I hit the highest level of exhaustion and boredom ever. My original plan was to take a break, to travel probably for a couple of months to refresh my mind and soul, then I would be back looking for jobs after that. But there was a little whisper, or maybe it’s actually the voice from the bottom of my heart saying, “Perhaps it’s time for you to do what you want to do.”
• • •
Early of that year, I planned to continue study towards the graduate program in communication, specifically in Digital Media which will entitle me Master of Communication. My choice fell on the University of Washington. Some people might think I am insane for wanting to study just for a change of environment. Some even ask, “When will you be getting married then?” During my last visit to the US, I spared my time to visit the university to make sure that the major is the right programme for me. Information collected then I went back to Singapore and prepared all the documents for submission including register myself for IELTS test. All were completed and submitted much earlier before the application deadline.
Everything was smooth. Seemed too smooth in fact for me whose often to have rough times than smooth ones in life. One day, I logged in to my account on the UW web application platform to check my application status. The status was in progress or pending, something like that. I thought maybe the IETLS score that I must have it sent to the school via IELTS test centre was not in yet to their system. The deadline was still a few weeks away and I didn’t think much about it.
Until few days after the application deadline and I noticed the status was still the same then I felt that something was not right. The horror came to a reality that the university had not received my IELTS score yet hence they didn’t process my application. I quickly cross-checked with the IELTS test centre about the test result submission to the school and I found out that the test centre had input one digit of my test number wrongly which caused the school failed to retrieve from their system.
The application submission was closed and they couldn’t process mine no matter what the reason was. I had to wait for next year and reapply. Who would expect that a test centre that I believed had handled thousands of times submission task like this would do an error that impacting one’s life. One year is neither long nor short. So, I didn’t really consider going back to work as an option. Long story short, I decided to take a break, a short one. But who knows it has come to the third years as of now. It also means I have been blogging full-time for almost three years already.
That is the second turning point for me I would say after my decision to follow my family to move to Singapore about 13 years ago. I left my comfort zone to unfamiliar places and faces. Many friends asked me about the reasons for coming back. Was it because of my ex? I can firmly say that it totally wasn’t because of him. It just happened that the time I decided to move back to Indonesia almost at the same time when we got back together. Only a few months – but he had totally left me with such hurt that I have tried to overcome it yet the “scar” is still haunting me, sometimes. I still believe there are good guys out there. I was just too naive and unlucky.
Turning away from the hurt, I tried to focus on developing a business in Indonesia with one business partner. I am not sure whether it is living in Singapore that has trained me to be more high-demanding or it is that I got a business partner that couldn’t work together at the same level of expectation or at least similar. That one year of investment of time and fund was gone to the drain. My best friend said that I was too kind and capable. Partnering with the right people, I can be a good asset. Else, I will only be placing myself as a ticking bomb timer that will explode when time’s up.
If I looked back, my first time running a partnership business was also failed and it left me with the amount of debt that equal to my 18 months of salary that time. But the worst part from that failed partnership was my mental health. I wasn’t gone crazy, just that for almost one year, I couldn’t really perform well in my workplace. It might be the hardest year ever where I encountered multiple unfortunate things happened in the same year. My best friend said that I wasn’t tough enough in handling this kind of matter. But it’s really only during such time, we know who are our real friends and who are just good enough to keep them on the list.
Well, my life wasn’t always in storm and typhoon. I saw many rainbows as well. After the multiple hits, I decided to rest. With support from friends and family that totally didn’t stop me from taking a break from my work to travel. I used the times with peace in mind to fix my broken heart and think about what I actually wanted to do next. The first year, I still come back and forth between Singapore and Indonesia as I had not really found a place to settling down yet.
The first year was also an exciting year. I attended my first travel bloggers conferences and found a quiet corner of Bangkok. I also landed on opportunities to work together with few brands in Batam, Jakarta, Bali, Singapore as well as in Taiwan where I did my solo travelling again since my last solo trip to South Korea. Plus, another few brands in Bali in that same year. I mean, who am I to them to get such opportunities. I can’t be thankful enough.
I still have many places to go on my travel list but I also realize that I was not born with a silver spoon and I will no longer live with a fixed salary. Also, my saving will run out one day soon. At that time, I have been organizing trips quite often. I have to make a choice and readjust my priorities. So, I decided to focus my next two years on exploring Indonesia only which is also aligned with the main objective of Indonesia Explorer (IDE), the travel group I created. You may want to know how I make a living here in Indonesia on this page.
My fuel for happiness is when seeing them enjoying their times exploring Indonesia. Without I realize, me and my customers (whom I prefer to call them as friends), have explored almost all places that are most sought for in Indonesia. In that two years, we have landed our feet on the five main islands – Sumatra, Java, Kalimantan, Sulawesi, and Papua, become the witnesses of the beautiful nature and the richness of the cultures in Indonesia.
“Have you ever felt regret?”
Probably this is one of the most frequently asked questions about my decision to come back to Indonesia. Leaving the comfort of living in a developed country and far from my family, I must have regretted it. The fact is there’s a little regret indeed for coming back to Indonesia but it is more because I can not support my family as much as I used to be. Other than that, I have no regret at all.
Maybe it’s because I have already had that mindset that no matter what decision we make, it always comes with consequences. Be it good or bad, we have to account for it. Meaning, even if I didn’t come back to Indonesia, I also have to account for something that I may like or dislike, too. So, I might as well see what I can come out with from the new route I made. No way back, I have to fight to survive. I have to adjust my lifestyle and I have to adapt to many things in Indonesia including the way how the majority of Indonesians work.
But your life will not be as colourful as now.
I ever tried to imagine how my life would be if I never had that storms and typhoons. What would I have been doing? Would I be happier? Would I have a better life or happy marriage? These questions were also popped out when I met one of my close friends and we had a casual talk about life. I told her that sometimes I think it is good to just be a normal girl. At least we don’t have to really build a new path for our lives, just go easy according to the norm. What I meant was like after study then gets into working life, get married and have children, becomes a housewife, like what most people around me expect me to be. Then my friend said, “But your life will not be as colourful as now.”
She got her point. Then I tried to imagine if I indeed got married to my ex that doesn’t love outdoor and I am not allowed to do any outdoor activities and travel, for the next second, suddenly I felt the horror. At this point, I can only say that God so loves me that He didn’t allow that to happen. Haha.. I can laugh now but not at that time. I remember many of you messaged me to show your concerns after knowing the story. I am doing truly fine now.
I would have missed many experiences that I never thought I would be able to do, such as climbed up to the peak of the highest mountain in Java and also saw the sea turtles and other marine animals at that depth. Or shared my experiences as a travel blogger and planner to the younger people, involved in campaigns held by government and work with tourism board to promote tourism in Indonesia, and many others that I have never ever thought I would have the chances before. The most important, I am happy to share the beauty of Indonesia, the positivity and also as a reminder for myself as well, to remember to appreciate natures and spend times with our loved ones.
This post is to recap my life since I left my comfort zone in Singapore about 36 months ago. Like the weather, there were rough times where the storm and typhoon came but there were good times where I saw rainbows and stars in the sky. Like many people say, life is not always as beautiful as shown on Instagram. OOoopss.. I don’t deny it. I chose to only share good moments hoping that it will make someone’s day.
Through these months, I learnt to be more independent, stronger, and happier. I also learnt to be grateful and suffice with what I have. There are more to share. Call me if you want to know. :p
Or maybe you want to share about what weather are you in now on the comment box below? Space is yours.