Price of Passion.

I still vividly remember my parents’ disappointed face when I told them I wanted to pursue my passion in writing for my college major instead of business major.

It was not a pretty sight.

The loneliness of being the only Asian among Australians in the class because Art degree, let alone Creative Writing major, was far from popular among my peers. Oh the frustration, when I had to quit my writing job in a magazine that I actually loved doing because the paycheque was far from ideal and had to look for other career opportunity instead.

I buried my writing dream since then for five years, as I started to work purely for good money by running my own business in fashion.

I thought I was fine living with a dead dream.

Until not too long ago I found myself completely, utterly, broken.
I was hopeless.  I was helpless.
My soul was weary.
The future is nothing but a fog.
Unfathomable dead of night that this small mind failed to comprehend.

Pursuing a passion has its price to pay.

As for me, it was depression.
Not the “OMG my boyfriend broke up with me, I feel sooo depressed” kind, but diagnosed-by-psychiatrist-and-she-prescribed-me-with-an anti-depressants-so-I-won’t-turn-suicidal-kind.

There were days when I had to swallow that tiny pill just to give me the strength, to get me out of the bed and go to work. When I woke up I wished the day would end already, so tomorrow will come and I will finally be done feeling this empty.

In that state of mind, I kept telling the universe,

“I know I’m not a child anymore and I need to grow up,
but don’t make me a dreamer if you’re just gonna crush it with harsh reality.”

I was artistically heart broken, because the creator in me wasn’t able to create.
I had some success in my business, but I was far from being genuinely happy.
People who just knew me recently, would never know the wordsmith side of me.
Because I never show them.

Now more than ever, the world tells you to pursue your passion.
“Do what you love, and you’ll never have to work a day in your life,” they said.

But guess what, you actually have to.

Maybe your true passion isn’t making a lot of money, but the bill needs to be paid.
Last time I checked, groceries can’t be exchanged by passion nor big dreams.
Traveling and taking Insta-worthy pictures costs you.

Pursuing a passion is hard work.

Working your arse off day and night, doing everything you can, chasing every opportunities like you chase the wind, while waiting, for that door to finally come bursting open, for your teenage dream to finally come true, it can get mind-numbingly discouraging.

But after being molded for so long in darkness, imprisoned by the uncertainty, when the time is right, the light in you will shine bright.

If you prove yourself to be FAITHFUL in LOVING what you were entrusted to DO, even if it wasn’t the ideal job that you had in mind growing up, soon enough the universe will reward you with

the right people, 
right place, 
right time,

and you will be able to DO what you LOVE.

Start with a small step.
Start with what you currently have in your hands.
Dare to hope again.
Dare to feel again.
If you’re like me, dare to write again.

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Dream on my dearest,

S. (@sashatjie)



An Interview With Greys Polii: The Admirable Story of Pursuing Passion with Perseverance.

The girl who will be leaving 20something season in the next few weeks have been a friend of mine probably since 2009 or 2010. Sharing the same pride of being heirs of Minahasan (one of the tribes in Indonesia, located in North Sulawesi) blood, was one of the things that made our friendship flows quite naturally.

Greys Polii (Gel) has always been kind-hearted, easy going and very humble person, even though she was already a star in the national sports field, when we first became friends. From the first hang out to following each other on Twitter, and even until she finally won her first Gold Medal and ranked Number 2 in the Badminton Women’s Doubles World Rank, Gel remains as humble as ever. Nothing has changed except now that she is more mature and wise in handling challenges. That is why I decided to feature her and get some worth-sharing insights that hopefully could enrich your twenty-something journey.

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TPOB20: Who is Greys Polii in your own eyes?
Greys Polii career-wise she is a very ambitious and strong-willed woman who will give 200% focus and energy to make sure she got what she wants. But at the same time, she knows when and how to rest. For her, working and resting  must go hand-in-hand. In daily life, she’s a very sociable person, easy to make new friends and have high level of curiosity. She loves to learn from other people’s stories.

TPOB20: The question “What do you do” would be irrelevant to you, as most people, especially Indonesians must have heard about your astonishing achievements in Badminton. So, why don’t you share the story of how did you get into this career path.
Haha.. yea, there’s nothing interesting about “What I do” because I spend my days practicing and traveling for championship. I don’t have much time flexibility to do anything else outside of badminton. I’ve spent my whole life living at the dormitory with other badminton athletes, and only got to meet my family and friends during weekend or holiday.

I started playing badminton since I was only a 5-year-old kid. My mom, who was a tennis player, started to introduce me to both sports, but then I loved badminton more than tennis. We even moved from Manado (the capital city of North Sulawesi) to Jakarta when I was 8 to join a club. I remember she challenged the 8-year-old me whether I want to be a badminton player or not, if yes then we have to move to Jakarta so that I can get more serious in preparing myself to be an athlete.

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Three years later, when I was 11, I decided to get more serious in badminton and started to live in the dormitory. It was a total game-changer for me when I got separated from my Mom, which forced me to grow up independently. For me it was like the real moment where I said to myself, “This is it…” When I was 14, I started to wonder about my true calling and purpose. I realized that my life and talent is not only about being a world champion, but there’s gotta be something bigger, which is to be the best at what I do in order to inspire and bless other people.

At that moment I also had to choose which category (Singles, Doubles, or Mixed Doubles) of badminton that I want to focus on. Everyone I know (friends, family, coach) encouraged me to play in Singles or Mixed Doubles category, yet I was so convinced that I’m meant for Women’s Doubles category. When I told them that I chose to focus on Women’s Doubles, they considered my decision as foolish because Indonesia’s Women’s Doubles team haven’t won anything. China have been dominating the Women’s Doubles category for 20 to 30 years. It would be a lot easier and faster for me to become successful to play at Singles or Mixed Doubles. Although everyone I know was against my decision, I decided to continue and believed that I could make a history in this particular category.

TPOB20: How did it go? Did you ever change your mind or regret your decision?
Gel: Although the process and journey was really tough and challenging, I had never regretted or changed my mind about it.

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TPOB20: Tell us more about it. What was your biggest challenge, or your lowest point in pursuing your dream?
Well, 2012 was the lowest point in my life. I was 25 at that time. After 11 years of working hard and longing for a breakthrough, which is to be the first in Women’s Doubles, life decided to turn its back on me. I was disqualified at the Olympic Games for something that my partner and I didn’t do. We were accused of playing dirty in the Olympic Games and the saddest part was that we had to submit to the International Olympic Committee. The government apologized to us for not being able to help us out of the situation despite of the fact that we were not guilty. The IOC insisted that we had to bear the consequences otherwise Indonesia, particularly Badminton won’t be included in the next Olympic Games.

It was an utterly devastating experience. I felt like I’ve climbed way too high for 11 years only to be dragged down and hit the solid bottom. Somehow I lost focus and felt like the dream that I’ve been pursuing with high hopes and perseverance was totally unreachable. As disappointed as it was, I decided to quickly move on. I refused to give up and lose hope, and kept on trying until the promotion finally came in 2014, which has changed my life forever. Together with my partner, Nitya Krishinda Maheswari, won the Gold Medal at Asian Games in Korea, and we ranked number two in World Women’s Double.

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TPOB20: What are your work values that brought you here?
Gel: Perseverance and strong determination. I’ve made so many mistakes, but that shouldn’t stop me from getting back up every time I stumbled.

TPOB20: What kind of thing disturbs or angers you the most?
Gel: Dishonesty. Every one has a problem and past that they have to deal with, but as humans we need to learn how to be bold. Once we live freely in the open, being honest and transparent about our lives we gain freedom. Fear could not conquer us. People who are dishonest can’t enjoy a free live, because fear will sooner or later haunt them.

TPOB20: What kind of activity do you do to refuel your creative tanks?
Uhmm.. I do a lot of stuff in my spare time because I have high level of curiosity so I keep wanting to try new things: reading books, learning how to play a guitar, keyboards, taking a diving lesson, mount climbing, learning about public speaking, and other languages like English and Mandarin.

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TPOB20: What would you do when you stop playing badminton? 
Gel: Being an athlete in Indonesia is not easy. Even though we have sacrificed and gave everything for our country, once we stop our duty we are on our own. We need to plan for our lives if we want to live a life with financial freedom once we retired. That’s where I want to involve myself in after retirement. I want to help educate the next generation of athletes how crucial it is for them to manage their income, to challenge their way of thinking so that they could plan ahead, and not only live for the moment.

TPOB20: Now that you have won a gold medal, what would be your next big dream to pursue?
Gel: Definitely winning gold medal on a higher level, for example at the Olympic and becoming a world champion. Or, perhaps getting the first rank, because currently my partner and I are in number 2 of world rank.

TPOB20: Lastly, now that you are about to leave 20s, what is the perks of being 20 to you?
Gel: Hmm.. what we do in our twenties will affect our lives in our thirties. What we do in our thirties will affect us in our forties. And so on… That’s why it’s important for us not to live carelessly, because what we do today will determine the quality of our lives in the next season. I’m grateful that I have found my purpose and passion long way before I hit 20. By discovering my purpose, I now have a fulfilled life and clear direction of where I’m going.

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She closed our conversation with a simple encouragement for you who is on the run of pursuing your passion, particularly in sports: “Give the best of you in every thing that you do, especially in sports. Give 1000% focus and energy. Don’t pursue your passion and dreams half-heartedly because you will never be able to achieve it.”

Write to you later,

HG. (@gersonhenry)


The Flat White Culture

Hello everyone! This is going to be my very first post on this blog and let’s talk about coffee, specifically the flat whites! What can I say about Aussie’s flat white, except that it is the most amazing 6.5 ounce cup of coffee.

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Posin’ in front of Single O

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Bonnie Coffee Shop

I just recently came back from Aussie, I went to Melbourne and Sydney. Naturally when I’m in Aussie, all that I drink was their coffee. I myself love pour over coffee, whether it’s a batch brew or freshly made over V60. But then, when in Aussie, flat white is a must have. Why is that? Because it’s the best! Here’s the thing, you should know that in order to brew a good cup of coffee, there are many factors to consider.

From the altitude of where the beans were planted, the moment the beans were picked out in the farm, to the drying process, roasting and whose the roaster, then to the grinder which is actually more important than the espresso machine, then of course to the hand of the barista who pull the shots from the espresso machine, and also how the barista froth the milk.

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Patricia Coffee

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Kingswood Coffee Shop

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Reuben Hills Coffee Shop

Now, in between these important process, other factors that can produce a nice velvety cup of coffee are both water and milk.

Water and milk in Aussie are just different than the ones we have here in Indonesia, well actually the beans as well, but we can always buy the better beans. You see water and milk are something we can’t just bring back here. They delicately filtered their tap water into their machine. I heard they even do cupping for water, isn’t that extreme? LOL. Their milk contain different protein level, fat percentage, and consistency than ours here, so it gives out a different kind of sweetness in your cup of coffee. Because of all this, their flat white has unique taste. I know for sure that you can’t find it anywhere else in the world except in Aussie. Even the flat whites in Melbourne and Sydney tasted differently.

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Market Lane Coffee

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Duke’s Roaster

Let me describe the taste; first when you sip that velvety thick brown coffee it will surprise you with a nice aroma of either yummy bread or floral scent. As you swirl it in your mouth the taste will start to dance in your taste palette. Either it’s very sweet like biscuits or it’s very fruity and juicy. Then as it finishes, the after taste is clean and satisfying. Imagine that!

Not all coffee shop there serve this kind of flat whites, but here’s a few of good places where you can try for a good cup of flat white. When in Melbourne, go to: Bonnie Coffee, Duke Roasters, Proud Mary, Patricia, and Market Lane. When in Sydney you can try Single O, Reuben Hills, Paramount, Campos, and Kingswood.

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Melbourne Finest Art

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The quiet side of Sydney

I’m guessing ever people’s experience on their cup of coffee is different. For me coffee is life, I can hardly function without it and I so happen to own a coffee shop with my husband. We try our best everyday to serve the best out of what we have and we invite people to experience coffee through our coffee shop. We try to educate each customer that come into our place by giving them selections to what they want to experience that day.

So… I hope you can experience good coffee and have an awesome day!

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Meet the backside of my husband, Alfred. LOL.

Talk to you later,

SC. (@callistasarah)











Meet The Contributors!

I’ve told you that we have new things coming, remember? So this is it!


I’ve always known from the first time The Perks of Being Twenty was still in the form of a mere idea hovering somewhere inside my head, I didn’t want to create just another project, or another blog. I wanted to create a platform that speaks to 20 something covering the area of lifestyle.

However, the context of lifestyle that I have in mind is slightly different than what most people would commonly interpret in their head. For me, lifestyle is not only about traveling every month taking a good photo of your feet on a sandy-floor, or working from the newest coffee shop in your town, or wearing the current outfits and putting the OOTD hashtag in your caption.

Lifestyle for me, especially during the twenty-something season, also includes doing random kindness to others, being the sort of friend who is keen to give honest opinion, fighting with perseverance to pursue your dreams, not settling for peer pressure and going boldly in life to make things happen. That sort of thing.

Entering the second year of running TPOB20, I’ve decided to share my vision to other 20 somethings who share the same vision and also able to communicate them in the form of writings. Besides, I’ve been reading lots of books and hearing lots of podcasts from inspiring world class leaders. They all believe that one of the keys to building something impactful and long lasting is by having a strong collaboration with others who are on the same page with you. That’s when this whole contributor thing came into the picture. Gratefully they all agreed to step into this platform.

So starting from now, you will not only read what I think about living the 20 something season to the fullest, but also from this awesome friends of mine. Now, let me introduce you to them!

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Jeloy Tirie (@je.loy) a photographer and occasional wanderer, who is in the search of honest stories, work, and people. The guy who shares the resemblance of Spock thinks that he has a pretty gnarly name given by his parents, and still unsure what they were thinking when they had him.

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Levina Christy (@levchristy), has just entered the 20 something season last January. She is now studying in Melbourne, Australia in the mission of completing her bachelor in the fashion business. Having her parents building a non-profit organization called Yayasan Pemulihan Indonesia, which focuses on setting up free kindergarten schools for poor villagers all across the country, ignited her passion in humanity and environment.

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Patrishiela Tan (@patrishiela), an Indonesian model who loves to eat and travel. She is now hosting a TV Show, “Para Petualang Cantik” on TRANS7. She always  make time for travel, because for her, “Earth is too beautiful to be wasted and not enjoyed.” Apart from that, this beautiful lady who turns out to have such a unique sense of humor, is still on the run of finishing her Bachelor Degree.

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Rachel Saputro (@raesaputro), a girl who is passionate about storytelling – whether in producing a documentary film for class or writing news pieces at Voice of America’s Washington D.C. bureau. She is now studying Economics, Journalism and Film at The George Washington University, which often makes people give her confused looks. Rae hopes to return to this country after graduation and work in the intersection of media, business and technology.

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Sarah Callista (@callistasarah), a passionate writer, a wife and a constant day dreamer. Her adoration for writing sparked when she was 13. It’s like inhaling and exhaling oxygen for her. Words are more than just alphabets and phonetics, it’s a realization of what’s within us. So, if you happened to stumble upon her writing, you shall say hello to her imagination.

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Sasha Tjie (@sashatjie), a sunset lover and beach aficionado who claims to have writing as her number one passion. After graduating from the Bachelor of Arts (Creative and Professional Writing) from Deakin University, Australia, she is now enjoying her role as a creativepreneur in fashion / wedding industry who runs a gown rental boutique. Next month, she will publish a book called “Soul Travellers: Turning Miles into Memories” with a goal to inspire the young generation of Indonesia to travel further.

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Sofia Layanto (@sofietyger), a thinker and a writer with a desire to build things. She is currently doing strategy at one of the largest tech startups in Southeast Asia, and would love to meet anyone who’d like to know more about the scene. She believes that we should all engage with the world in a meaningful way, and can be found working on side projects anytime she’s not actively chilling or planning getaways.

Many believe that seven is a lucky number. Is it a coincidence that TPOB20 has a great set of 7 passionate 20 somethings who are on their own race, running towards their purpose and dreams? I don’t know. What I know is, starting from today, this website will be colored with a lot of inspiring thoughts and content dedicated to you, who are still in what so I call, the prime season of life.

Write to you later!

HG. (@gersonhenry)


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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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 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.

Girls just want to have fun.

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.


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.


“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


“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.


“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.


“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)



Thousands of tiny fishes spotted.


Colourful corals.


The Lady Gaga of fish.


My lunch date at Da Maria, @inesaryaniputri.


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


One of the best wedding photography sites in Bali.


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


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


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




Dab for the camera!


Definitely a rare candid moment.


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

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

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:


Hello.. it’s me.


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


Lunch break.


Old heritage.


Street gallery.


A series of antics.


Pink is the new black.


(Almost) everybody’s question to God.


Let me show you how I do it.


Finding direction.


From the eyes of DR:


Young love.


When the future seems bright.


Probably got some paint in his eye.


Take democracy out of the square.


Cool hat!


In action.


Peek a boo!


Travel essentials.


Waiting is so boring.


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)