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 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)

Get Lost, Bring Home Photos – A Postcard from Central Java

One of the thing that makes travel fun is photography. What started as a hobby is now something that I take very seriously. I wouldn’t want to travel without having a camera in my hand. It takes the fun away. Sometimes people told me that photography takes away the full enjoyment of traveling, but it could also be the other way around, right?

Jumping back to November when it was only a week to my 24th birthday. I was bored in Jakarta, waiting for my graduation while I had nothing much to do in the past few weeks. That was until I decided to take a sudden trip to Central Java that was only planned a few days before.

My mission? Take a buttload of photos!

After a total of 2 trains, 6 buses, 1 motorcycle ride and a few hitchhiking, I finally had my mission completed!

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From an antique shop in Semarang.

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Lawang Sewu wasn’t that creepy at daytime.

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4 AM, Prau summit. She was probably texting mom.

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Sunset view from 2565 MASL.

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Although it was the same sun that I see every morning, looking at it from Prau totally gave a different feel.

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Teletubbies hils.

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While I was walking down from the summit, locals were spotted working hard as early as 7 AM.

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Locals walking up to their work field.

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Telaga Warna, definitely a must visit in Dieng!

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When nobody’s there to take photos for you, think of ways to use the self timer feature.

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Leaving Dieng, heading to Wonosobo. What’s there in Wonosobo? Tasty Mie Ongklok!

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I met this fisherman at Rawa Pening. He was quite a joker.

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A fisherman fixing his nets.

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Trying to make a living. I don’t think the cigarette is helping, though.

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Please don’t fall off.

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Taken at a train museum in Ambarawa.

From those 5 days, I took photos from Purwokerto, Wonosobo, Dieng, Prau, Ambarawa and finally Semarang. I could never forget the thrill of running in the rain, riding bikes and falling off a tree for the sake of good photos! That trip made me feel very much alive again! Well, I bet every trip is only worth it if we come back fresher than ever.

What about you? What adventure awaits you this coming holiday season?

PS: You can see more photos from Central Java in a piece that I wrote about Dieng. More to come in the upcoming weeks!

Keep exploring,

DR. (@demasryan)

 

A Little Flashback to Cirebon!

How is October treating you so far? As for us, although this month started with not much of hustle and intensity, we kind of felt that it won’t last for long.

Our prediction was right. Just a week later, we already found ourselves back in the fast lane, playing hide and seek with deadlines. Welcome back, oh lack of sleep.

The temptation to impulsively book a ticket for a short getaway out of this hustle was real. But as much as I’d love to have one, I think my hands are tied at least until the end of October.

Anyway, just when I was in the middle of sorting out things, setting up timelines, preparing slides and everything, an e-mail came to my inbox. It’s a vlog from our Cirebon Trip back in May, shot and edited by our talented friend, Tonny Sutiono (@sevencrow).

If you’ve been facing the same situation like we do, hang in there. You are not alone. Let’s endure the productive season and use our twenties to really make plenty of inspiring stories that we can share to our grandchildren in the future!

Write to you later,

HG. (@gersonhenry)

Two Sinful Delights for the Tummy

A visit to Singapore for most Jakartans, especially for us twenty somethings has become something that is quite common nowadays. It seems like there’s nothing new and exciting to be encountered in that tiny dot on the world wide globe. Singapore has been considered as just another city that you could easily visit during a long weekend, when you have nowhere else to go. Sadly, it became a little bit like Bandung. You would expectantly bump into another Indonesian tourist during a holiday. It became just another option.

As I’ve mentioned in my last post about our Singapore trip in July, a trip to Singapore might be boring as I have tried almost everything that the city could offer. Yet, at that moment, I really needed a getaway, and Singapore was the closest that I could afford.

Unwilling to make this trip a typical visit to Singapore with Orchard Road, Marina Bay Sands and Esplanade on the list, I started to ask around in the hope of finding something new to explore in the Merlion city.

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The first one that most of my friends instantaneously suggested was Awfully Chocolate. The store was not a new kid on the block. As a matter of fact, they opened their first store in 1998 and is now available in several cities in Asia. Surprisingly, they actually has a franchised store here in Jakarta, but several people claimed that the original one serves far better products.

Out of curiosity, we paid a visit to its store at Holland Village, which is the newest outlet opened this year. And, it is also the first store that has a restaurant concept. As entrancing as it was, we didn’t try their menu and chose to go with their famous selection of sweet tooth galore! It was almost midnight, and we felt slightly guilty for taking so much calorie intake. In our defense, it was a holiday.

Our highlights were the Hei Ice Cream, Iced Salted Caramel, Choco Mille Crepe and Hot Choco with Dark Choco Truffle. Did you see too many “chocos” in one sentence?

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As someone who is not a big fan of chocolate, I was honestly hooked on the first sight to this choco galore store.  I shall give it 9/10 for a glimpse of heaven that I tasted in every  single bite and sip of their products.

Enough with the chocolate. Let’s move to the “king of fruits”, durian. This particular fruit, although not originally from Singapore, has become quite the city’s signature. Esplanade is the architectural proof. Oddly enough, this city is also famous for its durians stalls that you could easily find anywhere.

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The Perks of Being 20 - Lifestyle - Travel - Fashion - OOTD - Streetstyle - Hypebeast - Singapore - Dempsey - Holland Village 05

Eating durian was not on our itinerary, but lucky us, one of our friends decided to take us to Ah Di Durian at Dempsey. We got to try their most wanted item, the Mao Shan Wang, which tasted quite bittersweet. Just like Awfully Chocolate, it left me with a happy yet guilty feeling. The first bite triggered this selfish part of me that immediately want to finish the whole thing alone. Thank God for self-control, I managed to stop myself from doing such greedy action. Another 9/10 for Ah Di Durian!

After having our tummy indulged with such tasteful fruit, we decided to stroll around Dempsey area. The place was full with restaurants, concept stores and bars. Photo opp was a must, at least for me, who was in an #ootd-ready mode.

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Other than those two, we also had a few tasty encounters that are worth-mentioning here: Scissors Cut Curry Rice at Jl Besar (we dropped by twice for a lunch, and ordered 3 portions of rice to be shared); Salted Egg Dough Bomb at Brother Bird, Bali Lane; Operation Dagger at Ann Siang Hill (it’s a hidden bar at the basement of an empty store, the drinks were extraordinarily refreshing!).

Hmm.. writing all of these has sparked a sudden craving to eat something sweet. Any idea?

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Write to you later,

HG. (@gersonhenry)

Doughnut Madness!

One of the perks of being 20 is to have friends all over the world. I can’t be the only one agreeing to this!

Since I became a hardcore traveler, I would try as much as possible to make and maintain friendship with people from another country. One of the reasons behind this, is to gain insights. To me, locals’ insights are more insightful than Melanie Trump’s latest speech. Oops.

What I’m trying to say is, I wouldn’t know about the doughnut madness in Melbourne if it wasn’t for friendly locals who were all up in my face about it!

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I still don’t understand the reason behind the madness, but Melbourne locals are nuts about doughnuts! Some of the doughnut places they talk about are Doughnut Time, Shortstop and Doughboys Doughnut. Although I didn’t go to all 3 places, just because I’m not a doughnut maniac, I managed to get myself into Doughboys Doughnut!

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535 Bourke St, Melbourne VIC 3000, Australia.

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Morning doughnut companions.

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This was my order! Look at how the sugar melts. ❤

The menu kept on changing over time to present something fresh to the customers. That was why my friend kept on coming back here once in a while to try something new and fresh!

The locals are that passionate about doughnut. A friend would even told me to stop taking photos of the doughnuts and to start eating them before they’re cold! So upon the first bite, I was hooked. I was never a sweet tooth, but if Doughboys Doughnuts ever became a religion, I would be very devoted.

They do not sell any desserts other than doughnuts, but coffee and other drinks are available. There are only 3-4 tables in the shop, but the queue wasn’t long. The place is designed to be a takeaway booth instead of a cafe.

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More doughnuts!

I am so sorry that I have to post this at such an hour filled with snack cravings, but if your eyes is opened just like mine, you would have the same urge to testify! So this is my testimony, Doughboys Doughnuts is one of the best doughnut makers in Melbourne.

For that, I am giving Doughboys Doughnuts an 8/10!

Keep exploring!

DR. (@demasryan)