2012, A Look Back

53 comments
Asia
Hong Kong - First Trip in 2012

Hong Kong – First Trip in 2012

If I had to describe the year 2012 in only one word, it would have been ‘change’. A change of my traveling speed and style, a change of my job, and a change in the place where I live, to name some.

I chose Hong Kong as the place to start my trips in 2012. It all started like my other trips last year – visiting two or three places within one week or so and as many interesting sites as possible. This time my plan was to visit Hong Kong, Macau, and Myanmar in a week with short stays in Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok.

When I visited Myanmar after Hong Kong, my plan was to visit Bagan as it is probably the country’s best and most striking ancient site. However, due to time constraints I was not able to secure a return flight from Yangon to Bagan, and then it hit me. From that moment on, I knew the next time I traveled, it would be better to focus on less places so that I could spend a proper amount of time tasting the local cuisine, understanding the culture, and interacting with locals.

Fortunately I had a resignation plan by then because I found that my old job in the banking industry did not really suit me. Therefore, a few months prior to my trip to Hong Kong, I had booked return flights to Medan (Indonesia), Laos, Southern China, and Sri Lanka for traveling during my career break before starting a new job in June.

In Hong Kong I met up with James, the man behind Plus Ultra – one of the most eloquently written blogs I have ever read. It was the first time for me to plan a meet up with another travel blogger on a trip. In the past I had only met other bloggers by coincidence.

It turned out that James and I have the same taste in travel. We visit the same kind of places when we travel, we take photographs of the same kind of objects, and we both love learning the history of places we visit. Therefore, later that day without any hesitation I asked him if he wanted to join me on my next trips to Laos, Southern China, and Sri Lanka. To my surprise, Laos and Guilin (China) were some of the places he had always wanted to visit. So before we realized it, we had already planned the itinerary for Laos a few weeks after we met.

Before Laos, I went to Medan and Lake Toba with one of my ex-coworkers – who also quit the company around the same time – to kick off my career break travels. It was a perfect decision as Lake Toba is a very tranquil place which suits those who seek peace of mind. One month afterwards, James and I met in Kuala Lumpur for a short stay before departing for Laos. Thanks to him, I changed the schedule for my flight back to Indonesia to a later date to allow us to stay longer in Laos – a decision I will never regret. Otherwise I would probably only have time to visit Vientiane and miss Luang Prabang altogether.

It was less than two weeks after Laos that I teamed up with James again for another trip. This time we went to Southern China to go to Guilin and Xingping to see the fabled karst mountains which are often depicted in Chinese traditional paintings. Had I not traveled with him, I would have stayed in Yangshuo instead of Xingping. Again, I was really fortunate because later I found out that the former has become really touristy with neon lights everywhere, creating a rather tacky atmosphere in this small town.

Mount Bromo, Indonesia - Last Trip in 2012

Mount Bromo, Indonesia – Last Trip in 2012

Not being able to join me for the trip to Sri Lanka, James decided to book a return flight for a short trip to Indonesia in late September. To return his favor for taking me around Hong Kong – including to places which are less known to most tourists – I decided to take him to Mount Bromo in East Java, taking heed from one of his earliest comments on my blog.

In the meantime, two weeks after coming back from Sri Lanka, I started a new job in a completely new world for me – people development consulting – as I did not have any background in psychology, let alone people development. However, I have learned a lot so far, including life skills which might become very handy one day – including for my future trips.

2012 was indeed a year of change for me. A lot of great things happened, along with some hiccups on the journey. In 2013 I will continue to travel to some of the world’s most amazing places – Turkey and Taiwan are in the pipeline – and share the stories on the places I go, the food I try, and the people I meet.

Many thanks for following my journey and sharing your thoughts in this blog.

Happy holidays, safe travels, and see you in 2013!

2012 Sum Up v3

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Based in Jakarta, always curious about the world, always fascinated by ancient temples, easily pleased by food.

53 thoughts on “2012, A Look Back”

  1. Bama, I’m absolutely flattered – you really give me too much credit! It has been quite the year for both of us, and I’m thrilled to have met you back in January. Love the infographic by the way, it makes me wish I made a similar effort on my blog!

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    • Well, you deserve it James! Who would have thought that blogging could do this kind of thing? Thanks for the compliment! One day suddenly the idea of making an infographic just popped in my mind. You should make one, probably next year! Look forward to team up again with you!

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  2. I am looking forward to reading about your new destinations to parts of the world that I have never visited. I enjoy the historical information and of course your beautiful photos. Good luck in your new job. Keep those posts coming!

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    • Thanks Robin! I’ve never made any infographic before, but I think I will make another one next year. 🙂

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    • Hi Meghan! It’s been a very interesting year, indeed! I traveled more than anything I’ve done in the past. Thanks and hope to read more on your travel stories!

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  3. What a busy year of travel and life you’ve had! Wonderful to see that photograph of Mt. Bromo – it’s a favourite! Best wishes for the holidays Bamo – and may 2013 be full of adventure, and good health 🙂

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    • It was indeed a busy year! Thanks Meredith! I wish you very happy holidays too and a wonderful life back in Australia!

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  4. Fabulous that you have done this traveling and lived your dreams, rather than trudge through a job that didn’t suit you. Great photos.

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    • Thanks Angeline! Living up your dream is probably one of the best –and most challenging– things you can do in life. Thanks for reading!

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    • Hi Debby! Thanks for dropping by! While waiting for my first trip in 2013, I will write more about places not too far from where I live now, yet hardly been explored by me.

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  5. Reading your review makes me wish I was 20 years younger Bama,:-) We never had the courage those days to chuck our jobs and live the life of our dreams. Good for you!
    Good luck with all your plans for 2013, and wish you many happy travels no matter where life takes you 🙂

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    • Well, look at you now Madhu! You went to China, Brazil, France, Laos, Japan, and many more places last year! 🙂
      Good luck with your plans too! And who knows it will be sooner than later that we bump into each other on the road. 🙂

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      • That wasn’t all last year, but yes we were fortunate to be able to do it at all, and I am thankful. Look forward to bumping into you in the near future Bama 😀

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      • Ah I see. However, you went to some of the world’s most amazing places for sure! 🙂

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  6. Heya Bama, how’ve you been mate?! Happy New year, I couldn’t drop by till now.

    Wow, 28 flights? You should check my upcoming post about the film “Up in the air”, it really fits you I think! lol (it’s on the making yet)

    Glad to see you again friend.

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    • Hi Javi! It’s been a long since I heard from you for the last time. I’ve watched that movie and really liked it. However I don’t think I can fit well in George Clooney’s lifestyle. 🙂
      It’s good to be able to reconnect with you and good luck with your new blog!

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    • Thanks Capelli! Wish you a great journey starting in May 2014! Oh and no, traveling solo is not crazy. 🙂

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    • Hi Bino! 2012 was indeed a wonderful year. This year I’ve already had a few places in the pipeline. Wishing you more amazing adventures as well this year!

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    • Hi Saku! Thanks for dropping by! When I went to Laos last summer, I instantly fell in love with the country and the people. They’re so welcoming, and of course, laid-back! 🙂 As for Thailand, I’ve only been to Bangkok by far. I’m really interested in exploring the northern regions though.

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  7. That is a beautiful photo of Mt. Broma. I am planning to visit Indonesia later this year and I will have to put Mt. Broma on my list. Good luck in your future endeavors.

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    • Hi Jeff! Mt. Bromo is definitely one of the best and the most quintessential experiences of Indonesia. Had a look at your website and it appears that you had some great adventures yourself! Good luck to you too!

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  8. You started your year in my hometown. I am in Hong Kong now and have been here since last September. I am traveling around Asia as much as I can while I am here but I wish that we had already met when you came. Would have been fun to meet in person too. I return to California this summer and hopefully embarking on a road trip through Route 66!!!

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    • As a matter of fact I met a new friend who later became my very best friend in Hong Kong. Who knows we might bump into each other one day! Good luck for your trip through Route 66! It’s going to be awesome I believe!

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  9. Good stuff…although I loved Yangshuo..stayed in a little place out of town which was really quiet and close to the caves..but that light show on the Li River was better than anything I have seen back in the states..I do agree with you in regards to Xingping, though…truly a special place with very friendly people…

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    • Glad to know that you found a nice and quiet corner in Yangshuo. The reason why I was a bit disappointed was because I was imagining natural and scenic karst mountains while in reality they have all those artificial lights. Oh well, sometimes it’s good not to have any expectations at all. Thanks for dropping by!

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    • My best friend who visited Mt Bromo in 2012 described the sunrise as ‘one of best’ he had ever seen. I took that picture on the same trip, so we were lucky the weather was nice the day we went.

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