There are things we might lose during our traveling journeys, no matter how carefully we guard them all the time. That’s what my friend wrote on her blog last year; and it has happened to me. During my trips in the past four years, I’ve lost so many things. First, losing belongings: from winter gloves given by someone I liked, until wallet I left in a bus. Second, losing someone (oh, this story needs a dedicated blog post I’ll write one day). And third (that I want to talk about here now): losing my way. My way back. To my own homeland. Yeah, I think those travels are the realization that I was born in the wrong country.
I’m a small-town boy. Born and raised somewhere in the conventional East Java, in a Muslim family. However I don’t know why, since I was very young I’ve been having a very different perspective on how to see the world. Very different with how most people around me saw it. I was so annoyed by the fact that my society way too concerned about religion: which neighbor was Christian and which one was not, non-Muslim students had to walk out when the rest studied the goddamn religion subject, etc. I didn’t even get it why there was religion subject inside the classroom. I also didn’t understand why man can only marry woman, and why it’s kinda taboo to talk about that. I had no idea what made me think that way. I didn’t really follow world’s pop culture, didn’t even have friends from outside my town. And those thoughts were only some minor examples of me disagreeing with my environment.
want need to move out,” I said to myself in 2006. I struggled hard, really hard to make it happen. That time my 18-years-old me had a faith that in bigger city, things ran differently. Jakarta, on his mind, would serve him better. He wasn’t 100% wrong. In the capital he met some other people with same perspective as his. He was happy. His basic instinct as a human ordered his brain and heart to get comfortable with the city because he finally found some of the things he was looking for. But the same instinct told him not to get easily satisfied. He was craving for more understanding and less judgement from the society. So he traveled a lot, ambitiously. Sixteen countries, three continents, less than two years, almost broke. During those trips, he finally came to a thought that there might be some place better than his own country. He kept wandering and learning, until he had to say that his country’s “so-called culture” doesn’t fit his aspiration and how he should live his life. Now he believes he needs to move out again.
I need to move around a bit. To shuffle my surroundings. To wake up in cities I don’t know my way around and have conversations in languages I cannot entirely comprehend. There is always this tremendous longing in my heart to be lost, to be someplace else, to be far far away from all of this.
And by all of this, I mean Indonesia. Those travels and everything I witnessed have made me realize: just because I was born and raised someplace, doesn’t mean I have to grow old and die in the same soil. Indonesia is just like a house to me, not home. Too many things I have to compromise, and someone said, “Don’t discount yourself. Life’s not only about reaching targets, but also setting standard.” I’m no longer happy here (according to my standard), and that makes my life totally pointless. No, I don’t hate my country. It’s just like an unhealthy relationship where one of the parties should let everything go. I believe it’s the best way for both of us. I don’t want to be those Facebook rats whining about how shitty this nation is, without making any real changes.
So here I am now. I’m going to embark on a “mission” to decide which place is best for me. So far, my plan is to go to and dig some “insights” in Australia, USA, Southeast Asian countries, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Maldives, Kyrgistan, Turkmenistan, Iran, Turkey, Jordan, and Morocco. I don’t know what I’m going to do in those countries and which one I should visit first, because there’s still some bureaucracy glitches I need to settle.
This decision has taught me so many precious lessons. The most precious one is the art of letting go. I prefer to say “art” rather than “power”, because “letting go” is more like an “expression” instead of “ability”. I want to master the art and express this feeling. Now I’m ready to pack my bag. In less than a month I’ll fly somewhere else. Leaving everything I had here: career and network I’d built for six years, a great job of three years, and my favorite spicy foods. I have to leave people I love. I have to let them all go without any job waiting for me there. I also have a limited saving.
It really is a big move for me. But at the same time, it’s just a small step to reach what I truly need. I do not know who to earn money there, but I promise I’ll find a way to stay as long as possible, if I still want to stay there. But I also don’t want to force myself. If no other country turns to be a better place for me (and then I feel Indonesia really is the best for me), maybe I’ll be back. Or maybe I’ll just move again to some other country. I still cannot figure it out. Let’s just go.