28 years ago, a cute, handsome, and charming boy was vacuumed out from his mother’s womb instead of crawling out by himself. It was the reason why that boy’s head looks like a crushed pentagon than a perfect oval. Then years passed, that boy experienced and did many cool things (no, am not talking about how he failed in many love stories or how he amazingly pressed elevator button with his elbow) that related to traveling.

And these are 28 cool things I –or you can say that cute, handsome, and charming boy according to his Mom– have done before turned 28. 28 cool things that related to traveling.

1. Make Passport

If people said that book is a window of the world, I said that passport is the key to the world. With passport, I can go anywhere in the world, except the country that requires a visa too (Should I thank God because I am Indonesian?). There is one good quote from St. Augustine “The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.“. And am sure, that I’m the one who wants to finish the book, with my passport.

So the question is, is book a window of the world, or the world itself is a book? Never mind.

2. Ride Yellow Taxi in Calcutta

As a 90’s kid, I grew up with many cool songs. And one of the uncool songs is Calcutta by Dr. Bombay. The verse of that song really irritated my brain with its lyric “Calcutta, taxi taxi taxi iiin, Calcuttaaaa ~” and it kept playing in my head for years.

Then I visited Calcutta, and saw how taxi works there. The yellow taxi –same like the one I see in Dr. Bombay video clip– that was driven by an old man (whose age is maybe twice older than his car) transferred me from the airport to the station; by passed the dusty street without closing the window, used shortcut via one way narrow alley and honked the horn loudly, before took the tram way. Crazy. In an empty street, the taxi stopped, and the driver came out. Peed.


Calcutta, taxi taxi taxi iiin, Calcuttaaaa ~

3. Swim with Jellyfish in Kakaban

As far as I know, there are two places in Indonesia that have non stingy jellyfish in their lake, one in Kakaban and one in Togean. There, you can swim with hundreds –or thousands, I forgot to count– non stingy jellyfishes. I experienced once in Kakaban, as a part of my Derawan trip. Jellyfishes there are so friendly, they won’t bite you, they won’t hurt you. It’s because they’re jellyfish.

PS: You can read my full Derawan article, here.

4. Recall My Childhood Memory in Disneyland

Disneyland is every child’s dream destination. Just like me, who used to read Disney’s comic when I was still cute, handsome, and charming boy. I grew up with their characters, like Donald, Daisy, Mickey, Goofy, and Ariel –the mermaid, not the Indonesian’s walking pheromone– so I was so exciting when I entered Disneyland’s gate.

Unfortunately, Disneyland Hong Kong only had few rides for adult while me at that time was a mature, sophisticated, and good looking man according to my grandma. My best experience there was when I took my photo between Donald and Daisy duck, who weren’t wearing pants.

5. Travel with My Mom

One of my best achievements in traveling was when I took my Mom on a trip together with me, started from 2011, in a trip that I named “Mamacation“. Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Brunei and Hong Kong, are some places that we have visited together. Frankly, traveling with parents is fun, yet hassle, because I have to match my Mom needs. But lucky me, I have great Mom.

She can sleep in guesthouse, bear with traffic jam, be a photo model, walk miles without complain, carry a backpack, and take care of me.

6. Plunge Inside A Shark Pool in Karimunjawa

The water was green, cold, and costed Rp. 5.000 to enter it. I plunged myself slowly into the pool, while some fishes swam around my feet. People around the pool instructed me to move to the corner, where the sharks lived. I forced my body to move slowly, because I don’t want to be slipped and fell into the mossy pool and became sharks’ food.


Sharks and smile!

“Raise your hands!” They shouted to me, and I obeyed it. I raised my hands, touched my head, and felt that something moved around my belly. It was the sharks! At that time, I prayed to God and hoped they didn’t eat my dick.

7. Watch Manchester United Match in Hong Kong

I love football, I love traveling, and I love free things. Those were why am very happy when I won a quiz that brought me to Hong Kong, to watch football match. But one thing bothered me, it was the club am going to watch. Manchester United (MU). I am an English Premier League (EPL) fan, but I hate MU, I don’t mind any club win the EPL title, as long as it’s not MU, and Sunderland.

So how about that match? Of course I watched it, wearing Newcastle United –my favorite club– jersey. Not MU jersey? No, but I brought MU jersey, and asked my mom to wear it.

8. Stare at Ladyboys’ Cabaret in Phuket

It was my first time, seeing transvestite show which I enjoyed it so much. Unlike the traffic light nor door to door ladyboys’ show in Indonesia, Simon Cabaret in Phuket really has class. Huge and luxurious stage, dazzling and glowing costume, loud and clear audio sound, also artistic and well planned choreography made the show was amazing.

For around one hour show, I enjoyed it, and didn’t feel any harm. I even almost forgot that I was watching ladyboys’ show, because they’re so pretty.


A pretty lady…boy.

9. Visit Animal Market in Tomohon

They said that there was an animal market in Tomohon that sells many kinds of animal, to be eaten. But too bad that it was Sunday, when many stores closed. So I decided to see what was left and I found dogs, bats, and pigs. Although in any other day, you can see rats and snakes here.

And if you happen to visit this place, you can ask the seller to serve your order, alive or grilled.

10. Act Like a Ninja in Iga

A pretty woman (real woman, not ladyboy) greeted me in her beautiful kimono. In an old house (that was turned into a ninja museum) she explained about the history of ninja, its power and ability, and also its weapon. She showed me every part of the ninja house, including the secret places, places where ninja hides himself and his weapon.

In the end of my visit, I enjoyed ninja’s performance at the backyard, and tried to hand a ninja’s sword also throw shurikens too!


Beautiful Ninja!

11. See sunrise at Angkor Wat

It was 3 AM, when I arrived at Siem Reap after a long and bumpy night bus trip from Phnom Penh, delayed around two hours from its schedule. My tuk-tuk driver, took me to the guesthouse, before picked me up again at 4:30 AM to see the spectacular sunrise over World’s Largest Temple, Angkor Wat.

The sunrise was amazing, but the people were not.


Sunrise at Angkor Wat, wait, WHAT?

12. Write A Travel Book

I wrote two books about travel, one is The DestinASEAN, and the other one is The Journeys 3. Okay, actually not a book by myself, but I took part on that books. In The DestinASEAN I wrote two stories about Vietnam and Thailand, while in The Journeys 3, I wrote a story about my journey to Japan, looking for my Dad’s breadcrump.

Actually, I have a plan to write a travel book (not a compilation, but only me in one book) this year, but I don’t know if I have much time to write due to my activities. So, wish me luck, guys!

13. Fly with Hot Air Balloon in Bagan

Firstly, I want to make an apology to you, because I mentioned this experience multiple times on my posts about Myanmar. But believe me, I was really fascinated when I tried this balloon flight.

Okay, I won’t talk too much here, you can read it by yourself here.

14. Get Naked with Dozens of Man in Tokyo

Yap, you read it right. It was my shameless yet unforgettable traveling memory in Japan. Getting naked with dozens of male in an onsen –at Green Plaza Capsule Hotel Shinjuku–, seeing many balls around from pink color to the black one –some are shaved, and some are lush–, then soaking together in a hot pool. Eew!

Want to know more about onsen? Read my experience in Japan’s highest onsen, here.

15. Perform Bridge Pose in Every Country

Bridge pose, or in Indonesian language is called “kayang“, is a pose where you resemble a bridge using feet and hands as the pillars, with your spine on the back. As long as I remember, I already did this pose in more than 10 countries and several region in Indonesia. But now it’s harder to do, because am getting fat and mature.


In Bandar Seri Begawan Brunei, photo taken by my mom.

16. Taste Goat Milk in Samosir Island

Back to 2007, when I was young, wild, and free. I was on a training from my office at Medan, and took weekend trip to Samosir with some of my adventurous friends. After dawn trip (which I spent most of my time with sleep) on a rented car, we arrived at Lake Toba early in the morning. We had breakfast on Samosir Island with Mie Gomak (squeezed noodle, made by mixing the ingredients with noodle using hands) and (planned to drink) Goat Milk. But too bad, goat milk is a food also. The taste was like salty and acid tofu.

17. Nominated in Skyscanner Bloscars Award

This was my glorious achievement in early 2014. Being nominated as one of ten nominees in best travel blogger of the year by Skyscanner, an online platform that sells airplane ticket also provides room and car to accompany your trip. I didn’t expect that am being chosen as one of its nominees because I felt that am new on this business. Less than two years since I started blogging at backpackstory.

Anyway, if you like to read this blog, you can show me your love by giving me a vote (more is great) for Skyscanner Bloscars Award, here. Voting period is closed on February 23rd, 2014.

18. Surf in White Sand Dunes Mui Ne

I was a surfer –or at least I tried to be–, a sand surfer to be exact, when I was on Mui Ne, Vietnam. Mui Ne has some sand dunes, and the famous one is white sand dunes, where I rented a plastic board –made from used acrylic material, I guessed– from local child for USD 5. I surfed from the top of the dunes, to the bottom, I was having fun until rain came.


Sorry guys, I used the acrylic for doing this.

In the end, I turned out that the acrylic plastic I used to surf was only costed around USD 3.

19. Push Up in The Top of Macau Tower

I am afraid of height, and am trying to cure my phobia by facing it. For example, I did push up style at the glass floor in the top of Macau Tower. It was hundreds meters from the land, and I felt my feet are shaking. But I did it, and my height phobia is slowly cured. Nowadays, this phobia is still left inside of me, especially when I have to deal with tall woman.

You can read my daring experiences in Macau, here.

20. Cross The Border of Three Country in Golden Triangle

One spot, leaded me to three country. In golden triangle –northern Thailand–, I stepped three country; Thailand, Laos, and Myanmar. Went shopping at Donsao Laos, tried Thai Food at Mae Sai, and watched Myanmar’s border at Tachiliek. Three country in one day trip, read my full story here.

21. Drive Motorbike in Puerto Princessa

It was an ordinary automatic motorbike, nothing was odd, even I can use my Indonesian driving license there. But the difference there was, the side. Pinoy (Philippines people) used to walk on the right side of the street, while I –as Indonesian– used to walk on the left side. I remembered the time, when I rode my rented motorbike from Dallas Inn, on the left side. In the next five seconds, a tricycle almost hit me from the front, because I used its side.


22. Be A Speaker About Traveling 

I once was a shy kid, I didn’t feel confident about my small and dark body, plus my childhood friend often bullied me because of it. Then times passed, I grew up as small and dark boy with experience and pheromone. Until someone offered me to become a speaker about traveling, thing that I love so much. Talking in front of people, was hard and awkward on the first time, but also brought me a new addiction. Now, I love sharing my travel experiences in front of people and (I hope that I can) inspire them to travel. I always like ‘the happy feeling’ when I do it.

Believe me, talking in front of people is easier than proposing someone’s daughter to marry you.


Presenting about Travel Blog at Sharing Academy (Akademi Berbagi) Pekanbaru

23. Do Trekking at MacRitchie Reservoir

You were wrong if you think that Singapore is all about city and money. There were lots of free (and fun) activities there, for example: trekking at MacRitchie Reservoir. Some monkeys will welcome you at the entrance, and you will meet people in kano doing their sport there (if you’re lucky).

Firstly, I just planned to sit on the side of the lake, watching Kano Competition. But then I saw lots of people entering its forest, running. And I was feel motivated to follow them, so I followed them, walking with my backpack (I brought laptop and some stuffs inside) into the forest. I followed the path, for more than an hour, before found its way out. And then I realized that I just took 11 Km trekking route.

24. Enjoy Autumn in Toyama

The best place to enjoy autumn is from the mountain, and the best place in Japan to Enjoy autumn is from one of its highest places, Toyama. Placed on around 2.4oo meters above sea level, Toyama attracted me with its sceneries and its attractions. For your information, Toyama contains eight Japan’s number one attractions, including Japan’s highest waterfall, highest altitude hot springs, and Japan’s tallest dam. Autumn here, was very colorful and attractive.

And have I told you that its route was 90 Km long? Yap, it connected Toyama prefecture to Nagano prefecture, and it had many variety of transportation mode along the way. Including the one and only tunnel trolley bus in Japan.


Finally found his autumn.

25. Encounter Komodo in Flores

Komodo dragon, or I called it Komodo, is a large species of lizard –not dragon– that originally found in Flores, Indonesia. They lived in some islands, including Komodo Island and Rinca Island. I went there for free in 2012, seeing their activities from close range, including how they rip and eat a poor boar brutally (see the video, here).

PS: I got that free trip from Indonesia Tourism Board, after won its blog competition.

26. Eat balut!

From the outside, it looked like an ordinary boiled duck egg. It was still hot when I bought it from an old man, who sold it in the baywalk. “Balut Balut” He said. “Very delicious.” He added.

We –me and Fara— bought one to prove what he said. I opened the egg slowly, put the eggshell into a plastic bag that the old man gave to us, and removed the cuticle. I bit a part from it, that looked like a brain, but harder. Some juices popped up from the inside, so I added more salt into it to remove its aroma and weird taste. After finished with that part, I saw the yolk, and I gave it a little try. Then after the yolk was finished, I saw the head, soft bones, and some feathers inside.

It was grossly delicious thing.

27. Take Dive License

Yay, am proudly told you that I am a licensed diver now. Taking dive license, actually was my 2013 resolution, but I did it early in 2014. It was okay I think, because lil bit late is better than too late. I got it from a flash dive course this January. Practice at pool on Friday, then going to Pramuka Island on weekend for 4 times dive.

The result was this card. The card that complete my life as a traveler.


Open water first, open your clothes later.

28. Have a Travel Blog

This is the best thing I have here, a travel blog. Without this travel blog, you won’t stop here, and read this post. Without this travel blog, maybe you won’t know me, and I am nothing until now. Without this travel blog, I won’t have you, my precious reader. So thanks for it, guys. Thanks for supporting www.backpackstory.me, I feel so touched.

This post is dedicated for my 28th birthday, I hope you guys won’t go anywhere, because I promise that there will be many many cooler things here in the future.

Traveling, will make you look younger, even if you’re getting older.

And for Amy, Kurt, Janis, Jim, Jimi; sorry guys, I can’t join your club.