Let's talk about roots.
Oh, no, not those curly-fingers-of-mother-nature roots. I'm referring to family history. Not the whole history but, more like, hometown. My parent's hometown, as I technically have none—I was born and raised in Jakarta. So yea, hometown.
Think I've told you once about my Dad's. It's Cirebon, the used-to-be small city that is now one of West-Central Java's top travel destinations. When I was a kid until several years ago, my family and I always paid a pilgrimage to the city every Eid holiday - it's a thing in Indonesia, remember, the homecoming thingy? Cirebon's pretty reachable from Jakarta by road. It didn't take long to get there, and we've got places to stay, so, it has always been Cirebon, when it comes to homecoming.
Meanwhile Mom's, is Manado. It's like thousand miles away from where I live. Located on the other island, crossing the seas, with different time zone, plus the fact that the city itself is the northernmost capital in Indonesia, and that Mom's close relatives are all in Jakarta, we didn't have much reasons to fly there. And much time too, remembering that my family and I have intolerable schedules.
Visiting Manado has always just been a dream to me and my family. It's pretty sad, because when people ask about origins, and I answer I'm half Manadonese, and they ask if I ever been to Manado, then I say no, it feels so wrong.
Well I've always had opportunities to visit the city. As a free individual, non committed guy and of course, a solo traveler, I could just easily browse any cheap flights and fly myself there. But I never want that. Because Manado is my family's destination. I won't be there just with myself—I want to land in my mom's hometown, for the first time, with all my family members.
And so it happened.
Spontaneously, quickly, without thinking much, without considering too hard. We've had enough plans. It's time to actually go, and so we finally went...
...to our long lost hometown.
It meant a lot to all five of us.
To finally be able to go on a family vacation again, to travel somewhere local further than Bali, to listen to all Mom's stories and memories every time we passed a glimpse of her childhood, to eat all the divine Manadonese food - this was one of the major highlights of the trips—I actually gained THREE KILOS, whatever we did, wherever we went, it meant a lot.
But what made my heart reached its fullest content were, to know that I still have relatives there, making Manado a city not only for traveling, but also to come home to...
Thank God we made it.
Now if I ever get another chance to solo-travel Manado,
I no longer have to feel bad about literally everything.
Because I've finally been there, completed my list,
With my family