Its kind of funny how I find the same pattern in every online motorbike/car app driver questions to the passenger. They are mostly very curious about who you are, what you are doing for a living, where are you from, and even how much is your salary or house rent fee.

Since coming back from the US, being a nomad and sometime have to carry my backpack around when I move to the next stop, the same questions I receive from those driver is: “Are you going to hike a mountain?”, “Which mountain that you just hike?”, “Do you like mountaineering?”, or something like that. I notice that carrying your backpack around here in Indonesia is still the same like going for a hike or mountaineering, it is something unusual for the mainstream society.

It’s somehow fun to answer them with a different story, it almost like you can make up a lot of stories about your life and who cares? Because the chance for you to meet the same driver is almost to zero.

I feel like being a nomad in my experience make you meet a lot of different road, people, food, situation, language, excitement, challenges, and other. The skill that I learn recently is how to travel light, bring only 1 shoes that can do for all occasion, bring few clothes that you can combine and wear in any situation / place, find the closest laundry place nearby, not to shop unless its something that will be gone that you don’t have to carry it around,  and to be very careful in spending your money.

It’s somehow challenging to answer naturally when people ask about where do you live? If you want to make up stories, you actually can but you have to also be natural about it. I remember a couple who did a nomad life for years after selling all their stuff at home and decided to live on the road with their 2 backpack. I think its a very big decision when you decided to live without having a settle place. Now, I am a bit understand how that feel, just a bit, a tiny peace of bit compare to them!

Maybe one day if I have a family, I would like to do a nomad journey or just a road trip journey, at least 1 month, to meet strangers, trying out different food and places, learn to survive on the road, to teach the kids from the road because traveling to me is one of the best school on Earth. Being a nomad too, is also being a traveler, because to travel is to move.

Let see where this nomad journey will lead to..

Living Life to the Fullest

At the top of Blue Hills Reservation, a day trip with Boston University Outing Club

I wrote couple of postcards for friends in Indonesia yesterday and I realize the repetitive words that I mention in the postcard when I describe “how am I doing here” is: I am living my life to the fullest. 

What does that even mean? Where do I got the words from? Long time ago I remember someone telling me about this – to live your life to the fullest. I was never really understand how to feel like living the life to the fullest until lately, after 3 months in Boston. I feel that I am living my life to the fullest.

When I google “living life to the fullest”, this article pop up in the first line: and when I open it, I found a really nice quote from Dalai Lama :

Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money.
Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health.
And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present;
the result being that he does not live in the present or the future;
he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived.

– The 14th Dalai Lama

How many years, we feel like we are not enjoy “the present”? This saying is such a reminder that it is extremely important to living life in the present.

My life is changing so fast in 3 months here – with no job to worried, boss, project to be done, problem to solve in the company, traffic to beat every single day, and other. It change into: deadline to reach, papers to be submitted, final exam to beat, classes to attend, team to work with, and other grad school life. Maybe it seems that both of the condition (working & being a grad student) look the same busy, the same crappy, the same problem, the same stressful. But I feel that if I can choose, I am gonna choose to be student rather than worker.

Did I trying to say that I love being in school? Hmm, maybe we have to prove that assumption further since this is just 3 months observation. Not exactly in the school, but maybe I just love all this learning experience about the stuff that I like. From 4 classes that I take this semester, I love 3 of them. I just discover that if I love something, I will truly devoted to it and passionate about it – turns out I can finish papers, assignments, exam with a happy feeling and good score. But if it come with things that I don’t like, it will turn me really down that I don’t even have guts to study or doing the assignment.

Marsh Plaza, the center of Boston University. Capture by me with Fujifilm XT10

Another thing that maybe change my life here is that the habit that totally I change from being in Jakarta and Boston. In Jakarta, you will hardly bike – walk – run – hike so close to town – and do other outdoor activity. I remember if I am not having a trip with Wanderlust, I will just sleep the whole weekend in my apartment just because the weekdays drag me so tired spending hours and hours to work (even though I love my job but still, its a job).

Beautiful day at Charles River. Capture by @anggadm with Fujifilm X100s

Compare to my life in 3 months here, I can run so often with average 4 miles every run without even worrying where will I run, what clothes I need to wear, with who I should run. You just run if you wanna run. That simple. I remember my teammates who is a runner in previous company ask me in our lovely whatssapp group (which have everyone that used to be in one dream team at the company 🙂 ) : “So Dini, is people wearing sophisticated gear when they run in Boston?” and I said, “No, people here run that simple, not to impress other, not to look cool, not as a burden / responsibility, they run so happy as it is part of their life. Like they eat, go to shower, sleep, and run is part of it. “

In Jakarta, I never bike. Here, I love biking everywhere and now I totally missing biking due to the cold weather that I cannot resist. I cannot wait for another warmer season to bike again without any thick coats, gloves, etc.

Those are just a few example on how I feel that my life here is happier and I also feel that I am living a simpler way of life. In Jakarta, how often you will spent time eat at the nice restaurant with friends after office or in the weekend? So often. Here in Boston, I cook more often than in Jakarta and spending time with friend is not only at the nice restaurant, mall, or any fancy things to do. You can just sit in the park and have your lunch there.

Surprisingly, by doing what I like more often, it create happier feeling inside our mind and soul – and I feel more grateful with what God give me in every single seconds. Even seeing the sun shine so bright in one afternoon at Chesnut Hill Reservoir where I run nearby home can make me very happy. Sitting there after running and just watching the ducks swimming, birds flying, and a couple laughing while they run – make me very happy about life. Sometime I just talk to myself, “Wow, life is good.” and I feel so thankful with what I got here during 3 months.

So many people complaining about life, even being a grad student as we have so many assignments, readings, papers, and other that we just want to get rid all of it. But the more I think beyond about what life treat us, and compare to what other people cannot get in their life – do we really have to complain with those things?

Boston University, in one of the rainy day but still remain beautiful. Capture by me with Fujifilm XT10

Another thing that I feel the change in my life is that I feel less-ambitous than before. In Jakarta, everything is so intense that sometime make us forget to thank a little thing happen to our life. Being ambitious with our life, having all those sophisticated goals are good – but lately, I feel that I think its important to be happy rather than to be ambitious.

As the year approaching to the end, normally I will start planning what I am gonna do for next year. But in the moment, I feel that I don’t want to plan anything for 2016. Even I don’t wanna plan anything after graduation. Isn’t that funny how we are so ambitious when we apply for Master Degree & Scholarship but when you finally got it, sometime you just feel like you don’t wanna think anything after graduation & just enjoy the now moment – as much as you can? 

What about we have only 1 plan: “living life to the fullest” and let see how life bring us next year. I hope everyone have a remarkable ride and enjoy it as much as we can 🙂

Inside Middlesex Fells Reservation, another day trip with BU Outing Club. Capture by @anggadm with Fujifilm X100s

Boston Socrates Cafe #3 | 1369 Coffeehouse | ”Define Your Own Freedom (and Happiness)”

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Finally, after the crazy midterm session, we starting our “Socrates Cafe” again! We decided to start the session by having late lunch Ramen that we already carving for so long around Harvard Square in Cambridge; the famous Santouka Ramen!

Everytime I look at this photo, I wanna go back to this place.. so tempting!
Everytime I look at this photo, I wanna go back to this place.. so tempting!

Then I remember they have a cute little coffeehouse in Cambridge that on my list to visit : 1369 Coffeehouse! So we decided to catch the 69 Bus from Harvard and get down in this cute coffeehouse after 7 stops. Here are some of the photos as you can easily imagine how one of the best coffee shop in Boston look like :

Screen Shot 2015-11-06 at 8.23.30 PMThe coffeehouse in the night. Image source :

The backside of the coffeehouse. 
We sit just across this place!
1369 from outside. I take the photo with Andrea’s Sony mirrorless camera.
Its not come with the cup, surprisingly. Even though we order hot coffee au lait & hot chocolate almond joy. Photo taken by Andrea.

Screen Shot 2015-11-06 at 8.23.01 PM The mural behind the coffeehouse. Image source :

We pick the 3rd Socrates Cafe topic under the theme of “Freedom” as Andrea get inspired after her visit to the prison as you can read on her blog here.  We started to explore what kind of freedom we have right now and we both agree that we have a lot of freedom to use in our life, but most of the time, we don’t use it (or we prefer to not using it).

Freedom to speak, freedom to choose your friend (or not to choose), freedom to be alone, freedom to decide whatever you want, freedom to choose your religion (or not having one), freedom to travel, freedom to live wherever you want, and other kind of freedom.

The question is : do you use your freedom ultimately? and is your freedom lead you to your happiness?

Most people maybe will assume that freedom means do whatever you want without any boundaries. But what about if people choose to have boundaries and that whats make them happy? What is people prefer of being not free?

Recently, I read Haruki Murakami book and then it bring me curiosity on what this genius writer think about freedom and this is one of the conversation that I found through his book, “Kafka on The Shore” :

“That backpack’s like your symbol of freedom,” he comments.
“Guess so,” I say.
“Having an object that symbolizes freedom might make a person happier than actually getting the freedom it represents.”
“Sometimes,” I say.
“Sometimes,” he repeats. “You know, if they had a contest for the world’s shortest replies, you’d win hands down.”
“Perhaps,” Oshima says, as if fed up. “Perhaps most people in the world aren’t trying to be free, Kafka. They just think they are. It’s all an illusion. If they really were set free, most people would be in a real bind. You’d better remember that. People actually prefer not being free.”
― Haruki Murakami, Kafka on the Shore

In our conversation, we explore that people should define their own freedom, aren’t they? Definition of freedom for me might differ with what you think of your freedom. I am a moslem myself and maybe some people think that I have a boundaries with my religion, some people might think that being free means doesn’t have any religion. But I feel insecure if I don’t pray for example – which lead me to not having my own freedom of security that can create happiness eventually. So, is having religion set a boundary for people not having their ultimate freedom? Not always the case. Here, we come to the conclusion that we should define our own freedom that will lead to happiness. You cannot just follow other people definition of freedom because it might not make you happy.

Source :,-liking-what-you-do-is-happiness
Image Source :,-liking-what-you-do-is-happiness

If we put this perspective on other people’s shoes, then we have to respect on people’s definition of freedom. I remember that one of my professor said in class, the most important thing in life is sometime not to love but to respect. You don’t have to love everyone but you have to respect everyone with all the differences that they have with you. 

To define your own freedom is maybe easier than to respect on other choice of freedom. For instance, you have a group of friends. One of your friend might choose to not always hanging out together with you because he or she just choose to not doing that for some reasons. It doesn’t mean that she or he hating the group, it just that they choose to have her or his freedom to do something else.

Another example, in Indonesia, most of the time we always think that people who go alone, watch movie alone, eating alone, in the cafe alone, is kind of pathetic. Our mind is so dangerous that it can judge people easily. Our conversation conclude that we should respect people freedom of choice to live their life as they want. Maybe they just want to be alone at that time – you never know if this person always have a friend or partner to go with every weekend. If we want people respect our choice of freedom, we should start learn how to respect other 🙂

To close this 3rd Socrates Cafe, I would like to encourage everyone who read this to celebrate your own freedom by defining what’s yours and achieve your own definition of happiness by doing so. Freedom is such a beautiful gift from our God and if we are not using it, you will maybe not living your life to the fullest or the worst thing, as Murakami mention below, you will start hating somebody in your life. I hope we are not that kind of person 🙂

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