How Can You Travel So Much?? 

The answer to your “Kok lo jalan-jalan mulu sih??” question.


Many people often asks me “how are you able to travel so much??” and knowing that I had not a stable job or career through out my post graduating life, they were left concern and wondering.

Sometimes I ask myself the same question. But all I ever know was that if i want something, i have to have it. I was born a stubborn kid, never have my parents stop reminding me of that because the habit continues til today. But i guess that stubborness comes at a price that i was able to gain lots of experience by it. Traveling experiences included.
So how was i able to travel so much even though it seems that i dont earn much? I dont have much money, may you know. My background is media and communication and it’s public knowledge that media industries lacks fortunes. But if it still left you wondering how and why I am able to travel much, you may consider these facts that I often planted in my head to experience life as much.

1. Do not be afraid to go broke

I’m sure you know that quote, “Travel is the only thing you pay that makes you richer”

I understand that money is everything for a lot of people. Money buys you food, insurance, clothing, safety and life in general. But my parents sure to remind me since I was a young girl, “you’re not gonna bring your wealth and money to your grave!” Statement that forever sticks to me. Now, I’m not saying that you should spend all the money you have to do whatever you want. You should still spend it wisely and prepare for the worst. Coming from family of religious Muslims means that we prioritize hereafter purposes more than worldly mortality. So more often than not, I spend my money wisely to gain worldly experiences that are beneficial for the hereafter. Beneficial meaning that through traveling and education, it gains me a proper view of being a better and purposeful human being which leads to inshaAllah a magnificent life in the hereafter.

In Islam we also have a belief that sadaqah (giving charity) will make you richer. Therefore you shall not be afraid to go broke, be positive knowing that with every penny you spend on experiences and charity, you’ll gain more and more.

2. Travel according to a suited budget

Now that you are generous enough to spend your money for your own life-gaining, note that my way of traveling still ranges on a suited budget. I don’t go around and splurge everything I have for the things I want. As a Libra, I balance out many decisions fairly. If I think I have the money to go on a dive trip, then I would spend an entire week or two just for that! However, when I do feel that I’ve used up my money on other things and still wanted a vacation, I will go to a nearer and cheaper destinations that does not require a plane ticket, like chilling in Bandung/Ciwidey or Mount Papandayan in Garut if I want to be showered by nature.

3. Consistent savings

This one maybe quite a useful trick. This tip will make me sound like financial advisor, and I’m sorry if it did, but I promise you this is only based on my personal experience. Save and make sure the amount you saved continues to be certain and stable.

After I graduated college, I was blessed with a good amount of savings from my university insurance deposit. I know not a lot of university opt this for their students, but you can always start saving from a certain amount at one time. For example, you saved Rp. 3.000.000 from your first salary or from your parents’ inheritance. Then you save some more and then you need to travel and spend a little bit of your savings. By the end of the next month (or by your own spesific deadline), you should promise yourself that that saving should be back at Rp. 3.000.000 or more but NEVER less.

This is useful because you will learn to manage your money and be aware of your spending. If you are lucky enough to have better income in the future, you could always set up a new savings goal that need to stay certain and stable.

4. Opportunist mindset

I considerably admit that I am an opportunist. I often kill two birds with one stone. “Menyelam minum air“, we call it in Indonesian. I often will find good opportunities to discover places while I’m at another purpose. Like slipping out few hours or days after a work event in another city to befriend and get to know it a little bit. Or even gush over their famous culinary!

You probably ask again, where do you find the time? Make it. Opportunist would say use your weekends wisely, use your right of annual leave wisely and that’s exactly what I would say. When my family and I lived in the US, we actually just stayed there for 8 months for Dad’s work opportunity. But believe it or not, we went to over 12 states in total because Dad made sure to use our weekends and Spring Break wisely to explore the country and learn something new about the place. And I believe that I take after his places-discovering habit until today.

5. Leave your comfort zone

Traveling comes with good and bad days, and once you’ve placed your mindset to being an opportunist, you should be able to try new things without consent to always having the best of times. When I took the cheapest flight but with the most ridiculous hours of transit, it was up to me to make sure I am comfortable enough to survive it. Even if that means getting kicked out twice for attempting to lounge/sleep at a restaurant. Most importantly to keep your brickwall face on! *Read: muka tembok.

6. Consider yourself lucky than most.

Last year I found a video on Facebook (link here) that made me think again about how grateful I am of my life despite having to always mentally complain in my head. The video is titled “10 Signs You’re Doing Well in Life (Even if you don’t feel like it)”. Some things like having a roof over your head and that you ate today are already signs that you are well and lucky.

Besides those 10 signs, I consider myself lucky that traveling was bred in my family. You know the stereotype of Padang/Sumatra people who were always nomadic (perantau)? I guess it feeds through my genes.

Wise message at Rumah Pohon, Tulamben

Think about other positive things that made you, you and stop comparing yourself to others. If you can’t travel today as much as I am, surely you have other things to be grateful for.

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Nepal, The Unexpected Crush (Pt. 2)

Read my first lovestruck on Nepal here.

Today marked ONE YEAR from my trip to Nepal. And yes, I’m admitting guilty that I’ve postponed this post for too long! I recently found that more and more people are interested to go to this country. As I have written before, Nepal was so good to my friends and I, despite the huge contrasts with Indonesia. And if I had an unexpected huge crush on Nepal, I don’t see why you won’t!

I left the story riding down from the nature-filled hilly Nagarkot to the utmost crowded part of the city, Thamel. Continue reading “Nepal, The Unexpected Crush (Pt. 2)”

Spot an Orang Utan and more in Tanjung Puting National Park

Recalled as one of the most famous Orang utan conservation and rehabilitation center in the world, Tanjung Puting National Park is another way to explore yet another mother nature’s greatest creation, the flora and fauna.

Continue reading “Spot an Orang Utan and more in Tanjung Puting National Park”

Legok Kondang Glamping, The Ultimate Glamour Camping in Ciwidey

I don’t know when the trend started, but I’m guessing since Indonesia have been a lot more outspoken about their vast destinations, people started to follow the trend and wanted to be out in the wild and open. They don’t want to miss out on the beautiful sceneries the country has to offer. Including those who prefers suitcases instead of backpacks.

Continue reading “Legok Kondang Glamping, The Ultimate Glamour Camping in Ciwidey”

Belanja dan Kuliner di Teras Cihampelas Bandung

Pada hari Minggu yang cukup terik, suasana jalan Cihampelas, Bandung kian ramai. Bukan sekedar memang pusat para penduduk lokal dan luar daerah menghabiskan waktu untuk jalan-jalan dan berbelanja, tapi hari itu jalan Cihampelas yang satu arah dan cukup panjang itu terasa lebih teduh. Ternyata jembatan layang di atas jalan tersebut sudah mulai hidup dan beroperasi.

Teras Cihampelas Bandung

Skywalk‘ itu disebut dengan nama Teras Cihampelas. Berdiri sekitar 10 meter dari permukaan aspal jalan (I didn’t really measure, actually), Teras Cihampelas itu menjulang tinggi dan jauuuh berkilo-kilo meter sepanjang Jalan Cihampelas (again, I wasn’t counting, but pretty sure Google Map knows its exact KM).

Teras Cihampelas Skywalk Bandun

So what is Teras Cihampelas? Orang-orang bilang itu adalah tempat para pedagang kaki lima/asongan yang sering diusir dari pinggir Jalan Cihampelas untuk kembali berjualan di tempat yang lebih rapi dan tidak mengganggu lalu lintas jalan. Jadi, the infamous walikota of Bandung, Bapak Ridwan Kamil (or Kang Emil biar SKSD) membuat jembatan layang tersebut demi mengakomodir mereka yang tetap ingin berjualan. Dan memberikan pengalaman baru untuk para pembeli yang dapat berjalan kaki sepanjang jembatan tersebut sambil menikmati rangkaian stand dan merasakan keindahan kota Bandung dari ketinggian. Amazing work done really. Especially setelah beliau juga berhasil membangun tempat rekreasi outdoor yang rapi dan nyaman di Alun-Alun Jl. Asia Afrika dan lapangan olahraga Gasibu di depan Gedung Sate. So, urban development-wise, he’s amazing!
Teras Cihampelas Bandung
Teras Cihampelas Bandung

So that Sunday afternoon, saya dan teman-teman menari saya yang sudah terhibur dan bahagia menjadi supporter teman kami yang mengikuti kompetisi tari Inspyro Moves pada hari sebelumnya, makin terhibur melihat keramaian di atas sana. Kami yang juga datang sambil menunggu keberangkatan shuttle kami untuk kembali ke Jakarta penasaran dan memang ingin membeli makanan untuk mengisi perut sebelum perjalanan. Setelah menaiki kira-kira 3 putaran tangga, we were exhausted but really impressed! Tempatnya begitu ramai dan betul, banyak pedagang! Misi kita di sana hanya satu: ingin makan. Dan lihat-lihat juga of course. We ended up strolling around -almost- end to end. Kita tidak berhasil mengeksplor dari ujung ke ujung karena shuttle kita pulang untuk jam 11 dan kita hanya memiliki waktu sekitar 45 menit untuk menikmati Teras Cihampelas.

Teras Cihampelas Bandung

Yang menarik dari tempat ini adalah fasilitas umumnya yang sangat baik. Contoh, ada beberapa Musholla atau tempat sholat kecil yang dilengkapi dengan tempat berwudhu di beberapa sudut jembatan. Tidak lupa juga adanya toilet yang hampir selalu ada di setiap ujung. Pada beberapa stand kuliner juga terlihat tempat duduk berinovasi yang terbuat dari semen/beton. Tersedia juga wastafel untuk mencuci tangan apabila kamu memutuskan untuk makan makanan yang lumayan heboh. Teras Cihampelas juga sangat disabled-friendly! Atau sangat nyaman untuk kaum difabel dan penyandang cacat. Adanya lift disetiap ujung jembatan, dan ramp sangat membantu untuk yang membutuhkan.

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Musholla mini di tengah-tengah jembatan

Penempatan letak di Teras Cihampelas Skywalk juga sangat rapi teratur. Misalnya, dibagian tengah adalah khusus pedagang kuliner. Rangkaian makanan khas Bandung dan Jawa Barat bisa kamu dapatkan di sini. Batagor, tape uli, ketan bakar bahkan keripik-keripik setan/basreng yang super pedas durhaka itupun dijual di sini. Lalu di bagian pinggir adalah penjual pernak-pernik dan oleh-oleh seperti kaos, kalung, gelang, dsb. Teras Cihampelas dilengkapi dengan papan-papan directory atau penunjuk jalan agar kamu bisa mengetahui letak kamu berada. Beberapa warning signs juga dibuat lucu khas Ridwan Kamil seperti papan peringatan “Dilarang membuang sampah sembarangan” yang dibuat humoris dengan mengungkit issue ke-baper-an manusia muda saat ini.

Teras Cihampelas Bandung
Papan pemberitahuan unik

Overall, Teras Cihampelas ini sangat menarik perhatian para wisatawan lokal dan juga luar daerah. Selain dibuat dalam desain modern, penuh warna dan artistik, skywalk ini juga teduh di beberapa tempat, thanks to overgrown trees di pinggiran jalan tersebut yang dapat memberikan bayangan. Namun, apabila matahari sedang terik atau sedang hujan, tempat ini juga bisa sedikit meresahkan.

Oh, do try some of the Batagor there, dan bertemulah dengan para pedagang-pedagang yang sangat baik hati ❤

Totally recommended place to enjoy a nice weekend out in Bandung.

6 Reasons Why New Zealand Should Be Your Next Travel Destination

New Zealand is a dream destination many of us should have a chance in a lifetime to go. And these are the reason why you should put New Zealand in a pin point: Continue reading “6 Reasons Why New Zealand Should Be Your Next Travel Destination”

#FidaTravels 2016 Recap

As we’re about to welcome the mysterious new year 2017, I would like to bid adieu to 2016 in a more or less respected ways as this year have lead me to many travel opportunities. Whether they are purely purposed as a new traveling experience, or as a notably full-of-agenda kind of travel, 2016 wouldn’t let my feet anchor.

Here’s a recap of what #FidaTravels looked like in 2016.

January – A Kuala Lumpur Wedding Bound

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One of my best mates from University, Syafira wedded her Russian husband at her hometown in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Growing up having girl talks about relationships with this girl is always amusing and insightful. So I was gloriously ecstatic to attend this Malay wedding and watching her mualaf Russian husband in a Baju Melayu. Such a beautiful couple (with now a cute little baby boy!). Came here with my all time favourite travel partner, Amanda and her boyfriend to as always explore and eat all the glorious foods! ❤

March – Travel Beyond Infinity to Belitung Island

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So I have this gang of dancer friends who unites in a group called Infinit8. We made this group for a performance back in 2015. Years later of constant meet ups and dances, little did we know that there is another reason we can bond so well with one another. And that is traveling! So I requested a gathering for us to travel together. Belitung Island was chosen as it was within everyone’s budget and it was still quite ‘home’ for me and another one of my dance friends who used to live there. Not all of the Infinit8 crew could join, but we still had a great time together. We personalised a hashtag for whatever we posted on that trip as #TravelBeyondInfinity 🙂

April – A Wedding slash Adventurous Agenda in Yogyakarta (Jogjakarta)

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My best friend’s sister invited me to a wedding in Yogyakarta in late April. I have always loved Jogja (short for Jogjakarta) because there will always be something new to discover every time I went there. Knowing someone who was residing there at the time, I took the opportunity to have an adventurous exploration with him. Places unknown and those I never been to in Jogja was successfully explored, and I had a jolly good time. Beach, hills, temples (candi),  theme park, and hang out places were checked in as well as that wedding I had to attend to.

May – Siblings Tag Team Story to Derawan Islands

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Early May as it was the Labour day weekend, My brother and I was lucky to be chosen as a trip leader to Derawan Islands. Picked by our good friends from Wuki Traveller, it was the first time Zaki and I went together to lead a group of awesome travellers. We had a blast meeting a bunch of full of life people ranging from different age groups. We went through a few challenges on the trip such as from miscommunication, ill-mannered boat crew, and bad weather conditions. But thanked God for the most patient participants and the most understanding and presentable brother as a partner, this tag team trip leader stuff paid off really well. And what to do if the place you keep coming back to will always capture your heart more and more every time? Derawan is love.

July – A Japanese Family Retreat

#FidaTravels 2016 Recap

Finally some family traveling after a long time. My family and I basically has a rare condition of travel bug bites that never heals. We are so used to traveling on our own, until finally this year we can travel again together for the Eid Holidays. Japan was picked, it was our first time there for my brother, mother and I, and we did not use any tour of any sort. It was a remarkably emotional journey filled with laughter, rage, new experiences and love towards another culture and family. We went from Osaka, Kyoto, Nagoya and finally Tokyo moving from one train stations to the next, bus stops and long walks, and prayed so much for the well-being of my parents. They’re tough guys, who I finally realise how much older they’re getting every day, but still possesses that young heart and wisdom we adore so much. Mom and Dad, may we continuously be blessed to be able to taste many more experiences together ❤

End of July, my best friend slash one of my best travel mate was about to leave the country pursuing greater study. Of course we had to take a farewell trip together and Bandung was the option. Endless laughter, serious talks over local foods while riding the bus and Gojeks never felt more fun and memorable. We also met up with former Derawan travel mate who resides in Bandung and had a great time catching up over coffee in the woods. Bandung is forever the best go-to place out of the city.

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August – Trip Leader-ing to Belitung Island

#FidaTravels 2016 Recap

Yes, I went to Belitung twice this year and I do not regret it. Again from Wuki Traveller, I took about 30 people for their first time in a journey of the island of big stones, tin mining and sweet-mannered locals. Teaming up with the local guide who basically did everything (making me feel like part of the travel participant and not the guide :P), we went to landmarks and tourist spots we shouldn’t miss. Of course each trip to the same place would never be similar. It is always different, and I experience many new things too. Most memorable part of the trip for me: having the tiniest participant named Binar. She was two years old who was traveling with both her parents of avid adventurers. The parents mentioned that she has been traveling and camping around since she was 8 months old! Truly inspirational!

September – Dreaming of Nepal and India

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Hands down the best month of the year and one of my most awaited travel this year. After months in purchasing the tickets of Jakarta – Kathmandu – New Delhi – Jakarta, we finally went. My cousin Michelle and her friends, Caron, Viviea and I equipped with only a 7kg backpacks take on Nepal and India for 10 days. It was one of the best eye opening journey I have ever been to. Despite missing Indonesian foods so much, India and Nepal has captured my heart. I mean, Nepal despite being one of the world’s least developed countries is home to beautiful mountainous natural views and locals who are helpful and overly friendly and hospitable. Nepal also won as my overall favourite aerial view ever! India on the other hand is also far from what we’ve imagined and what the media have portrayed. Traveling through three cities of Delhi, Agra and Jaipur, we’ve discovered how beautiful the country was with all of its heritage. Yes there are many poor people on the streets begging, yes they are loud, horns can be heard everywhere, but still, it represents as one of the best travel experience I have ever done. It was madness of fun!

October – Birthday Dance Treap (Treat/Trip) to Bandung

Since 2012 I have always gift myself a birthday treat of traveling. As this year I was less involved with my other love of dancing, I decided to take a dance class for the weekend all the way in Bandung. Yes some of them thought why would I go all the way to Bandung just to attend a dance workshop. Honestly, having Bandung as one of the best place for arts and where creative youngsters unite, I just had to join. It was a workshop led by an inspiring Japanese dancer named Akiyoshi Nita. It was a great way to reward myself for not dancing contemporary the entire year, and I learned so so much.

November – KL Bound with the family

#FidaTravels 2016 Recap

A random conversation with my mom and aunt of “I haven’t had a stamp on my passport this year” led to a sudden purchase of return tickets from Jakarta to Kuala Lumpur. Hahah! So end of November, my aunt, my cousin, mom, brother and I went for a weekend of gang-banging the wallets and credit cards in Kuala Lumpur. LOL. Going to KL with them was so much fun, as we went to the must-visits to Colmar Tropicale in Bukit Tinggi for a nice afternoon stroll in a European setting.

December – Social Traveling in Alor, East Nusa Tenggara

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Maybe I won’t stop saying how amazing this kind of traveling opportunity was for me. It was my first time traveling for a cause, and having to colour the island of Pura in Alor along with meeting the friendly locals really made a memory. It was a trip done by Thank You Indonesia movement and I went with two of my office mates. Definitely something that sums up the end of the year with great traveling memories. Read about my recent travel to Alor here. It was a blast.

Thank you 2016 for giving me endless traveling opportunity. 2017, Let’s do this ❤

A Steep Rocky Paradise in the Far East

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The view from a kitchen window

East Nusa Tenggara province, or in Indonesian we call Nusa Tenggara Timur (NTT) is surprisingly huge! I’ve just probably noticed that since my recent travel to Pulau Alor (Alor Island) on the 10-12 December 2016. Alor, along with other big islands and regencies in the East Nusa Tenggara (Sumba, Flores, Lembata, Ende, Maumere, Kupang — Yes, I finally know that they are still part of NTT) are home to many dive sites and beautiful marine wildlife with locals who may look and talk like nothing you’d find in large cities of Indonesia. They are the people of East Indonesia who many are descendants of the neighboring Papua, that inherits dark skin, curly hair in many ways. Different, I thought, and much to my surprise, I fell in love with this paradise.

After all the traveling I’ve done, this was my first time going on a trip to do a mission. Social traveling you may say. It was a mission to help expose the less-explored beautiful island in East Nusa Tenggara, Alor Island. Not many of you know, but Alor Island have actually been rewarded recently for having the most popular dive spots from Anugerah Pesona Indonesia Award 2016. So my curiosity was challenged when a friend posted about this social trip organized by Thank You Indonesia movement with a tagline,  “Jelajah Alor. Mewarnai Pulau,” which basically means to explore Alor Island and paint them in colors!  If that does not sound promisingly fun, I don’t know what else is.

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Bright colorful houses of Pura Island now can be seen from across the ocean. Photo: Ina Ocktarina

The mission was done in a small island off the coast of Alor, called Pura Island. There are about over 140 houses in a steep rocky hills with village locals who has deep intimacies with their culture and are very open for innovation. This social project is done to fully raise the awareness of this island to many Indonesians and obviously to the world. We helped paint bright colors to the houses in this island, starting in Harilolong Village, since they are the most visible from the ocean. The goal was one: to help many diver boats and sailing ships to notice this multicolored houses in order to pay a visit to Pura Island. So tourists won’t only visit to explore the underwater heaven Alor has to offer, but also to meet many promising new friends and exposure to culture that are so rich, it will leave you in so much awe.

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Lego Lego Dance to welcome guests

The friendly and hospitable Pura Island locals who cherishes their culture will welcome guests in the coolest tradition. Dancing! Lego Lego dance, is a traditional dance where locals will gather hand in hand (pinky in pinky, actually) in circle, moving in specified steps, while singing and chanting followed by the traditional gongs and drums. Lego Lego dance is part of their way to enunciate gratitude for the guests that comes by. I was lucky to experience this awesome dance, being one with the locals who chants loudly and move with steps that are hard to process by the brain. (Even I who dances on a regular basis still got lost in their steps).

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Joined in the circle to dance Lego Lego

I was in so much envy from where these people live. I mean, climbing those steep rocks everyday, only to find endless panoramic beauty by the window of your house is definitely an eye pleaser. The view of neighboring island in full lush, the ocean in the middle with the knowledge of fresh resources underneath the surface of the ocean only made this island so precious.

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Painting Papa Max Namaboling’s house

Okay, so the mission started as for us to paint the villagers’ houses in bright colors. My friends and I was set out in groups to do one local’s house. We were assigned to do a house of Mr. Max Namaboling, a name very unfamiliar for many of us who lives in the capital. It was a tough yet cool name to remember. Papa Max (as many people here would call in familiarity) lives uphill almost in the steepest top of the island. We were climbing those rocks and steep trails drenched in sweat to get to his house. But alas, the scenery we saw after we got there, left us…speechless.

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The view from Papa Max’s house

I was already picturing myself on the set of a movie based in Greece, Mammamia when I got there! Bougainvillea flowers bright atop his roof, overlooking the sea and the neighboring island. Gorgeous! Lucky man. But it was not only him, almost all of the houses in this island have the same exact view. Aren’t you envious? After spending time painting bright blue color on the side of his house, we were offered delicious bunch of mangoes, fresh from the trees! Villagers of Pura Island are all-rounded farmers, fishermen, agriculturist of many. So no wonder they’d have supplies of fresh fish, veggies, fruits, even their own traditional gin made fresh from the Lontar tree. Late afternoon talks with the locals only made us fall in love over and over with their tranquility of innocence and willingness to exchange life stories. Their heavy Eastern Indonesia accents and language is very unusual, but that doesn’t stop the fact that we’d still be able to communicate. Still, with those heavy accents, the beauty of Bahasa Indonesia that unites our conversation as one is what made me proud of being an Indonesian.

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Papa Max Namaboling with his niece

There are so many places to explore in Alor, not only in Pura Island itself, but the beaches and other wonderful adventure-filled sites in Alor that is waiting for you to notice. I myself would also love going back here, not only to see how the locals’ been treating their island, but also to dive all the way underneath their beautiful ocean! I want to write so much more about this beautiful place, because what I experience through out doesn’t seem enough to put in writings. Go and explore it yourself, I dare you. Again, thanks to Thank You Indonesia movement for organizing such wonderful social trip and leaving us all mesmerized by the beautiful Alor.

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Sunrise from the house window
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Local Mamas of Pura Island
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Photo: Ina Ocktarina
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Under the sea
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Sebanjar Beach, Alor

Nepal, The Unexpected Crush (Pt. 1)

As seen on her blog here

Nepal, 3 – 6 September 2016

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At Tribhuvan International Airport

Earlier this year, I made a super random trip plan to the most unexpected place anyone (well, Indonesians, really) would ever go. NEPAL. Continue reading “Nepal, The Unexpected Crush (Pt. 1)”