Browse Category: Travel

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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Stories of Old

My dad used to be a great storyteller, especially the stories of when he was in his youth.  It didn’t matter if they were exaggerated and they almost always were.  Here are a few of those stories

 

Learning about Women

 

Growing up in Aigaleo, Athens my dad was a street kid.  He’d often be playing in all sorts of places.  He told me that he used to play in the ruins of the Acropolis.  He was well known throughout his community and would make friends with everyone.  He would often visit the local brothel and make friends with the women who would look after him from time to time.  One time whilst talking to the courtesan a John paid a visit to the brothel.  As there was no one else around to look after little Andreas he got put in the wardrobe.  There he found a primary source to aid him in his sexual education through the cracks of the shutters.

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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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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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White Girls with Local Boyfriends and Jason’s Theory of Cool Places

There’s something in the water at Kuta Lombok.  This small surfing village, famous for its glassy waves in the wet season, has another thing it may be famous for, European girls and bad boy locals.  I stayed for three nights and partied for three nights.  I couldn’t get over the disproportionate number of girls, especially from The Netherlands and northern Europe.

 

I couldn’t quite understand it.  Where were the Australians?  Where were the guys?  Could this be part of Jason’s Theory of Cool Places?

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Living in Poverty and Coping with Realities (With Pictures!)

A week ago I spent a couple of nights in a village and it was the most eye opening experience I’ve ever had.  I had gotten the contact through Couchsurfing and on his profile, his English was pretty good and he had 6 references so I was pretty trusting that I’d have a good experience.  However, good probably isn’t that adjective I would use.

 

As I approach the house, if you can call it that (the place didn’t have any doors), there was a commotion between the local villagers.  Kids just started appearing out of nowhere.  There were free range chickens everywhere pecking rubbish for food, talk about organic.  Everyone was looking at me, from the children to the old ladies.

 

My contact, Ruslan, doesn’t have a good a grasp of English as I’m lead to believe.  As we talk I discover that he is a father of two small boys but he seems to be somewhat of a father figure to other boys in the village.  He is poorly educated and works in construction.  That is when he has work.  He says his favourite hobby is to work.  And as I enquire further he tells me he only works about once a month for $15 a day.

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