Postcards From Central Java: A Short Getaway With A Lifetime Memory

Going for a meeting during Jakarta’s rush hour can be quite a tough decision-making moment that its citizens have to face. You gotta choose between driving your car – or sitting comfortably at the backset of your Uber ride – but will be most likely late for your meeting, and order an online ojek (bicycle ride) that is twice faster yet could be quite tormenting with the humid weather and pollution rate.

If it’s for a meeting, or any time constraint events, I’d always choose the later.

Last Friday, I had an after office meeting, and only had about 1,5 hour to get into the meeting point. Thanks to Jakarta’s traffic, Google Maps told me that it would take about 2 hours. Not wanting to be late and in the name of trying to impress my potential client, I ordered the online ojek and hoped that I could get there in only 30 minutes.

However, I spent 1 hour and 15 minutes sitting on the motorcycle, with my driver trying his best to avoid every traffic jam that we encountered. The moment I arrived at the meeting point, I was drenched in sweat, and I stink like an old bus muffler. I walked directly to Topman to buy new clothes only for the meeting, and well, yeah for a wardrobe upgrade (LOL).

Anyway, spending 1 hour – which almost caused me a back pain – on a motorcycle, fighting your way through Jakarta’s cruel traffic made me missing a short getaway that I had just few months ago to Central Java. I’ll post details about several places and experiences that I got from the trip in another post. It was quite a short getaway over the weekend, yet it gave me one of the most remarkable memory that would last a lifetime.

As for now, please enjoy 9 best photos from that trip!

 

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The sky is blushing when the sun greets her in the morning.

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Sun-kissed.

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A loner looking for some gold.

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Because everything today has to be captured.

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Rockin’ my yellow jacket.

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Sitting above the clouds.

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A nice morning talk on the top of a hill.

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When you have the gleaming sunrise as your backdrop.

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The heights didn’t scare me. Imagining my camera fall down and hit the rocky bottom did.

Wait for more details of this trip, will ya?! Geesh, I literally have tons of content lining up to be posted here. Speaking of which, one of them will be good news and A BRAND NEW EXCITING stuff for The Perks of Being 20! Curious enough?

Write to you later,

HG. (@gersonhenry)

 

Kopi Nalar: It’s Been A While.

Does anyone agree with me that no matter where we are right now in life, there’s this tiny curiosity that keeps on popping out (whether from within, or from our surroundings) and asks us about “What’s Next?” It seems like people are so expectant with the progress you make that by the time you stop or seem to show no progress in life, you’ll be considered a misfit.

Is it true that life is only about moving forward and transitioning from one “what’s next” to another? Is it true that people tend to applaud those people who jump into one opportunity to another simply because they look courageous, while at the same time they are actually careless and unprepared?

The over–glorified concept of having something “new”, being a “new” person, or anything that has the word “NEW” can actually be something dangerous for us if we are not wise enough to discern. Once we are attracted to whatever “new” that comes our way, we tend to move with the highest speed without maximum protection and preparation simply because we are a sucker for excitement.

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Speaking of new, meet one of the newest coffee in town.

What about hitting the brakes? What about moving just a little bit slower? What about saying no for a better “new” that we ultimately want instead of what we temporarily want?

Sorry for the long intro. I guess it’s just been a while since I poured out my (sometimes) too complex thoughts into one of my posts. Just like the fact that it’s been a while for both of us to spend one weekend only to go explore and try out new places in this city.

Just last weekend, we stumbled upon this new coffee shop in South Jakarta, along with some of friends. The name is Kopi Nalar (reasoning), and it was having a soft opening. The place was a 25 percent alfresco area, 25 percent smoking room with glass rooftops and large window panes, and 50 percent of a indoor seating with white walls and modern interior.

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Kopi Nalar, Jalan Prof Joko Sutono SH No. 7, Kebayoran Baru, Jakarta

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One of their plus points: Plugs. Everywhere.

When we got there, the smoking room was empty (none of us smokes though haha), so we invaded it like its a lounge reserved exclusively just for us. The room was filled with two cozy couches and plenty of bean bags!

After ordering our choices of drinks and desserts, we settled in comfortably and spent about 3-4 hours there talking. It felt like crashing into one of your friends’ house during holidays where you got nothing to do for the whole day, accompanied by bowls of chips and boxes of pizza. It was priceless! As someone who has Quality Time for his love language, this kind of hangout day with friends is a total heart-filling moment.

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Almond and Honey

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DR got a bit too comfy.

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Pardon my too obvious tan line. Got it from my Belitung trip, which I will share soon!

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Some of my favorite Sunday crew.

What’s interesting about their coffee menu is that they have this so-called “healthy choice” of coffee. The “A Cup of Sense” menu is a mixture of coffee latte with healthy ingredients like granola, walnuts, almond, and honey. Surely I went for the new one and picked the almond and honey to complete my coffee o’clock.

Write to you later,

HG. (@gersonhenry)

A Heart-Warming Lesson From Going Solo to Ijen Crater

Just like the famous and phenomenal Star Wars franchise, which has a prequel to its first original 3 episodes, this post would be the prequel to my last post. Before the 12 hours I spent in Surabaya, I got to spend two days in Banyuwangi. It’s a small city located in East Java (about 6 hours of train ride from Surabaya) for a hike to Ijen Crater and a motor ride to Baluran National Park (will share about this in other post).

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Back in February I was having two weeks off as I was in between job. Being a real millennial that I am, of course staying in Jakarta and doing nothing would be my last option. With limited budget yet limitless curiosity to explore new places, after a little bit of web-hopping and trackpad-clicking, I was already sitting in a train to Banyuwangi.

I arrived in Banyuwangi at 3pm in the afternoon, and directly headed to a homestay, which was located right in front of the train station. After settling in and cleaning up, I rented a motorcycle and went out to explore the city. But, right now I’m not gonna go into details about Banyuwangi. Let’s save it for another post.

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The Sulphur Mining.

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Don’t I look like a ninja? Pardon the bad quality photo.

To catch sunrise at the summit of Ijen Mountain, I had to wake up at midnight, and leave before 12am because the homestay’s front door will be locked afterwards. However, because I was probably too tired, I overslept and didn’t hear my alarm when it went off. I jumped out of bed at almost 1AM thinking I’ve missed my only chance to hike Ijen Mountain. Thank God, I haven’t.

The front door was already locked, thank God the owner was kind enough to wake up and open it for me. Next thing I knew, I was already on the road using a motorcycle, feeling very much alive. The cold wind kept on slapping my face. The streets were mostly dark and deserted. The locals were already dreaming their way to La la Land. Google Maps told me that it would take me about 1 hour of motor ride. So I put my earphone and sang along to any song that Spotify shuffled for me.

About one hour later, I finally arrived at the entrance of Patulding (the basecamp of Ijen Mountain). I had to pay IDR 5K (if I’m not mistaken) to go in, and also bought a pair of gloves, since the guard was warning me that it might be very cold up there due to the rainy season.

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Waiting for the sunrise

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The road to Patulding was narrow and COMPLETELY DARK. There were neither houses nor streetlights. My only source of light came from the headlight of my motorcycle, and there were also no other vehicles. I was completely alone in the middle of what seemed to be a concrete jungle. After gathering every little bit of courage I could find within me, off into the wood I went! Secretly wishing that I would encounter a car, or other fellow motor rider, or at least a human being walking. There was none.

“No turning back, Bro,” I said to myself. I just gotta continue the ride until I find the Patulding basecamp, which was about 20 minutes later. Traveling alone in the dark at midnight, in the middle of a forest was scary enough. At least, for me. But it didn’t stop there. It started to rain. Not a drizzle. Heavy rain.

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The cartwheel that miners use to carry the sulphur.

The road became slippery and I remember feeling utterly worried that the machine would just give up on me and I had to continue the rest of the trip walking to Patulding. Thank God the motorcycle was tough enough. To make myself feel better, I sang some worship songs out loud (LOL). It was dramatic.

Long story short, after a wonderful (not) trip, I arrived at Patulding Basecamp. Parked my motorcycle, while still shivering, because it was super cold. Gratefully, my camera and iPhone were okay, even though my hip pack was drenched.

Feeling a bit traumatized, my guts level decreased immediately from 100 to almost minus. I was intently planning to hike alone, but after what I had to go through, I buried that plan, and hired a local guide, Mas Yono, instead to accompany me. At first, I thought hiking to Ijen would be a smooth sailing. The pride in me, kept on telling me that since I’ve conquered Rinjani, which is 3726 meters above sea level, going to Ijen (2799 meters above sea level) would be nothing.

I was wrong. You really can’t act cocky towards Mother Nature.

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My signature yellow jacket.

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These cartwheels are used to carry people. Yeap, that explains the pillow haha.

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Breakfast with the locals.

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See? I told you.

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The guides.

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Sulphur as souvenirs.

The hiking itself was easy, but since it was drizzling and foggy, the crater has the potential to release toxic gas that could be dangerous to you, and would make your breathing difficult. Unlike Rinjani that made me walk about 6 hours to reach its summit, Ijen was kind enough to let me walk for about 40-ish minutes.

Sadly, the wind was very strong, and the fog was thick, I couldn’t see the blue fire with my own eyes. I had to be content to see the sulphur miner who were busy extracting one of nature’s precious gems to be sold as souvenir or soaps that could make your skin smooth and clean.

Around 6PM, the sky gets brighter. Sadly, there was no hint of a sunrise at all. It was all clouds and fogs instead. There was a bit of discontentment within me, because I felt like I deserved to witness a clear, mesmerizing view, after such scary trip. So, I waited for another hour. But instead of giving me the glorified sunrays, the sky decided to unleash raindrops.

I sighed. And told myself to be grateful. Because even without the sunrise, the whole trip to Ijen Crater has left quite a memorable story.

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Act like a tourist.

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Meet, Mas Yono.

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The sun started to appear when I was already on my way back.

At 7.30-ish I’m already back at the Patulding basecampe and decided to stay for a while to have a bowl of noodles and hot milk as breakfast. The kind-hearted guide, Mas Yono, waved his goodbye. Before he left, I asked him, whether he’s going to accompany another guest. He shook his head, and replied, “One guest per day is enough. I shall let the other guides to have more guests than me, because unlike the others I have a rice field at home that can be my other source of income.”

I was so inspired by his answer and literally felt something within me got warmer. Probably it’s a gentle knock to my conscience, a reminder not to get greedy with what I have in my hands. There’s better fulfillment in sharing. Sometimes we forget that, especially if we’ve been living in a big city, which has a strong ME-FIRST culture.

There might not be a sunrise for me to watch that morning. But there was something more beautiful to witness. A sincere heart.

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Imagine going through this narrow road at midnight, in total darkness and heavy rain.

Write to you later,

HG. (@gersonhenry)

Lunch at Cassis Kitchen Is Not Your Everyday Ordinary Lunch

Mondays could be really dreadful, especially if it’s a Monday full of meetings. Luckily, one of those meetings took place at Cassis Kitchen, where I had one of the best lunch experience in my whole life. No kidding, no exaggeration.

I walked in with a full stomach, came out bloated. I couldn’t resist the temptation to finish every plate that they served to my table. Especially, since everything was wrapped up in a 4 course meal! But 4 wasn’t the number of plates that I remembered served on my table. My lunch came with complementary openers such as this cold Granita Blackcurrant and a wooden tray of bread and butter.

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Cold Granita Blackcurrant as the opener.

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Tasty tray of bread and sweet butter.

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Ice coffee for more meetings to come.

I quickly chose Ice Coffee to fuel me for more meetings, but it wasn’t enough compared to the bloated stomach that left me feeling sleepy after lunch. My lunch experience carried on to a plate of Tuna Salad that was served with poached beetroot, shaved parmesan, aragula and truffle soy vinaigrette.  The tuna was so chewy, once I finished the whole plate, I was craving for more.

Luckily, I didn’t ask for more because what came next was even more pleasing. It was a bowl of Jerusalem Artichoke Soup. It was warm and savoury, perfect for a rainy weather. While I was enjoying my soup, my lunch buddy chose a bowl of Caesar Salad that looked very pleasing to the eye.

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Tuna Salad.

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Caesar Salad.

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Jerusalem Artichoke Soup.

My lunch was far from over. Since I was done with the openers, I was then ready for a plate of Crispy Pork Belly that I was eyeing for since the first look of the menu!

I fell in love at the first sight of my pork belly. It was so sinful but tasteful at the same time. The first look will give you an excited feeling that came with a reminder to exercise harder after this plate!

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Such a juicy Crispy Pork Belly!

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Winter Bowl.

After satisfying bites of pork belly, I was served with Winter Bowl, the last of all the 4 course meal. It was a bowl of ice cream served with goji berry, strawberry and mandarin orange. It was a fresh ending to my lunch experience, or so I thought.

Not long after, a waiter came with this huge cotton candy that is said to be a signature end-meal for Cassis Kitchen. I came alone, how was I supposed to finish the whole thing?

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Chewy and squishy.

If you aren’t as single as I am, you should take some time to visit Cassis Kitchen for their Valentine specials. They will have Radhini on stage and their excellent wine served on your dinner table. But without all of that, Cassis Kitchen is still a splendid restaurant for your lunch meeting or for you to wind down after work!

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Valentine Specials.

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Pavilion Apartment Retail Arcade – Jl. KH. Mas Mansyur Kav.24.

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Outside lounge for a relaxing afternoon.

Keep exploring,

DR. (@demasryan)

A Postcard from Bali: Life Lessons from “The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari”

New year, new resolutions and new expectations. What kind of greatness do you seek to achieve this year?

To me, I was only looking for a peaceful state of mind. To be honest, I didn’t end 2016 exactly in a place that I want to be. In fact, I was quite far from my personal targets and goals. A little speed bumps and a few road blocks here and there got me super exhausted by the end of the year. I didn’t even start 2017 all excited. The first of January was just another day to me.

That was why I needed Bali so much. When I got a call to host an event in Bali, I quickly said yes in one term, which is for my client to extend my flight for almost 2 weeks. That way, I can have my most needed vacation in Bali.

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Girls just want to have fun.
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Beautiful sunset view from the Potato Head Beach Club.

In search of peace and tranquility, I bought a book at the airport by Robin Sharma titled “The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari”. I’m not much of a fiction fan, but I wasn’t in the mood for some self development book. I was just in a mood to get lost and find myself again. When it comes to finding your true self, nobody does it better than monks, right?

The book caught my attention since the very first chapter. It tells a story about a very successful corporate lawyer who sold everything in order to find himself again. To do that, he used his hard earned money to travel to India in search of wisdom from the wisest guru to learn about the art of living.

 I’m not going to spoil it for you. Read the rest of the book yourself.

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Diving in USS Shipwreck, Tulamben.

But here’s what I can tell you. I learn that the chase of money, fame and power is like the chase of the wind. It is futile. Even worse, it leads to destruction of morale and self identity.

The world relates success to something big. A big fat bank account, a big number of followers on Instagram or a big leadership and influence over a group of people. In this modern world, we tend to measure success, while it is actually more qualitative than quantitative.

 It is not much about number. It is more about quality.

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“The moment I stopped spending so much time chasing the big pleasure of life. I began to enjoy the little ones, like watching the stars dancing in moonlit sky or soaking in the sunbeams of a glorious summer morning.” – Robin S. Sharma

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“Never underestimate the power of simplicity.” – Robin S. Sharma

If qualitative success is what we want to achieve, then qualitative ways must be done to reach that kind of success. One of it that is explained in the book is about guarding your own thoughts.

A lot of people have learned and mastered the art of securing their investments and household, but few have actually mastered the art of guarding their own mind. That is why monks (from the books) punish themselves by meditating under the waterfall every time they let a tiny seed of worry enters their mind. They can’t let even the tiniest bit of worry grow inside and takes over their peace of mind.

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“Worry drains the mind of its power and, sooner or later, it injures the soul.” – Robin S. Sharma

I for one, am not a master of my own thoughts. My thoughts have took away my sleep and, sometimes, sanity. I guess I have to add that to my priority list on top of “making money”.

With all that written, I am determined to make this year all about self study. Instagram and the internet is the perfect tool to learn more about others. All the while, we tend to forgot that it is us that needs mending and fixing. While we focus so much on others and achieving what they have achieved, we forgot that the main character in our life is us. We are not just watchers and observers of life.

 That is why, studying ourselves is important. To know where we are and to know where we should be is one of the key to qualitative success.

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“I once read that people who study others are wise but those who study themselves are enlightened.” – Robin S. Sharma

What a perspective to start the year! Thank you Bali. Thank you Robin S. Sharma. You can continue scrolling down and look at more of my stories from Bali.

Keep exploring,

DR. (@demasryan)

 

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Thousands of tiny fishes spotted.

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Colourful corals.

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The Lady Gaga of fish.

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My lunch date at Da Maria, @inesaryaniputri.

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Took a quick visit to Taman Ujung, Karangasem. I rode for 2 hours to get to this place.

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One of the best wedding photography sites in Bali.

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When you travel alone, but clever enough to utilize the self timer feature.

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Kali Unda was lit. I loved every minute I spent watching these kids play in the water.

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These four kids kept on jumping just to be in the photo.

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Simplicity.

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Dab for the camera!

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Definitely a rare candid moment.

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Bumped into @martinalvin and @crystiarden. This couple would kill their pre wedding photos.

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These tacos I tried at Panama are definitely not the best taco in Bali.
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Chilling by the pool.

Postcard From Jakarta: Capturing The Unseen

Hello, 2017! As exciting as it is, it feels a bit surreal that we are finally entering the second year of managing The Perks of Being 20.

How was your New Year celebration? As for us, we spent quite a fun “old and new”  with some of our friends: singing our hearts out at a karaoke place, bbq, snacking like there’s no tomorrow, playing with fireworks, and staying up all night until the first sunrise in 2017 appeared.

I used to get so excited about the New Year. I used to get so psyched up about staying up until midnight just to experience the euphoria of entering a new year, which brings a lot of new hope, a sense of new changes, better changes. Until I grew up, and life started to throw stuff at me. Until reality started to bite.  I remember feeling unexcited anymore about the new year, because I knew that even though the time on my clock changed, even the day, month and year on my calendar changed, I was still stuck with the same problem and the same character.

That was me, during my quarter life crisis.

This year, however, my perspective has been renewed. I realized that if I want to see change to happen in some areas of my life, I’m the one who is responsible to make that change. Yes, there are a lot of messy homework to be done, but as adults, we have no other choice but to deal with it.

Anyways, enough with the serious stuff. How was your holiday? Did you get to travel overseas and visit a lot of new places? Or, was it like ours? We didn’t get to travel anywhere this year. However, that didn’t stop us from getting the best experience out of our holidays. We wanted to enjoy it while it last. So what did we do?

This could be an inspiration for you to do, when you want to travel, but you’re stuck in this city. Grab your camera, and start exploring. Open your eyes to the things around you that you might have been taking for granted. As for us, we decided to see Jakarta, the city that we were born into, and have witnessed some of our ups and downs, from behind our camera lens. We didn’t even plan to make a blog post out of it, as we only intended to go with our camera accompanying us. But then we realized, we have created a lot of postcard series in this blog as we traveled to some beautiful places. Why don’t we create one out of our very own hometown?

So here is Jakarta,

From the eyes of HG:

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Hello.. it’s me.

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(Not so) proudly present.. the latest worldwide topic originated from Indonesia.

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Lunch break.

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Old heritage.

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Street gallery.

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A series of antics.

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Pink is the new black.

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(Almost) everybody’s question to God.

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Let me show you how I do it.

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Finding direction.

 

From the eyes of DR:

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Young love.

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When the future seems bright.

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Probably got some paint in his eye.

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Take democracy out of the square.

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Cool hat!

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In action.

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Peek a boo!

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Travel essentials.

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Waiting is so boring.

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Hello there!

We hope you are as excited as we are about 2017! Anyways, before I end this post, let me share with you the first good news we received at the beginning of 2017. This website has reached 10k viewers just a few weeks before its first anniversary! Thank you for every single one of you who has been so loyal in checking out the new posts every week, and  even sharing it to your friends. Cheers!

Write to you later,

HG. (@gersonhenry)

Thank You 2016

It seemed like it was just yesterday when we both agreed to start this blog together. Offering new perspectives about living your twentysomething season through variety of lifestyle that have been featured here for the past 12 months. Late night discussion and weekend hustle were only few examples of the price we pay to consistently come up with new content for this website, every single week. We do hope you’ve been enjoying what we’ve presented to the table all this time.

Now, as a closing to this wonderful year, we’re going to share some precious lessons we’ve gained throughout this year.

HG:

People matter. If there is one thing that I learned this year is that people matter. This world will be a much better place to live in if we could just choose to be friends with anyone, seeing them as valuable despite of their background stories. Yes, sometimes it would get tiring or draining to deal with people, because relationship is messy.

As much as I want to start inspire and bless those who are in needs, I kept on reminding myself that I should at least, firstly, be inspiring and blessing to those who are close to me. Spreading the positive influence is the least I can do in order to start making a real impact to the world. The younger me tend to take people for granted. The younger me tend to use people as just another tool to climb the social ladder.

This year, I learned that if I want to go further in life, I shall start appreciating and nurturing the relationship that God has put into my hands. Any form of relationship can turn flat once familiarity kicks in. I am a work in progress in this area. I have decided to continually push myself to look at people beyond their flaws and imperfection. I have committed myself to get my heart enlarged in accepting people. I have determined to give without expecting anything in return.

DR:

To persevere is what I have learned this year. That is what makes human different than machines. Machines operate until they run out of energy, let it be fuel or electricity. They do not have the ability to persevere, unlike human. Even though we run out of sources, our will to live and to create surpasses our lack of ability and sources. On top of those things, dreams and the belief of creating meaning in life pushes us to create even beyond 24/7.

2016 has been nothing but challenging. At times, I find myself operating on nothing but dreams, hope and faith. I can’t say that I am ending this year where I want to be, but I can say that I will continue dreaming, hoping and having faith for 2017.

Since we live and breathe in the hope of getting closer to our dreams everyday, I urge everyone of us to expect more challenges in 2017. For only outside of our comfort zone, we grow.

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THANK YOU FOR 2016!

Anyways, thank you for 2016! We’re excited for 2017 with all the surprises that it has in store. To end this post, here’s a little throwback of what we’ve done so far in 2016.

Keep exploring and we’ll write to you next year!

(@theperksofbeing20)

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