I still remember that face people make when I said that I’m travelling alone. Eyes usually squinted, eyebrows a bit raised. Not to mention that puzzling look in their eyeballs. And here in Jogjakarta, that seems to happen more often. With my posture, I suppose that makes the oddity even more apparent.
I used to be ashamed of it. Does it make people think that I don’t have any friends? Does it make me look weird? Will they pitty me because of this? But now I get used to start to unveil their confussions with a smile. And no, it’s not an arbitrary smile because I really mean it. I get why people have a hard time to understand my intention. Because honestly speaking, sometimes I don’t have any apparent reason to solo-travel as well.
Last year I went to Bali just because I want to experience Bali’s day of silence. And now, I’ve been told by a lot of people that Jogja is great and I have to go and see how’s it like to live there. I decided to give it a try for a week and it was great!
There are 2 kind of responses that I usually get after I told them I could actually work from wherever I want. First is those people who think that my life must be all rainbow, and it usually makes them feel that their life is suck (I can see that in their eyes). And the second is those people who’s wondering why didn’t I stay in a dedicated place instead of wandering around like this.
For the first group, I actually wanted to hug them and tell them that their life is fine and my life is not all rainbow. I wanted to tell them that travel is exhausting and sometimes it can be extremely lonely. And the second group is not completely wrong because now I’m seriously thinking about to stay permanently somewhere.
I remember another conversation with a Grab driver the other day. He told me about how tourism in Jogja was improved a lot after social media boom. Now everyone wants to travel and take that cool photos for their instagram feed. Listening to his story, although I feel grateful for him, I somehow feel guilty as well.
Would you be travelling if you can’t post photos on your instagram? Would you even care to take picture if you know that no one will be allowed to actually see it.
That’s exactly one of the reason why I decided to take a break from social media for awhile. I deleted the apps from my phone (Twitter left with only work-related accounts). Although I still access them occasionally from the web. But I definitely feel better to know that I retract myself from social media battle of “whose life is better?”.
I remember looking out on the train’s window on my way to Jogja with peaceful feeling. I love this kind of pace in which I can just observe and enjoy my surrounding slowly. Compare to that day when I was in a fast ICE train in Germany. The train was moving so fast that I could barely enjoy the gorgeous windmill scenery from my window. Somehow I picture that social media is the ICE train. We can get updates from people miles away faster than ever. But often times, we only skim our timelines, tap, and move on to the others. But I suppose, we can do better than this. Experience the real connection. And hey, travel can actually make it possible! (: