Saturday, January 4, 2020

Book Review: Traveling Aja Dulu! - Olivia Dianina

It’s funny to see the way universe works to make your dream comes true. Ketika saya menerima buku Traveling Aja Dulu! dari Olivia Dianina, saya punya banyak pemikiran skeptis di benak saya. Sudah lima tahun sejak terakhir kali saya menjejak terminal keberangkatan internasional di bandara. Paspor saya yang hampir memasuki masa kadaluwarsa tergeletak menyedihkan di dalam sebuah tas bersamaan dengan dokumen-dokumen berharga lainnya. Sebentar lagi saya harus bersiap untuk membuat paspor baru meskipun juga belum tahu hendak kemana, kapan, dengan siapa, berbuat apa, dan sebagainya.

Satu bulan kemudian, saya duduk di seat 38B pesawat KLM menuju Singapura. Untuk merayakan tahun baru bersama bos dan rekan kerja (yang baru). 

As crazy and cliche as it sounds, dream CAN comes true. 

Satu hal yang membuat saya semakin merinding saat menuliskan blog post ini adalah, untuk melakukan perjalanan ke Singapura kemarin, saya tidak perlu mengeluarkan uang sama sekali! Sebagaimana cerita Olivia yang kebanyakan perjalanannya di-cover oleh studi dan pekerjaan, saya jadi semakin yakin untuk bermimpi, bermimpi, bermimpi setinggi mungkin - dan izinkan Tuhan membimbing kita menuju jalan untuk mewujudkan mimpi tersebut. 

Saya mengenal Olivia di sebuah event bertajuk Nomads for Change di Ubud. Sejak pertama berjabat tangan, saya tahu kami akan berteman baik. Sosoknya yang inspiratif, penuh semangat dan optimisme, membuat saya betah berlama-lama berdiskusi dengannya. Dari mulai gelora asmara yang jenaka, hingga isu-isu sosial yang membuat hidup lebih bermakna. 

Maka saya berbangga ketika ia memilih saya untuk membaca bukunya yang memuat segala pengalaman traveling-nya. Belakangan saya tahu dari buku ini, bahwa Olivia mendapatkan empat beasiswa luar negeri dari mulai kuliah kuliah S-2 di Australia, hingga kursus tentang kebudayaan dan lingkungan di Jepang. Dengan demikian, apa yang ia bagikan di buku ini lebih dari sekadar tentang senang-senang. 

Itulah sebabnya saya memilih jalur edukasi sebagai kendaraan awal agar bisa traveling ke luar negeri. Dengan jalur itu, saya tidak perlu keluar modal besar dan bisa sejalan dengan harapan orangtua. Bonusnya, saya bisa ikut kegiatan yang akan membantu karier saya di masa depan. Berkat konferensi-lah saya bisa traveling ke luar negeri untuk pertama kali. 

Gara-gara baca buku ini, saya jadi ingat kalau pertama kali saya ke luar negeri juga bukan karena jalan-jalan semata. Tahun 2002, saya mengikuti World Scout Jamboree di Thailand, mewakili Provinsi Jawa Timur. Sepulang dari sana, saya ikut tour group untuk menyambangi Kuala Lumpur dan Singapura. Baru 16 tahun kemudian, saya bisa mengunjungi Singapura lagi (kalau Kuala Lumpur terakhir tahun 2014). 

Sunday, December 29, 2019

2019 Year in Review: It’s The Climb

One of my best friends is a super strong woman (and right now when I am writing this, I realized that I am surrounded by a lot of powerful women). I can count by one hand how many times she shared her sadness or any life challenges she faces on social media. She always looks “happy”, although I am sure deep down inside she is crushed. 

I, actually wanted to learn from her. 

But I cannot. 

I always believe that I write to share. I hope my writings make someone who might be far away from me, can realize that he/she is not alone. His/her feelings are valid, and although the world seems against him/her, there is still a hope.

However, this year is one of the shittiest years in my life, like ever. One day I feel like I am the poorest human in the world – like literally. One day I feel like I lost everything in life, even my dignity. This year I had so many suicidal thoughts because I am afraid of what will come next, and I know that I didn’t take care of myself well. I seek pleasure in places or things I’ve never imagined myself will involve to. I ran far away from God because I was disappointed often. I just don’t know who I was anymore. 

But this post is not about that. This post is about me, trying to rise up from the underground. This post is about me, even when it’s really really hard, trying to see the positive side of life; or simply what kind of lessons I have learned throughout the year. For once, as I also don’t want to go back and reminisce all those stupidities that I have done, I will try to write my Year in Review in a different way. I have set the intention to write this post as a way to be grateful for every little thing that has happened. I hope it will help me to start the new year with a lot more positive thoughts, and so let’s start from the biggest event of this year… 

Friday, August 30, 2019


“…sometimes you’re the one something it’s happening to and other times you’re the one it’s happening through.” – Maryam Hasnaa

One of these days, I checked my old diaries and blog posts, then I realized that my biggest achievement is not chosen as one of the finalists of World Muslimah Award; obtained scholarship from SYLFF for my Master Degree; contributed in a world-class literature festival; self-published a book; or maintained an Instagram account from zero to 1,000 followers. 

My biggest achievement is… to stay alive. 

I know it sounds shallow at one point, as I do believe that every single person in this planet has his/her own problem. But often, right at the time it came to you like a storm, you just… tired of life. 

This year is another year that I have to keep telling myself that everything is going to be okay. If it is not happening today, it will happen tomorrow. But ‘that’ tomorrow is not coming (yet), even when there are only four months left in 2019. 

I became paranoid, as if life wouldn’t let me smiling all day long. If I start a day smiling, there will be something occurred in the afternoon or right before I sleep. If I sleep smiling, I will have a nightmare. Life has crushed me like an avocado in a juicer. Shapeless, almost heartless.

Day by day, I started feeling numb. I act recklessly, because I think at the end of the day nobody is safe enough from anything bad. I wish I could say that I still believe in karma, but I know karma doesn’t always work the way we want to.  

I smiled, I laughed, I frowned, I cried… but deep in my heart I know those emotions are not make sense. I was happy for the ‘wrong’ reasons, and I was sad for the ‘right’ reasons. From time to time, I feel like my soul is leaving my body and I am watching it from afar, make fun of things I do. ‘Look, she is doing something stupid again. What a naïve girl!’ Thereafter a new day arrived, and I wait what kind of stupidity or craziness I will do (or repeat). 

And I feel like I lost the last pieces of me, the one that usually I count on to – it just simply torn apart.

I am damaged.

I am useless.

My motivation just evaporated among the people I met and the privilege they have and their success stories and how life seems very easy for them and how life seems very very very difficult for me. Period. No matter how many times I try to pick myself up, I ended up believing that… 

I must be the unluckiest person in the world. 

Only when I am sober enough, I can recollect the puzzles and I became aware that sometimes it is not just about myself. As the quote above said, life has been taught me so much I become confused on which one is the lesson I have to absorb on my own and which one is not actually for me – but for people around me.

What happened for the last two weeks is definitely another new beginning for me. At first, it seems like there is no solutions so I intensified the frequency of talking to myself. What do I want? What do I don’t want? Revealing the problems to my friends were also challenging and I pick them carefully because I need someone who knows the background of the story. 

So I said to my best friends, I am not going back to Surabaya. After leaving the city in the end of 2014, I have sworn to never look back. There is no way that I would coming back to that kind of life. I deserve to [not only be happier] but also accepting the consequences of my choice. And, I wouldn’t let this toxic person who has suppressed me for more than 23 years – to take an ‘advantage’ of getting my help again and again. It is not a revenge, it is self-love, a thing that I have been learning laboriously and costed me a lifetime. I wouldn’t harm my future by going down that road again, the one that worth my sanity. 

I don’t know what will happen tomorrow, next month, or next year – but I know one thing for sure, to live with her under the same roof – again – will demolish what I am trying to build. And I know I don’t want to risk – even the hard life I am having which is for me, is still good enough than what she can offer. Worse, both of us know she doesn’t have anything to offer.

I have been always trying so hard – or maybe too hard – to be a good daughter for her. And all of my unanswerable questions to her returning to me, pinching me all over my body, and confiscating my mental health. I should have let her go years ago. 

And I am finally doing it today. 

Good bye,
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