Reflection

As today is the last day of working for me, I can’t help but realise how this year 2017 come to an end.  It feels just like yesterday I started blogging again, and it was the beginning of the year. So many things happened, huge changes came to my life, and I didn’t even realise that time has taken my life in a blink of an eye.

I remember clearly what my goal this year was: acceptance. I realised many things in this world is way out of my control and I wanted to just accept my state, conditions, failures, just the way they are. To bring peaceful to my mind, to please the One who decides my life, that I fully accept whatever He places in to my life.

Did I really practice acceptance as planned in the past year?

One thing for sure, most of the time I even forgot that I have that goal…

And the fact was.. I lived my life in the least patience I should have had. I made reckless decisions, mistakes, you can say. But as I am writing this post a fact comes to my mind: this is the biggest challenge of my 2017 goal. 2017 is not over yet. I should not lose especially in the last days..

And throwing back to the whole year again, it hits me.  Yes, I made reckless decisions.  Yes, I was kinda drifting away with no firm decision of the way I really want to go.  Yes, I made huge mistakes.  Yes, I  joined an initiative in a rush, only to leave it in the same year.

But.. I also have grown soo much as a person. I have fight my self-esteem problem, I became much more confident than the whole 31 years of my life combined. I met MANY interesting new people. I have shaped the newer-me who is closer to my actual self. I learn about the initiative that is really close to my heart, and I stay in the other activities that are even closer to my soul. I learn how to mend myself and hold to rescue poles when I was extremely broken and slipping away. I tasted love. And I am grateful. I accept this destiny not only because I have to, due to the goal, but also because I believe this is the best one for my scenario.

I also learn that having fun and loving your self every now and then is okay.. And maybe I should do it more often. But it brings a big question mark for 2018, which I think will make me happier if I know the answer soon. But again, just accept, sometimes the answer will come when you least expect it 😀

How do you see your 2017? Are you happy with it? Or do you have some things you wish you do differently? Tell me in the comments or let’s talk when we meet! 🙂

Love,
Dewi

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Finding Serenity in Svalbard

I love talking with people, sharing my stories, making people laugh.. listen to their troubles and motivating people. Maybe because I am an ENFP, which often called as the Campaigner, I love all of these stuff.

But once in a while.. I can get overwhelmed. When I don’t schedule my time and energy right, I can get really tired with things and people. And I need a solitude time to recharge. This is also the time I direly need every once in a while to stop the hustle and review my life, thinking whether it has gone in the right way, the way I want it to be.

Back in 2013, I get a full 9 days of peaceful solitude time in Svalbard. Also known as Spitsbergen, this archipelago is located in the Arctic sea, between Norway and North Pole. It is under no country sovereignty, but administered under the Kingdom of Norway.

I don’t think there is any better place to find nothingness and quietness as in Svalbard. And its beauty.. just once in a lifetime experience that I am really grateful to witness in my life.

To go there, I had to pass Norway first, so I went from London (where I lived for some time for my master study) to Oslo. From Oslo I continued the journey to Tromsø, wherein I already felt the different ambiance than the busy London that tired me that time. Note that even when you don’t need any visa to enter Svalbard, you will still need Schengen multiple visa to transit in Tromsø for your fly in and out Svalbard.

Note: look at the window before you land in Tromsø, it’s amazing.

SAS - the airline that I used for Oslo-Tromsø-Longyearbyen flights

Day 1 – Longyearbyen

Longyearbyen is the main settlement and administrative centre in Svalbard. It has the main airport transporting visitors from Tromsø. It has nice museums, shops and library, and you can find families with kids too living here. However, it is already in polar bear area so you can’t go out without someone bring a riffle for a precaution.

longyearbyen

Longyearbyen AirportPolar Bear in Longyearbyen AirportLongyearbyen HarbourLongyearbyen seen from the Harbour

Polar bear warning in every corner of Longyearbyen (and other settlements in Svalbard too)

Tallship and Sail

To explore the archipelago, I needed to board a tallship called “Antigua” in Longyearbyen harbour. The ship is sooo beautiful and fit just perfectly to the scenery. I have to admit, I took hundreds of her photos during my 9 day-trip.

AntiguaDay 1 in AntiguaThe cabinsAntigua full body

Since the water can be too shallow for the ship, we use rubber boats called zodiac to reach lands. Only one person can stand when you’re in zodiac and the seating must be arranged carefully to make sure it balances. You don’t want anyone fell into -40 degrees Celsius and die because of hypothermia.

Zodiak

We have a chef on board, who amazingly could cook really delicious food during the trip and has really sharp eyes too! He could spot wildlife with naked eyes from very faraway while he’s fishing for our dinner. Mind you, we use binoculars, some were really good quality, but could not spot polar bears and arctic foxes as fast as he did.

Day 8 - amazing chef

Day 2 – Heading North West

Leaving Longyearbyen, we firstly visited a glacier nearby Liliehook. I learned here from the guides on board that the rumors saying that there were addition of ice in Arctic was not true. The fact is, the icebergs were shifting down from the mountains and looked like there were additional of ice there. But actually there may not be any additional ice at all since the mountains did not produce more ice due to the raising temperature. I also learned that while the global warming is a nature cycle that will happen in any case, there were some factors such as CO2 that accelerated this cycle.

We could hear the glacier felt and dropped, the colors were white and blue, and greenish. I was amazed and couldn’t believe I was there to witness!

Day 1 - me, blue jacket, blue sceneryDay 1 - watching icebergs fell downDay 1 - ice everywhere

Later on the day, we visited Zigna Hamna. Hamna means harbour, and Zigna a Norwegian name, it was the name of a captain’s daughter that were related to this harbour.. I can’t remember the details. What I remember was, this is a place of Germans weather station during World War II, which then destroyed by the Norwegians. We could see the ruins since nothing could be taken from this place, even rubbish. We must leave everything as it is. So.. yeah.. we saw some rubbish stayed in the same place as it left.

In the night, Svalbard welcomed me with this beautiful view. I promise I almost cried that night..

Day 1 - the moon

Day 1 of Serenity

Day 3 – Alice Hamna and Lake Mourain

Today we visited Alice Hamna and Bruce Hut. Another story on Arctic expeditions, sad ones, especially since we found some graves on this place. Due to the movement of the ground, some part of the skulls were visible; and due to the fact that this place is actually a giant refrigerator, the clothes were still intact as other graves found other area. It was scary but fascinating at the same time.

One thing that I remember is this seal. He was really curious that he kept coming back to our Zodiac, and then left when we turned on the engine, startled. And then coming back again when we turned it off. We actually met some curious wildlife like this. Because they were not use to contact with human, they were not afraid or aggressive yet because they did not know human could hurt them.

Day 3 - curious seal

Our journey continued to Lake Mourain, where I learned that I needed a really good hiking skill here! But once I reached the lake.. It was magical. Unfortunately I could not get anything captured as nicely as the reality, but it was REALLY magical. The guide told us that the lake resulted from the shifting of glacier. With the greeny hills (yes, it was green as I remember), the lake showed the reflections of the hills with the beautiful real hills on the background. And the sun started to shine, giving it rays of yellowish on the already beautiful scenery. No sounds at all other than our footsteps, which were really quiet I almost thought I was in my own dream, alone. And some time later.. few flocks of birds flying by the lake made the painting became even more perfect. I want to cry just to remember the scenery.

We also spotted some other amazing wildlife in this place, reindeers and polar bears. When the reindeers came with sun shining their body.. It looked like they were falling from heaven 😀

We also found some marbles in this place.

Unfortunately, other than some photos of reindeers, I didn’t take a lot of pictures there because I was stunned with the beauty. I need to check my files to find more photos of Lake Mourain. I will update this post if I found some.

Day 2 - reinders showed up near the lake mourain

Honestly.. I would say this day was one of the bestest days of my life. After awed by the beauty in Lake Mourain, I was chilling on the top deck of the ship, when I saw these views (and when I said chilling, it was quite literally, even with my 5 layers of thermal and winter jacket).

On my left, this beautiful sunset.

Day 3 - look at the sky

On my right, this beautiful night sky.

Day 3 - my favorite night

arctic nightlovely view

God, You had been so good to me.

Day 4 – Ytre Norskøya

Located in Northwest of Svalbard, this place is located in the middle of ex-whaling station. We found some graves again in this place, with visible bones and intact clothes. It was said that some of them were 400 years old.

Another hiking to the top of the mountain, just to found this amazing view.

Day 4 - posing with antiguaDay 4 - view from the top

please ignore my poor fashion choices and bad skin.. my focus were only enjoying the view and stay warm 😀

On the top of the hills, I found this cross, which actually could be found in almost every highest point in the archipelago. I thought it meant another grave, turned out it was not. It was actually a remain from approximately 17th century by Pomors, a settler originated from White Sea of Northern Russia.

Day 4 - after some steep hike

While hiking, I learned how harsh the life in this place is. Even for plants.. These mushrooms could only grow 1mm in 100 years!

Day 4 - 1 mm in 100 years

Afterwards, we found another glacier. Not as pretty as we saw before, but still amazing. I enjoyed looking the glaciers dropped.

Day 4 - another icebergs drop.jpg

While having me time, just me, kindle, itunes, and the icebergs! (and these IKEA slippers I managed to bring from London :D)

Day 4 - me, kindle and itunes.. and the arctic ocean!

and of course, some cute wildlife..

Day 4 - hey thereDay 4 - yes

We also went to Virgohamna this day where we saw some sleeping walruses nearby. And of course, another beautiful scenery.

Day 4 - Virgohamna

Day 4 - reflectionsDay 4 - sail away sail away sail awayDay 4 - sunset in arctic

Day 5 – a day full of polar bears, seals and walruses

We opened the day with a visit to an ex hangar of British explorer, some more of sad stories about people who tried to conquer the North Pole in the past.

I remember there was a story about an explorer who wrote a letter before he died, and the letter found many decades letter. It contained his hope and love to his family, who may never read the letter forever.

And then we spotted a sleepy polar bear.

Day 5 - sleepy polar bear

And a group of cute polar bears trying to get some sun. They did not care less of human around them.. 😀

Day 5 - sleepy seals

And then huge walruses.. that attracted the attention of some pro photographers in our group.

Day 5 - walrusesDay 5 - which one is scarier

which one is scarier? lol

We then had some tea time in Smeerenburg while listening the stories of this ex-whaling station once owned by the Dutch.

As the northernmost point in Svalbard, the Dutches found hard time to get whales here since more whales were in the South, which were controlled by the Norwegians. Mind you, with minimum food and harsh weather, it was hard to survive while waiting to meet the whale oil target that they must bring back to their country.

One time, there were 7 Dutch whalers in this place that could survive all year long, thanks to Salad Mountain, which was next to this place. This Salad Mountain is actually a small hills which was often visited by birds who pooped in that place, made the place more lush than its surrounding, but only for one time in a year. It then grew a veggie that rich with vitamin c that could help the 7 whalers survived. These 7 whalers were lucky because came in time when the Salad Mountain was really green before the weather was too cold for the birds to visit. They harvested as much veggies as possible and stored it in one of their huts, with discipline in allocating the veggies all year long, they survived.

Next year, 4 other whalers came with a high confident that they too will survive. Unfortunately, they arrived too late, Salad Mountain had been gone due to the harsh weather. By time, they were dying. There were notes documenting their struggle, day to day up to the last note that said (more or less): we will survive if only anyone had the power to go out, lit the fire and made food. But unfortunately everyone was too weak and ill to go outside, the lack of vitamin c made their bones hurt so they could not move.

In the last note they said: Hope God could end the pain, they were ready.

It made me thinking, what is the line between giving up and acceptance? Perseverance and stubbornness? When could we know the time to stop trying?

Day 5 - tea time in ex dutch whaling stationDay 5 - sunset in ex dutch whaling station

Thank God the night was pretty as always, it cured the depression after visiting Smeerenburg.

Day 5 - night

Day 6 – Ny Allesund, the northernmost city in the world

It was a sunny morning when we visited an ex-marble factory. I remember I got a lot of nice abandoned pictures there. I will post them in a separate post with other shots of abandoned stuff that I took during this trip.

Day 6

Afterwards, we visited Ny Allesund, the northernmost city in the world where scientists from major countries of the world live.

Day 6 - posing in Ny Allesund

And of course, there should be a Roald Amundsen statue in this place.

Day 6 - Roald Amuntsen statue in Ny AllesundDay 6 - Ny Allesund

Don’t forget to bring your passport when you visit Ny Allesund to get a stamp there. I didn’t take mine and now its stamp was lying don’t know where.. Bring some money too because there were shops and post office there if you want to send some love for your family, friends or yourself, from the northernmost city of the world.

Funny fact about Svalbard: you are not allowed to die or giving birth here. Maybe because no hospital here, and the transportation to nearby city was rare (2 times a week if I am not mistaken) and could be complicated with the unpredictable weather.

Day 7 – Glacier and finally snow!

Being an Indonesian, everyone could not help but comment that the nice weather we had so far was because I brought Indonesian sun with me. lol

So when the weather finally gone worse and snow came, everyone commented, well, finally we get the real Arctic!

Thankfully, the weather did not go worse in the morning when we tried to spot some wildlife nearby Pyramiden (a place that we visited the next day). I waited for sometime on cold ground, waiting while my mind wandered.

Day 7 - laying on cold ground

The reason the ground was freezing cold was this: because underneath, there were just ice and more ice..

Day 7 - the reason why the lands were so cold

After some time, finally, beautiful reindeers showed up.

Day 7

And then foxes, but we were too afraid to get closer! This beautiful creature can be really fast and dangerous for us.

Day 7 - arctic fox

Day 8 – The Ghost Town of Pyramiden

Day 8 - WelcomeDay 8 - ghost town of Pyramiden

Pyramiden, the ex-mining town of Russia, was a really interesting place and one of the highlights of the trip. It still has a complete buildings and facilities that used to be utilized by the Russian workers. Sometime ago it was closed because it produced not so good quality of coals, but may cause harm to the sensitive environment of Arctic. Until today, Russia has left the mines but maintain the place for us to visit.

And guess who is in the front of the main building in Pyramiden? 😀

Day 8 - guess who

Yes, Lenin. It is said as the northernmost Lenin statue on earth, and there is also one in Antarctic.. So we can found Lenin’s statue in the northernmost and southernmost of the earth.. (I don’t know how should I feel about this..)

Move on from Lenin, there is a good news for millennials, IF we lucky, we can get phone signal in this place, but only if we could hike for hours, or at this place near harbour. This last point is called “place of hope” because of that, a hope that you can get signal and reach the outer world.

Day 8 - Pyramiden

As with other places in Svalbard, a riffle is mandatory when you walk around this place. This is the riffle of our guy named Vladimir that was showing us around when we visited Pyramiden.

Day 8 - Warning!

Vladimir shared his story how could he ended up in that place and how could he survive living ALONE in such ghost town, afar from nowhere, and even extend his staying much more than his plan.

As much as I like solitude time.. I don’t think I can enjoy this place as much as Vladimir. 😀

Day 8 - having fun alone

Day 9 – Back to Longyearbyen

And my journey finished. We spent the day exploring Longyearbyen once more. Visited the museum, posting some post cards.. and get some wifi in library.

I can’t describe how I enjoy so much writing this piece. I am so sorry for the long post! It is so fun to remember the lovely me time I spent in Svalbard. What I learned from the trip: everyday is a new day. With the new sunrise, new hope arises.

every morning, new hope

and love from this polar bear!

xx

Longyearbyen bear statue

Minimalist Lifestyle!

Halo everyone! This time I want to talk about something different: minimalism.

Last weekend, I spent the whole two days at home, planned to relax a bit since I had a pretty busy week and really need a nice of unwinding time.  But as soon as I hit the bed, as usual my brain dancing around randomly..  Somehow my brain works best early in the morning after I just wake up, and the minutes before bed..

I looked around my room and realized I had moved to this new place for almost 10 months now, and there was still a cluttered corner in my room, and the room is not nicely composed yet. My queen size bed was placed on the corner next to the wall, so every time someone was sleeping over, I needed to roll my body to the corner next to the wall to made place for the guest. It faces the shower room (and toilet!, not good according to fengshui.. lol), and there was a huge round working table with standing lamp and a bulky (but actually comfortable) working chair in between the bed and the shower room. Next to the bed were my huge wardrobe, with some unused boxes and luggages on top of it, and shoes and cosmetic shelf next to the wardrobe. On the other corner of the room was the bookshelf, 3 unpacked boxes from my previous place, a huge painting and some wall art and photos from my travel and many other stuff cluttered that were really not pretty and bothered me so much.

I always always always hate too many stuff. I didn’t know how I surrendered to this new room for so many times without doing anything. Perhaps my work, new business (go check http://www.joylovetravel.com) as well as some travels from this year made me forgot to make my own bedroom as comfortable as possible. And have I mentioned now I live almost 30 km to work? Which in Jakarta.. it means 3-6 hours return commuting every single day.. SO yes, I forgot to declutter my own bedroom.

The first thing I did was: moving the cosmetic and shoes shelf to the left corner of my room (the opposite of the shower room) and hide it with my huge wardrobe, so the first thing you see from my room is not my messy shoes and cosmetic tubes. And for the bed, I made it facing the wardrobe and I put it a bit in center so it is accessible for 2 people easily, and it actually made my room looks more spacious and comfy. I then got rid off the boxes from the top of the wardrobe and throw them away, and put the luggage away in the other room. I also organized my clothes and resulted in some boxes of clothes that I no longer used or fit anymore! so I kissed such clothes goodbye and welcomed by more spacious wardrobe that looks nicer and will cause less headache every morning I will go to work.

So that corner is fine now, we move to other corner next to the shower room.. Oh my God, those boxes were junks! I removed most of the content and made those IKEA boxes as my new bag boxes, more spaces in the wardrobe, yeay! I then stacked the boxes next to my bed and my standing lamp to replace the bulky round table and working chair which I removed from the room along with the huge painting that didn’t really fit anywhere in the room. I am sorry you guys have to go outside..

Lastly.. organizing all the papers, junks, books and many stuff from my travels that was hard to let go in the past.. But now I realize the best thing is the memory that is stored in our mind. Let the clutters go away.

Now I get a nice, clean and spacious bedroom. I had to throw a lot of stuff, some may be donated, some may be just thrown away, but I am so in love with my new room! The lesser the better.

I think it is important to make your bedroom as comfortable as possible because it is supposed to be your sanctuary that should make you feel like at home. For me, I just realised last weekend, it is minimalist. I feel at ease to see that I don’t have many. Many overwhelms me.

I started to learn more about minimalism to check if this is really the lifestyle that I would enjoy.. If it is, I want to know more about how to make my life easier and more comfortable with less.

From what I read, there are a lot of rays of minimalism. The ‘real’ minimalists will go as far as only keeping less than 100 things, friend of less than 100 people, following less than 100 people in facebook.. and the list go on (for example, this list). But I don’t think I would enjoy that extremity.. So is the minimalist style is still for me?

Apparently based on this quiz, I am still a minimalist afterall! Eventhough I have many online friends and a bunch of apps on my phone, minimalist possession like clothes and shoes brings peace to my mind! And I found this blog: http://jennymustard.com/ which really describes minimalism that I would love to do. And she has some really nice tips on minimalism, saving money, minimalism interior and motivational videos on productivity, self love, how to be comfortable on your own skin and find your style, be happier and calmer person. I love it and really excited to learn more about the minimalism lifestyle that she and her fiance doing.

Are you minimalist? Do you love collecting things, or do things overwhelms and makes you restless? How do you like your bedroom looks like? Share with me on the comments below!

Ciao! 😉

Turning 31

Happy birthday to me!

Today I celebrate my 31 years survival in this world.  29 was really hard, but 30 was the hardest.  At certain points I thought I wouldn’t be able to make it. But I did. And as a bonus, I found a trick to stand should other batches of storms come to visit me again.

The key is acceptance.

I believe everyone has their own survival trick and of course no one in this world is free from hardship and tests. For me, my rescue pole is the decision to surrender to God’s decision.

I was a pretty happy and calm person. Since a very young age, no matter what happened in my life, I usually just went through any problem with little or no complains, especially when I knew that complaining or stress won’t solve the problems (I still know it later, but just couldn’t help the overwhelming feeling coming from my chest).  I used to treat my problems as jokes.  Even when I complained to my friends (when I finally old enough to get one), I would deliver it as jokes and laughed about it then moved on.

But in these few years, the older I get, I feel like my button getting more sensitive and I can be overwhelmed with smaller stuff.  I also become less kind and tolerable to people.  When I was younger, I won’t complain so much when people mean to me, as long as they don’t hate me. I could still love a person who treated me badly, by reasons that it’s just because they were not in a good mood, they didn’t mean it, and that in those times I should help them to bring back their mood back in place. I always tried my best to understand the background of their bad treatment before deciding what I should feel about it. But now, it’s so hard to tolerate people, especially when you face your own difficulties too. This when my days are getting harder..

By the beginning of this year, I knew what I should do to be calmer is to accept that I may not be able to control everything. Therefore I decide my theme for 2017 is acceptance.  And now, I think it is the best I could do to myself.  By setting the theme, I set my eyes and focus on the acceptance.  I am no longer get worry or restless for the problems that I have, and I have more time to think and enjoy the peacefulness in my head. I haven’t had this kind of tranquillity for quite long time.  In some years, I only have those kind of tranquillity when I am alone commuting to work, or when I solo traveling (that’s why I love it!). This is also the reason why I do love long flight alone.  Without gadgets or social interaction with familiar people (and familiar problems), only with my own head, movies and some okay food (airplane food never taste so bad nor really good in my tongue!) and also strangers who I will never meet again, I feel happy.  – Next time you see me taking the longest flight alone, perhaps another storm comes to my life and I just need a break.

I am fine now. Now, everytime things don’t go as planned, or hardship comes in front of my face, people mean to me, betrayed me, hated me for no reasons, or simply I am failing myself, I will tell myself this: everything that is happening now is destined by God, and He knows best, trust Him and accept it. – This is not something that I have just learned, I have thought this for so long now, but only recently that it really sink and my soul really believes in. And it helps me tremendously in surviving bad times.  After all, bad times don’t last, you just got to find your own rescue pole and hang on.

And come to think of it, the problems I faced when I was young were much more serious than the ones I am facing now, but I did pass them all and they all shape what I am today.  God is indeed knows the best, and I should not worry and just accept the destiny He has resolved for me.

I wish every one of you has found your own rescue pole to survive. Have a great weekend sweethearts and thank you for reading this post.

Love,
Dewi

 

Why do we travel?

I have been thinking about this lately.

Why do we travel? What are we running from? Why do we spend money for short term enjoyment? Why won’t we use our time, money and energy for better purposes?

You don’t need to travel just to find beauty.  You can find beauty everywhere, even from the city where you live.

whatsapp-image-2017-02-14-at-10-51-50

Sunset view in Jakarta, early days of 2017.

We travel to open our eyes, so we won’t prejudice other people without even trying to put ourselves in their shoes.  We travel to meet different people, so we can be grateful of our own situation and learn to appreciate of what we have.

We travel to detach ourselves from routines, so we can think clearly and see our situation from different perspective.

We travel to dream, so we can know what we want and what we wish we can get rid from ourselves.

We travel to enjoy a romantic date with ourselves. To let ourselves more free without thinking of the burden of daily life and responsibility to follow the local rules and to please and serve the people surrounded us at home.  We will know that it may not be required in some other places.

We also travel to humble ourselves, to make us closer to the Creator who made all the beautiful things in order, for us to enjoy.

And above everything else, travel makes me happy.  Maybe it does to you too. And in my opinion, it is a very important investment above any other assets you can buy.

xx,

Dewi