For Fun: All Islands Lead Me Home

April 19, 2020

I have a wanderlust; I travel more than my peers do, and I love islands. The bucket list is not about the Euro trips, visiting the Americas or deep diving into East Asian cultures. It is as modest as exploring every single side of Indonesia, the homeland. Although easier said than done, yet I believe my holiday dream is monetarily affordable, easily a flight away from Jakarta and still in the same language. However, I still consider it expensive. The highest-cost here is for all the time I do not have, the commodity that is forever irreplaceable and non-purchasable. I have made a rough timing calculation by provinces. As an office-employed average Jane who aims for 34 provinces of Indonesia, I realize that if I spent three days in each province, it will total up to 102 days of continuous travels. However, since I will probably need seven days in each province, I will then need approximately eight months (!!!) for this dream. On the other hand, traveling is a luxury, which means I will need to monetarily support it. I will still need to work (still am not lucky enough to be a digital nomad). If I plan to visit one province each quarter of the year, I will only get to finish exploring in approximately nine years. I will finish my travel when I am nearing 40 years old, and yes, I am still on to that!

Indonesia is a home for 17,508 habitable and inhabitable islands, with panoramic natural beauties and captivating wildlife stretching vastly across the equator. To match this, I happen to be a city-born, island girl. I easily tear up in the third experience of swimming with turtles, the lingering saltiness of sea water in my mouth and the powerful, yet friendly sun. I have always (a non-expiry syntax, yes!) felt that the island life is home, though I still sometimes need a striking red life vest during a snorkel. Previously, I took islands around me for granted, having an easy access to beaches and islands has turned me numb to the novelty of it. I had never completely understood on how my peers were so excited about any beach holidays or even as intense as diving trips. They mostly went to Indonesian islands, and some of them had even been to more islands than I had. Again, I thought it must have been the tranquility and peace away from the bustling city’s pollution, as, at that time, my island holidays comprised of staying by the beach and away from the water. Yes, I was that person who preferred a costly trip to Europe than a humble island trip. I am glad my perspective turns 360 degrees now. Despite my islandic dream, amusingly enough, it is Malaysia who educates me of the beauty of Southeast Asian islands and turns me an island girl, who floats aimlessly on the water to watch corals during a snorkel. It is during my short trip to Perhentian Kecil Island of Terengganu, when I realize that for me, islands are more than a place to unwind, it is home. It has been on a foreign island, when I understand that my dream holiday can only be accommodated by the largest archipelagic nation in the whole world. My homeland is my aspiration.

As I am writing this, I am looking forward to my first Indonesian island trip coming in the next two weeks. I am going for my best friend’s birthday trip to Belitung. I am super excited, 17,507 islands to go!