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

Friday, September 15, 2017

London It Is

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So I mentioned about London in my last post. Now, it reminds me of a thing. Nah, not too much of a big deal. It's just a long lost passion I haven't recalled much lately.

Mmyea. The city,

Used to be my lifetime dream destination.

You know it's not mine. Pic's from here.

And it's not just about traveling. It's literally "lifetime". Because what I meant by "long lost", didn't mean after my desire to travel appeared. It began long—way long long ago. When I was much much younger, still knowing nothing about the art of traveling.

It all thanks to Harry Potter. A book where many dreams of 90s kids began. Dreams to be a wizard, dreams to have such a great fantasy, dreams of literally many kinds. As for me, the book of course was the main reason why I dreamed of being an author. But more than that, it was also the major boost to my dream of visiting England.

Rowling’s description about British touches throughout her novels was so rich and pure. So sincere that every time I imagine England, all I could experience is its peaceful atmosphere, delicious types of meals, serene castles and forests, warmth of butterbeers, beautiful houses with unique names on it—all grew in the back of my mind, and I subconsciously wished to experience that beyond just through words. Feel that in reality.

Then Agatha Christie came to me when I grew up and began to move on from the wizarding world. Peter Pan hijacked my preference of cartoon. Liverpool started demanding my attention. One by one the recollections of Harry Potter disappeared, yet switched to some other British elements. My urge to see England went away with my imagination of Ms Rowling’s novels, but I just didn’t realize that my dream was actually still alive.

Until my passion in traveling bloomed. And I realized that England is not on the same page with Europe and northern lands, that making a visit to the country needs separate plan from having a trip to the continent and the ice worlds.

So I began this fantasy of continuing my study in England. Not only for the sake of education, obviously, but for the sake of traveling. One year of study. Exploring England before school starts, going down to mainland Europe during summer break, and flying all the way up north after graduating. This plan was real, and if I ever got a chance to do so, I’d do exactly so.

At first it was just a stupid fantasy. But then signs after signs kept coming like the city is calling me. From F1’s rumor to move British Grand Prix from Silverstone to London, then me meeting a new awesome friend whom apparently live in London, to a college friend who just finished a trip to London, and finally, you know what it is: a coworker asking me to create a travel itinerary for the city.

I mean, wow. I thought it’ll only remain a dream. But it feels so close now. And I feel like it’s just not right to treat it only like a dream.

So I guess it's where “the promise” part comes in.

I promise—lol, no. I'm not going to make it sound too formal. But yea I need to make a deal with myself, to focus on this. Find the school, find the scholarship, find everything it takes for me to fly my ass up there. To try traveling, living, and studying in London.

To be honest, it’s sometimes more than just mere "visiting London". Or traveling far, or living with myself, or even going on with my study—no. Sometimes, it’s because I can no longer stand being jealous of my friends who are currently doing what I’ve been dreaming doing.

Yep, they who are now studying in Japan, settling down in Canada, just graduating and started career in Netherlands, looking for lovers in Australia—fcvk, no, HELL NO! I can’t let you guys have the worldwide fun while I, the apprentice of Mr Worldwide, got stuck here in front of my office screen in Jakarta. No.

Original pic's from here.

I am so, going.
London it is, but if God has other plans, then why not?

But yea, no.

London it is

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

True Traveler

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I know, I know.

Traveling has been an integral part of my life. And being a traveler has been my other identity. I keep telling this to myself in real life, in this blog, basically everywhere.

But then, there's apparently something about my kind of "traveling", and being a "traveler", that I never discovered before.

Something beyond.

I just realized about this recently. When my parents gone traveling. When a friend came visiting. When a coworker planned having a trip.

It all started with my parents' trip to Japan, for about 10 days. Only the two of them, with no tour, no relatives, no one they know. As a traveler, and as somebody who had traveled there, AND, as a good son blessed by God for them, of course, I helped them with everything. Literally, everything. From booking their flights and hotels, arranging their itinerary and ultimately, assisting them real-time by providing them detailed instructions of where to go now, after this and after that, complete with which transport to take, AND, how to ask locals. It's like I was there, traveling with them.

Then during their trip a friend from Australia came visiting me in town. He went down here absolutely unplanned, taking granted of my expertise in my own city, hoping me to suggest him with whatever. As a friend, and as a civilized human being attempting to give back to someone who was such a big help during his trip in Australia, of course, I helped him with everything. From hotel recos to food options, from just telling him where to go to actually explore with him. It's like I was the one traveling, and he was just a clueless friend tagging along.

Not enough with those two, at the same time something else happened. Remember that I once started an itinerary-making business on my own? Yea, it’s still around. And a coworker of mine kind of needed my help to arrange her trip to... London. As a hungry traveler who wanted to know more about the city, and as a professional, of course, I accepted the job. Creating her one comprehensive, detailed day-to-day itinerary as if I was writing a guide book. It's like I was a citizen of London, telling her what to prepare prior her arrival.

I just realized about this. When my parents gone to Japan and I was the one assisting them. When a friend came to Indonesia and I was the one guiding him. When a coworker planned a trip to London and I, whom never actually been there, was the one arranging her journey as if I had been there thousands of times. All counting on me with not just simple helps, but COMPLETELY counting their life on me—

And with the fact that those three happened exactly at ONE SAME TIME, well, gotta say, my value as a traveler instantly increased.

You do know that I call myself Tricky Traveler, right?

From just a regular guy who traveled,
Doing some normal kind of traveling,
Going home to make a book of travel,

From that kind of traveler,
To a true traveler

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Seventy Two

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For the first time in my life,

I got a visitor from abroad -a friend I met on my Australia trip, during Indonesia’s Independence Holiday. Which effectively means that for the first time in my life too -since I had to guide this friend of mine around town, I explored Jakarta and its major tourist spots, during Indonesia’s Independence Holiday.



And let’s talk in Indonesian.

Jujur sebenernya gue gak sabar sih buat menyambut temen gue ini. Namanya Paul. Makanan favoritnya steak, kalo nginep pas liburan selalu di hotel berbintang, dan dia ke mana-mana naik mobil atau taksi. Dia baru pertama kali ke Indonesia jadi gue tambah excited! Karena gue pengen ngenalin makanan-makanan lokal gue yang enak-enak, karena gue pengen pamer kalo transport di Jakarta udah nyaman, karena ini pengalaman pertama gue ke Kota Tua pas 17an, dan karena gue mau nunjukin betapa meriahnya perayaan kemerdekaan di Indo which negara manapun di dunia gak ada yang bikin selebrasi seheboh ini.

Awalnya hari ini berjalan lancar. Mulai dari gue sama adek gue nganter bokap nyokap ke airport, trus pulangnya lewat rumah-rumah di area kampung jadi bisa ngeliat orang-orang lagi pada sibuk nyiapin lomba-lomba, trus ke tempat temen gue naik busway yang isinya orang-orang berbaju merah. Intinya, suasana 17an udah kerasa banget.

Namun, lama-lama semuanya mulai gak beres. Panasnya bener-bener gak karuan, trus museum-museum di Kota Tua, yang harusnya jadi atraksi utama dan alasan pertama kenapa gue ajak Paul ke sana, TUTUP SEMUA -sumpah ya gak abis pikir, ini kan 17an, kenapa malah tutup??? Kalo tanggal-tanggal merah lainnya ya gak masalah lah, tapi Hari Kemerdekaan!?!?, udah gitu jalan-jalan arah Pelabuhan Sunda Kelapa semuanya pake dialihin pula, fuck, kesel sih gue gak bohong.

Tapi itu semua gak ada apa-apanya dibandingin pas gue mau ke Istana Negara buat liat upacara penurunan bendera.

Ini kan main dish ya. Jadi gue berharap banget setelah semua ke-rese-an yang terjadi barusan, at least buat yang satu ini beneran kejadian. Tapi dunia berkata lain. Jalan yang ditutup makin menjadi-jadi, sehingga busway gue memutuskan untuk gak berhenti di Monas dan langsung ke Harmoni. Di halte itu ternyata udah penuh gak karuan. Dan bus arah balik ke Monas lamanya gak nahan. Antreannya panjang, panasnya bukan main, dan ketika bus tiba, kita mesti dempet-dempetan masuk dan desek-desekan di dalem bus. Terakhir, busnya ternyata muter sehingga kita gak lewat Monas dan ya, intinya, perjalanan gue barusan itu sia-sia dan cuma dapet apesnya aja.

Temen gue, namanya Paul.
Dia ke mana-mana naik mobil atau taksi, tapi hari ini dia mesti kebawa arus orang-orang busway yang, well, tau sendiri kan betapa liarnya mereka kalo mau naik bus yang udah ditunggu-tunggu 45 menit? Paul baru pertama kali ke Indonesia, dan di hari pertamanya ini dia harus ngeliat betapa bobroknya negara gue, harus gagal ngerasain meriahnya 17an, harus ngerasain sisi-sisi kelam Jakarta yang sebenernya sehari-hari udah mulai gak kerasa.

Gue bisa liat si Paul udah mpet banget. Tapi muka paling mpet ya muka gue. Karena gue pikir bawa dia keliling pas lagi 17an itu adalah ide yang bagus, tapi ternyata nggak. Karena gue pikir ajak dia naik transportasi umum itu adalah pengalaman seru, tapi ternyata bau.

Dia bilang seru sih -yang gue sangat yakin dia bohong, dan makan malem yang gue kenalin ke dia, which were tongseng, pisang goreng, otak-otak dan es jeruk kelapa, katanya enak banget -kalo yang ini gue sangat yakin dia jujur, karena keliatan lah dari mungkenye.

Tapi tetep aja, gue kecewa…

Karena ternyata, meski udah berusia 72 tahun, Indonesia (dan Jakarta) masih buruk banget pengaturannya. Oke buat hari-hari biasa, emang udah kerasa bagus dan rapihnya. Tapi giliran ada hari besar kayak gini, dor, langsung deh keder. Kaget. Shock. Jelas banget kalo persiapannya kurang. Acara-acara kenegaraan yang ditayangin di TV, keliatannya emang mewah. Tapi gak ada yang tahu kan kalo ternyata biar orang-orang bisa sampe di Istana, buat ngeliat “kemewahan” itu, susahnya bukan main?

Tapi bicara soal “orang-orang”…

Selesai main sama Paul, gue pulang naik ojek. Ojeknya agak dodol karena muter-muter dan ngelewatin daerah-daerah terpencil yang -gue pikir gue bakalan diculik sumpah, karena- gue gak tau itu di mana. Tapi justru di atas ojek inilah gue termenung soal, “orang-orang”.

Orang-orang Indonesia tulen yang baru aja selesai ngerayain pesta kemerdekaan. Yang lagi beres-beres gawang bola, yang lagi gotong tiang-tiang buat panjat pinang, yang lagi bagi-bagi hadiah lomba. Semuanya gembira ria dan ketawa-tawa.

Lalu gue teringat seharian ini gue berinteraksi terus sama mereka. Yang ada di bandara, dengan muka cengengesan karena baru tiba di Jakarta, yang dilewatin sama gue dan adek setelah nganter bonyok, yang ada di bus yang bajunya serba merah, yang memenuhi tiap sudut alun-alun Kota Tua dan Sunda Kelapa, yang dempet-dempetan sama gue dan Paul karena semua berebutan pengen liat upacara di Istana...

Mungkin si Paul nggak ngerasa itu menarik.
Tapi buat gue, itu sangat menyentuh.

Karena gue liat langsung dengan mata gue bahwa gimanapun juga, apapun situasinya, mau itu di bawah panas terik matahari ibukota, di antara kerumunan liar, atau di tengah ketidakadilan pemerintah yang bisa nikmatin perayaan 17an sedangkan orang-orang harus berjuang di luar Istana—

Masyarakat Indonesia masih semangat keluar rumah,
Gabung dengan warga lain buat ikut ngerayain serunya 17an,
Dan ngebebasin diri dari kesibukan sehari-hari yang kayak berak.

It’s still a mess, okay,
But honestly, at least
It’s feisty, too

Friday, July 7, 2017

The Dream, The Calling, and The Plan

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In traveling world, there are always these three categories.

The ones that made into the bucket list. Those destinations too far of your reach: distance-wise, financial-wise, situation-wise. Those places you could only imagine to visit someday, one day you have no idea when. Those promised lands and scenarios you could only dream of.

Then there are the ones which you’re sure you’ll see shortly. Those destinations reasonable enough to visit. Those places you know you’d be there anytime soon—just need a glimpse of luck and a twist of time and poof! You’ll be close enough you can actually hear them calling.

And finally, the ones that are actually coming up next on your playlist. Those destinations only time that separates you from. Those places you’ve dreamt long enough you hear them calling way too much, and it’s about time to realize the plan.

In traveling world, there are always these three categories.
And in Vicky Amin’s world, these are the drive.

To dream more,
Be aware for more calls,
And plan the impossible

Sunday, July 2, 2017

It's Never Been This Hard

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I won't take much time talking about this.
I won't drag myself too deep in this "misery"
Because this has to be the time of joy, ideally...

So,

Ramadan has officially gone.

I don't know but it felt so hard for me this year. It's just been so gracious from the very first day. Each meal I took, each suhoor religious show I watched, that ONLY tarawih prayer I had at the mosque -I'm so glad that I at least did once, that last tajil I bought at nearby traditional market with mom, that takbiran night dinner hosted at my house where all my relatives came, that visit to my grandparents' house -which is supposed to be normal, but seemed extra grand this year, that extended vacation I had with my family and all the things that we did in between, oh God, it felt so great!

Yet now it's all over.

And I don't know why I'm feeling so down about this, because we expected this to happen every year, and to end a month after. I don't know, maybe because I've grown up? That now I see the true essence of Ramadan, not only as the month of not eating and drinking like the thought I used to have 10 years back? Maybe.



Well whatever happens, I love it.

I love how I now see Ramadan differently. See my month in a better perspective. That when it's gone, I fall in a deep grief. And that when it's about to come next year, I won't no longer think

"Oh no... Here comes again that
Hard month of the year"

Sunday, June 25, 2017

So Much Win

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On the last race,

I told you that "I'd not write each and every single race because well it'll be boring no?" Yea, it will be, indeed. But sorry I have to break that thought. Because this one is grand. No, I won't treat this one like the last one. I still think Canadian GP served a hell lot more exciting drama.

So yea no I won't talk about how Azerbaijan GP started really boring at the beginning, and how the three safety cars almost sent me to sleep, also the red flag that made me call this GP "A Debris Race", and Max's unfortunate luck went on, and both Force India guys blast to top and dropped low in just seconds and the drama between Vettel and Hamilton got much spicier and how they lost their P1-P2 thrones and Massa made it to P3 but had to retire eventually and Alonso and McLaren finally scored points and Bottas stole the second podium in the fvcking last second before the checkered flag, and no, I'm not even going to brag how Stroll surprisingly made it into podium and became the youngest driver ever to get up there.

No.

Instead, I want to talk about how this came to be an awesome GP in my own sense. Yes, I want this one to be a bit biased, not fact-based. Because I'm going to talk more about one driver I've been a fanboy of. He's

Daniel Ricciardo
Come to think of it, I never actually dedicate a post for him.


Pic's from here.

So yea, introducing my favorite driver. The protagonist to my Super F1 Drama. The Player One to my Racing Game. The main character to my--okay, enough, Vicky.

I actually kinda lost track in how I decided to idolize him. Maybe it was after Monaco last year. When he was fighting for first -or second?- with Hamilton -or Rosberg?- and for the first time ever I screamed so manly for an outstanding F1 head-to-head battle. Then Singapore happened. Malaysia happened. 2016 was so amazing that the next thing I knew, I was all into him.

But nothing came closer to what he did in Baku just now.

Started 10th, went into pit way too early, then slowly crawling his ass all the way up front, cutting three cars and stayed 3rd until the top 2 decided to pit while he proceeded to the top and managed to secure his spot until the finish line.

Best performance of his so far for me,
And I feel like I chose the right driver.

Because that's always been my nature in supporting something in sport. I always pick the second best or maybe third best team, so I won't get bored too quick and I'm used to being lost. Yet once I'm winning, it's like I get a surprising mega bonus in a quiz game or something. And it's exactly what Daniel is all about. He's not always on top 3, but he's always around the top so my hopes and emotions are rollercoaster-ing throughout the whole season!

And, here comes the weird irrational yet personal reason: Daniel's wittiness is entertaining. And sometimes I can relate to that because I'm also like that! It's like, if we're friends, we'll be like Beavis and Butthead. Mortdecai and Rigby. SPONGEBOB AND PATRICK--and I swear, I've been dreaming of the scene a lot HAHA wth why am I writing this and letting the world know that I'm a freak?

This is exactly a pose I'd strike when I'm overwhelmed with blessings.
My all-time fave Daniel Ricciardo pic, and I got it here.

Ah well who cares, maybe it's the after-Baku-euphoria talking. I'm just too overjoyed seeing Daniel on podium today, not only being the third like what he's done for the last three races, but FIRST PLACE for God's sake.

And you know what's better?

That it all happened on exactly one happy day. Yes, the race that Daniel is winning, happened on the same day with Eid, a closing celebration I've always been so fond of.

I started good, started fresh, not expecting anything nicer because family and religious atmosphere did shower me with blessing, and when this happened, I feel like today is created just for me.

God,

Eid Mubarak all the way,
Vicky Amin!

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

한국의 계획

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Back in college days,

When I still had difficulties in saving money and managing my own agenda, yet I, being reckless and impulsive as a college student in general, had a big trip planned -and fixed- without knowing much about my financial status nor availabilityI used to make a deal with myself.

Like just before I went to Bali in 2011 and Malaysia - Thailand in 2013, also Vietnam - Cambodia in 2014 which all happened during my university period. I was so blinded by how cheap the flight fares were, that I didn't realize that I had to work extra hard to save money, and secure my calendar so I could actually go. Growing up as a better traveler, I could manage to overcome all those matters so, as you might see in this blog, I never made any more oath ever since.
But then.
The long lost me strikes back. Another airline promo came, and me, being reckless and impulsive as a college student I used to be, booked another ticket for a big 10-days-long trip abroad to

South Korea

Pic's from here.

So? What makes me act like this is something big?
Considering I said I've grown up as a "better" traveler?

Because this time, it's neither just about money which I need to work on, nor it is about the schedule I have to settle with.

It's freaking both.

Remember that I just finished my Australian trip? Yea? It was a big one, financially included. This Korean trip will actually happen exactly one year after that, and of course I can save money in such long period of time, but hey, it's not as simple as it sounds. I have five other planned trips coming my way from this second to December -and I-don't-know-how-many-other from January to May, two of which are fixed. Now yea, you do the math.

Now about schedule, oh schedule... As a full-time employee, in an advertising agency, my schedule is kind of, unexpected. I could be having this campaign or that campaign, with plannings and preparations stretched way back to months before. Not to mention about the limited number of annual leave I still have yet to use. I've dodged all the similar bullets for Australia, but, remembering all the plans I've made so far, I'm pretty sure it's going to be a tough one to get a go for Korea.

So yea, here I am, kneeling with passion and perseverance, about to make an oath I haven't done in almost FOUR YEARS.

"I, Rifky Ramadhan Amin, will officially announce that on this THIRD YEAR after college, I will rarely spend my MONEY and TIME for flash-term pleasure things such as watching movies, eating out and buying things prodigally, by working EXTRA harder to IMPRESS MY BOSSES, get BONUSES, and earn PERMISSIONS." 
-South Korea Trip Oath-

So, what makes me act like this is something big again?
I didn't make any oath for my Hong Kong - Macau trip,
Not even my big six-freaking-week journey to Japan!

The answer is simple.

It's because I've grown as a better traveler.
Whose plans, whose future and what not,
Are somewhat planned, but better be

Unpredictable

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Appel Français

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Lately,

The appearance of France's new President Emmanuel Macron occurred literally everywhere. I got exposed to his climate change speech, his ultimate bromance with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, his this video, his that video, la la la from this to that until I ended up watching him saying this.


Oh well.

Call no more, Mr. President.
I'm coming!

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Türk Rüyalar

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I feel really bad.

Because it's been two weeks after the holy month started, after the Hijr birth-month of mine came, but I hadn't brought it up here. So...

Ramadan Kareem, people!

Enough about Australia, I swear. I need to move on, and talk about something else as a way to distract myself. But, yeah, Vicky Amin's "something else" is not far from traveling. Especially because a new girl friend I met during my trip to the land of kangaroo said,

"Looking forward to something tends to cause more happiness than remembering something."

So yeah, as you might guess,
This post will be about my next grand plan.
And guess where the grand destination is?
The home of then grand Muslim empire,

Türkiye

Picture of Instanbul Grand Bazaar, from here.

This went straight up to my primary bucket list.

So during Ramadan this year, there's this awesome short-documentary show broadcasted by one of the local stations. It tells about how the holy month is celebrated in major cities and even small towns throughout, well, now you can guess, Turkey.

Then all those mid-eastern wonders filled my eyes. How they share foods during iftar. How they go to the intricate-designed mosques. How they prepare their awesome meals. How they go to bazaars to grab their needs, how they fill every spots in nearby squares after tarawih, how they find local entertainments in night fairs until finally suhoor time comes and certain people with drums go around the small alleys to wake everybody up—praise Allah! I'm dying to experience such grand Muslim air! Oh I've been long exposed to Turkey in recent years, but never I felt so much in the urge to visit the country like this.

You know how I really love Disney Classics, right? Including Aladdin, of course. I've always wanted to visit Agrabah. Try its crispy apples, get lost in such marketplace where Aladdin lived, admire the simple buildings. But then I know in real life, I can't even see myself going to Arab. The heat, the dried atmosphere, the idea of wandering around and yellow is the only tone I'd see with my eyes—no, I'm not yet ready for that.

But then Turkey came to my preference,
With its strong yet casual Islamic atmosphere,
With its international touch within the royal appeal,
With its undeniably amazing Ramadan culture and habit,
Convincing me that this is the Agrabah I've been looking for.

Pic's from here.

See, as I said earlier, Vicky Amin's "something else" is obviously not far from traveling. Especially because a new guy friend I met during my trip to the land down under once said,

"Well you need to book another holiday so you have something to count down to."

So, about my trip to Australia.
It's somewhat enough, for now.
But as for traveling in general,
It's somewhat an endless dream.

A dream that will always
Be a something

Monday, June 12, 2017

Rhythm of the Track

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So.

It's been a while since the last time I talk F1. NO! It's nothing like I'm losing interest in the sport -like what I'm currently feeling towards Liverpool, God, wish I really have time to get back to them and relive what I used to have :(- no.

It's because each and every single Grand Prix held so far in 2017 were crazy awesome I think it'll be such a waste of time -and of course it'll be boring too- to have a review of each race.

Although this time, it's exceptional.
I cannot NOT talk about this one.
Best race yet this season,

Grand Prix du Canada

Pic's from here.

I didn't expect this to be so big. Well, I did, actually, because Canada was the race where my fave driver won his first ever GP. It was also the place where phenomenal "Jenson Button's Crazy Comeback in 4-hour-long Crashful Race" took place. But aside of that, including the fact that Lewis took his 65th pole capping legend Ayrton Senna's record 25 years after his Canadian Grand Prix pole -ugh I'm tired of Lewis taking all the attention, I didn't see why I should expect much from this GP.

But then I was obviously wrong.
The awesome 70-lap race served one hell of a drama.

Max's Divine Overtake (and Sad Halt)
I never got my jaw dropped this low since the first F1 race I saw in 2016. Best thing is, it happened at Turn One. After lights out. Only 2-3 seconds after the race started, then I saw this kid cutting from P6 to P2. It was so smooth and skillful, but then, what could he do, engine cutout happened on Lap 11. He couldve given us more awesome stuff, I believe...

Sainz and Massa: The Early Crash
Brought to you by Romain Grosjean
Got to say, this became a nice opening! But kinda awful for them both too, as they've been doing really well so far. And what makes it more awful is that all these happened because of neither of them. It was Grosjean, that hit Sainz first, which bounced, and finally hit Massa. One "fool", two victims. And the "fool" went on the race safely.

Stroll's Sudden Spirit
Haha this kid. He's been a joke ever since he made his first appearance, because HE CAN'T STOP CRASHING! But then, I think he had just enough. As a Canadian doing his first home Grand Prix, no wonder that he did what he did. Flying from P18 all the way to the front, challenging Hulk and K-Mag -best drama happened in the mid-back grid!- and finished 9th! First point, in his home race!

Alonso's Streak!
Oh here's another joke. Not the racer, but the engine. Honda's been a mess this year I felt really sorry for Alonso. Until Canada. Because the car moved well the whole race. And Alonso being Alonso, drove like typical awesome F1 driver and even reached P5 for some moment! But Honda's curse eventually carried on, forcing the Spaniard to stop at Lap 66. Lap 66, of 70. That sucks big time.

Driver of the Day, Vettel
I don't know what has happened to Vettel. Or Ferrari. Or both! They've been performing really outstanding this season, much MUCH better compared to last year. And once again in this race, he proved he was good. By starting on the front, P3? P2? Then dropped to P18 after some serious pitting only to fly back up and have a fierce battle of 3rd with three other drivers during the last laps.

Well, wow.

Normally in this blog structure, I only want to keep things organized by highlighting 3 to 5 pointers. 2's not enough, 6's too many. But this is 2017 Canadian Grand Prix we're talking about, so screw you OCD senses here's the grand highlight:

Force India's Double Trouble
I really love this pair. When Perez was still with Hulk, they weren't this deadly. Ocon in, pink took over, and they seemed to gain this awesome Flower Power! They've been racing head to head from the first GP, and never fail to earn points. But, I've never seen them this intense.

As they were not only hand in hand coming up front to ruin the big cars -Ocon even made it to P2 and challenged Bottas!- and fighting with Ricciardo for 3rd, nor defending their P3-4 throne from Vettel, no, not only those. They were also being deadly to each other. From the outside they may look like a cheerful pinky butterflies. But deep inside, they're stinging each other like bees. Double trouble indeed.

Crazy huh?

Lewis may win the race, but he was boring. The real deal happened on the back, not necessarily far back but exactly on Lewis' back! And to top it off, Daniel Ricciardo finished 3rd!!! 3rd 3rd, 3 times in a row, for driver number 3!

Pic's from here.

This is what I like about this sport. You have one idol racer you really love. But in a race, any driver can entertain you.

It's like going to a summer music festival, where the stages are filled with your favorite musicians, and their schedule are back to back, not overlapping each other so you'll get to check out each and every single performance.

So eventually,

You'll dance to anything