my Christie Monteiro and Eddie Gordo.

Our loud asses invited more people to the TV area. Two more white guys joined the game, one of which claimed he played good. Well, we'll see? We then had a tag team tournament instead of just one-on-one fight, and hell yeah that was so cracking entertaining. Of course the newcomer lost in the end—he gave quiet a fight though, but no one can tame my Brazilian moves. The tournament happened for a fair long time we switched characters and even partners for several times. The fight, the moves, the moment some of us realized we picked the wrong fighter, the laughter, the curiosity of how to hit and kick, for the love of God, we had so much fun. At some point we even laughed our hearts off the staff of the hotel shush us to shut the fuck up LOL HOW CAN I BOND WITH THESE PEOPLE SO FAST JUST OVER A GAME!? I fucking love this game night with these strangers 2 hours ago I didn't even know existed!

The Midnight Howl Pack
Well, of course the game session would have to end somehow. However even after the console was shut down, we didn't have the will to break the club. Yet. So we just chilled by the sofa, me, Ramtin, the not-so-bad-at-Tekken white guy, his Canadian friend John who had been playing guitar while watching us fight the whole night, and this newly joined hippie long-haired guy named Samuel from Lisbon, Portugal. Ramtin's German friend bid us farewell already because he had an early flight to catch.

At first I was only talking with John and Samuel, about, uhmm, cracks and marijuana -now you know why I labeled Samuel 'hippie' eh?- being legalized in Canada, and easy to find in Portugal. Then others joined the talk, and the talk grew to more topics, and then when we got tired of talking, only John's lazy guitar tune left to be heard.

And so it began...
One of the most memorable nights in my entire traveling life.

John started strumming something familiar. You know, songs with iconic guitar tunes which only by hearing the chords, we knew what it was. I forgot where he started, but I think it was John Mayer's "Stop This Train". Because of course.

We were just sitting there, me resting my side on the sofa and Ramtin in front of me -or does it count as next to me? John sitting on a high chair behind the sofa so he was technically adjacent from us, and the rest of us were like either next to John or behind me, letting the tunes swayed us away. It was so smooth, flawless and really hypnotizing, maybe because it was already late and we were all so tired from the day exploration -and of course, drained from the Tekken fights- or maybe because John was as much as good as John Mayer himself.

He finished. We sighed, so deep. Then I had the idea and ask him to add vocals, just so we can have a better, deeper moment. And he picked "Who Says", again by John Mayer. Good choice as it was so easy to listen to. And fucking relaxing oh God I just can't...

I knew all the lyrics of the song by heart, but I took 'em for granted this time because hell was I blown away by the tunes! So it really surprised me when John reached the end of the song, and the lyric I've always known so much, hit us directly to our heart.

Oh I guess you know which one :)

Though if you don't, just please bear in mind that the words were so powerful and... spot on. Ramtin and I looked at each other when that verse was sang, our lazy heads lifted from the sofa and our eyes wide open when they met, our jaws dropped in excitement and our hearts filled with pride of achievements. I'm sure everyone else by the sofa felt the fucking same thing, because the timing couldn't just be more precise.

John finished, we sighed again, even deeper this time, plus some tears clinging at the very end of both my eyes. I couldn't describe more of what I felt that night. It was really beautiful, yet spontaneous I bet not even a single one of us did see this coming. We then decided to call it a day—well, night. It was such a pleasant closure and I really didn't want to spoil it so I'd just bring it straight to bed. We bid farewell one another, and for most of us, it was the last time we ever seen each other.

Fuck.

It's crazy how I could meet and engage with so many people, old friends and new ones, in just a simple 6-day visit to Tokyo.

It's even crazier to think that the connection I made with the new ones, who started from strangers staying under the same roof, could be that meaningful and deep though it only lasted for several hours—and after that, we'd be strangers again.

I swear this city, FUCK, it's not only beautiful on its tourism level—it now has this amazing charm for me to get connected to people from all walks of life, which now made me look Japan in a whole new perspective.

Who says I can’t get stoned?
Plan a trip to Japan alone
Doesn’t matter if I even go
Who says I can’t get stoned?

Well it is true what John Mayer said:
I really can, and I really did, get stoned.
Only this kind of stoned is the stoned by
Such beautiful people I met during the trip,

To Japan Alone

Thursday, October 18, 2018

この声枯らして

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Let's talk about Formula One.
Guess I haven't really done it this year.

This season has been... well, not so bad. But as always, I will never be tired and losing interest to rant about F1. The races, the cars, the drivers, the transfers -oh, the transfers... a different post will be made to talk about this soon, anything!

Including, of course, the plan to once again watch a race live.

So I did Singapore two years ago. The closest possibility from Indonesia. It was a blast, giving the fact that my favorite guy Daniel won the second place. And of course, because it was my first ever Grand Prix.

Then last year I was in Malaysia. Oh, that one was a complete package. Real circuit, real fans -the one in Singapore is made of 90% concert goers, eewwhh, real atmosphere, real activities, all packaged with Daniel -again- making it into podium after giving such a good fight, and then completed with me actually seeing him with my very own eyes, OH MY LORD, that was the best!

Now I did the closest, then the second closest -though we had to say bye to Malaysia :(- and I guess it's only natural if this year, I maintain my streak, to come to yet another Grand Prix, not so far but at least an upgrade from the last one.

Yea, the choice was

Japanese Grand Prix

Well, well, well. Another crazy, spontaneous decision I ever taken, THAT, I'm totally proud of. Because, hello, THIS IS SUZUKA! One of the drivers' most favorite circuit, and obviously the favorite Grand Prix too because of the atmosphere and the fans OH MY GOD EVEN JUST TYPING THIS MAKES ME WANT TO GO THERE AGAIN :((

This time was a quiet new experience too, as I had to go quiet far from where I stayed, to the circuit. Unlike in Singapore where I could just walk, or in Sepang where I just needed to board a shuttle bus and then bam, I was already at the circuit gate.

The nearest big city from Suzuka is Nagoya, which thankfully I haven't visited yet, so it was just like a big big coincidence. From Nagoya I needed to take a train to, umm, I forgot the name of the station, but it was like a one-hour ride. From there I needed to switch to a smaller local train to Suzuka, and from the train stop, I still had to walk for another 20 minutes to reach the circuit.

HOWEVER. I didn't mind at all, because even from Nagoya, even from the very first moment when I had to wait for the very first train, ALL THE F1 FANS WERE THERE TOO! And that's why I said it was such a new experience to me!

Then the atmosphere now. Gosh, I can't even start on this one. Suzuka was so alive! Well, Sepang too, actually -especially because it was their last Grand Prix ever, but it was just different in Japan! The fans wearing weird costumes, the enthusiasm all expressed in Japanese, the shops selling lots of trinkets, IT'S LIKE WATCHING ANIME OF RACING!

My ticket was valid for all three days of the race. It's much more expensive than the one I bought in Malaysia -of course, buddy, it's Japan, so the class was a bit lower too, only a wooden bench without shelters. And yea, it was just the beginning of autumn in Japan, so summer rain was still pouring -don't ask me how wet I could get, and then dried again, then wet again lalala BUT I DON'T CARE BECAUSE IT'S SUZUKA! One thing a bit disappointing was, from the bench I sat, there were no screen for me to update everything on track. I had to walk a bit to the other part of the class, but then, when I found a screen, the commentators were in Japanese...

Oh, well, it's the ambiance that I bought, no?

Still I spent the first day moving from Tokyo to Nagoya, so I missed the Free Practices. But on Saturday, ho ho ho, of course I wouldn't miss it for the world! Went there early to check out the circuit and by "circuit" I meant THE WHOLE circuit. From the entrance, to the shops, the theme parks, the inner circuit, and of course my own seat category. Doing this so for the race day, I wouldn't need to do that all over again and would just focus on the race itself.

Qualifying started, and ended so quickly -because, well, I didn't know what was going on... and with my whole body soaking wet, I went to the main stage area of the fan zone because I knew something was about to happen: the drivers on stage!

I didn't get to do this last year in Sepang for some reasons -lateness reason- so I was damn ready for this one. For Massa, as he was the first one I saw on stage. For Kimi. For Mika Hakkinen. And finally, and this is why I'm writing about this, FOR DANIEL RICCIARDO AND HIS RED BULL GANG -oh yea, including Max too- OH MY GODDD!!!

I'm being a crazy fanboy again, just like last year. Daniel didn't make it on top this year in Japan, BUT STILL, even if he starts from the back, I'D SCREAM FOR HIM!!! So he did the interview, speaking some Japanese words that cracked the audience up, and finally came to the middle, fvcking closing in to me, and my scream was like, damn, oh getting so louder! That was one of the highlight of this Grand Prix to me.

As for the race day itself, honestly, it wasn't that enjoyable. Again, thanks to the no-screen and the no-English-commentators -one of a few pain in my ass for watching a Grand Prix live. HOWEVER, again, it was the atmosphere that I bought. So I sank deeper in every event, from the drivers parade, the marshalls that performed some fantastic car-imitating gig, the first lap, the laps that followed, and blended in with my surroundings, savouring every weird yet unique fan tidbits and their reactions, EVERY. SINGLE. THING, and I enjoyed it all!

Plus, the spectators helped building the hype. People around me consisted of fans of different F1 teams, so it wasn't so intimidating. But most of Japanese were shouting for Scuderia Torro Rosso team, which was a bit confusing to me, but when I asked an F1 store guy at Nagoya Station why they were so into the team -yea, when I was buying the official Red Bull jersey, I just realized that the engine of the team was Honda. And of course, Japanese would cheer for Honda.

Plus, it was the very first time I'm traveling with a decent camera. That could also snap different kinds of situation. So instead of complaining about how I couldn't really enjoy the race, I wandered around the seating area, took pics of everything I found interesting—until the next thing I know, the race was over -Lewis won, of course, yay. . . . . . . .- and here goes the best thing of this Grand Prix.

The Circuit Visit.

But no, it wasn't like last year. No breaking in, no cage destroying, no running into the track like a free gazelle. It's Japan, remember? So when Lewis passed the chequered flag, people started to get down the seating area, approaching nearer entry gate to the circuit, and, as Japanese would be expected to do -although there were more people there and not only Japanese- queuing.

That was quiet hilarious. I mean, when I was standing on the line, I recalled what happened last year. When people went mad and crazy and didn't really think of being arrested by the officials for trespassing something not really certain can be passed or not, and poured over the circuit. Today, just a year later, everyone submissively waited on a freaking line, missing the podium scene though could listen to what happened there from the megaphone, then kept waiting in uncertainty.

Then the gate was opened. Oh my God. My heart was beating fast. I'M ABOUT TO ENTER SUZUKA!!!

And so I stepped into the track.
And it felt like a pilgrimage.

I almost lose it. I was so close to actually cry. 15 minutes ago 20 cars I just saw on the track, which I could usually just see on the TV screen, were running along the roads I was walking on exactly right now. I could still see the tyre marks here and there. People even touched it in awe. They also picked some unusual debris from the track, hoping that it was some sort of a leftover from the cars they love.

Of course I was doing the same. Touching the roads, picking up stuff, taking photos, lots of photos, and capturing mental pictures of everything I saw around me. For it was Suzuka, one of the world's F1 haven which everyone loves.

It took me almost two hours I think, to explore every corner of the circuit. Yes, EVERY. CORNER. It was once-in-a-lifetime opportunity eh, so why would I rush things? Plus it's not like I had other things to do after this anyway, so, of course!

Also, I think it was because it would be my last time wearing Danny Ric's Red Bull cap—and I guess it was also the main reason why the whole race wasn't quiet fun for me.

Dan is leaving Red Bull.

It sucks actually, to know that it'd happen. For the past three seasons, past three years and past three Grands Prix I watched live, it was always him that I cheered upon. In Singapore when he finished second and just so close to Rosberg. In Sepang when he finished third and almost lost it to Vettel -I won't forget how I, the only Red Bull fan among Mercedes Petronas patron, shrieked every time Ric almost dropped his position. And just now in Suzuka, though he didn't do quiet well anyway.

Next year he'll be with Renault. Oh of course I'll still be supporting him, but I gotta be real, I'm pretty sure I won't see him that much on top of the grid anymore. He'll be playing mid-pack, with the Force Indias and Haas's. It's just, it'll be weird not to see his name gracing the Top 6 that much.

Well anyhow, I didn't really think of it that much when I was on the track of Suzuka. I just wore my Dan cap with full pride, and Red Bull banner on my back as a cape, then trace every single inches of it. All the way from the moment when the sun was still striking, until it gave in and concealed itself behind the iconic Suzuka ferris wheel. And the whole track turned purple-ish and quiet, slowly left by satisfied motor-racing fan.

And I stepped out of Suzuka, with my voice all dried out,
And full awareness that this has become another amazing,

Memorable Grand Prix.

And as I walked back from the circuit to the station, with oh so many other F1 fans around, I talked to myself that this has got to continue. Always. Watching a Grand Prix live, it CANNOT end here. I need to make it an annual ritual, I don't care if it comes with my annual trip, or separated, but this has to happen every year.

Because it's not just about watching the race.
Not even about supporting a certain favorite driver.
It's about the atmosphere. Being one with the likeminded people.

Your people.

And together with them, scream until
Your voice withered

Thursday, October 4, 2018

I Am a Writer

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Let's talk about... my...

Writing Career.

See, I haven't talked much about it I don't even have a proper label for it in this blog! Well okay, my day to day job is a copywriter which consists of, of course, writing. And the other side of me is a book author which, again, writes a lot. So what the hell did I mean by "writing career"?

Well it's something else, that involves me and my ambition to write articles. Not short copies for ads, not long passages lengthy enough to be books—not all that, no. Articles. In which I'll be wearing my mask as a

Journalist.

I dreamed of becoming a copywriter at an agency, then I became one. I used to dream of becoming an author and have my own books, then I became one too, many times. Being a journalist had always been a dream to me as well. To see my name printed on magazines, or linked in web articles, create a piece good enough it is accepted by professional editor, to be a part of the journalistic world!

Well honestly, I've already had some achievements in this. I've written several travel guide articles in some printed magazines, but then, it's not so much different with the ones I wrote in my books.

The ultra-ambitious guy inside me had been thirsty for more opportunities, more acknowledgements, and more names put in more media and by media of course, BIG, media.

From there on, the journey to win the hearts of big magazines had been going on ever since I graduated from college. Dozens of topics and ideas were sent to editorial teams, starting from the biggest names all the way to, when hopes went thin, mediocre ones.

And I've always had my eyes to this super prestigious travel magazine, in which had rejected my earlier pitches many times, but the fact that the editor-in-chief responded to my proposals even with a subtle "no" made me think that,

"Well, at least he's got concerns in meit's just the matter of picking the right theme."

So whenever I returned from a trip, and had some brilliant ideas I'm sure would be worth to tell in an article, I turn to this editor, over and over again, with yet another rejections, that would soon turn to more suggestions, and more rejections, until finally, I made a jackpot.

I'm finally writing for DestinAsian Magazine.

The topic was about Macao, in which I got full access and sources and pics and many more, from my amazing trip with the government board. Easy start, yes, but the process afterwards wasn't. To be honest, it was a bit stressful because this was my ACTUAL first time writing for such big name, so I NEVER want to show bad qualities.

But you know what, I enjoyed every bit of it. Following the editor's brief, recontacting sources to get more infos, reaching out to hotels and restaurants officials as if I'm a real journalist—well you know what, hell yeah I am! Then comes the writing part, self-editing it to meet the required maximum words, sending it to the editor, then him returning the piece for I need more infos to fill, back and forth, with pics and words, super long and draining but again, I. ENJOYED. EVERY. BIT. OF. IT.

Then the magazine came to public. Holding the copy in my hands seemed unbelievable. Looking at my face on the line-up of the contributors and my name on top of the article felt surreal, yet amazingly satisfying. Reading those words which several times ago were on my laptop, whoa, so this is how it's like to be a journalist!? I couldn't get enough of the rewarding sensation!

Crazy, huh?

Five years ago, back when I was so fresh from the uni, I once had this super big dilemma of picking which path to dive into: copywriting, or travel writing. I was so clueless I claimed to myself "I don't even have strong bases on both fields it's like, I only commit to fifty fifty in each".

Who would have thought that today, I commit to one hundred fifty in each?

And you know what makes it even better? I am an author of actual books as well, on top of those two paths I was unsure to choose in 2014.

The cover of glory. DestinAsian Indonesia, Oct-Dec'18 Issue.

Short copies for ads, check.
Long passages for books, check.
Decent writing for articles, check!

I've done all other wordsmiths do,
I really am a writer.