Post-Pandemic Travel Dream: Appreciating the Little Things

85 comments
Asia, Indonesia, Southeast

A corner of the Rejawinangun Guesthouse, popularly known as Situs Warungboto (Warungboto Site)

It has been two months since the first confirmed case of Covid-19 in Indonesia was announced, seven weeks since the company I work for began implementing the work-from-home protocol, and three weeks since the government of Jakarta imposed “large-scale social restrictions”. Just like most of you, my movements have been largely confined to my apartment and its immediate surroundings (the park where residents usually exercise and hang out is temporarily closed, though). When I first read the news of the novel coronavirus outbreak in China earlier this year, it didn’t even cross my mind that it would eventually lead to a pandemic like this.

In early February, James and I even booked a trip for the Easter holiday in April to Solo, a city in Central Java that is known as one of the hubs of traditional Javanese culture. I had already done my research on the ancient temples to visit, which museums to see, what dishes to try, and some interesting murals in the city to check out. Of course, we had to cancel the trip altogether, and just last week I even had to cancel the trip to celebrate the end of Ramadan with my parents, a tradition I never missed until this year – people in mainland China have gone through a similar situation as many couldn’t go back to their hometowns for Chinese New Year a few months ago.

On January 1, 2011, I set a 10-year travel resolution to visit 30 countries/territories in ten years’ time. This was supposed to expire at the end of this year, but last year James convinced me to achieve it sooner because, why not? Pondering about that today, I couldn’t help but feel grateful that I decided to follow his suggestion (Jordan was my 30th country). But it also makes me think of what we did five years ago when we embarked on a Spice Odyssey across six countries in South and Southeast Asia.

It is still our most ambitious trip to date. We planned the itinerary two to three years in advance, and finalized it a little over a year before the start of the journey. We also quit our jobs a few weeks before setting off. To save up as much money as I could, I rode a bicycle every day to work, I packed my own lunch, and I made an Excel spreadsheet to track my expenses. I lived a very frugal life for about one and a half years, and for most weekends I cooked my own meals. Cycling to work through Jakarta’s notorious traffic was one thing (I had to wear a mask with two activated carbon filters to protect my lungs from the city’s air pollution), but cycling during rainy season really tested my determination. At one point I even had to cycle through knee-high floodwaters on my way home.

I imagine, if that extended trip was planned for this year, and I had been doing all those things to prepare for it since last year, and suddenly I encountered a world that had been dramatically changed like what we’re seeing now, that would have been extremely disappointing, to say the least.

I myself am more of a home-bound person. I’ve always enjoyed staying at home, having a cup of tea in the morning or in the afternoon while reading some history or travel books with the view of my houseplants that have provided me with a sense of calm despite living in a bustling and chaotic city. I do love to travel from time to time, to see places that I had read about before, and to share my travel stories with you. In the fourth or fifth month of the Spice Odyssey, I realized that I can never be one of those people who are able to travel continuously for years. I need a home to return to. However, in these crazy times home does feel a little different. Although I managed to add some more plants to my collection to make my apartment and its balcony a little greener each day, I do yearn for going out without having to worry about the virus, without having to wear a mask. I miss randomly exploring Jakarta’s streets and neighborhoods, and going to bookstores or my favorite plant shops. This also makes me think of some of the places that I had visited in the past which were overshadowed by other, more famous sites, but actually turned out quite charming when seen in person.

This was the bathing pool of the 19th-century guesthouse

Arches on the top of Situs Warungboto

The entrance gate to Masjid Gedhe Mataram, a 17th-century mosque in Yogyakarta

Hindu elements in the architecture and ornaments of the gate

A gate to another part of the mosque compound

Kids playing around the mosque

An intricate wooden door bathed in the soft afternoon light

One of the walls within the compound, separating one section from another

Most tourists who visit Yogyakarta at the heart of Java usually think of the magnificent ancient Hindu-Buddhist temples that can be found in abundance both within the city proper and in the surrounding areas, including right along the border with the province of Central Java. Many also come to see the palace – the abode of the only royal house in Indonesia that still possesses actual political power. Some visit Kotagede as well, one of the oldest parts of the city of Yogyakarta where traditional Javanese houses, a restored old guesthouse, and the city’s oldest mosque are located.

On our trip to Yogyakarta last August, we and our local friend Liesha stopped by Kotagede one afternoon. First we checked out Situs Warungboto, a restored 19th-century guesthouse which was recently made famous by the daughter of the Indonesian president for it was where she and her then-fiancé took their pre-wedding photos. There were some other visitors when we were there, but we could still find quiet corners where we could enjoy the tranquil ambiance of the site. Then we moved on to the old quarters of Kotagede itself with Masjid Gedhe Mataram as our first stop.

Built in the 17th century when Islam had mostly replaced Hinduism as the dominant religion on the island, the mosque’s architectural style incorporates elements that are more commonly found at Hindu temples. This is attributed to the fact that Islam was spread in Java largely through peaceful means, including trade and cultural assimilation. We took a leisurely stroll along the paved pathways around the mosque and through some walled courtyards that separate the main prayer hall from other buildings within the compound. The entire place was mostly quiet except for a few locals and a couple of love birds, both donning Javanese traditional dress, who were having their pre-wedding photos taken by a professional photographer. I could see why they picked this place: the decorations at the small gates were exquisite, with intricate floral patterns carved onto some of the wooden doors. That and the soft afternoon sun on a clear day helped create a timeless, romantic feeling.

From the mosque, we walked a short distance away to a tranquil neighborhood where Joglo structures (traditional Javanese houses) sat side by side along a narrow alley. The utter silence of this place was soothing to the mind, apart from the fact that there were also some nice plants along the route. Later in the afternoon, we ambled over to another side of Kotagede, passed Rumah Pesik (owned by a rich businessman, this house is an amalgamation of all sorts of architectural styles the owner likes), and arrived at Omah UGM, a former private residential house which was damaged in the 2006 Yogyakarta earthquake. The Universitas Gadjah Mada (UGM) – one of the most prestigious universities in Indonesia that is based in Yogyakarta – bought the house when the previous owner sold it in the aftermath of the natural disaster. Some parts were consequently renovated and it now serves as a small museum filled with some Javanese cultural items as well as a place with information about earthquake-resistant building techniques. But the highlight for me was the friendly caretaker of this place, a middle-aged woman whose body gestures and gracious demeanor were unmistakably (Central) Javanese.

Places like this, with interesting historical sites that are not overrun by tourists thanks to their modest appearance, where I meet locals who make me feel welcome, and where even a simple walk in an alleyway can turn out to be quite refreshing, are the ones that I think about the most these days. I still have dreams of visiting the ancient temples of Egypt and the Maya pyramids in Mexico, seeing the moai of the Easter Island and South Africa’s Table Mountain, as well as sampling Armenian dishes in the land where they first originated and also Basque cuisine in Spain, among other things. But when this pandemic has passed, I will first go to places closer to home with a sheer excitement and hopefully a new way of seeing things, of appreciating what I’ve been taking for granted, of what Mother Earth has given us for free. But for the time being, I’ll be dreaming of the day when our movements are not restricted anymore. Until then, stay safe and healthy!

A narrow alleyway in a neighborhood near the mosque

Rumah Pesik, a house built in an eclectic style in Kotagede, Yogyakarta

At Rumah Pesik, some deities from the Hindu pantheon adorn the outer walls

One of many old houses in Kotagede

The living room of a traditional Javanese house that has now turned into Omah UGM

The corridor of the same house

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

85 thoughts on “Post-Pandemic Travel Dream: Appreciating the Little Things”

  1. I have been avoiding thinking of the uncertainties of a post pandemic world Bama. Avoiding the persistent thought that travel as I enjoy doing it might be over for me. If things do improve, I too hope to explore places closer to me. I am glad, though, that we stuck with our plans to concentrate on long haul destinations first.

    Thank you for this wonderful glimpse into Kotagede. Hoping Indonesia, at least, still features in my (travel) destiny😄 Take care, stay safe.

    Liked by 2 people

    • To be honest, this year I don’t have high hopes that I’ll be able to travel somewhere too far, although I do wish to see my parents before the end of December. In hindsight, I think you really made the right decisions to go to places further away from home while you could. But back then no one knew that this pandemic would wreak havoc in 2020.

      I’ll still be living in Indonesia, so whenever you are ready to visit! 🙂 Stay safe and healthy too, Madhu!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. While like all of us aren’t able to travel, I truly enjoy the virtual trips you take us readers, thank you for your interesting shares. We all should keep dreaming of the trips we’ll be able to do, once the travel ways are opened up.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree. Although it’s imperative to be realistic these days, we should never let go of our dreams because what is humanity without dreams?

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Nice to hear from you from your plant-filled home! I’m sorry your trips had to be canceled but, as you note, thank goodness they were not big ones that you’d saved up a lot of money and time for. I actually shuddered to think about how devastating it would have been to lose something like your Spice Odyssey trip after all that work. (I feel a bit that way about our SE Asian trip, but it wasn’t nearly as long or extensively-planned as yours.) I’ve felt a shift in myself as I’ve stayed home these last six weeks; maybe I’ll be eager to set off for faraway lands again some day, but right now I think we will focus on staying closer to home for a while. I’m glad you guys are sheltering safely together, and I hope you are turning a corner with your cases there and perhaps looking forward to a little more freedom soon.

    Kotagede is very appealing! The old carved wood door and those alleyways were my favorite parts, but the imposing walls were pretty impressive, too. Time will tell if I ever get that far from home again someday!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Lex! James and I have another, bigger trip planned for October which will involve multiple flights and transits. At this point, I’m mentally ready if we have to cancel that too because we don’t know if by then the pandemic will be over. And even if that is the case, I’m doubtful that international travel will quickly rebound to its pre-pandemic level, which means airlines may still fly but with a much reduced flight frequency across their network. As for the number of cases in Indonesia, it keeps growing with no signs of abating, although in Jakarta there has been less and less new cases. But it’s still too early to be optimistic.

      We might not be able to travel too far in the near future, but when that day comes, I hope you’ll make it to Southeast Asia again with no worry for virus whatsoever.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m so glad you reached your goal of 30 countries in 10 years before this pandemic, Bama, especially as I’m not sure how much long distance travel will be possible this year (if any). I’ll be holding thumbs for your October trip! Like you, I love travelling, but need to have a homebase. For now, all our energy is focused on getting my residence permit sorted out for Portugal (much delayed now, of course), and once I’m settled on the land I will focus my explorations on my immediate environment. Stay happy and safe.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think we will see a gradual recovery as opposed to a sharp rebound, and this might take one or two years, or even more. In the meantime, with the absence of visitors in places that, until a few months ago, were still overrun by tourists, local authorities and residents can weigh their options of how they want to manage tourism industry in their respective towns and cities when international travel is possible again in the future. I really hope your residence permit in Portugal will be sorted out sooner than later, Jolandi. But for the time being, I hope you stay healthy!

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      • Thank you, Bama, I hope so too. I think your analysis of the way forward for tourism is spot on. If nothing else, these are interesting times. Stay well.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. What a memorable trip of a lifetime!!! I was in Wuhan in November with no idea there would be a pandemic after I got home. I feel so lucky to be home and safe. I am very happy for you that you were able to complete your beautiful journey in the nick of time!!! Great photos too!

    Liked by 1 person

    • It must have been surreal when you read the news about the outbreak in Wuhan and the lockdown of the city just a few months after you left. I’m glad you were already back home safely when we began to truly understand the scale of this. Thanks and stay safe!

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  6. Traveling long distances will definitely be difficult in the next year and more, but one can begin to dream of local travel. There is so much local traveling I put off because other things got in the way!

    Those intricately carved doors look wonderful.

    Liked by 1 person

    • My thoughts exactly, I.J. I’ve only been to a little over half of all the Indonesian provinces, and the period right after the pandemic might be the best time for me to start visiting the rest.

      Speaking of the door, the afternoon sun definitely highlights those carvings.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. What a wonderful virtual trip, Bama! Thank you for an amazing write-up. You share so much knowledge.

    Beautiful carved doors. I loved all the photographs. How I wish, I could travel soon though the chances are thin this year. 😦

    Liked by 1 person

    • Much appreciated, Nanchi. We are all waiting for the pandemic to pass, because we know that there are so many beautiful places out there that we currently can’t go to. But at least when our movements are limited, we have the luxury of time to think of things we can do to appreciate this planet better once the restrictions have been lifted.

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    • Thank you. I guess for the time being, we all have to be content with traveling vicariously through other people’s blogs.

      Liked by 1 person

    • The pleasure is mine, Vicki. I hope sharing our travel stories keeps us hopeful for the future, the days when we can travel freely again.

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  8. I too am thankful I visited South Korea and another three countries before the on slaughter of covid19. Thanks for another wonderful read. Jogya has always been my favourite Indonesian city and you stay safe too.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You were lucky to be able to travel to South Korea before things turned really bad. A friend’s girlfriend was traveling to Seoul when countries in the region started restricting access to foreign travelers. Her flight back to Jakarta via Singapore was cancelled, but luckily she managed to get home before the Indonesian capital began implementing large-scale social restrictions. It really is a crazy time! I hope one day you’ll be able to return to Jogja — for me there’s something soothing and relaxing about the city.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I love the way you weave your stories and structure your storytelling. I have a lot to learn from you! Oh, and yes, I can fully relate to the not being able to travel permanently. I love to travel, and I think that’s what I miss most about the current pandemic. I miss not being able to go to a museum, do a heritage walk, explore a part of India over a week, or even some exotic far flung destination … But coming back home is equally important for me. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Rama. You’re too kind. 🙂 I echo your sentiment — it’s the fact that we’re not able to go around our cities freely that is probably more stressful than not being able to travel overseas.

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  10. It’s hard to even imagine when we’ll all be able to travel internationally again. We can’t even begin to think of where we may go, it’s completely changed since the plans we had in February. Like you we think we’ll travel this year within our own country, Canada and be glad we can do that at least.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I don’t know what traveling will be like after this pandemic is over. I understand there is a good possibility of a second and third wave plus flare ups until a cure is found. Your story of how you were able to save money was wonderful. I can’t imagine what it would be like cycling through the traffic jams and the floods.

    And until this is over, I will take your advice and travel locally. There are so many places within several hours driving that I’ve taken for granted.

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  12. Congrats on reaching your goal of 30 countries! Wonderful that you ticked that box with Jordan! Loved reading about your bike rides to work in preparation for the Spice Odyssey. I trained similarly (biking to work and running stadium stairs) for my first trip to Nepal. I think there’s something a tiny bit more rewarding and cool about trips we have to physically prepare for. I yearn for a trip like that now! Love the wooden door and the guesthouse shown at the beginning of the post — the lines are so clean it practically looks like modern architecture. Fantastic read, Bama! Enjoy your time at home and I hope you can celebrate the end of Ramadan in a different but memorable way — maybe virtually with your parents!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Kelly. Jordan was indeed the right choice — all the ancient sites were even more impressive in person. These days, I push myself to run at least once a week and do some light exercise three to four times a week, just to stay in shape-ish! I think what we will do is we’ll try cooking some of the dishes that my mom usually makes every year during the Eid festivity, to keep the spirit high.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. You’ve made Yogyakarta sound so enticing with your words and beautiful photos. One day I hope to see more of Indonesia, and like you, explore the alleyways and less frequented places. Situs Warungboto is quite beautiful. But like you I just hope for more freedom of movement, and try to stay present to all the abundance I have right now. Congrats on 30 counties!
    Alison

    Liked by 1 person

    • What makes Yogyakarta one of my favorite places in Indonesia is its strong Javanese culture. You have modernity on the one hand, but on the other hand the city proudly displays its rich Javanese heritage. I hope you and Don can make it there one day and see Borobudur and Prambanan for yourselves.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Even before COVID-19 I too was so grateful for all the places I had been able to travel to, knowing what a dream it was. I know I will now be thankful even for the small explorations in my future. I feel so much will change and must change about how we travel and I even wonder if there will be such a clear post-virus future.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Gratitude is indeed one of the things we can learn from this pandemic as we might have forgotten to be grateful for many little things in our lives because of our pre-Covid-19 routines. Some things definitely need to change when this has passed, for the sake the planet.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Mas Bamaaaaaa…..
    Suka banget dengan foto-fotonya… apalagi yang di Jogja deh. Aku ke Warungboto terakhir pas ke Jogja Feb lalu. Meskipun aku masih ‘bermasalah’ dengan keinginan jalan-jalan yang belum muncul-muncul lagi nih. Bahkan aku masih menikmati masa pandemic dirumahaja 😀 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • ‘Masalah’ Mbak Riyanti datang di saat yang ‘tepat’ nih. 🙂 Saya juga lagi betah di apartemen sih mbak, ngurus tanaman. Cuma ya kadang pengen sekedar bisa muter-muter Jakarta sih, ke toko buku, toko tanaman, atau mblusuk kemana gitu.

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  16. I love to travel and visit new places and often plan to visit Indonesia from a novel I’ve read before, i’ve traveled to Sudan for a while, it’s been an interesting experience, and I’m going to take that ball back to another place.

    Liked by 1 person

    • May I know the title of that novel? I’m always curious with books about my country. In many cases, that’s how I learn more about this archipelago I call home. Speaking of Sudan, I’m really intrigued by the pyramids of Meroe. I hope I’ll get the chance to see them one day.

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    • Thanks Victoria! At this point, we really don’t know what post-pandemic travel will look like, although I believe there will be precautionary measures taken by governments across the globe when they decide to let foreign tourists enter their countries again.

      Like

  17. This is such a beautiful post on so many levels, taking me on a travel trip through thoughts and pictures.
    The Masjid Gedhe Mataram looks so good with its exposed brick architectural style. I wonder if that was the design or whether plaster fell off over the years.

    The traditional Javan house converted into Oman reminds me of similar houses in Fort Kochi or Malaka. How similar these south Asian cultures are…

    You mentioned cycling through the monsoons in Jakarta. How bad are the floods? I have been reading stuff about Jakarta sinking to a rising ocean? We live close to the sea in Mumbai and of late monsoon flooding is becoming more regular.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! I believe the exposed brick facade has always been intentional, just like how Hindu temples in Java’s later classical period were built where reliefs were carved out directly onto those bricks.

      Under the previous governor, floods in the Indonesian capital were significantly reduced, thanks to his effort in cleaning up the city’s main river, among other things. But it is true that Jakarta is sinking. Some areas in the northern part of the city are already below sea level, and a giant sea wall (like the ones in the Netherlands) are being built along the coast.

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  18. Wonderful reflections Bama. Over the last few months I’ve thought a lot about how lucky I’ve been to travel so much. Surprisingly, while we’ve had to cancel or postpone some 2020 plans I’m not that disappointed. Like you, I’ve been enjoying my home and immediate surroundings, and I see my smaller world in a whole different light.
    Wow, I can’t believe your preparation for your Spice Odyssey trip. That is some dedication!
    Sorry to hear that you missed celebrating the end of Ramadan with your parents. I was disappointed that I couldn’t take my mother to Easter mass, something that she has never missed. It’s really these types of things that make me more sad than not traveling.
    Keep safe!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Are you and Mike still able to cycle these days? Now I try to run at least once a week at a public space near my apartment. But running with a mask tightly secured on your face is definitely not the most comfortable thing.

      Looking back, I’m also surprised by how much I had done to ensure that the trip would go well as planned.

      My parents and I really hope that at least sometime this year I can go back to my hometown to see them. But this depends on how the situation evolves in the coming months.

      You too, Caroline! Stay safe!

      Liked by 1 person

  19. Yes, Mike and I go for a bike ride a few times a week. Unfortunately the hills here make Brittany seem flat. I can’t imagine running with a mask on. Good for you though for getting out !

    Liked by 1 person

  20. You really are doing the Indonesian Tourism Board’s job here Bama! Well done. And big up for your cycling commute, even with typhoon water surges… (by the way are there crocodiles over there?)

    Liked by 1 person

    • I hope they read your comment. 😀 We have crocodiles in some parts of Indonesia, but not in Jakarta. The water is too polluted for them.

      Liked by 1 person

  21. Like you, I’m also going to be travelling closer to home when travel is allowed. I loved this post and how you’ve taken the time to consider the small things in life. But oh my goodness, the biking to work before the Spice Odyssey!! I’ve been in Jakarta during a massive rainstorm, I CANNOT imagine cycling through it!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Glad to see you again, Rebecca! Cycling through Jakarta’s madness was… tough. But it actually helped me stay fit — there was this mountain that we went to at the beginning of the journey, and I remember the hike was very easy for me.

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  22. I would love to visit Indonesia I have a musician friend, a pianist from Jakarta. Lovely photographs I must take some photographs on my daily up to an hours walk 🙂 keep safe and well. Charlotte

    Liked by 1 person

    • I hope by the time you come to Jakarta, the city’s light rail lines will have been completed — in addition to the existing metro line. So going around the city would be a little more pleasant. Stay safe too!

      Liked by 1 person

  23. New to your blog, and I can already see what an amazing life you’ve got with all these wonderful travels 🙂 doing more of solo travels is on my bucket list, so fingers crossed the pandemic is over soon indeed. I just hit follow!

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    • Hi Bila. Glad you found this blog, and thank you for reading and following. Traveling has certainly been fun, liberating, educating and enlightening. And we all surely hope this situation gets better sooner than later.

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  24. #justinindyo says:

    Oh, how I miss Yogyakarta even more after reading this beautiful story of yours. Mas Gepeng and I were usually going to Yogya when Ramadan visits families and enjoy any Ramadan’s special snack like setup jambu and carang gesing.

    And actually, we have the same condition lho Mas Bama. This May, Mas Gepeng and I should be on Aussie, but the tickets are cancelled. And next October, we have a plan to go somewhere far. Same with you, we are ready for any possibilities (tapi masih optimis tetep pergi wkwk amin amin!).

    Btw Mas Bama mohon maaf lahir batin yaa. Semoga selalu sehat.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Di balik berbagai problematikanya, Jogja emang selalu ngangenin. Selalu merasa “kembali ke rumah” kalo ke Jogja karena ritmenya yang lebih lambat dari Jakarta dan suasanya yang masih “njawani” meskipun sudah banyak mall juga.

      Saya pun udah siap mental nih kalau sampe tahun ini bener-bener gak bisa traveling ke mana-mana (tapi kangen bisa jalan-jalan keliling Jakarta pas weekend sih, sekedar cuci mata, hehe).

      Maaf lahir batin juga ya Mbak Justin dan Mas Gepeng. Semoga selalu diberi kesehatan.

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  25. #justinindyo says:

    Iya, kenapa bisa gitu ya? Saya kira karena pernah tinggal di Jogja, jadi memang terbiasa dengan ritme lambatnya Jogja. Tapi pendatang juga ngerasa gitu ternyata. Memang Jogja sungguh magis. Amin Mas Bama, terima kasyi~

    Liked by 1 person

    • Betul, beberapa temen kantor saya yang dari kecil di Jakarta juga bilang hal yang sama soal Jogja. Bahkan gak sedikit yang punya rencana pensiun di Jogja.

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  26. Bama like you, we have lots of readers and blogging friends who travel, and over and over we’ve read about plans that had to be cancelled. We had a major trip to South Africa in the works, and had already bought out plane tickets, so we’re also going to experience a big financial loss I suspect. But, after the initial disappointment, we’ve resigned ourselves to what promises to be a life change in our travel life. Also like you, we’ve adjusted our sights to travel much closer to home, and are hoping the we can work something out for the summer.

    This whole affair caught everyone by surprise and it’s global reach is amazing, but at least, in the US the infection numbers aren’t quite as bad as projected and most people seem to be taking things seriously, In the meantime, we’re just trying to stay healthy and adjust our expectations for travel in the future. Truthfully, that’s about all any of us can do. Take care of yourself and be well. ~James

    Liked by 1 person

    • My request for refund for the plane tickets I bought for a trip that was supposed to happen in April was only approved by the airline two days ago. A friend of mine who works at the same airline told me that they’re really struggling to stay in business, which explains the much-delayed refund payment. Airlines across the globe face a similar situation, and some have even filed for bankruptcy. For my planned trip this October, the last time I checked the flights are currently suspended with no clear sight of when they will resume. But I’ve mentally prepared to cancel that trip as well.

      This all still feels surreal because earlier this year we were still talking about traveling to other parts of the globe. But now we’re considered lucky if we can go further than our own backyard. I hope you and Terri stay healthy as well!

      Liked by 1 person

  27. I know I’ve said it before, but I love that opening shot of Rejawinangun Guesthouse – the modernist-looking lines, the contrast and interplay between light and shadow – architecturally it just seems ahead of its time. Your post is a timely reminder for us to count our blessings. How lucky we are to have gone on that Spice Odyssey back in 2015, and how incredibly prescient it is that we achieved your 302020 goal a year early – and less than three months before this virus first emerged. I recall we had a plan to revisit Jogja later this year, and I hope we can still do so not too far off in the future.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The architect of the guesthouse clearly had a futuristic taste. After seeing Artjog last year, I was both excited and curious with this year’s edition. However, since the Covid-19 situation in Indonesia hasn’t shown any signs of improvement, I do wonder whether the organizer will postpone the event or cancel it altogether. I’m really grateful for the timings of our past travels — it never crossed my mind that international travel would come to a sudden halt like this.

      Liked by 1 person

  28. I am so glad that you listened to James and decided to achieve your travel goal sooner. I too felt compelled for unknown reasons to to complete my circumnavigation ‘while I was able’. Looking back, I am so glad that I listed to my heart.

    The sacrifices that you made (visions of you peddling through knee high water are now etched in my mind forever) speak loudly to what it takes to realize ones travel dreams. The rewards are worth it, but the road to enjoy them is not always an easy one.

    I love your eye for the ‘overlooked’ and am always inspired by your photography. I have actually been to Yogyakarta and wandered through Kotagede, but your images capture the heart of the place far more beautifully than mine.

    Your posts from your Spice Island Tour have me dreaming of following in your footsteps (or as sailors like to say, “wake”) someday.

    Liked by 1 person

    • There are times when I feel grateful for listening to others, and completing this travel resolution one year earlier certainly is one of them. You are so right about going out and explore ‘while we’re able’, which is partially one of the reasons why I haven’t planned to return to Europe anytime soon, because in my mind that’s a part of the world where traveling is easy.

      Sometimes I’m amazed by how much sacrifice I made to make that six-month trip in 2015 possible. This shows how far determination can take us in life.

      I’ve also been to Kotagede before, a long time ago when I was a schoolkid who had little interest in culture and ancient heritage. Returning there with a completely different (or should I say more mature) perspective really helped me appreciate and enjoy this place more.

      The Spice Islands will patiently wait for you, Lisa. This part of Indonesia still is (and will probably remain) my favorite part of the country.

      Liked by 1 person

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