Browse Category: My Life

3 Cities I Would Go Back To (with photos!)

In my five months of travels, I went to 28 towns and cities (including islands, Pulau Sibu and Gili Trawangan)*.  But here are the three cities worth revisiting and they aren’t what you’d expect.

 

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3. Jakarta, Indonesia

With a population of over 10 million people and 30 million in the Greater Jakarta region, Jakarta is not to be messed with.  While Jakarta has a lot of poverty, it’s dirty and the traffic is terrible, it has a lot of things to see (unlike Manila), there are new buildings between shanty towns and heritage buildings.  It has a thriving art scene where I saw a very bizarre Japanese play (thanks Melan) and transportation is very cheap with Gojek, Grab and Uber motorbike available in spades.  It’s so cheap that I often just used the food delivery instead of going out and battling with the traffic myself.

 

This could have easily been Bangkok, Singapore or Kuala Lumpur.  However, I have spent a lot more time in each of those cities and so Jakarta takes position number three.

 

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What I Learnt While Travelling

So I’m back in Australia after receiving a summer job (If you’re in Melbourne and want to hang out, let me know).  As my trip takes a break to raise some money before I inevitably go out again, I wanted to look at the things I learnt while travelling and if I actually achieved what I set out to do.

 

Before leaving I set myself four goals.  I wanted to meet people, collaborate and create, resolve issues about my late father and change jobs.  I achieved all these goals to various degrees.

 

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What It Means to be Greek

The other day my friend in Bangkok asked, “What are you?  Australian? Greek?”

 

To which I replied, “I am both Australian and Greek.  I am a citizen of both countries, but I don’t really associate with the Greek-Australians from Melbourne nor the Greeks in Greece”

 

“So you’re a third culture kid?

 

“No, that’s not quite right.”

 

It’s a little more complicated than that.  To understand why you need dive into my family history.

 

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Dad’s Life with Mental Illness

I’ve been struggling all day to write this post.  In fact I’ve been struggling all year to express myself.  You see a year ago to the day my baba died from terminal brain cancer and although I mention that part of the reason for this trip is to deal with the death, I haven’t really done any reflection or acknowledgment.  I am aware that these emotions may come out in undesirable ways in the future and if I don’t deal with them I may be setting myself up for a bigger fall.

 

A brief overview

 

My Baba was born in 1951 in Thessaloniki, Greece.  He moved to Athens when he was six after his parents got divorced.  He started working as a painter when he was 14.  My dad came over to Australia from Greece in 1977 when he was 24 because he married my mum (a Greek-Australian).  My dad in the 80’s and 90’s had his own painting and decorating business that had its good times and bad times.  I was born in 1988 and along with my two older brothers, we had a happy upbringing.

 

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Halfway Gone and Halfway To Go

Today marks the halfway mark of my 6-7 (originally 6-12) month journey.  So let’s go through some of the highlights and statistics of my trip.

 

First, let’s start with the most important one, how much money have I spent?  It’s kind of a complicated answer but in short, I’ve spent approximately $950 (AUD) a month excluding initial flight ($200) and travel insurance ($400 for 7 months).  The way I’ve calculated this number is quite inaccurate as I haven’t been diligent enough to keep a spreadsheet.  I started by calculating $12000 minus the remaining balance in my Asia 10k Target account and then I added the $800 I have in cash and added $1000 from my ING Everyday Account (good for transactions inside and outside Australia).  I took that number and divided it by 3.5 months.

 

That number doesn’t include the $5000 in baht that I have in my wallet and the amount also doesn’t include any other money in other accounts that I may have used for various reasons but on the whole, I’d say it’s a pretty fair representation of what I have spent (this includes my credit card).

 

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Inspiring You To Do Your Thing

It’s been a wild ride the past 4 days in Bangkok, hell the past 3 months traveling.  Today’s post isn’t going to be about the past 3 months and what milestones I’ve achieved (hello 100 posts!).  Today’s post is going to be about Lia, my first official fan.

 

Lia was searching for some sports apparel online when she typed in Nike’s slogan, “Just Do It”.  It just so happens that I have the same blog post title and apparently I have been ranking on google for that search term.  So she found my blog and realised that I was in Indonesia.  She also saw that I’m a Couchsurfer.  So she jumped on Couchsurfing Hangouts and saw that I was in Bandung (her home city).  She then went a step further and sent me a message asking to meet up and we met the next day over some food.

 

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Going On an Adventure

I have equated this journey to Odysseus and his 20-year quest around the Mediterranean.  But I haven’t really felt like I was on an adventure.  Not until now.  This story is about the time I took a detour to chase a girl.

 

I found myself in Cilicap, a small industrial coastal town in central Java, alone, watching episodes of Rick and Morty.

 

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What to do when Couchsurfing in Jogja (Lots of awesome Pics!)

So I took a plane to Yogyakarta (otherwise known as Jogjakarta, Yogya, Ngayogyakarta or more simply, Jogja) scrapping my plans to go from East Java to West Java via train.  I did it because there was a biennial Couchsurfing event and I thought it would be a good place

 

The event was over three days but I got there a day before and I messaged the group and they immediately sorted me out with some free accommodation along with some other Couchsurfers.

 

The event itself was exactly what I thought it would be.  Good, old-fashioned, clean fun.  The first night we were treated to some shows by other Couchsurfers.  We saw various different performances of Silat, the Indonesian martial art, and, my word, the performances were fantastic with backflips in tow.  After we were treated to an animation depicting the poor Indonesians in North Java during the 1990’s economic crisis.  In that part of Indonesia, Dangdut music is very popular.  That night we all slept in bunk beds at the Youth Center and your bathroom was your standard bucket and water situation.

 

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Dancing with Hippies – Ecstatic Contact Dance

 

Jason! You’ve got the hair, you’ve got the look, when are you going to do some hippy shit, or play in a band?  Well, today is your lucky day.  This post is about how I joined the hippy community and did some weird hippy shit.

 

It all started when I did a free life coaching session (I was the client).   I got the word from the life coach that there was an Ecstatic Contact dance class at Paradiso, the local community space, and she was going.  With very little information I decided to give it a go.

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The Negative Effects of Screen Time and Tinder

So I reinstalled Tinder after a year after a Couchsurfer told me that it’s worth while doing in Bali.  For those that know me, you know that I hate Tinder.  It’s mainly because it doesn’t work for me.  I hardly get any matches and the ones I do get are just time wasters.

 

However, I reinstalled in Bali to great success.  But with success comes a dark side…

 

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