Starting the trip to find my self and get over my broken heart opened my eyes to a lot of things. I never did my homework researching about countries I was going to visit and my first hitchhiking experience was pretty challenging. After selling my snack bar shares, I sorted all my bills and small debts. I started the trip with exactly $260 – after buying a flight ticket from Bali to Singapore.
Knowing I only had so little money, I tried my first hitchhike in Malaysia and succeed only once. Then Kris – my Couchsurfing host – came along and taught me how to hitchhike. So I did almost all of my way in Thailand hitchhiking. However, I learned that with my typical Asian face, not many people interested to give me a ride. I noticed the difference when I hitchhike with Kris was easier as he is white. Giving a ride in Asia for Western people gives more attraction to people. After splitting with Kris to continue the journey, most people who gave me a ride were men who have more sense of protections (police, army, etc), family, and people from a working-class family.
A lot of travelers from Western countries I met along the way told me that everything in Asia is cheap. The sound of it was itching my ears lol. As a person from a develop-country like Indonesia, that statement sounds so naive because we have currency values differences. Then again, as a poor traveler, I constantly calculated prices into IDR and compared the prices with Indonesia as a benchmark. Some of them are cheaper or the same, some section are more expensive.
Money ran out like water. Good friends and strangers took care of me along the way, still, shits happened due to the bad rate, charges, unexpected expensive transport, and food – all of those mostly ruined my budgeting system. I’ve never really run out of money, except in Laos, when I say I can’t afford this much – that just means the money I have left is already in the budget for something else – like transport for my next city, a hostel, flight ticket to my home country. That’s why I’m being cheap not to go to famous landmarks that require an expensive entrance ticket.
Although I managed to fulfill my basic needs, the language barrier prevented me to get explanations to satisfy my curiosity about the cultures, habits, etc. There are still many ‘whys’ circling my head. Maybe next time 🙂 in another chance, I will be more prepared.
Coming back to Bali has never been easy. Aside from being jobless and homeless, a sudden loss of a best friend over simple thing was never in my book plan – it’s just making my return even harder. Was pride take us over? Maybe. Friends constantly taking care of me with a place to stay, food, or even cigarettes. I have no money right now, but I am so grateful – I can drink beers, I can eat good food, I have a roof over my head to spend my days. However, I don’t just lay my hands on the table.
I have been trying to find a job and was in a few interviews, no luck yet. Yet, I have my deadline. I can’t trouble my friends all the time with my presence. In time, I have to leave again to ‘I don’t know where yet’ – coming back to Jakarta with an embarrassment of failures was never an option. Some people would have said, it was my choice to leave and in this position. Well, I don’t know – I guess I could never know my own level of sanity to keep up with all the waves kept hitting me. Maybe that time, I needed to do it to gain my logic back – see, feel, realization that I am nobody, nothing in this universe.
Good memories would still be alive in my heart. One day, my friends, one day… I will return all of your kindness. Not because I have to. It’s simply because I love you all…