I have been staying at home for three months officially! This is the longest time so far without travelling even to nearby cities. A few friends messaged if I was still doing okay without going anywhere and if I could survive not dipping in the seawater and hiking for so long. Well, if you don’t have choices, you would better suit yourself with it. And fortunately, I am pretty fast to adapt to a new situation. But no, I still hope all this will be over soon!
Some people said it is time for introverts to shine. Although I don’t like all the restrictions, I have no problem bearing it as well except for the fact that I am staying alone which means I have a very minimum human interaction. So, going out for grocery or takeaways have become a so precious time for me. I miss those human interactions; those times spent meeting friends or clients, attending events, and so. Those good times!
Last year, I was so looking forward to 2020. Many holiday plans with family and friends had already been planned out. However, little did I expect that the dive trip in Bali and Lombok in early February of this year was the last trip of my first half. I don’t deny that I quite enjoy my time at home – working from behind my computer five days a week while checking out some videos on Youtube or listening to songs to boost my moods once in a while.
But I also feel tired, sometimes. That’s what I feel every time I check on my phone and see hundred over notifications from the group chat message that sharing and discussing about the same matter–COVID 19. Often times, the source of the news shared is not clear while the impact is still the same – people either getting worried after reading it or get angry. For some reasons, I choose not to join the crowd. Because in my opinion, there are many news portals already available out there and if someone wants to find out about the latest news, he or she will check out those new portals anytime.
After Pandemic COVID-19 is Over
One evening, after finished doing my housework, I sat in front of my laptop like any other days when I am not travelling. While holding a cup of freshly brewed coffee, one question came across my mind.
“Where will I go after the pandemic is over?”
I mean like, after cities and countries have opened up their borders; all restrictions are lifted up, and people are allowed to travel again, where will I go? Funny enough, before the pandemic, I would have a long list of places I want to go. But now, the list suddenly goes blank. Does it mean that I have been too comfortable already staying at home? I hope not.
I thought about it for quite long while looking at some photos from my previous trips that I had not got time to really see all yet. I also browsed through some blogs, reading stories and destinations that are in my wishlist before I come to a conclusion – after this pandemic is over, I will focus on exploring Indonesia first to support the recovery of the local tourism. And here are a few places that I wish to visit after the pandemic COVID-19 is over which I think you should consider putting it in your wishlist, too!
#1 Thousand Islands or Pulau Seribu
Thousand Islands or more well-known as ‘Pulau Seribu’ by the locals is a group of islands near to Jakarta City. As the resident of the city, this destination that can be reached less than 2 hours by speedboat from Jakarta will be the first destination I would love to go. I miss the beach and the island. That’s the reason. Although the underwater life here in Pulau Seribu often being underestimated but in my opinion, this place is not that bad at all. Moreover, we can make this trip over the weekend!
I have been there several times with friends for snorkelling and for one-day diving trip. Those my friends who stay outside of Jakarta joined me before going to the islands. Usually, they will stay one night in Jakarta before that because the speedboat going to the island departs quite early in the morning. But since there are many options for accommodation in Jakarta with any budgets, this is not a problem at all. So, if you happen to be in Jakarta or stopover in Jakarta for a few days, do check this place out.
#2 Derawan Islands
Derawan Islands or archipelago is located not far from East Kalimantan with the nearest airport at Berau. Derawan, Maratua, Kakaban, and Sangalaki Island, are the four more well-known islands out of 31 islands in the archipelago. This early of May, I supposed to go to Derawan islands with my friends. We had postponed this trip last year and we had to postpone it again due to this pandemic COVID-19. Flight tickets were already in hand and all the arrangement had been done but it was okay. The destination will still be there. It was postponed and not cancelled. We still can visit there when the situation has already conducive enough for us to do so.
If you asked me why would I want to go to Derawan? One of the reasons is I want to see Whalesharks again! Yes, I know – the sighting is not guaranteed because they are in the wild. It is already in my imagination how fun it is going to be to swim with the stingless jellyfish and also the sea turtles! We can easily spot the sea turtles in Derawan Island because the traffic is there. And also, relaxing on the white sandy beach in Maratua shall not be missed, too! To fully enjoy the Derawan Islands, it is advisable to spend at least four days there with an extra one night stay over either in Jakarta or Balikpapan before and after the trip. Because yes, there is no direct flight to Berau (yet).
#3 Banda Neira
I have been wanting to go to Banda Neira for two years. It happened that two years ago I saw my friend’s diving video in Banda Neira which water looked so clear and calm, the marine life that looked so rich and abundant, small and big fish. The coral reef that grow so dense covering the seabed at the shallower area and also the reef walls. It must be awesome to be able to dive and to witness the beauty of the underwater life there.
Another reason why I want to go to Banda Neira is that I have never stepped my feet in Maluku province before! I heard a lot about Maluku but I still can’t imagine how the place looks like. How the local’s life be like. And also what sparks my interest in the history of Banda Neira that is closely related to the spices that was valued as much as gold in the past during World War 2. Which also means, there are historical building or sites on the island to see, too!
Semarang is the capital of Central Java province. In fact, it is also the largest city in the province. Why I would like to visit Semarang you may ask. Probably, I miss the local delicacies – the Semarang Spring Roll or more popular as Loenpia and also the Semarang Chicken Rice which usually consists of shredded chicken meat, squash, gravy, and many other condiments available for us to choose as toppings. So, it is not the usual Chicken Rice you ever eat before. I remember I visited one Chicken Rice stall by the street, in front of the school, Nasi Ayam Bu Nyoto, if I remember correctly. The place is only sheltered with a tent, equipped with one long bench, long table, and several plastic chairs. All the dishes are basically almost filling up the long table, not much space left for us to utilize. But guess what, we can see people lining up just to buy or eat on the spot.
I have been to Semarang twice but I have not explored much of Semarang itself. Even to the oldest temple Sam Poo Kong in Semarang, I also have never been there yet. The last time I visited Semarang was only for a few hours transit waiting for my bus to Jepara when I wanted to go to Karimunjawa. After further research, I learn that there are a number of natural places to visit in Semarang including the mountainous area in Ungaran. I guess, Semarang is a good place to go since it can be reached not only by plane but also only about 6 hours by train from Jakarta. Ah, talking about the train, perhaps, I shall also include in the Railway Museum of Ambarawa in the itinerary when I go there again!
#5 Selayar Island
The last time I went to Selayar was about three years ago when I and friends were on the way to Taka Bonerate. A similar case to Semarang, I only ever transit here for a night and had not explored the Selayar Island itself. After I came back from the trip, I told myself that I will go back to Selayar Island again although the journey can be quite long. But in my opinion, all will be paid off.
Most of the people who visiting South Sulawesi, they will only reach until Tanjung Bira the furthest. In fact, with an additional 2-3 hours fast boat ride, we can already reach Selayar Island which has many natural places to explore and not to forget the underwater world in Selayar is promising, too! For sure, I will not want to miss going to Batu Karakbe Waterfall!
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I can’t imagine how is the life of people who are working in the tourism industry during this difficult time and those countries who rely heavily on tourism. Although Indonesia is not fully relied on tourism but most of the places area. After several months of ceasing in operation due to the pandemic COVID-19, many businesses have no choices but to temporarily closed down or winded down completely. This is a tough time for everyone. Many people say that after this pandemic, people might focus more on other things rather than spend on travelling. Does it mean that we will stop thinking about our dream destinations? Does it also mean that we will stop seeing the world and only living the same day every day our whole life?
I understand how serious the situation we are and the world is right now as I ever mentioned in one of my article I wrote a month ago about not travelling back home because we love our family (in Indonesian). Personally, maybe I won’t travel as often as I did before but that doesn’t mean that I will forget all my dream destinations in my wishlist and also my travelling purposes. I will still work hard, save more, not only for myself but also for my loved ones.
After this pandemic COVID-19 is over, the way we travel might not be the same anymore. Our attitude and mindset about travelling might change as well. Maybe we will get worried easily for travelling too far or get an anxiety attack whenever we are in busy places. But maybe otherwise – we become stronger physically and mentally. One thing for sure, until the pandemic COVID-19 is already over, or until the green light is lit up for us to travel again, don’t ever stop to dream and work hard to realize our wishlist. And when the time comes, where will be the first place you want to visit?