Postcards From Labuan Bajo: A Birthday Trip With Travel Society!

I still remember last year strolling around several Instagram accounts, hoppin from one photo to another, and stumblin upon many photos of the beautiful Labuan Bajo. That was when I decided to intentionally find more infos on how to travel to this part of Indonesia. Particularly as I was craving for a good holiday day on the beach, yet was so bored with Bali. I was keen to explore more hidden gems of this country.

Travel Society was like that thirst-quencher in the middle of a sunny day. Our convo begun with warm greetings and ended up in a collaboration as they invited me to join one of their sailing trips to Bajo! If you are looking for an affordable travel experience to Labuan Bajo and some other places in Indonesia, yet with comfortable place to stay and friendly guides to accompany you, Travel Society should be on your call list.

They have regular dates every year for an open trip to Bajo that you can check on their Instagram account. Out of the dates they provide, I picked the one in September not knowing that it fell right on my 30th birthday!

Celebrating your birthday with a new experience was definitely a great idea. As for me, I celebrated it with a living on a boat for 3 days and 2 nights, visiting 9 islands (Kelor, Manjarite, Rinca, Padar, Namo, Taka Makassar, Gili Lawa, Kanawa, and Bidadari) in total, trekking several hills to watch sunrise and sunset, snorkeling to find manta, getting up close and personal with the Komodo dragon, laying on a pink beach, and swimming in a clear turquoise sea. Well, I got a pretty bad sunburnt as a birthday gift, but it was definitely worth the experience!

I’ll share more about these trip, but for now, please enjoy my postcard series from Labuan Bajo!

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First island in the itinerary, Pulau Kelor

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Menjangan (deer), which is the Komodo dragon’s lunch menu.

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Enjoying the sailing trip a little bit too much.

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Fishermen ready to go to work.

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A convo at golden hour.

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That beautiful hue of gold behind a hill.

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Sunrise watching from the top of Padar Island.

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One of the best islands, Taka Makassar, which pretty much reminds me of Maldive.

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Floating hotels at Gili Lawa.

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Resting to catch a breath.

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Sand-dipped toes on Bidadari Island.

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I was so tempted to say “Dracarys” LOL!

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Sunset at Labuan Bajo.

Write to you later,

HG. (@gersonhenry)

 

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The Story of How I Decided To Summit An Active Volcano With No Training or Preparation Whatsoever

Gunung Merapi, which literally translated means mountain of fire, is one the biggest active volcanoes in Indonesia. Earlier this year I was feeling a little restless at work and had the bright idea to attempt to summit the Mountain of Fire with two ex-military guys.

For context, I’d been back in Jakarta for about a year and wanted to start hiking. One of the things on my bucket list is climbing Mt Rinjani in Lombok (which HG & DR did just last year), and I was looking for a few easier hikes to start training for it. Merapi sounded like a solid choice for a first serious hike as it was accessible from Jogja and could be completed in a day, i.e. without having to carry a ton of camping equipment around. The trek from basecamp to summit was supposed to take about 4.5 hours.

I can do that, I thought. I’ll be fine.

I definitely underestimated the Mountain of Fire. Let me just make this clear—Merapi is a beast of a hike. It’s not the distance, which is a manageable 3.4 kilometres from basecamp to the summit. It’s not the altitude, which is just under 3,000m above sea level. And it’s not the trail, which is a single meandering path up the mountain that’s actually quite well-marked. But the thing that I didn’t know was this: Merapi is insanely steep.

You know how even decently fit people find themselves a little out of breath after running up a flight of stairs? Imagine climbing up escalator steps for five hours—for some sections of the hike, it was more like two escalator steps at a time—and then imagine doing that with an extra 10 kilograms on your back. And all the while, you’re racing time to make it to the summit in time for the spectacular sunrise you’ve been promised.

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The hike is broken up into five sections. By taking the distance and dividing it by the estimated time it would take, you can tell that the section between Pos I and Pos II is the steepest and most difficult. That and the final scramble up to the summit itself, of course.

The other thing about hiking Merapi is that you have to start in the middle of the night, because during the day the active volcano emits more sulphurous gases. Full confession: this hike was only my second all-nighter ever. But as someone once said, adventure gets out of bed before the sun does!

(Okay, it was me. I said it.)

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Adventure gets out of bed before the sun does, but once the sun is up feel free to take naps. Stef took a nap out in the open, exposed to the winds at high altitude, which in hindsight was not the best idea. When he woke up 20 minutes later, his body’s core temperature had dropped and he had to put on extra layers, huddle in the carne, and drink hot tea to warm up again.

We started the hike at 1 am, and it was painfully steep from the get-go. Within 10 minutes I was gasping for breath and wondering what on earth I had gotten myself into. Of course it was no problem for my ex-military hiking companions, but I kept needing to pause for breath, and soon enough the three of us were trailing behind the rest of the group. Stef, seeing me struggling, offered to take my water pack and some of my extra weight. Still, it was tough going.

But there was no turning around, there was no going home, there was no sitting on a rock in the jungle by myself waiting 7 hours for everyone to go up and come back down. In a way, quitting simply wasn’t an option, and that kept me going, taking step after step after step. Eventually I relaxed into the rhythm, going at my own pace. I stopped worrying about trying to keep up with the pack, or making it to the summit by sunrise, and focused instead on just doing the hike (and surviving it).

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It was, in a way, oddly therapeutic.

Picture the scene: it’s 0200 or 0300 in the middle of the night—you’ve lost track of the time in your sleep-deprived haze—and you’re making your way slowly up the side of a volcano.

There are no lights for miles around, except for the torch strapped onto your forehead, cutting a swath of light through the darkness ahead. There’s a cool breeze every once in a while, rustling the leaves of the trees around you. Other than that, the only audible sounds are the scuff and step of hiking boots and the rhythm of your own laboured breathing.

At some point, the forest thins out and you catch a glimpse of the view.
It’s dark, of course, but you realize you’re standing near the edge of the mountain, with a steep drop-off. Below you is a scattered sea of lights, dimly lit and twinkling in the night.

You realize you’re looking down into the valley, into sleeping towns, and you realize how high up you are. That feeling—of standing on the edge of the world, of having made it this far up—made the aching in my legs fade.

That moment kept me moving, kept me reaching, kept me pushing myself.

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At about 05AM, we stopped by a little cave just below the Pasar Bubrah station. This far above the treeline, the ground was sparse and rocky, but just as steep. My body felt exhausted and one of the guys was starting to get cramps in his legs. We decided to stop at the cave to avoid aggravating our pre-existing injuries, and because although I had just enough energy left to make it to the summit, I didn’t know if I’d be able to get all the way back down the volcano after that.

The three of us swung our packs off our tired shoulders, drank lots of water, ate some snacks, and made ourselves comfortable while we waited for the sunrise.

We didn’t have long to wait. All around us, the endless darkness began to lift. The blackness became a grey, and then took on an orange tinge. Slowly the forms began to emerge—the blanket of clouds under us, the creases and ridges in the mountain.

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Our cameras were out and we began shooting. It was cold, the wind whipping around us as we stood exposed on the side of the mountain. My fingers grew numb and I got to the point where I put it away and just stood there, watching the sun come up, watching colours flood back into the landscape, watching our surreal, otherworldly surroundings come into view.

It made everything worth it, huddled there together above the clouds, with an amazing 270 degree panorama around us. The ache in our muscles dulled and stilled, and it felt all the better because the pounding ache reminded us that we’d earned it, in a sense.

Soon, our guide came back down the mountain to pick us up and head back down. We stumbled down the mountain with shaking jelly legs, using hands to scramble down the steep route, grabbing on to branches and rocks to take some weight and pressure off our legs. To be honest, it was a miracle that none of us fell head over heels on all the way down, but we made it in one piece.

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Climbing the Mountain of Fire was a long ordeal. We set off at 1 am, and didn’t get back down to base camp at 10 am. Is it crazy to say that in my mental calculations, I had only thought of it as a one-way journey? I had envisioned 4-5 hours of comfortable walking, and instead spent 9 hours pushing my physical limits on a difficult terrain on an incline that killed me. The next day I could hardly walk, and everything hurt.

But were there any regrets? None.

We fought gravity for four and a half hours, snatched 20 minutes of sleep in a little cave, soaked up a beautiful sunrise against striking mountains, and welcomed a new day from above the clouds.

The rest of that Jogja trip is another story to come. But until then, I urge you: Go climb your mountain! Go do something big and bold and outrageous. Go outside your comfort zone, but stay within your limits. I promise you won’t regret it.

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To more adventures and stories to tell,

SL. (@sofietyger)

 

Postcards From Sydney: Fallin’ In Love For The Third Time Around

“Sydney? Again?”
Most people reacted like that when they heard that I’m going to Sydney for the third time. They failed to understand why on earth would I keep coming back and forth to Sydney.

“If I were you, I would use the money to travel to other cities on earth,” so they said. As much as I agreed on their comeback, somehow, there’s something about Sydney that makes me feel like it’s always a trip to second home (probably, partly because I still have a close family who lives there).

Now, after the third visit, I departed from Sydney shedding a little tear wondering whether I can come back for more or not. How about I just spend the next season of my life in Sydney? It’s all in my head. Not sure whether I should act on it right away.

This time in Sydney, I found comfort and felt confident in wandering around and exploring the city alone. I enjoy every single experience of getting the wrong bus, walking a bit too far because I took the wrong turn, hopping on and off the trains all by myself. Will tell you more details about this trip, but for now, please do enjoy some photos I captured from this beautiful city.

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First time witnessing double rainbow at Shelly Beach. 


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Captured this by iPhone 5S. One eye-spoiling sunset!


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Symmetrical. Captured this when I took the wrong train to Macquarie.


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Stumbling upon this “urban”-ish and “instagenic” train tunnel.


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In Indonesia, I had to hike to high places to watch sunrise. In Sydney, I woke up and opened my eyes to this beautiful sunrise from my cousin’s apartment. 


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Marchin’ on a hill.


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Sunbathing. Not On A Sand. But On A Grass Field.


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Climb Up, Climb Up.


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Nap Time At The Park.


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Should I Dip My Feet On The Water?


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Architectural.


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Temptation For A Munching Machine. 


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Reminds Me Of That Groceries Store Corner That I Saw Once In Monocle.


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The Popular Bondi Beach.


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What You Lookin’ At?


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Will I Find Love Inside?

 

Write to you later,

HG. (@gersonhenry)

Golden Sunrise From The Peak of Sikunir

There’s always a brighter side to every story.
Even to the most devastating one.
That’s what I believe.

What’s the key to seeing the brighter side of a bad situation?
How to keep walking in a dark tunnel, that seems to have no end?
To have your hope anchored firmly to the One who is in control upon your life.
To keep a fit and well-trained faith, even when things seem to make no sense.
To have an unshakeable conviction that when things don’t happen the way you want it to be, it’s not the end of everything.
In fact, it’s a beginning of something that you would categorize as better.
To remind yourself that it’s never a setback, but it’s a setup that will launch you to higher places.

Pardon the poetic side of me. But you get the point. Hopefully.

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Taken by Nydia Orlatta.

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Sitting at 2350 Metres Above Sea Level

The trip to Central Java that I had last April could be defined as an evidence of what I wrote in the paragraphs above. Departed from Jakarta by train, along with 8 travel companions (which, for some of us, this is our first travel-together experience, hashtag hopefully there’s no drama), all of us left the big city with high hope to hike Mount Prau. We wished for a clear night sky for star gazing, some of us were tripod & camera-ready to capture the milky way, while the rest simply longed for their first hiking experience.

Sadly, that’s not what happened.

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In the middle of our train ride to Purwokerto we found out that Mount Prau has been temporarily closed due to bad weather. Two hikers died of a lightning strike on their way down from the summit. I don’t know about the others, but part of me responded like a kid, blaming the weather (which indirectly blaming God) and asking for an explanation why that sort of thing had to happen when we were already on our way there. We couldn’t postpone or cancel the trip.

Sometimes life is just like that. It doesn’t give you time to stop. It pushes you to move forward and deal with whatever it is that comes your way.

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So we continued our trip and decided to enjoy it the best way possible. Whether we end up at the top of Prau or not, that’s totally beyond our control. But even if we can’t, that won’t stop us from having fun. After a short, yet remarkable, culinary experience at Purwokerto, we continued our trip to Dieng Plateau by car.

Dieng welcomed us with drizzle and fog. There were no stars. The local guide suggested us to forget about Prau and hike the Sikunir Hill instead. With such weather, it would take more than a luck to be able to watch sunrise the next morning. However, we went to sleep with our hearts full of expectancy. We didn’t get to hike Prau. That’s okay. Now, we might not even be able to watch the sunrise. Hell, no. I refused to believe that. “We are going to watch the most beautiful breath-taking sunrise tomorrow!” So I said, stubbornly, in my prayer.

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At 3-ish AM, we all woke up and prepared ourselves for Sikunir. The car we rented took us to the basecamp, at the bottom of Sikunir, where we had to continue the rest 900m (about 30 minutes or less) of the trip by foot. If you’re a first-timer, don’t worry too much about bringing a lot of stuff, all you need is  bottled water, jacket, and pair of comfy shoes. The route was already carved into stairs, which makes this place a very tourist-friendly destination.

When you are almost at the top of the hill, you’ll find rest area with toilets and chairs. From here, you can choose the left path that will take you to a lower viewing point, or the right path that will take you all the way to the top of the hill. For sure, I chose the right path.

As I climbed my way up, I looked up at the sky and saw no fog or clouds. The star-decorated sky was more than enough to lit up an indescribable hopeful feeling within me, whispering to me that within only a few hours I’d witness a breath-taking sunrise with my naked eyes.

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The time gap between our arrival at the top of Sikunir to the appearance of that stunning strike of orange in the midst of a dark-blue sky wasn’t too far away. The moment she appeared, time stood still. The orange line then started to grow bigger and forming a circle, igniting the surrounding sky with a combination of magenta and purple. The dark blue sky transfigured to a lighter shade of blue, accompanied with white puffy clouds.

I smiled and uttered a thankful prayer. Apparently, Sikunir is listed as one of the best sunrise spots in the world, and is included as one of the five best sunrise spots in Indonesia (along with Bromo, Ijen, Borobudur and Punthuk Setumbu). Who would have thought that Sikunir, which was originally a second-option turned out to be the best spot for sunrise-watching? Our eyes were being pampered like a good session of massage and spa after being polluted with only laptop and phone screens, and smokes from old vehicles in the city for years!

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Gerson’s eclipse. LOL.

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My limited words could never perfectly describe the beautiful scenery. Hopefully some of the selected photos here will answer your curiosity. Although, if I could give you an advice, schedule a trip to Dieng with your friends and experience it yourself! The trip only cost us about IDR 1,2million per person with train (to Purwokerto) and airplane tickets (from Semarang), rented car, and a nice homestay with hot water, clean bathroom and comfortable beds! It would cost you cheaper if you eliminate the car renting cost and airplane ticket.

We left Sikunir with empty tummy, yet with hearts full of memories! Near the car park, there were some local food trucks that provided breakfast (like a bowl of warm instant noodle, and Dieng’s signature sweet potato balls).

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This trip has been such a good reminder to me that it’s never the end of the world when things go south from how you want it to be. When life slams its doors and screams rejections towards you, don’t let yourself get carried away for too long. Use it as a launching pad to seize whatever good news that will come after the dark. Who could ever predict that what was once considered as the second-best option turned out to be your ultimate memorable life experience.

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Cheers to this awesome travel companions! (Nydia, Bella, Dennies, Kevin, Praba, STP, Luis, and the other Dennis).

Write to you later,

HG. (@gersonhenry)

PS: More stories from this Dieng trip will be up in other posts (hopefully, soon)!

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)

 

A Sleepyhead’s Attempt to Write About A Weekend Adventure

An adventure is only an adventure if you don’t know where it leads you. Don’t you agree?

As a spontaneous person, I love making adjustments and changes in the middle of my adventure, of course it depends on the circumstances that I’m facing.  As a matter of fact, I did that a lot in our adventures and explorations in the city. To be specific, one of those adventures happened on a particular Saturday morning, during a long weekend in April where we decided to do a little sunrise photo hunt.

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Snapchat-ing on an empty bridge.

As you read in the few first paragraphs above, you probably wonder, “What are these 2 doing waking up very early on a freaking holiday?” Well, we thought of that as well. A few regrets passed my mind when I grumpily made my way to the shower that morning. What can I say? It was the love of exploration that kept me up and dressed at 5 AM on a national holiday.

The spot we intended to visit was a very long bridge that connects Citiwalk to Kasablanka. For such a long time, I’ve been passing this bridge every week on my way to church. It was only a few weeks ago when I started noticing that it is always empty in the morning. Plus, the view at 6AM when the sun started to appear on the east had always been captivating. This gave me an exploration idea that I soon proposed to HG, who is always keen for more photo opps.

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All blacks with a pair of white kicks.

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So there we stood, on an empty bridge at 6 AM in the morning, wearing all blacks. I was wearing a black hoodie from Forever 21 (simply because it was cold), a snapback from Topman (because I didn’t have the chance to cut my hair for months), a black t-shirt from Uniqlo (because, I didn’t want to be shirtless), a black skinny jeans from Pull & Bear and my all time favorite white converse.

HG, who was also in all black attire, was wearing a snapback, a long tee and a skinny jeans, all from H&M. He added a touch of blue by wearing his favorite blue scarf from Kana Goods along with a pair of white Nike hi top kicks. Here’s a few more photos of our morning faces that weren’t actually ready for any photos. Honestly, I really tried, but I’m just not a morning person.

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High top white Nike.

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Tight graffiti. Not.

Feeling unsatisfied with only one spot, we decided to visit a cemetery we’ve been dying to go to. Just to make it clear, we don’t mean that literally. I still have long years ahead of me, and I pray to God I will make it till I’m 100. Okay, this is the caffeine speaking.

So this cemetery isn’t just another cemetery. It is a war memorial cemetery for the dutch soldiers and high ranking officers who served in Indonesia during the war. The sad part is, it is one of the most well managed cemetery I’ve ever visited in my own country. Come on Indonesia, you can do better in honoring our own deceased soldiers! Maybe, I should run for the presidential candidate in 10 years and fix this? Okay, this is clearly the caffeine speaking.

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Trying to be a bad-ass daredevil.

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No, I do not have a bugs bunny tooth.

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Trying to look slick.

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Trying to be a bad-ass daredevil part 2.

So as you can see above, this cemetery has its own church. If my observation was correct, it has a mosque as well. We were probably trespassing in some of those photos, but if you know us, you would know that we didn’t really care. I was more scared of falling down from that high ladder compared to getting caught by the security. Allow me to call them “the guardian of the tomb.”Sounds quite awesome, ain’t it right?

Another photo spot we had fun on, was of course the gravestones area. It was very well maintained, it didn’t feel like Jakarta. It felt like I was somewhere in Rome since everything was very catholic in visual. Because of that, we decided to explore a bit more and take some more photos.

I tried looking gangsta, but I looked like weeping mother Mary, no disrespect. HG tried the praying pose, although I personally thought he was falling asleep in this photo. He’s a light sleeper.

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Is he praying? I can’t really tell.

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Don’t mistaken me for Mother Theresa in black.

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“What do I want for breakfast?”

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“How many plates should I have for breakfast?”

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Because sitting on a rocky floor is sooooo comfortable.

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Hands in frame. Kicks in frame. Half a person in frame. Whatever.

Even in our sleepiest and hungriest state, we still gave it our 106%. We want to give you a good content. That was why we took quite some time in this area, trying to wake ourselves up for better photos. Trust me, we tried a lot of poses and angles! Squatting was one of them!

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Squat game on point.

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Tired, sleepy and hungry, we went to grab some food. To Mall Ambassador we went!

Too bad the mall was opened at 10AM. We took some time to explore the parking area and took more photos to kill time. If you ever find me in a tired, sleepy and hungry condition, please feed me. Or else, I would look grumpy like one of these photos below. On worse condition, I would start laughing. That’s your cue to stay away and call for professional help, like a vet or something.

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“Just fake tying my shoelaces.”

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“Hey girl. Your daddy must be a drug dealer, cos you’re dope.”

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Well, you’ve reached the bottom of the page. That means after we took these photos, we finally had our food and rest. As of now, the clock says that it is already 2AM in the morning. I still have to go out and print my thesis, visit the Japan embassy to get my visa tomorrow morning, edit photos for my travel blog and… woops! I mistaken this post for my to do list for tomorrow!

Have a great week ahead! Keep exploring!

DR. (@demasryan)

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Breath-Taking Bromo. 2015.

I have only known Bromo from my geography class when I was still in Elementary School. I have never really seen the actual Bromo until Nan Triveni Achnas made “Pasir Berbisik” in 2001. That was my first glimpse of Bromo. And that was it, until this year.

My best buddy asked me to go with him to Bromo for his pre-wedding photoshoot. I was excited of course, but I didn’t really know what to expect. I have always been more of a beach person and was never really been a mountain person. The only concept I know about hiking or spending some time on a higher ground was camping in Puncak, or going to Bandung, West Java.

What got me all excited was the idea of spending several days with some of my favorite people, outside Jakarta. Bromo was only a place to go to. Another, so I thought, place for tourist to go sightseeing and then leave with some nice photos.

Apparently, I was wrong. The Bromo experience was way more than that.

We had to wake up at 3am to catch the sunrise. Okay this is new, I’ve seen too many sunsets, but I’ve never seen any sunrise. Normally, I’d still be sleeping when the sun rises. So yeah.

I was told that I had to wear mask to cover my nose, my mouth, specifically my lungs, from the sulfuric air. I was told to wear boots, because it’s not really a friendly environment for any of your beloved fancy kicks. It has to be boots. Well, if you love your shoes that much just like I do,  boots is the only option. I was also told to wear layers, so I did. I put on a comfy tanks with a long sleeved denim shirt, with a thick sweater (which I’d only wear in winter countries), and a super thick wool knitted shawl. I took it fashionably serious.

And there I was, stepping out from my comfortable hotel room at 3am. It was freakin cold, and the sulfuric air was undeniably annoying. The bright side though, the sky was full of stars, which was a rare thing to see if you’ve been living in Jakarta your whole life.

We hopped on to the jeep that would take us to our first stop, the Bukit Cinta (the Hills of Love, it couldn’t get any cheesier than that), to watch the sunrise. It took us about 30 minutes ride, I couldn’t really remember because I was sleepy as hell, and the journey was bumpy. It’s not really a good deal for your empty stomach to endure such trip that early – so a little tips, before you leave your hotel you might wanna grab a snack or bread, otherwise you might get all dizzy and wanting to vomit during the trip. And it’s all dark outside. Can you imagine being inside an airplane at night where you can’t really see anything and you have to experience a heavy turbulence? Yea it’s four times worse.  So I just closed my eyes and tried to sleep, even though I couldn’t, and prayed that this will be over soon haha.

We stopped at the bottom of the hill and we had to hike all the way up. It took me perhaps only 5 minutes or less to reach the top, but it felt like FOREVER. I was running out of breath.

When we got to the top, it was almost 6am. The view was magnificent. When the sun made its first peek behind all the mountains – like a shy cute puppy hiding behind a wall, I literally held my breath and stopped moving. It’s really beautiful and it lasted longer than watching a sunset. I couldn’t describe it in words here, you have to experience it yourself.

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Sunrise

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First time experiencing Sunrise

We climbed down the hill at 7-ish am. And moved to another spot, the Savana, it’s a huge cogongrass (ilalang) fields. The sun was out already, but it was still freezin cold. Some of the grasses even had ice on it. From the Savana you can see the top of Bromo covered in mist.

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The Hills of Love

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Savana

We had a break for breakfast which we brought from the hotel and ate it inside the jeep. Oh by the way, we were staying at Java Banana Hotel. I’d really recommend Java Banana because it’s very comfy, clean, has good service, and most importantly the foods were delicious. I dislike hotels that can’t serve good foods.

Another stop we made was at the Pasir Berbisik. I’ve never been to Dubai and went to its Desert Safari, but I’ve seen some photos of it in Google, and from what I saw, this Pasir Berbisik area is pretty much the same. As far as you could see, it was all white clean sands greeted by the blue sky and rocky mountains afar.

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Savana

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Pasir Berbisik

We took a lunch break, and a short power nap before we continued our journey. I didn’t really remember what was the name of our last stop, but it’s pretty much like the Savana, but it’s quite far and pretty much hidden. We spent the afternoon there, enjoyed the mesmerising golden hour, which as you can see from the photos were pretty much look like the Desert Safari in Africa. From to Dubai to Africa.

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Golden Hour

We waited for the sunset before we headed back to the hotel, changed our clothes, cleaned up, packed our bags, checked out and left the hotel. We continued our trip to Surabaya, but that’s another story. We left at 7pm and arrived in Surabaya at 10.30pm, I slept all the way of course.

So yeah, to sum it up, here are some few tips to Bromo first-timer:

  1. Make sure your powerbank and camera are fully charged.
  2. Wear boots! My boots were all dusty.
  3. Wear layers!
  4. Had a mini breakfast before you leave the hotel.
  5. Choose your travel companions wisely, I thank God for this troops I traveled with.

 

HG. (@gersonhenry)

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The Bromo Troops