At Columbia Tower Seattle

2015 Dreams & Hopes

After review what I did during 2014, now I would like to take a chance, in the 1st day of the year of 2015 to write what my dreams & hopes that I can publish here. I realize that the last time I did this was in 2013 as you can see in my blog here and from that list, the resolution that I can made it until 2014 are :

1) Start life healthier by running every Saturday (or at least once a week), swimming, eat good food 

Unfortunately I run not every Saturday but sometime, even though I already have running club in Danone every Wednesday! But I did my 1st 10 K in Jakarta Marathon with 1 hour and 30 minutes time. Not bad for beginner!

2) Visiting Paris & some countries nearby, US, India, Japan, Vietnam, Kamboja, China.

Wow! I only have Japan & China on my list. But I dont really want to visit China intentionally. Japan is on my list on April 2015! :)

3) Accepted in Scholarship program for Master in Social Entrepreneurship / HRM / Business Management for 2014 Class

I got LPDP scholarship but now still working & waiting on the campus application announcement. Wish me luck! :)

4) Donate continuously every month and interact with community more often and also be nice to everyone!

5) Start the social business that I’ve been planning for!

6) Got enough IELTS Score

7) Success in implementing DYSE program, MT 2013, and DanCommunity.com

8) Going back to Depok village again

9) Finish writing my book in the middle of the year (June)

This resolution always come every year but never realize it! :( I hope I can start it in 2015 :)

10) Fasting every Monday and Thursday, Sholat Dzuha, and Sholat on time!

So, from those resolution in 2013 & 2014, here are what I will keep fighting for it in 2015 and what I will add on it :

1. Got a minimum 650 GMAT score on February 2015. Accepted in one / two / all of these Universities in the USA : Duke University, Boston University, University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign – for MBA Program & start the class in Fall 2015

2. Find the right person who I will start the family with :)

3. Traveling to Japan (April 2015), Tanjung Puting (March 2015), Canada (Winter break 2015 or Fall 2015), Nepal (May/June 2015)

4. Wanderlust got investment after my pitch at @america this February! Wanderlust won “Wirausaha Sosial Mandiri”. Have an office for Wanderlust, hire more people, leverage the destinations & impacts in Indonesia tourism destinations (Labuan Bajo, Tanjung Puting, Garut, Derawan Island, etc)

5. Climb Semeru Mountain before leaving Indonesia for study aboard

6. Start to write my book of being a Wanderer in a Wanderlust world experience

7. Coming back to Depok village before leaving Indonesia

8. Fasting every Monday and Thursday, Sholat Dzuha, and Sholat on time, Sedekah every month!

9.  Start life healthier by running at least once a week, swimming, eat good food!

10. Help & Support my sister Salma to enter Faculty of Medicine as she is now in 3rd grade of Senior high school & wanna be a Doctor :)

These are my resolutions so far, I hope to keep it & fight for it until the end of 2015. Now, lets start the 1st day of the year with a positive behaviour & believe that we can achieve all our dreams & hopes in 2015. Bismillah! :)

- @dinidreaming -

Where did I Travel.ppt

2014 : A Year of Wanderlust

I take a chance to look back at my 2014 year and I decided to give it the title : Year of Wanderlust. What is Wanderlust? Wanderlust literally means a strong desire to travel to understand once very existence. In my experience, since 2010 when the first time I travel aboard to Boston, USA.. this year is become the year that I travel the most. This year is also the year when me, Fany, and Syahira started our social business called Wanderlust Indonesia which is an Indonesia-based social enterprise that creates a unique traveling experience by encountering traveler and locals.

Last week I got chance to share my experience traveling with Couchsurfing and I just realize when I made the slides that if I resume where I travel from 2010 – 2014, I already travel to 13 countries, some of the countries I got chance to visit twice or even 3rd times such as USA, Canada, Thailand, Singapore, and Malaysia. This is exclude places that I visit in Indonesia.

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Where did I surf

So, from all 13 countries that I visited, in 2014, I travel to 6 countries which are : 

1. Singapore
– July 2014
– Danone Young Social Entrepreneur Social Entrepreneurship trip for the 1st Winner

2. Vietnam (Hanoi, Halong Bay)
- May 2014
– Backpacking trip to Indochina, hosted by Couchsurfer in Hanoi

3. Laos
- May 2014
– Backpacking trip to Indochina, visiting Vientiane, crossing the border via roadtrip from Cambodia – Laos & Laos – Hanoi.

4. Cambodia (Phonm Penh, Siem Reap, Angkor Wat)
- May 2014
– Backpacking trip to Indochina, hosted by Couchsurfer in Siem Reap

5. Seattle, USA
– November 2014
– Selected as 1 of 5 Indonesian Social Entrepreneur who join Project Catalyst program by Jolkona & US Embassy

6. Vancouver, Canada
- November 2014
– Extended my visit from Seattle taking a bus ride to Vancouver. Hosted by Chitha & his family in Vancouver. Meet Nithya who drove from Calgary to Vancouver! Reunion with Canada World Youth fellas.

Beside those 6 countries, in 2014, I also got chance to travel around Indonesia. Here are the list :

1. Bali
- March 2014
– I nominated to join Danone Campus in Bali in Connected Leaders training. After that, I got chance to visit Ubud, Denpasar, Legian, Nusa Dua, Seminyak, and other exciting places in Bali. Staying with Sud, one of my best friend from Canada World Youth who live in Denpasar. I love Ubud a lot and definitely going to come back there for couple times :)

2. Flores
- March 2014
– After Bali, I decided to extend my travel to Flores! One of the most beautiful island & place in Indonesia. I travel with Karin – friend of my friend who I never met before! Its ended up we have such a wonderful escape! I also lucky to have Enggi working in Labuan Bajo, Flores so we hosted by her and we really enjoy our stay there. Especially, its my birthday when we arrive in Flores :) We visit Labuan Bajo, Komodo Island (Live on board experience & snorkeling to many many beautiful islands), Wae Rebo UNESCO World Heritage, and Cunca Wulang waterfall.

3. Ujung Kulon
– October 2014
– As a part of Wanderlust project, we visited Ujung Kulon and meet a very awesome headmaster named Pak Ramli who support Wanderlust a lot!

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4. Krakatau Mountain
- January 2014
– The same like Ujung Kulon, as a part of Wanderlust project, we got chance to visit Sebesi Island & Krakatau

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5. Depok Village, Cisompet, Garut
– March, September 2014
– My second home! I got chance to come back twice this year in Depok village, meeting my Abah & Mamah; my host family in Canada World Youth program 2011-2012.

6. Ijen Crater
– September 2014
– Welcoming Chitha back to Indonesia! I got chance to have 10 days on the road trip with him! We visited Ijen Crater in Banyuwangi, East Java.

7. Baluran National Park (Also : Surabaya & Malang)
- September 2014
– The same like above, we start the trip from Surabaya, pick up by my friend Hafidh and take a road trip with Wan & Dimas (our Canada World Youth fellas staying in Malang & Surabaya).

8. Yogyakarta
– September, October 2014
– I took Chitha to Yogyakarta & he make this city as his favorite city. I also always love Yogya with all the peace, kindness, and creativity. We visited Punthuk Situmbuh to see the sunrise, Borobudur & Prambanan temple, Ratu Boko temple, Taman Sari Water Castle, Malioboro, Keraton Yogyakarta, and all the best culinary ini town! In the 2nd visit at October, I was with Danone having recruitment for our Management Trainee program

9. 1000 Island
– July, September 2014
– The 1st visit was for survey of Wanderlust Indonesia program and the 2nd visit was one of my road trip with Chitha. We stay at Pari island.

10. Surabaya
– October 2014
– Recruitment of our Management Trainee program in Danone

11. Medan
- October 2014
– This is my 1st time in Medan! This time is with Danone also for our recruitment of Management Trainee Danone program.

That’s why I called this year : A year of Wanderlust! Because I saw many beautiful places in Indonesia & aboard, tasting many delicious food all over the world, and meeting many kindhearted locals around the world :) Thats enough to fulfill my desire to travel to understand once very existence :)

I was also feeling so blessed that this year, I receive 3 achievements that I believe this is all God’s hand :

1. Receiver of LPDP Scholarship (Indonesia Education Endowment Fund) by Government of Indonesia to continue Master Degree aboard in 2015

2. Selected as 1 of 5 Social Entrepreneur who join “Project Catalyst” program by Jolkona & US Embassy, 2 weeks in Seattle – USA through WANDERLUST INDONESIA

3. Me & my team receive Danone Global HR Best Practice Awards in Culture & Social Innovation through Danone Young Social Entrepreneur program

As a bonus, I also have my 1st interviewed on TV in Kompas TV for explaining about Danone Young Social Entrepreneur program :) And my friend in Kudus interviewed me in local newspaper, here are the pics :

Beside work & traveling, I was so glad also that finally this year, me & my 2 friends can start our social enterprise Wanderlust Indonesia. In 1 year, we did around 10 trips including going to Krakatau, Ujung Kulon, and weekend series; inspiring weekend trip 1 day in Jakarta to learn from the locals. We also partnered with DHL Indonesia to bring the employee to have a Voluntourism trip to Pari Island, 1000 Island planting the mangrove & bring their Internship to have Jakarta Heritage trip. Thank  you, DHL! :)

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I cannot thank God enough for all the blessing and kindness that God gave to me. I hope that I can always pay all those blessings forward to as many people as possible. The things that I found I cannot fulfill in 2014 was my intention to always fasting in Monday & Thursday, always do the sunnah prayers. I hope that in 2015, I can be closer to God in terms on this thing.

Thank you everyone for supporting and being part of my life in 2014. Lets wish the best for all of us in 2015. Keep dreaming, wandering, fighting, and believing. Because that’s what the human can do & let God do the rest! :)

Happy Wandering

Regards,
– @dinidreaming -

Project Catalyst by Jolkona & US Embassy – Learning from Seattle

Last month in November 2014, I was lucky to be one of the selected 5 Social Entrepreneurs from Indonesia that got a chance to go to Seattle joining “Project Catalyst” program by JOLKONA and US Embassy.

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I said we are lucky because they only have 2 batch (each batch consist of 5 Social Entrepreneurs) from Indonesia! The next batch in 2015 will be from Bangladesh! We are selected from around 70 applicants that submitting the application online -> interview by Jolkona Co-Founder and teams with the US Embassy. I bring Wanderlust Indonesia, my social business started 1 year ago in creating a unique & responsible traveling experience by connecting traveler and local through volunteering activity. The other 4 social entrepreneurs are :

1. Alfatih Timur – Founder of kitabisa.com
2. Nancy Margried – Founder of Batik Fractal
3. Alfi Irfan – Founder of AgriSocio
4. Candra Cahyani Gani – Founder of Bedah Kampus

To me, These amazing 4 people is now feel like part of my family after spending the very cold weeks for us together in Seattle :)  You can also read our story here : http://jolkona.livestories.com/inspire/Cohort-2

For your reference, these are the social entrepreneurs that selected in the 1st batch of Project Catalyst :

1. Mirah Mahaswari – Founder of Pack Your Spirit
2. Nadine Zamira – Founder of LeafPlus
3. Hendriyadi Bachtiar – Founder of healthy Shredded fish project (Abon Ikan)
4. Nadya Saib – Founder of Wangsa Jelita
5. Dino Lefty – Founder of Vertesac

What is actually this program all about? Project Catalyst designed to escalate social business from developing country and leverage the impact of social entrepreneurship by bringing social entrepreneur from developing country to Seattle, to learn about social business, meet prospective investors, and network. They put us through two weeks of intensive training, mentoring, and networking to bring our social mission driven startup to the next level. We attend workshops to refine our business, met the Seattle Start-up community, visit some successful company like Google, Microsoft and learnt to pitch to investors.

Our 2 weeks in Seattle curriculum basically led to this final event that they call “Showcase Event” which we have 5 minutes to pitch our social business in front of the audience in Seattle —>
http://www.eventbrite.com/e/jolkona-project-catalyst-showcase-come-meet-cohort-2-tickets-13342512815

1st Week – Build Business Plan
We have a very packed schedule during the 1st week to understand our business deeply, defining our vision and mission statement again, explaining it in elevator pitch so many times to different people and the most important thing, meet a lot of amazing people as our workshop lectures, pitch coaches, and lovely MENTOR!

Here are the workshops that we got during the 1st week :

1. Value workshop by Barri Rind
2. Elevator pitch coaching by Ajit Banerjee
3. Workshop #1: Define your Mission, Value Prop, and Strategy by Peter Blomquist
4. Fireside Chat with Sam Chughtai
5. Workshop #2: Execution and Scale by Emer Dooley
6. Workshop #3: Problem solving & overcoming challenges by Cole Hoover
7. Workshop #4: Culture and Leadership by Kyle Kesterson
8. Workshop #5: Tell Your Story by Susan Bloch
9. Office Hour (individual) with Brandon Fleming, Anita Sulaiman, Linsey Battan and Bob Ness

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And here are the list of places that we visit in the 1st week :
1. Farestart Restaurant
2. CODE.org
3. The Seattle Foundation
4. University of Washington
5. Start Up Hall

VIsit

While this one is the Networking Event / Session that we got :
1. Techstars Demo Day
2. Techstars Launch Party
3. University of Washington Networking Event with MBA Students
4. Dinner with Barri Rind

PC - Networking Session

Above all those activities, we also got chance of MENTOR MEETING twice in that 1st week. My mentor is Maryann Ness – used to be Kak Hendriyadi’s mentor in batch 1 and wife of other mentor, Bob Ness – who is mentor to Nancy Margried! Maryann has over 30 years of experience in all aspects of financial management, particularly for local governments and non-profits.  Background includes Finance Director for a suburban city and a mid-sized international non-profit, and CPA for large public accounting firm.  Major responsibilities have included grant-writing, compilation of annual budget and supervision of accounting, human resources and IT functions.Recently retired and taking classes at the University of Washington in Asian history and culture, including history of Indonesian.  Volunteer activities include Woodland Park Zoo and Washington Community Alliance for Self Help (CASH).  Washington CASH trains and advises financially disadvantaged people in King County in how to operate their own businesses and offers small loans to those who qualify.

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The 2nd Week is the Week of CRAFTING OUR PITCH!

This week, we get more intense training and workshop that focus on preparing our 5 minutes pitch. Yes, you have to tell about your social business in only 5 minutes. This is a really big learning for all of us to TELL WHAT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT PART in our business that we we want people know. Telling our story.

During the 2nd week, we got chance to learn :

1. Workshop #6: Financial Analysis and Modeling by Nawsheen Sharfuddin – our “Mama” Project Catalyst because Nawsheen is the 1st contact communication between us and Jolkona & the Coordinator for Project Catalyst Cohort 2 program! She is AMAZING buddy also for all of us :)

2. Workshop #7: Design thinking by Nancy Xu

3. Workshop #8: Prioritization, Focus, Impact & Transparency by Adnan Mahmud – The CoFounder of Jolkona who also CEO of Live Stories, his enterpise that become one of 10 company which selected to participate in intense Techstars program in 2014.

4. PITCH COACHING SESSIONS!!!! Here are our amazing pitch coaches :

Steve Schwartz
Archie Gupta
George Economy
Dan Kranzler
Irene Yamamoto
Ben Friedman
Martina Welke
Ajit Banerjee
Brandon Fleming
Anita Sulaiman

5. Inspiring sharing from Ben Friedman – young social entrepreneur of Homegrown, sustainable sandwich shop!

We also have opportunity to visit :
1. Microsoft
2. Theo’s Chocolate
3. Seattle Tilth
4. Seattle Urban Farm
5. Homegrown
6. Impact Hub
7. Google

And the most important thing is that we have our 5 minutes PITCH session finally on Thursday, 13 November 2014 at WeWork – Yale Avenue, Seattle.

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Watch our pitch video here : 

a. Candra Cahyani Gani :
b. Dini Hajarrahmah :
c. Alfatih Timur :
 
For Alfi & Nancy, they still work on it. 

During 2 weeks, we also have our own homestay host who open their home, heart and kindness for all of us! I have a fabulous host who hosted Mirah from last batch. My host named is Kim Wright and she work as a Director of Philanthropy at The Seattle Foundation. We have great time staying together, have our tea night in front of the TV while talk on some topics, Indonesian-American dinner, pitch practice, and lots of laughs! Thank you Kim for everything!!! I hope to see you soon in Indonesia and have our Wanderlust trip :)

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Jolkona Super Team!

All of these event & ideas arranged by a Foundation based in Seattle called Jolkona who is Founded by 2 awesome husband & wife; Adnan Mahmud & Nadia Mahmud. Adnan is also a Founder of Livestories, a social enterprise envision to make data for non-data people! During 2 weeks, we are hosted by most of Jolkona team and they are all awesome! Thank you Nawsheen, Monica, Nancy, Adnan, and Nadia! :)

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Seattle Ecotourism / Community-Based Tourism 

One of my objective joining this program is to partner, find the network with Ecotourism enterprise in Seattle that might be interested to have the destination & project in Indonesia. So, I met 3 of Ecotourism founder in Seattle that inspire me to improve Wanderlust & bring it to the next level. Hopefully, we can make a partnership with them and more International travel company. 3 of them are :

1. Crookedtrails – Chris

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2. Meaningful Trip – Joe 

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3. Red Lantern Journeys – Ambrose & Irine

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Seattle Exploration!
Even though we have only 2 weeks and our program is very packed & full, I dont want to miss any traveling part to see the city and surrounding! As Seattle famous with a very grunge city, The 1st Starbucks Store, Space Needles, and the beauty of its nature – we found sometime to  explore the city by our own. Kim also bring us to Brainbridge Island in my last day in Seattle before I continue the journey to Vancouver.

Seattle City 2

Seattle City

Thank you Project Catalyst JOLKONA, Thank you US Embassy for supporting this program & Thank you all the mentor, coach, speaker, entrepreneurs. Thank you for all the awesome host, thank you for all Seattle people!!! You are all awesome!! :)

In February, we gonna have chance to present about our social business only in 2.5 minutes in @America – Pacific Place in front of US Embassy & some investors. Lets wish Wanderlust & all the social enterprise the best of luck! :)

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Keep Wandering,
-@dinidreaming-

Flores [1] : Labuan Bajo & Komodo Island – Hidden Treasures from Indonesia

7 June 2014 – Drinking my mint Kusmi Tea from Paris at my room.

I always want to write my journey in Flores but never have time to finally write it. Well, i fact since I work, I rarely write on my blog and this make me so sad. But I promise myself to at least write my travel journey. A friend of mine said that I have to keep writing my blog English because many people around the world can read it, not only in Indonesia.

Bali – Labuan Bajo, Flores

I was lucky at April 2014 got a chance to have a Danone Campus training on “Connected Leaders” which mainly focus on digital, collaboration, and co-create. This make me have an idea to extend my journey to Flores! So I book a ticket from Bali – Labuan Bajo via Sky Aviation. Meeting Sudiani, a good friend of mine from Bali since the Young Leaders of Indonesia program & Canada World Youth (CWY) program, I drop my stuff that I dont want to bring to Flores at Sud’s room. Staying one night in Sud home make me feel the Balinese family. Sud’s family is freaking awesome! The modest & kind-hearted mom and dad, cheerful sister of Sud, very helpful brother, and the cute two cousins staying with Sud. I met Sud at Kuta Mall after having dinner with Ananta, my junior in CWY from Bali. Sud take me with her motorcycle to go around Bali and we ended up having a quality chat at a small cafe in front of the bar which bombed at Legian. That night was 20 March, which is couple hours before my 24th birthday. I got a text message from Sky Aviation that my flight to Labuan Bajo was canceled due  to the internal company problem from Sky Aviation. Shit man. I buy Lion Air immediately since they have only few seat left. I got one and really wish to get my money from Sky Aviation back. Sud really taking care of me, bring me to the airport to arrange the cancelation & we finally coming backat Sud’s home around 3 am.

“Are you dini?” a girl with a veil come to me in the airport at 21 March 2014 around 10.30 AM.

That was my first time meeting Karin, my travel partner for the next 7 days in Flores! Karin was a friend of Nafisah Wulandari, friend of my sister Fela & friend of Tya & Abe (my friend also). In fact, I never met Nafisah. What a funny friendship. Karin knew about my plan to Flores when Nafisah retweet my twitter about my plan to go to Flores & I offer people who wanna join my trip. Karin accept that offer suddenly and here we are at the airport in Bali, waiting for our flight to Labuan Bajo. Karin taking Garuda Explore Jet since her dad is the employee of Garuda while I take Lion Air since thats the cheapest flight after that damn Sky Aviation cancel my flight.

Labuan Bajo, 21 March 2014

One of my wish this year is to celebrate my birthday at other island and Labuan Bajo is such a perfect place to celebrate a birthday. Many text message, whatssapp  message, and some call that day and I am so happy that I am not at the office in front of the laptop working on my project in my birthday. Labuan Bajo has a very small airport, dont be shock with the airport. For me, its like a terminal with the airplane instead of a bus. Your luggage will be drop in front of you in the airport, they dont have a place to take the luggage that can move with the machine. People will just offer you a ride and a help to bring your stuff. They sometime very insist to get it for you. For me, because I already know about this condition from a friend, I firmly said NO to them but still polite.

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After 30 minutes of my flight, Karin’s explore jet arrive and I stand up in front of the door where Karin will go down (which actually the only door in the arrival). There you go, Karin!

I saw a familiar old friend face, with her sun glasses and her style that never change. I scream from my place to her which around 100 meter, “ENGGIIII!!!!” and we hug each other. Yeah, Enggi, a friend of mine since college are at Labuan Bajo now working for Swisscontact, handling tourism in Flores. A very nice job! Enggi is our hero in Flores. She gave me all the information, book the boat for us, and give us some hostel options since her boarding house doesnt fit for both of us. With her friend Rosi she pick us in the airport. I become the passanger of Enggi with her friend’s motorbike & Karin go with Rosi. They bring us to Enggi boarding house to drop our backpack and then they drop us at Philemon near the harbour to have our lunch. Ah yeah, its already 2pm and we deserve our first lunch at the island! A very famous fish soup from Labuan Bajo as Philemon’s speciality! Enggi & Rosi leave us at their office which very close from Enggi boarding house and this Philemon restaurant. Labuan Bajo, especially the downtown is not far each other so its easy to go from one place to another. Along the road of Jl. Soekarno-Hatta, all the food & hotel & travel agent as well as diving operator are gather there!

“Happy Birthday Dini!!!!” Enggi prepare a cupcake with the candle for me! Thats so cute. In the back of her office, we have a little celebration for my birthday. I hug everyone & couldnt be thankful than this. After having a bit of heaven from Enggi’s office air conditioner, we finally leave her office to her boarding house! Flores is very hot! So you better bring a very light clothes when you travel here. We bring our backpack from Enggi boarding house to a hostel that we finally choose named “Karisma”. It cost us IDR 150.000 for 2 people staying in one room with bathroom inside & fan. Its already around 6pm when we got into our room and its time to have our 1st dinner in Labuan Bajo!

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I loooove Jl. Soekarno Hatta, the street is full of cute restaurant or diving operator. I read in Colors magazine in Garuda Indonesia flight that I took from Jakarta to Bali few days ago about Labuan Bajo. They recommend 3 restaurant : Selini, La Cucina, and Tree Top. Its hard to decide which one we wanna go for tonight’s dinner but we finally decide to go for La Cucina. Simply because they have a seat with harbour view. Three of us order pasta but with different taste. I order the aglio olio one as my favorite pasta! La cucina own by an Italy woman. Many restaurant and hotels here own by foreigners, mostly from Europe from Italy, Germany, or Spain. Enggi told us that its so expensive to buy a land in Jl. Soekarno Hatta, thats why no locals can afford to buy one. That’s so sad and dilematic.

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Liveaboard Day 1! (Rinca Island – Kambing Island – Pink Beach – Kalong Island)

We meet Faiz, our captain at the boat with his partner. Those two guy will guide us during our 2 days and 1 night trip with a boat to see from dragon in the hill until manta under the sea! As other regular trip, Faiz bring us to Rinca island to begin our morning. The view in the sea was awesome, I think the best beach view I’ve ever see in my life. I set my samsung galaxy notes in Panorama view camera and capture this best moment. But still, none of my photo as best as its original view. All in blue and green. The view of the beach, with the beautiful sky, and its green trees & plants surrounding.. it just perfect.

Rinca Island is one of the best spot in Komodo Island. Faiz take us to the office of Rinca tourism and we have to register ourself and pay the entrance free. We got our guide named  Asgar and he take care of us during our 2 hours short trek at Rinca island. He is just 18 years old but he is  trained to be a guide and he always bring his wood as the “weapon” when suddenly the Komodo close to us. Yeah, Komodo is dangerous actually, they can fly – walk – run and just eat people! Thats why we have to explore with the guide. At that time, I got my period and for the woman, it is forbidden to enter when in your 1st day of perios because the Komodo can smell it & become more aggressive than usually. Thank God its my 3rd day so Asgar said to me that “just dont go far from my side.”

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Our trek is fun! Asgar is very friendly and funny. He is also explain to us many things that we saw on the trekking area. We saw some of Komodo poop that make us sometime worried if there is komodo near us. Finally we arrived in  the top of the short-trek view, its very breath-taking view to see the island above here & you will never want to go back by the time you reach this top.

Rinca Island – Kambing Island  – Pink Beach – Kalong Island

We arrived in one of the snorkeling spot in Kambing island. I take my snorkeling glasses, wear my life vest and fin, and go into the water! One of my favorite trip activities in snorkeling, i just love to go underwater, meet the fish & plants and capturing all the moment inside. One day, I also want to take a scuba diving course and get the certificate. I just need to practice my swimming so I will be brave enough to dive! :)

After seeing underwater of Kambing island, Faiz sail the boat again to pink beach, one of the famous beach in Komodo island because of its extraordinary sand! They have red sand & coral. Long time ago, the sea water & sand is extremely red because of the coral but lately, due to the increasing number of tourist come to Pink beach, many of corals broken and it makes the beach decreasing its original red color from the coral. Still though, even its not that red, to me, I still can capture the pink sand and beautiful red coral that I only found here. Such a hidden treasure in Komodo Island.

We met 2 Komodo Island original locals that sell diamond (bracelet, neckles) in their kotok or small boat that only fit for 2 people. We buy from 1 of the seller that really nice & helpful. Not like another one that has a bad attitude with us. It only cost less than 100.000 rupiah for the diamond that we buy. We wonder how much profit that he gets by selling that, approaching all the boat that coming in Pink Beach & Kalong island.

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When we left pink beach, suddenly the sky become darker with its very beautiful orange view, the sun set and I ask Karin & Enggi to go up above the boat because the view is more amazing above! Here we are at the rooftop of the boat, 3 of us busy to capturing every single second the changing of the sun position. Me with my samsung notes, Enggi with her sony mirrorless camera, Karin with her newly Nikon DSLR. Faiz & his partner just looking at us confuse what are we doing above. They see this sunset almost everyday but for us, this is a very precious time of our life, we did not know when can we see this again.

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That night, 3 boat park in Kalong beach where usually people stop here for 1 night to sleep. Our boat has a room for us to sleep but that night, after having a very delicious dinner cooked by Faiz & his partner, we did not want to sleep directly. We lay down in the front boat and when we see above, we are speechless. We could not count how much stars that we see above. Its too much. Its another breath-taking view of our journey. Karin was trying so hard to capture the stars with her new Nikon. We play  the music from my laptop & cute little red speaker that I bring (I got this one from Canada & I like it a lot!). That night was one of the best night in our life, the live on board experience is really one of the bucket list that people should have in their life!

Kampung Komodo – Komodo National Park – Manta Island – Kanawa Island

When was the last time you did something for the first time? 2 days after my birthday, I saw the most beautiful sunrise I’ve ever seen in my life after Bromo mountain sunrise. When I open my eyes, it was around 5.30 am and the door from our small cabin room open, I saw the sun into my eyes and the fresh air. Enggi & Karin already wake up earlier and when I go out, I saw they already busy capturing the moment. I dont wanna go back sleep (as I usually do in Jakarta :p), I take my samsung notes & climb the boat into the rooftop again! We have a deep breath – in and out – enjoy the moment for a while & feeling so blessed standing here.

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Not many people visit Kampung Komodo or the village where the locals from Komodo born and live. But Enggi told me earlier that if I want to make a program with Wanderlust, my ecotourism start up, Kampung Komodo will be one of the potential village to be developed for volunteering activity e.g teaching the kids at school, building library, teaching English for locals, etc. Then we decided to visit the Kampung before we go to the Komodo national park.

We met Pak Raisin, who is born & live in Kampung Komodo and be our friend who help us explore the Kampung. He show us the school, the communal bathroom, mosque, kiddos, and one eco-school in Kampung Komodo. It is build by people from Jakarta, a small open space with some wood that use by the kids in Kampung Komodo to learn English. I am really curious to see the school but unfortunately, its too far to go there since its the up of the mountain and we need to catch up as Faiz said. Next time, I will definitely stay here in Kampung and visit the school. Wanderlust also aim to have the voluntourism here.

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When we arrived at the Komodo National Park after having out breakfast, we saw a magnificent cruise ship from Japan called “ASUKA”. Wow, we will meet those Japanese at the national park. We just found out that they have a world tour cruise ship for 6 months started in Australia – Indonesia – Europe – Africa – South America.. mostly they are retired senior people who spend their money with the loved ones to travel around the world. We met one of the Japanese and he proudly said, “I promise my wife before we get married that I am going to bring her traveling around the world. I work so hard when I was young and now, when we get old, I say to my wife that its time to living my promise!” Aww, what a cute couple!

We did the Medium Trek and happen to see Sulphurea Hill to see Komodo above. Another breathtaking view & luckily we met 1 komodo on our way to Sulphurea.We got a chance to also taking picture very close with the dragon that they protect in one area of this island.

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After spending around 3 hours in Komodo national park, we left the island and go to Manta Point! This is the diving & snorkeling spot to see Manta, one of the amazing creature on Earth! Unfortunately, I could not see any Manta after spending 1 hour snorkeling trying to find the Manta. Faiz said that it might be because a lot of tourist coming together at the same time so the Manta hide itself. After Manta, we are having our lunch at the boat again – still serve by Faiz & his partner – by the way the food is surprisingly very delicious! They are really good captain on the boat & chef on the boat at the same time!

Before we come back to Labuan Bajo, we have one last best stop called Kanawa Island. This island is owned by an Italian if I am not mistaken and he create this island into a private island which people can stay overnight in a lodge. I met all foreigners in this island enjoying the books in the hammock / eating their food in the cool longue near the beach, or learn how to dive with the locals dive operator. When I put myself underwater, I saw the most beautiful view in Labuan Bajo underwater! To be honest, this island has the cleanest water ever. They have very beautiful various corals & fishes that make me wanna stay here. Unfortunately, we have to come back to Labuan Bajo to continue the journey. If I have time, I will definitely make at  least 1 night stay here with only IDR 200.000.

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Our 2 days 1 night live on board experience have to be closed that night and we see another sunset as we approaching the harbor of Labuan Bajo. We thank Faiz & his partner for taking us to explore one of the seven wonder of the world!

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To close our perfect day, three of us having dinner that Sunday on Tree top, one of the best restaurant in Jl. Soekarno Hatta & meeting Enggi’s work friends at The Lounge to ask some brief how to go to Wae Rebo, UNESCO World Heritage in isolated mountain of West Manggarai, Flores.

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Me and Karin will continue our journey tomorrow to Wae Rebo while Enggi has to work on the weekdays so too bad she cannot join us. We got all the information in our head from Enggi’s very nice & kindhearted friends like Kak Icha, Boyke, and Anas. We left some stuff that we dont bring at Enggi boarding house & sleep around 12 am in Karisma hostel that night. Tomorrow, the elf will pick us from the hostel to go to Ruteng, one of the big city in West Manggarai, Flores.

Budget on Labuan Bajo for 1 person Friday – Sunday (3 Days 2 Nights + Live On Board) :

Hostel 2 nights 150000
Boat for 3 people 2.800.000 / 3 930000
Dinner at Labuan Bajo 2 night 100000
Lunch at Philemon 30000
Entrance Fee Domestic Tourist 100000
          1.310.000

Continue to read the next journey in Wae Rebo, UNESCO World Heritage!
@dinidreaming | dinidreaming@gmail.com

Backpacking to India: VARANASI

Our adventure start in Varanasi! But actually we take a very looong journey to go to Varanasi. We arrived in India with this route by AirAsia: Singapore – Kuala Lumpur – Calcutta. Our flight cost around IDR 1.800.000 one way. When we arrive in Calcutta, we actually already book train ticket from Calcutta to Varanasi at 7pm but the fact is that we just arrived in the airport around 4.30 pm and then we have to line up to get a taxi for 1 hour and then there was a very bad traffic in Calcutta that make us arrived in Howrah train station around 9pm. Ok. We definitely late for the train!

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Then, we stuck in the train station to get people who can speak English and let us know how can we get the next train?! We just like a crazy people running here and there trying to catch the next train but we understand nothing! Its damn complicated! Even the people who have “ASK ME” sign cannot even show us the way / even solution.

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We try to go out from station trying to find internet to ask our host from Couchsurfing or just try to find a help. We ended up in a travel agent and he told us that all the train was booked (its because train in India is not as much as the people) and he show us that there might be a quota for a tourist that we can buy it in the office, he draw us the map to go there but its open in the morning. So, what are we going to do? We even did not plan to stay in Calcutta.

After that, we trying to explain it to the travel agent that we want to go to Varanasi tonight and we missed out the train. Then its like an AHA moment when suddenly the travel agent guy understand what we saying and say that we can go with the GENERAL train, its a train coach where you will be in there with the locals and everything! Yeah I mean everything from animal until any stuff that you could not imagine. Thats the only way we can go out from Calcutta this night. Me & Felly  decided to leave that night with the GENERAL train with all the risks that we will get!

Thats it? Then we go with the train? NOT THAT EASY!! Its not over yet, the adventure still going on when we try to buy a general train, there is no sign at all, no clue & direction where we should go and buy the ticket. Can you imagine our condition at that time? Sweat, Tired, Hungry, Stingy, Confuse, Angry, Worried, all in one! Welcome to India! Ha!

Finally, at 11.00 pm we figure out how to buy the general ticket and we get into the train. To get into the train is also a complicated one. We dont know where the coach, the number, where we should sit. The officer almost close the door and then I scream “Please let us come in. Ladies here! Please!” I scream between all man who trying to get in the train, trust me, its a lot! And the officer trying to push them away to make them cannot get it the train because its already full inside.

Thank God. The police let me come in, he help me and Felly to get in and Felly secure 2 seat for us. Fyuh! Finally I can sit. Dont imagine its a nice seat, its like the seat for very economic level. And yes, we sit together with everything! And all the man surround us trying to make conversation with us. We try to sleep in turn so there is one people who keep our belongings.

Wow. Its a very adventurous journey to start our traveling to India. But don’t worry, this is the worst among the rest of our trip to India. Maybe we just not lucky in the beginning. The journey itself took around 9 hours and we arrived in the morning in Mughal Sarai station. From Mughal Sarai, we take a train to Varanasi and it takes only 45 minutes. We arrived in Varanasi station around 1pm then we directly walk to Ashis’ home, our Couchsurfing host!

Thanks God Ashis give us a very clear direction that make us arrived in his home safely and when we arrived, we found him in his car almost leave the host. He is a very nice person, I am telling you. He serve us very nice and he also own his own hostel called ITH Hostel (International Traveler Hostel).

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When we arrived, we met 2 Indonesians who stay in his hostel, they are couple from Slipi, Jakarta. What a coincidence! When I ask Ashis, he said that they are the 1st guest from Indonesia who come to the hostel and we are the 1st Couchsurfer from Indonesia who come to his home.

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We met Rajesh, Ashis’ officer who work in the hostel and he cook us a very delicious meal. Ashis also cook pasta for us for our 1st lunch in Varanasi! I thought in the beginning that I will pay for all the food because we order it from the menu in his hostel but you know what? Ashis did not want to charge us for the food because he said we couchsurf here. Oh my god! I met my 1st angel in India named Ashis!

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We met 3 travelers who stay via couhcsurfing in Ashis’ home: Xavier from Spain, Shira from Poland, and Nina from Holland. Shira and Nina travel together while Xavier travel by his own. They start the trip previous months ago and we hear awesome stories from them! One of it is about Xavier journey in Nepal that makes me wanna go there!!! :)

Me & Felly explore Varanasi in the evening by go on to Gangga river, take the boat and listen to  the man who own the boat talking about Gangga & Varanasi. We met a traveler from US named Bryan from Texas. He work in Korea as a teacher and want to go back to US, making this trip before he come back to the US. Nepal is also his destination before India. Really makes me want to go to Nepal!

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Bryan bring us to a restaurant called “Gangga Fuji Restaurant”. The restaurant is very unique, has a lot of drawing from people around the world who stop by in this restaurant and they has passionate owner in the restaurant who will explain everything we wanna know about the food and India.

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After around 2 hour we stay in  this restaurant, eating and listen to the mini concert, Bryan took us to his hostel because he wanna show us Gangga in the night from above the roof top of his hostel. It is actually very nice! We talk a lot also here about religion, life, trip, Indonesia, the US, politics, etc.



We come back after late night and Bryan walk us home. We actually get lost in Varanasi to find Ashis home. We walk round the city and it make us very tired but fun! We arrived in Ashis home midnight and Bryan say goodbye to us as he go back to his hostel by himself. Thats the last time I saw Bryan.

In the night, I talk with Ashis around 1 hour and I ask him about why people in India always honking their car, they pee in the street, cows are in the street, etc. He explain to me everything and I conclude that he is one of the nicest person in India I’ve ever met. He is also very polite, smart, and kind.

In the next morning, I eat the very delicious food called the Indian Breakfast! Its like a martabak in Indonesia but they eat it with yoghurt. Rajesh made it for us! Its very yummy! Me and Felly decided to go to Sarnath, a big temple in Varanasi before we leave in the afternoon by train to Agra! Xavier and the 2 girls want to join us to go to Sarnath and we decide to go together by Auto Rickshaw (just like Bajaj in Indonesia).

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In Sarnath, we found many heritage and history and getting to know each other also with Xavier, Shira, and Nina.

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After that we coming back with Auto Rickshaw again and we separated with them before we enter Ashis home. They continue to have coffee while me & Felly come back to Ashis home. We take shower, having our lunch, and saying goodbye to Ashis :(

I met Ashis mom and she is very nice! She is interested with my veil and when I want to give her, she reject it and say that she need to go to Indonesia by herself and get this veil. HA!

We walk to the train station and find a way to go to Agra. Felly already book the ticket to Agra but we never know if our name is on the list of confirmed people. What is that? In India, if you book a train, you will be waitlisted and then you have to always check your status in the internet and once your status is confirmed, you can get in the train but if not, you cannot get in the train. In this case, we dont know if we confirmed or not but Ashis said, just get in because the last time we check our status is Wait listed 5 – 6. Ashis said, even if our name is not on the list, we can just pay in the train. OK, then we trust him.

Then you know what happen? We just sit somewhere in the AC class and when the officer check our name, WE ARE NOT ON THE LIST!!!!! MAAAAN What will we doo? We cannot just drop off the train! Then the man said that if there is an empty seat, we can move there and pay it.

There is a nice guy who check it for us but in the end he ask for a tip (so often indians are asking for a tips). This guys get 2 seats for us in the lower class than this. We decided to go there because its cheaper. Its a sleeper class but with no AC. Fyuh! Finally we can sleep since its a looong journey to AGRA!

BUDGET IN VARANASI :

ITEMS PRICE in RUPEE, 1 Rupee = IDR 200 in RUPIAH
Taxi Kolkata – Train Station 120 24000
Food & Water in Station 300 60000
Train general 360 72000
Train Mughal S – Varanasi 60 12000
Auto rickshaw to Gangga 30 6000
Rickshaw to Gangga 30 6000
Boat in Gangga 100 20000
Food @Gangga Fuji Restaurant 400 80000
Auto rickshaw to Sarnath 200 40000
Ticket Sarnath 200 40000
Snack @Train 100 20000
Train Vn – Agra 900 180000
TOTAL                     2,800          560,000

 

Will see you on the next post on AGRA,
@dinidreaming

Backpacking & Couchsurfing to India [1]

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Road in Kolkata

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Taj Mahal! :)

There you go! Finally I booked my flight to India and find a partner who want to travel to India as well. After a visit to Google Singapore as the winning prize for Young Caring Professional Awards 2013, me and Felly decided to continue our journey to India!

Why India?

I always want to get lost in India with all the incredible things inside. Getting along with the locals, eating Indian food in the street, get a rickshaw, get in the train, and finding peace with the nature.

Many people warn me before I go to India. Much more people really warn me when I say I use couchsurfing (CS) in India. Andina, one of my friend who got an exchange in India told me to not staying with Indian man moreover if they are single. BUT I did not find any female CS, its only few of them. Thus I request to some male CS in India. I still have a good believe on CS even though I am a bit worried about what ppl say about India.

So whats the result? I got my host in India easily! This make me even worried and they are all look so nice. I tell this to my friend and they said dont stay with them! Its dangerous to stay with strangers! But I still want to try to stay with these CS then I look at their reference in their profile and I saw many positive and good comment about them so I decided to follow my feeling and trust CS!

The preparation for the trip is not that long. We only have 2 months-ish to prepare everything and we start to decide which route we want to go. We decided to go to North India and here are our final itenerary:

9 Oct: Singapore – Kolkata by flight
9 Oct: Kolkata – Varanasi by train
11Oct: Varanasi – Agra by train
12Oct: Agra – Delhi by train
12Oct: Delhi – Dharamsala by bus
14Oct: Dharamsala – Delhi by bus
15Oct: Delhi – Chennai – Singapore by flight
16Oct: Singapore – Jakarta

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So in total we spent 8 days from 9 – 16 October 2013 to India. Quite short time and many traveler that we met shock with our short trip to India. Yes, most of them spend at least a month in India. Well, I need to settle my own business then to be able to do that so I dont have to take a leave in my company.

Then we apply for our visa! It cost around 500.000 to get ur India tourism visa. Now the regulation is we have to come to the Embassy at Rasuna Said, Kuningan by ourself because we need to do finger print and retina check. The visa will be ready in 1 day! So fast!

Then, Felly booked our train and we just now that its very complicated to book a train in India!! We need to have Indian phone number to het verification code, we need to be waitlisted passanger if we book very close to the date. In India, they have this system and when I ask Ali, my host in Agra about this, he said: “How many people in India? How many seats they have on train??” Then I understand that they want to give chances to everyone to get the train. While for us a tourist, this system is very complicated that we need to always check our status from waitinglist become confirmed, etc. So, I really really suggest u to book ur train in India at least 1month before otherwise you will ended up get a general seat like us!!! 😃 Its the seat where you stay with everythings! Local people, many many staff, etc that its so hard to walk inside. I will tell u in my story get a train from Kolkata to Varanasi using general seat. Very adventurous! :)

I will explain the cities one by one in my upcoming post for sure but in this post I am gonna show you my host in India! They are super nice and I am glad that I stay with CS in India. All my worriness and bad feeling are gone when I met them. So guys, its ok to use CS in India as long as you really check the reference and if possible call them before your arrival. I did this and even whatssapp one of my host. We call 2 of them because we need to borrow their Indian number to be submitted when we book the local train in India. I made conversation with then when I was still in Jakarta so at least I know they are real. Lol.

Let me introduce my angels in India:

1) Ashis – Varanasi

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Me – Ashis’ mom – Ashis – Felly

He is such a shy man with a very thoughtful mind and kind heart. He is one of the few among Indian who thinks that honking in the street in Varanasi especially is bad, littering at street are bad, and even peeing in a street is not acceptable. We have a very interesting conversation in one night about India, religion, and life. He did not charge us for every food that we order from his hostel and thia surprise me a lot!!! I am so blessed to know such a braveheart man like him.

2) Ali – Agra

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Ali with his big family who all doing business. Ali is the one with purple shirt.

Ali is such an energetic, funnny, and helpful man! He own his travel agent and he call himself a Robinhood in Agra! Lol. But he is actually our hero in Agra even though we did not stay overnight in Agra. He made us breakfast and lunch, he send his driver to pick us in the station, he send his friend who is a tour guide to give us free guide along Taj Mahal and Agra Ford, he booked us bus from Delhi to Dharamsala, and he make sure we got our seat in the train from Agra to Delhi! He is a Robinhood :)

3) Ram – Dharamsala

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Uma (Ram’ s wife), Felly, Saiyam, Saher, and Ram.

Very unique character! Ram married a Buthanese lady and have a very lovely twins called Saiyam and Saher. We stay 2 nights in his lovely home inside the Jikkar Lanjhani village in Dharamsala. Its between the forest and with the view of Himalaya mountain up there.

Ram show us different places to see in Dharamsala. We had an interesting conversation on one night.

Those are my incredible 3 hosts in India! Without them, my experience in India will be different. With them, I get to know India better and staying with locals is always the best experience :)

My impression on India:

– I love the strong culture and habit
– I love how people make friends in the train in India!
– I love the foooooood!
– I love how some ppl are very energetic
– I love how most of them can speak english!
– I will not forget how hard it is to book a train ticket and get into the train!!!
– People are everywhere! In train, station, street, market, etc
– Some people really live everywhere
– Still a big gap between rich and poor
– You need to ask 5 people to clarify the right answer of your question :D
– Birds are everywhere in sky.. lovely!
– The CHAI tea is damn gooood!!!
And most of all.. India is Incredible! :))

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Continue to the next post! :)

Best Regards,
@dinidreaming