15 Years On

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Europe

I recently stumbled across my old collection of international stamps

Some people have known what they love doing since they were very young, but others find out about that one thing they’re most passionate about only when they’ve grown up, and I belong in the latter category. When I was little, I didn’t know that I would enjoy traveling so much. For me, ‘travel’ meant visiting relatives in other cities on Java, coming with my parents on my father’s work-related trips, or going on school outings. So how and why has traveling become an important part of my life now?

Looking back, I realized even though I didn’t grow up visiting foreign places, my exposure to the world started very early. One day when I was still in primary school, my father showed me a huge pile of stamps mostly from abroad. I don’t exactly remember how he got them, but I still recall that feeling of fascination when I saw those colorful small pieces of paper with perforated edges which allowed people to send letters. As I examined each and every one of them, many depicting imagery I wasn’t familiar with, I stumbled upon some that were emblazoned with names totally foreign to me. While I already knew Nippon is Japan and Norge is Norway, what was Helvetia? And Österreich? And how come there are two different names for Deutsche: Deutsche Bundespost and Deutsche Demokratische Republik? Since there was no internet back then to just look up things on Google, it took me many years to finally understand that Helvetia is in fact Switzerland, Österreich is Austria, and the two Deutsches referred to West and East Germany, respectively.

Stamps aside, my father used to make me watch the 9pm world news with him, and that was how I learned about Cyprus and the frozen conflict between its Greek and Turkish communities, among other things. He also mentioned Gorbachev’s glasnost and perestroika, the Berlin Wall, the breakup of Yugoslavia, and how the United Kingdom and Argentina fought over the Falklands (better known in Indonesia as the Malvinas, like how the Argentinians call these islands). “The Argentines used the Exocet,” my mom added one night. I was (and still am) curious and amused that of all things it’s the French-made missile she remembers most about this war.

I also remember excitedly turning the pages of an atlas we had in our home with its rear cover displaying the flags of countries from all around the world (some of them have been redesigned since then). I even had some cutouts of those colorful national banners stored in a glass jar. My father also showed me a very thick book with hundreds of pages filled with words I wasn’t interested in reading, except for one page because of a black and white photo of a building printed on it. It was unlike any other structure I had seen before, and as I read the caption carefully, I learned that this seemingly magical and grand edifice is called the Potala Palace.

In the years that followed, my knowledge of the world expanded further thanks to the encyclopedias I read at the school library. Images of cities in the US, each one with a skyscraper-filled skyline, evoked that sense of wonder within me. So did pictures of faraway countries like Iran and Mauritania. In my university years, I started subscribing to the Indonesian edition of the National Geographic magazine and began reading The Economist for a more in-depth understanding of the world. However, it was only in 2007 – during my final year in college – when the opportunity finally came for me to go outside Indonesia and see the world for the first time.

One of my cousins who had been living in Europe for more than a decade was getting married with her then-boyfriend from Germany (they decided to part ways a few years ago). And as the wedding date was finalized, my aunt (my late father’s elder sister) called my parents, asking them to attend the ceremony in the groom’s hometown. But my dad had a different idea. “Instead of us going, what if I send Bama?” he called his sister back with his proposal. Not only would it be cheaper for them (paying the tickets for just one person as opposed to two: him and my mom), but he also thought about practicalities since none of them spoke any foreign languages. “Sure!” my aunt agreed right away. After navigating through the bureaucracy and all the paperwork to secure both Schengen and UK visas (we were planning to also visit the latter since that was where my cousin was actually living at that time), finally in the middle of July 2007 I took my first ever international flight aboard one of KLM’s old Boeing 747s. And this happened 15 years ago.

Old stamps from Indonesia

My late uncle and I at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport

In front of the BMW Welt in Munich, Germany

A candid group photo in Heidelberg, Germany

I don’t remember what we were looking at

A more proper group photo

Basking in the afternoon sun in Düsseldorf, Germany

Everything was pleasant in Vienna (left); everything was expensive in London

One and a half decades ago, I set foot on foreign soil for the very first time. During this month-long trip to five countries across Europe, I was amazed by how different things were from what I was used to seeing back home: clean rivers in city centers, quiet and almost deserted streets despite the large amount of parked cars, extensive and efficient public transport, and just the generally fresh and crisp air. However, there were quite a few awkward moments as well. I was surprised to see how many people blew their noses once they’d finished their meals. Although there’s no rule prohibiting people from doing that in Indonesia, it’s just something we don’t do, let alone see. And then, there’s European TV programs past 10pm. One night, when I was watching TV with my late uncle, suddenly an explicit sex scene appeared on the screen. “Wow!” was the only thing he said before changing the channel to a news bulletin. A very awkward moment, indeed.

In 2010, I wrote about my journey to (in a chronological order) Germany, Austria, Belgium, France, and the UK in this very blog, thanks to a couple of friends who encouraged me to document this European trip. You can read it here, but you will notice back then that I wrote very differently.

However, if you ask me if there was anything I didn’t expect to see/learn/experience from this trip, that would be how traveling actually helps to break stereotypes. In many conservative regions in Indonesia (and elsewhere around the developing world, I believe), children are often taught to be careful of Western cultural influences. Despite all the technological advancements, the West is often portrayed as morally inferior: Westerners are described as impolite compared to Asians, irreligious (therefore not good!), and very individualistic. It didn’t take long for me to see how wrong these notions were. In my first few days in Germany, I already noticed how courteous almost everyone I met tended to be. They greeted me first, and they were very helpful (even though some didn’t speak English at all) when I needed directions. It really warmed my heart to be treated in such a respectful way. Later I also learned about one of the most fundamental differences between the West and the East. In the former you are treated as an individual who has rights, while in Asia you are seen as a part of society with all the obligations that entails. Both have their own pros and cons, and understanding them will help us to be less judgmental toward one another, because honestly I don’t think there is a single culture/system/set of values that is 100% perfect. We can always learn from each other.

Since that very eye-opening trip, my wanderlust has only grown bigger and my desire to see more of the world has only become stronger. Although I have yet to return to Europe, I’m lucky for having been able to travel to quite a few places I could only dream of when I was growing up. Focusing almost exclusively on Asia, my travels since 2007 have been equally, if not more, fulfilling. They have added a lot more perspectives on how I see the world, made me learn how events in one place can result in unexpected repercussions in far corners of the globe, and constantly reminded me to think more critically of everything I see, because there is more than meets the eye. However, it’s not all about deep stuff. Of all places, who would’ve thought I’d touch snow for the very first time in the mountains of Lebanon? And try the best yoghurt ever in Bhaktapur, Nepal? And do some of the most exciting hikes in Hong Kong?

My last international trip happened in December 2019 when I spent the Christmas holidays in Hong Kong. And as we all know, a few months after that the world came to a screeching halt. Borders were shut, and movements were severely limited. However, there is reason to be hopeful more than two years later. One by one, countries have reopened their borders and are welcoming back tourists. Some restrictions are understandably still in place, although they differ from one country to another. For the first time in what feels like forever, we’re finally seeing the end of the pandemic on the horizon (i.e. the beginning of the endemic stage, although experts won’t probably announce this anytime soon, as they are still closely monitoring the number of cases and their severity). And for the first time since December 2019 I’ve started looking up tickets for international flights again. Nothing is finalized yet, but I’m thinking of going somewhere in the region (there are still a lot places in Southeast Asia that I haven’t been or would love to revisit). We’ll see how things go.

Until then, stay safe and healthy! And let’s start planning more trips again!

On a Garuda Indonesia flight from Jakarta to Hong Kong

This Asiana Airlines flight took me to Incheon, South Korea from Jakarta

A Drukair flight from Singapore to Paro, Bhutan

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

66 thoughts on “15 Years On”

    • I’ve been to Manila in 2011, but that visit was too short to do the city justice. For years, I’ve been thinking of going back to the Philippines. Hopefully sometime soon!

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  1. I so love this post! It is one of the best you have written. Thank you for explaining in such a beautiful way why we should travel. 💕

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    • Much appreciated, Rama! I feel like once in a while we need to remind ourselves why seeing the world is good for us. I hope you’ll get to travel to faraway places again soon.

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  2. It’s wonderful to look back and reflect on how you’ve changed and evolved since that first trip abroad 15 years ago, and realize how your fascination with travel – and the world beyond Indonesia – were actually planted during your childhood. The photos of you as a college student and your relatives add even more of a personal touch. I’d love to take you around my favorite places in Spain when the opportunity comes. Here’s to hoping you get to travel overseas once more before the end of the year!

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    • I’ve certainly changed — for the better, I hope. Although my father was never keen on traveling, he was instrumental in broadening my horizons, especially about the world. I’d love to go to Spain! Especially after reading your earlier posts about this country and watching a TV series called From Spain with Love.

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  3. I was just like you as a kid… loved collecting stamps and i would study the atlas my grandparents gifted me for hours! Here’s to more travels for you (and me!) in the future!

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  4. I think if people traveled more and opened their eyes to different cultures, thinking and perspectives, we would be a lot better. I grew up in the Philippines and moved to Canada. We were fortunate enough to travel when we were young. My parent’s friends said to just leave the kids at home because they won’t understand or remember. But I think it somehow formed a key building block of our characters.

    My dad also started us collecting stamps and putting them in albums. He would clip the stamps from the letters he got from work and from other people. So I remembered what Helvetia was and even Magyar Posta (Hungary). My dad also got us to read National Geographic too.

    btw – you haven’t aged at all!

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    • I agree with you, although when we travel we also need to have the right mindset, i.e. to learn about cultures that are different from ours and not judge them. I’ve seen examples of well-seasoned travelers who unfortunately have a rather narrow-minded view of the world.

      I guess for many of us collecting stamps was the first step we took before embarking on a more challenging but rewarding journey: seeing the world with our own eyes. I almost forgot about Magyar Posta! It was only on this trip to Europe 15 years ago did I learn that it’s the name for Hungary. One of my cousin’s friends from this country even taught me how to pronounce the name correctly (it sounded like Mojor).

      Ha! I have quite a lot of grey hairs now. 😄

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  5. I love this story of your first experience traveling internationally. I also love how your dad instilled and encouraged your interest. My mom travelled to Europe with a friend when she was in her early 20s. In the 1950s that was not very common. She told me many stories from this trip as I was growing up and helped me to dream of travel. Well we’ve booked our first trip. We leave at the end of July for Peru, Bolivia and Brazil!! Glad you’re looking at travel too. Hope Canada is on that list someday. Maggie

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    • Thanks Maggie. Your mom was so cool! Traveling to Europe just a few years after the end of WW2 certainly was brave and very adventurous. I’m sooo excited for your upcoming trip to South America! I can’t wait to follow your journey across those three countries. You know, I almost went to Canada in 2020. If it wasn’t because of the pandemic, I would have visited Montreal, Ottawa, and Toronto. Better luck next time!

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  6. What a fun read, Bama! I feel like I knew about some of your love for faraway places even before you’d begun to travel, but I did not know about your month-long trip to Europe fifteen years ago. I know the old photos are a tad blurry, but you look almost exactly like you do now, I think! Or at least what a few more current photos seems to indicate. You just have one of those ageless faces (lucky you!). My first trip overseas was when I was about 16, and like yours, it sparked a lifelong interest in other cultures and people. Unlike you, I look wayyyyyyy older now than I did then! 🙂

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    • Thanks Lex! That trip to Europe really sparked the wanderlust within me. I remember getting lost in the old town district of Nuremberg in Germany with my uncle, but somehow I enjoyed ‘discovering’ places I would’ve otherwise missed if I knew my way. People say age is just a number. What’s more important is how we live our lives so that we can age gracefully. 🙂

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    • I might go back to Europe next year for a close friend’s wedding. But nothing is finalized yet, including the ceremony itself. It would be funny though if I do go because of this — the very reason why I went to Europe for the first time 15 years ago.

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  7. This reminds me of my childhood stamp collection 😅 I still have those stamps with me until now including some old Straits Settlements stamps.

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    • I see a recurring theme here. Those who collected stamps when they were young tend to get bitten by the travel bug when they’re older. 😆

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      • And parents who like to travel. My parents took me and my brother as kids by bus from Singapore to Hatyai in southern Thailand for holiday. It was a backside numbing 18 hrs bus ride🤣

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      • 18 hours on a bus?!? My record was 12 hours, and it was enough for me to say never again. 😆

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  8. Bama, I loved this post and learning more about how you discovered the world and a love for traveling. It’s wonderful your parents sent you to the wedding in Europe and how that helped unlock a world of traveling and discovery for you.

    Those places you visited look wonderful – and you were practically a little kid in those travels! I bookmarked your older posts and will enjoy them at another time.

    Now that the world is opening up again, hope you get to enjoy more adventures!

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    • Thanks Ab. I’m forever grateful for my parents’ decision to send me to Europe to represent them at the wedding. There’s one thing I regret though: not having a proper camera with enough memory card(s) to capture all the beautiful things I saw.

      Wishing you, your husband, and T more travels in the future too!

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      • I hear you on the camera and photo thing. What did we ever do before the age of digital cameras! Your words capture the memories and feelings well. 🙂

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      • I know, right? If I could turn back time, that would probably be one thing I’d like to change.

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  9. Your childhood and travel journey are very similar to mine. I, too, spent hours reading through encyclopedias. I read about every country, geographic feature, and city, over and over again. I didn’t read many books, but I read National Geographic and whatever magazines on politics or current events I could find. Like you, I went to Europe right after college with a friend who convinced me to save money, and it changed my life forever.

    That is really cool that your parents had the wisdom to send you on that trip. They must have known how life changing it would be.

    I hope you get 15 more great years of travel, and 15+15 after that.

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    • Your story does sound similar to mine, Jeff! Although for me the saving money part to travel abroad only happened after I met James who convinced me to do the Spice Odyssey.

      When we bring the world to children through encyclopedias, books, etc, chances are years later they will be interested in seeing in person the things they read when they were young.

      I wish you plenty of adventures too!

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  10. Awww, look at you younger and bright-eyed in your first international travel experience! I love looking back on old travel photos, seeing how my style and perspective on the world keeps changing as time passes and I gain more insight into myself. When we expand our horizons from a young age there’s no limit to the wonders that open up for us in our lifetimes. May this continue for us till the very end. Stay safe in your future adventures.

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    • I still can remember the smell of the air as I stepped out of the plane at Schiphol. It really was like entering a new world. I was so excited to see people from all over the world coming together at one place. I completely agree with what you said about expanding our horizons since early age. Stay safe too, Atreyee! I wish you more travels in the future.

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  11. It’s neat to pinpoint your love of travel back to a moment, or series of moments. It’s amazing how travelling can give you a whole new perspective on how you see the world and the people around you. Best of luck planning for your next international trip. We’re actually heading to Europe next month. I can’t wait.

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    • One of the things I like the most about keeping a blog is it often makes me revisit my past and reflect on things I would’ve probably forgotten. Thanks Linda! So excited for your upcoming trip to Europe! I wonder if this will be your first travel beyond North America since the beginning of the pandemic.

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      • I know what you mean. It’s also neat to see how much our writing styles have evolved over time. And yes, this will be our first time travelling outside of North America since the start of the pandemic. We’ve hopped on a plane a couple of times already this year, but have stayed within Canada. I’m looking forward to getting a change of scenery.

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      • When I reread my earlier blog posts, my reactions are usually “why did I write it this way?” or “I wrote this???” 😂

        A change of scenery really is what most of us need.

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  12. What a fabulous story Bama. I just had the thought that travellers are born not made, in the same way that some people are born to never stray. I hardly remember details growing up except that as an Aussie of British heritage it was expected that one would visit the mother country at some point. And also that Aussies travel. It’s part of the culture. No one thinks it’s weird to drop everything and go to a foreign country. This was true even in the 60’s as I was growing up, and by the time I was 19 my parents set off on a 6 month odyssey to Europe, the first of three long trips they did to various parts of the world.
    How fabulous that your father sent you to the wedding instead of him and your mum going. What a fabulous, and life-changing experience for you.
    Alison

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    • Maybe you’re right, Alison. This reminds me of some people who gave me a blank look when I told them about my travel experiences. I know Aussies travel a lot, but it’s interesting to hear your perspective about this from a cultural standpoint. I feel like sometimes Asians work way too hard and ignore other things, including seeing the world. But I guess this is changing among the younger generations.

      I like to think that my parents made the right decision of sending me to attend that wedding. It opened up so many doors for me in the years that followed.

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    • Travel is life, indeed! I surely hope so, John and Susan. It would be great to bump into you at some random place! But if you happen to be visiting my part of the world, please drop me a message.

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  13. Lovely story. We have started travelling internationally again in Nov 2021 and haven’t stopped since then. We are just back from a trip to Peru so it makes it 3 trips in less than a year…(Suzanne)

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    • Hi Suzanne. Yes, I did notice that you’ve started traveling abroad again, which is great. And you just came back from Peru?? That’s amazing! Let’s hope things will keep getting better.

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      • We are indeed just coming back from Peru and we have posted our first article on our blog about that trip. More to come in the coming weeks. It is great to be travelling again.

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  14. Aku penasaran, setelah moment ‘wow’ itu, apakah channel TV tetap akan dipindah ke acara berita seandainya dirimu/pamanmu cuma sendirian di situ Bam? Hahaha canda pindah.

    Anyway, kayanya ketertarikan kita melihat dunia luar itu asal muasalnya hampir mirip ya. Meskipun urutannya aja yang terbalik. Aku dimulai dari baca-baca ensiklopedia, lihat-lihat atlas, baru kemudian melalui hobi filateli. Tapi sebelum mengenal tau itu semua, kayanya satu-satunya keinginanku ke luar negeri itu cuma buat pergi haji aja deh 😀

    O iya, aku tadi sempat mampir juga ke postingan lamamu itu. Yang dirimu nulis tentang perjalanan beberapa hari ke Eropa itu. Bukan cuma gaya nulismu aja yang beda, tapi juga gaya fotomu. Jelas banget sekarang lebih bercerita dan canggih. Aku pribadi suka tuh melihat bagaimana gaya tulisan dan foto seseorang berubah dengan berjalannya waktu. Makanya kadang senang kalau nemu blog yang udah keren, tapi dokumentasi tulisan lamanya masih ada. Jadi bisa ngamatin, betapa pendekar pun tidak tiba-tiba sakti mandraguna.

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    • Hahaha.. Sejujurnya, setelah aku tau soal itu, di hari-hari berikutnya aku selalu tidur paling akhir. Namanya juga penasaran. 😀

      Kayaknya kalau aku gak diperkenalkan sama dunia luar, mungkin aku akan bahagia-bahagia aja sama dunia di sekelilingku. Ini yang sering aku rasakan pas aku cerita soal pengalaman perjalananku ke orang-orang yang memang sepertinya kurang tertarik untuk mengetahui di luar sana ada apa.

      Duh, dulu tuh ya aku kalau ambil foto bener-bener asal jepret. Gak dipikirin pencahayaannya gimana, sudut yang bagus gimana, dll. Apalagi cara penulisanku. Sempet pernah kepikiran buat ngedit tulisan lamaku supaya gaya penulisannya mendekati cara penulisanku sekarang. Tapi terus mikir. Pertama, ini pasti butuh waktu banget. Kedua, gaya penulisanku kan tetap ada kemungkinan untuk berubah ke depannya. Ketiga, aku mikir justru dengan membiarkan tulisanku yang dulu apa adanya aku jadi bisa melihat perkembangan tulisanku kayak gimana.

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      • Bama banget! 😀

        Hmm untuk point kedua, kayanya bener juga sih Bam. Meskipun mungkin harus ditambah faktor-faktor lainnya. Soalnya ada beberapa orang cukup puas mengetahui dunia luar dari tulisan atau informasi yang didapatkan dari sumber lain. Ada juga yang justru penasaran, pengen tahu langsung, dan pengen tahu lebih banyak.

        Kalau menurutku sih biarin aja Bam, buat pengingat juga kalau dirimu gak tiba-tiba sampai di titik ini.

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      • Bener Bart. Tadi aku lebih spesifik ke orang-orang yang bener-bener gak tertarik sama sekali, yang memandangku dengan mata nanar dan tatapan kosong. 😄

        Kadang pas baca tulisan lama suka mikir, aku dulu nulis ini??? 😂

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      • Mata nanar dan tatapan kosong? Jangan-jangan emang lagi gak fokus dianya hahaha. Eh tapi aku dulu punya temen -udah almarhum sih-, kerjanya dari rumah gitu, secara dia web developer. Uangnya banyak, tapi males pergi ke mana-mana. Pokoknya kamarnya itu udah yang ternyamanlah buat dia. Suatu saat dia nanya soal enaknya traveling, setelah aku ceritain ya dia komennya cuma: hmmm kayanya masih lebih enak di kamar gw aja deh 😀

        Hahaha, isin tapi nyata ya, kalau baca tulisan lama?

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  15. Bama I so enjoyed reading about how your love of travel evolved. When you mentioned your stamp collection it was like a flash to my Uncle’s stamp collection. I was so fascinated by it. I wonder if it sparked the travel bug for me as well?

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    • Maybe it did! I think our wanderlust is a result of the accumulation of things that evoked our fascination with the world. Although I’m grateful for the invention of email and the internet, I do miss sending letters with stamps (and collecting the ones I receive). I believe in some countries this is still the norm, but not in Indonesia unfortunately.

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  16. How exciting to visit Europe for the first time! I remember the first time I visited Europe, it was a Greek island called Crete and I was just mesmerized by how different it was from everything I’ve known. I also visited Italy and Spain and I just fell in love with all those places. I can’t wait to go back. You’ve visited places I’ve never been before; Germany, Austria, Belgium, France, and the U.K. I hope to visit them in the future!

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    • First time to Europe and you went to Crete? That’s amazing! It’s one of the places in Greece I really want to see — the palace of Knossos is among the sites on the island I don’t want to miss. I can imagine the differences in our experience since you went to southern European countries while I focused more on western Europe.

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      • Indeed, Crete is one of those places I would love to go back to, unfortunately I didn’t get a chance to see the palace of Knossos. Your post inspired me to write about my experiences traveling to Europe for the first time, I might just do that 😊

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  17. hcyip says:

    It was very interesting to learn about how you developed a love for travel and seeing and learning more of the world. Similar to you, my father also played a big part in developing my curiosity as a child about the world, mainly through newspapers and Newsweek magazine, which he subscribed to. I also started to travel later in life, after coming to East Asia to work after university. Traveling really does further our minds and knowledge and experiences.
    Whether the pandemic is really coming to an end or not (subvariants), we do need to make the most of any chance to travel if we can, while staying safe.

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    • I noticed that for many of us our parents played a big role in introducing the world to us when we were little. And aren’t we grateful for that? At some point I also read Newsweek (along with Far Eastern Economic Review and Asiaweek) mainly because I wanted to improve my English. It sounds like we have a lot of similarities when it comes to how traveling has become an important part of our lives.

      You’re right about subvariants, and I do wonder if for the foreseeable future we will need to get more booster shots.

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  18. hcyip says:

    Yes, I do owe a lot of gratitude to my father. Being curious about the world is something that’ll stay with me for life. Good to know that you also read Newsweek. I have heard a lot about Far Eastern Economic Review and how it was one of the best publications about Asia in its day.

    I think that is likely we will be asked to get more booster shots. I remember reading a short while ago that the authorities in places like HK and the UK were recommending adults, not just seniors, to get a fourth shot.

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  19. What an amazing post! I loved reading about how you discovered your passion for travelling and also all the differences and stereotypes the Eastern cultures have about the Western ones! Growing up in a multicultural environment (though mainly European) and bicultural family, travelling was quite common, but I remember very well when I realised that there was more than just “Europe”: when my dad brought home a small replica of a skyscraper from a trip to the US! Back then it was really not common where I lived! Not to mention the first time I experienced first-hand a non-European culture and country in Japan: everything seemed so different and amazing!

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    • Thanks Juliette. Replicas of skyscrapers from the US must have been really cool souvenirs back in the days — that is, of course, before places like Shanghai and Dubai try to outdo each other when it comes to who has the tallest building in the world. Stereotypes are unfortunate but inevitable. And traveling helps break many of these which is why it’s such a reinvigorating and rewarding thing to do. Speaking of Japan, that is one amazing country. Even we Asians are awestruck by it! While on the surface many things in the country are quintessentially Asian, but in some ways the Japanese just have a different mentality than the rest of Asia.

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  20. I agree with Rama in the comments. This post is probably one of the best posts you’ve written, and it was so heartfelt and honest. So many memories to look back on and when you look back on some travels, you kind of think wow, I did that! Like you, I grew up in an age where internet was non-existent and just about starting up. My parents got me into collecting stamps, giving me stamps on their letters and I think I know the feeling of looking down at stamps and thinking of another world away 🙂

    Also agree that we can learn so much from each other. There will always be certain perceptions of each culture, sometimes holding true and other times not, and definitely no system is perfect. The least we can do is respect each other and get along.

    Part of the fun of traveling includes planning. Hope you have fun planning your next international trip.

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    • Thanks Mabel. What I forgot to mention in this post is that I almost didn’t go because the flight ticket was too expensive back then. I’m glad in the end I went. If this trip never happened, my life today would have turned out completely different!

      Stamps really made people like us wonder about what the world was like — what was really out there? Too bad younger generations nowadays can’t relate with this.

      I haven’t traveled abroad since December 2019, and I think now I’m a little rusty when it comes to planning such a trip. We’ll see how things go.

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      • Glad you took the trip, Bama. Totally a life change trip 😀 I think I still have my stamp book from way back. I will think of you and this post if I find it. Looking forward to reading more travels from you and James. Travel safe.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Nicole. It was nice to revisit these memories of my first international trip when I was writing this blog post.

      Like

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