First time in Indonesia

I think Indonesia is a country of adventures and opportunities. Just you need to open eyes and heart, have a will to see, taste, discover, try new things, get out from your comfort zone and be curious.

I found out that during my stay in Indonesia some of the things I did or some of them happened first time in my life. No matter what, but all of them gave me new colors in my daily life. So, here is my list of things “first time in life – in Indonesia”:

First of all – Indonesia is the first Asian country which I visited in my life

And being in Indonesia gives me more opportunities to travel in Asia. Other Asian countries now are much closer than if I would travel from Europe.

I met eye to eye orangutans in Borneo island (Kalimantan)

Couple days in a jungle, living in a boat, meeting wild monkeys, birds, other animals and of course orangutans – was experience that I will never forget.

I took selfie (never before I did that)

It was on motorbike, when I was bringing mattress on my back to first home in Yogyakarta, Java island.

First time in Indonesia - selfie
Friend Otong helped me to take mattress to a new home

I learned how to drive automatic scooter

Driving scooter in Indonesia it means – I can drive now scooter anywhere in the world.

I tried trekking to a volcanoes

Even if mount Merapi defeated me  but at least I tried. But the second time was more successful. I went to Mt. Batur in Bali for sunrise. And even if in the trek beginning I was thinking why I do it, in the end I was happy that reached the top.

Batur sunrise trek in Bali

 

I was a “model” for the Yogyakarta sketchers community members

They wanted to practice and not every time it’s easy to find people who would like to spend their time doing nothing, just pose for a while.

First time in Indonesia - "model"

took a bath” under the waterfall and was walking in the volcano crater

It was in Dieng Plateau, Java island. Never before I saw the waterfall and volcano crater in real. What to say about bathing under the waterfall? It was a powerful feeling.

First time in Indonesia

I tried sandboarding in “grey” sand beach Parangtritis

Never before I try snowboarding, so experience with sandboarding was amazing. Just sand in the mouth when you felt down doesn’t “taste” so nice as snow. I got this opportunity while I was shooting in a video.

I celebrated New Year in October with Javanese Royal family members

New year in the middle of autumn? Something new, especially when you are invited to do that with Javanese Royal family members and have the honor to walk in a parade through the city with traditional Javanese clothes.

Javanese New Year

I eat fruits which I never tried before

Even I didn’t know that such fruits exist: “salak”(“snake fruit”), “jambu” (“guava”), “buah naga” (“dragon fruit”), soursop (“sirsak”) and many others.

First time in Indonesia - fruits

I try scuba diving first time ever

I really scared to be in deep water places so this experience was one of the biggest challenges for me but I faced my fears in Bali.

I was a witness of Ramadhan and Lebaran celebrations

I heard before a bit about Muslim main celebrations Ramadhan, Lebaran but never knew how it looks like in real. But only staying in Indonesia I had this opportunity.

 

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I eat cobra meat and I liked it

I tried “Burger cobra”, “Sate cobra bakar”, ”Steak cobra saus cina” and drink “Ramuan empedu cobra” (traditional medicine from cobra gall and marrow). I was celebrating 6 months living in Indonesia anniversary.

First time in Indonesia - cobra meat

I was bitten by a bee

Never in my life before nowhere I was bitten. Probably it was Indonesian style of “farewell” before my trip to Vietnam.

First time in Indonesia - bitten by bees

I drink the most expensive coffee in the world – Kopi Luwak

First time in Indonesia - kopi luwak

I got a first job offer – to be a guide in Vietnam

I have never been a tour guide before, but probably my organizational skills can be used in any area. I liked it, that’s why till now I accompany people during their trips to Indonesia as well.

I was walking on the black sand beach

First I saw the grey sand beach in Yogyakarta, Parangtritis beach but soft black sand I enjoyed in Bali, Tulamben beach. When all my life I saw only yellow beaches, see black – something unreal.

I try rafting

I’m quite scared of all water activities but I wanted to try rafting. I did it in Bali when the rainy season started. And it wasn’t so dangerous, even more, easier than I thought.

Rafting in Bali

I had the unique experience

I participate in Balinese sacred purification ritual which aimed to purify a human body and soul in order to prevent havoc, bad luck and sickness (also achieve self-purification).

Hindu purification

One of my dreams come true

I always wanted to see dolphins in their natural surrounding and I did it, in Lovina, Bali.

I started to write articles and blogging

I would never believe that one day I will start to write and blogging. But it happen exactly in Indonesia.

I’m willing to add more things in the future to this “first time in life – in Indonesia” list.

First time in Indonesia
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SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS

  • Have you tried something for the first time in Indonesia?
  • Maybe you tried something for the first time in other Asian countries?
  • What you would like to try in Indonesia?

 

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Wearing tube sarong

Before knowing how to wrap, keep it on tube sarong (or “sarung” in Indonesian language) I think it’s good to know what it is :).

“Sarong” (means “scabbard” in Indonesian) is a large tube or length of fabric. Tube sarong often wrapped around the waist and worn mostly by men (sometimes and women) throughout much of South Asia, Southeast Asia, the Arabian Peninsula, the Horn of Africa, and on many Pacific islands. The fabric most often has woven plaid or checkered patterns, or may be brightly colored by means of batik or ikat dyeing. Many modern sarongs have printed designs, often depicting animals or plants.
Sarong denotes the lower garment worn by the Indonesian men. This consists of length of fabric about a yard (0.91 m) wide and two-and-a-half yards (2.3 m) long. In the center of this sheet, across the narrower width, a panel of contrasting color or pattern about one foot wide is woven or dyed into the fabric, which is known as the “kepala” (or “head”) of the sarong. This sheet is stitched at the narrower edges to form a tube.

So some practical information:

How men wearing tube sarong

In Java, most people now wear Western clothing. Traditional tube sarong is worn for ceremonies, for Friday prayers, and in its casual form, to relax at home. For casual and Friday wear the soft cotton tubular sarong is very cool and comfortable. Men wear them in plaids. The central Javanese courts of Solo and Yogyakarta are famed for their intricate batik “kain panjang” in fine cotton, with tiny pleats created with the loose front end piece of the cloth falling straight in front. Men wear tube sarong with a short jacket, often with gold trim and buttons.

It is common for the sarong to slip or loosen over time. When this happens, just open it up and refold/re-tighten it again.

How women wearing tube sarong

In Javanese culture, the wearing of batik tube sarong is not restricted to women on formal occasions such as weddings, common wear with a “kebaya” blouse. The style of the “kebaya” varies – there are gauze-fine ones with beautiful embroidery, or heavier ones with lacy cutouts. Older “kebaya” have no buttons; they were held closed by ornate gold or silver pins.
Women slipped into, pulled up to the waist or underarm, depending on whether one wants a skirt or the strapless look, and the top is carefully folded to cinch the sarong tightly around the body, then rolled down to secure. Traditionally these were worn as a strapless dress, with a “selendang”, or shoulder cloth, for formal occasions, or as a skirt, worn with or without a blouse. Today in some remote villages it’s still possible to find women pounding rice with only an old sarong tied around their waists, but they now usually pull the sarong up when they see foreigners. Formal dress today consists of a beautifully patterned sarong, worn with a fine blouse and “selendang”. Every day wear is often an old sarong with soft floral patterns and T-shirt.
Tubular sarongs are usually worn by older women; younger women prefer the more flattering fit of the tightly wrapped two or two-and-a-half meter “kain panjang” (literally “long cloth”).

If you want to wear tube sarong you should do the same like it’s written above (how to wear tube sarong for men). I wear at home my tube sarong in original way, shorter when it’s hot outside and like dress (very comfortable especially after the shower :)).

How to use tube sarong for other purpose

Indonesian man using tube sarong not only by original purpose but for other things as well. You can try it too, no matter if you are man or women ;).

After the trip to Sulawesi island, our guide showed other ways how people there use tube sarong for other purpose.

How to use tube sarong - pinterest
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SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS

  • Have you tried to use tube sarong? It was comfortable for you?
  • Would you like to buy a tube sarong like a souvenir from the trip in Southeast Asia?
  • Have you tried any other local clothes during your trips?

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Information used from Javanese people sharing and internet sources. Illustrations made by Hendra Arkan

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9 things I learned in my 1st year of blogging

1 year ago, on 17th of May, 2015 “born” my travel blog. Honestly, I didn’t plan to become a travel blogger. In the beginning, I just wanted to have a virtual space to share my experience, tips about Indonesian cultural Darmasiswa scholarship that I got. I thought this information can be useful for the next year students.

But later, I saw that during my trips in Indonesia I found out things that I didn’t know before visiting some of the places. I thought that this practical information can be useful for other travelers as well. So, little by little I started to make notes from my trips which turned into the posts (unfortunately not all stories are told yet :)).

Later on, I felt in love with Indonesia and after my scholarship finished I decided to start my life here – become a full time travel writer/blogger. Truly to say, I’m not naive person, but this time I thought that to be a travel blogger will be so easy – I will just travel, write and get income. I was wrong! Nothing was (is) so easy how I expected it will be. But the main good thing – even if I didn’t reach my aim yet, this 1 year of blogging gave me good lessons to learn.

9 things I learned in my first year of blogging

1. Blogging is a tone of work

I read that some of the people write a post within couple of hours. Maybe they have a gift to write? For me to write 1 post takes at least 2 days: writing draft, couple times of editing, selecting and preparing photos, adding post to the blog and etc. Later, after 2 days of preparation, more than half of the day takes to “spread” it in social media and other sources. But each moment spent on single post give me a pleasure to remember all discoveries during my trips.

2. It’s freedom to do experiments

It’s not possible to find out what is working what is not without trying and making experiments. Travel blog is my own, so I can do things without asking permission of any people. I try different posts structures, different ways of present information and analyzing what readers likes more. I’m not scared to make mistakes and I’m trying to learn how to make better posts in a future. When I was working in the company, each mistake cost not only more work for me but sometimes influence my colleagues work as well. Now I’m free to stumble and learn from mistakes without involving others.

Blog
Sometimes the wrong choices bring us to the right places

3. It’s an opportunity to learn new things

I never wrote any article or post for anyone before. I started my first post in this blog from 0 knowledge about it. Only now, little by little I start to understand what does it mean a “good post” and I’m learning to write such ones.

I’m learning how to make my content interesting, trying to understand how people behave while reading posts, what they find the most interesting, why they like to share my content and etc. It’s like learning people’s behavior psychology which I find very interesting.

Before I was just ordinary social media user. Now I know much more about it. I read many articles, was searching for answers to understand how different social media is working, how to engage people with my content, what is more important in social media and etc. I found it so challenging but at the same time really thrilling.

Because of blogging I even learned some programming codes. Now I’m able to fix some problems in website design, adding new tools, codes and etc. I never thought that I will understand such things.

4. Need to move out from comfort zone

I’m the type of people who can’t sell things which people don’t need. I believed that if anyone needs something they will find it by themselves. But blogging taught me that “promoting yourself” is one of the most important things in successful blogging. I need to be proactive if I want to be known (especially among thousands of other travel bloggers). I need to engage people to meet with me, suggest ideas. I need to convince possible clients, partners that I can be useful for them even if they didn’t think about it yet. It’s not easy to leave comfort zone – but it’s really worth it.

Blogiversary
A comfort zone is a beautiful place, but nothing ever grows there

5. Blogging is not a game

To have a blog and wishing to make a living from it, means to think about blog like about business. Make a strategy, understand markets and target groups, planning budged, participate in networking events, make evaluation and etc. It’s non-stop process and full time job.

6. Need to understand what you pay for

I used to pay for services expecting that I don’t need to know anything about them. I pay because somebody will know more than me. But I learned that whatever service I buy, I need to know about it at least a little bit. Not all the people who do business and sell services will do it in a fair way and right price. Just to avoid overpaying for anything – better to understand what you are buying, how long it takes, what the result can be expected.

7. Nothing will be perfect

No matter how hard I will try to make my blog perfect – I always will find something to correct, to add, thinking how to make it better. But I understood that blogging isn’t meant to be perfect – it’s a journey of making mistakes, learning and growth. If I would wait to make perfect blog design, perfect posts, probably even after this 1 year it wouldn’t be published yet.

Blogging
It’s ok not to be perfect and not make perfect things

8. Don’t have expectations to get backing

Many people don’t understand what does it mean to be a blogger. Especially when it’s presented like a full time job. I can’t expect that people from my surrounding will know as much as I know now about blogging, how works social media, what is important for each blogger, what means to be “a good blogger” and many other things. Because of that I don’t have to expect that people from my surrounding will be the most engaged readers.

9. It’s never ending personal growth

I became more curious about things which I write. I want to give for my reader’s correct information and it’s a big responsibility. Before publishing any post, I check other sources, speak with people and etc. just to prove that things, I’m writing about is correct.

I learned to pay attention in things I’m writing about and how I do it. Sometimes things which looks usual for me, for others can sound like offence. I’m learning to use filters in each of my sentence.

I realized that having a blog and trying to reach aims I need to become really patient: in learning, getting answers, answering questions, growing my blog reader’s community, getting income.

Having a blog, it’s growing a strength not to give up when something doesn’t go like I want. And each time finding a strength to try harder, search, see new opportunities and thinking positive.

Blogging taught me to be more flexible. If something goes wrong – try something else and new but not stuck on the same things.

Travel blogger
Every experience makes you grow

In conclusion – I had a year of awesomeness, but I believe that the best is yet to come!

 

Have you tried blogging? What kind of lessons you learned? Do you think it’s worth to be a blogger?


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