My Minimalism Journey – June 2017

It has been 2.5 years now since I made a pledge to live minimally.

For the first 2 years, I tried to reduce my possessions so they could fit in 1 suitcase and 1 carry-on backpack. It is a target I set as I have the vision to move abroad someday and I don’t want my stuff to weight me down. I was finally able to turn the vision into reality on February 20th, 2017, when I move to Auckland, New Zealand to pursue my master degree.

It was when, once again, a reality knocked me down. That I am still far far away from being a minimalist. Yes, I was able to fit my belongings that I wanted to bring to New Zealand into one 28″ suitcase, one carry-on backpack, and one small duffel bag. But they are severely overweight. My baggage allowance was 33 kg (checked-in baggage) and 7 kg (cabin baggage). But I was end-up with 39 kg (checked-in baggage) and 11 kg (cabin baggage), so my baggage was overweight by 10 kg. Well, I have evaluated where I went wrong, what things that I don’t necessarily need to embrace a new life, things that I should be left home or better be donated. But it was a painful lesson, as I had to pay a very expensive overweight baggage fee and also the pain I had to bear lugging 11kg backpack. Something that I promised myself not to experience ever again.

Refer to my experience, the key to minimalist moving are:

  • Research in advance about where to find/buy the cheapest things, such as homeware, clothes, stationary etc. I was so overwhelmed by my friends’ warning that everything in New Zealand is much more expensive than Indonesia. But I found out that it is not always the case, there is a store like “The Warehouse” that sell items just as cheap as in Indonesia. If I knew about this before I left, I would have brought items that I could easily find here at a cheap price. The good things are that most of these stores have online shopping website so you can find the exact price to compare even before leaving the home country.
  • I should have only brought clothes for 2 weeks. Only my best quality, favorite, most comfortable and most expensive ones, the clothing items that can’t be replaced. I should have left or donated the rest in Indonesia. Living in a new country means an opportunity to complete our wardrobe with local products and even upgrade it with a better quality. But it doesn’t mean a lot more purchase as it is opposite to the minimalist life principle, but just an enough amount to complete what we already have.

Other than that, I still have an enormous amount of possessions that I keep on my parents’ house. Something that I have to tackle immediately when I go back to Indonesia after finishing my study. I am supposed to only keep a few clothes in my parents’ house, only for when I spend my time there, at maximum is clothes I need for 2 weeks stay, nothing more. I have to also organize my books, my knick-knacks and everything that I no longer need but I am still keeping there. I think I have to get rid at least 80% of them.

Besides that limited items that I will keep at my parents’ house, recently I have listed all possessions that I require to live a normal life. Based on that list, I only need less than 300 items for a settle-life, a life whereby I stay in one place for more than 1 year, most likely at my own house or apartment. For a nomad life (stay in one place for less than a year, on a rental flat/room), I have to stick with 1 suitcase + 1 carry-on backpack rule (with maximum total weight of 40 kg) to contain all my belongings. The items count is reduced a lot to less than 150 items. So, it will make it very easy when I am moving again somewhere. And the last, for a travel life, whereby I keep moving and stay in one place less than 1 week, I have to contain all my belongings in one carry-on backpack only. The items count based on my list is less than 80 items.

I hope that I can stick with the plan and advance my minimalist journey further, as I am really overwhelmed with the burden of my possessions.

 

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The Baggage I brought to New Zealand, still too much!!!!!

 

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Stewart Island, New Zealand

Quiet. Secluded. Cold.

There it is, separated by one hour of a rough ferry ride from the tip of South Island (Bluff), the third and often forgotten island of New Zealand.

The Stewart Island, or “Rakiura” in the Maori language, means “glowing skies”. It refers to the southern lights, or “aurora australis”, which unfortunately did not happen during my time there.

The main reason I visited the island is that it would be the southernmost point of the globe that I have ever been. I usually travel to the north, evidence by my travel map, about 80% of my pins appears at the north of the equator. But as now I live in the southern part of the world, I want to visit its southernmost part, the closest I can be to the Antarctica.

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Stewart Island on the map

And I like it.

Empty beaches, fearless birds, peaceful walking paths heading to the amazing viewing points, and very few people in sight. Peaceful.

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Observation Rock, one of the island’s viewings points

My favorite moment was when I sit in the Oban Park by the beach, gazing the horizon, listening to the wave, and being exposed to the wind. I could do it for a whole day if it wasn’t so cold.

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The garden by the beach

More than 80% of the Stewart Island area is the national park. It hosts one of New Zealand’s great walk. Oban is the name of its township. It is very small. There is only a handful stores, a few restaurants, a limited number of hotel/hostel, and one grocery/convenience store. Kai Kart is its famous fish & chips outlet and it is only open a few hours a day. I observed a very simple life here, probably 80% of the people in this island are tourists, but the kind who want to connect nature only. There’s only one ferry service to access this island (link below) or hop on their helicopter for a faster but more expensive option.

https://www.stewartislandexperience.co.nz/stewart-island-experience/experiences/

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Sunrise in Stewart Island

 

Juventus, the team of my heart

A European friend I met here in Auckland once asked me how I become such a huge Juventus fan. I figured he asked because he saw it’s very odd for someone who came from nowhere near Italy, no relation what-so-ever to Italy, has so much affection for an Italian football club.

Well, I got this question a lot.

And I wasn’t always able to answer it the way I wanted to.

And as I am now mourning in my room after the painful loss in Champions League final, our 2nd UCL final loss in these 3 years, again to a Spanish club, I think maybe I’m just gonna write about it. So next time people ask me the same question, I’ll give them this blog link instead.

How I become a Juventus fan in the first place? it is simply a destiny. Maybe it sounds as a cliche, but every true football fan knows that we don’t choose our team, it chooses us. And I am just so thankful that I end up with Juventus. Juve is a great team with a great history and a great future. Yes, we have involved in some scandals, but we have paid for that. And yes, the last time we lift Champions League trophy was 21 years ago (I was not even a Juve fan yet back then). So what? it doesn’t mean that we will stop trying to get it again.

But why I become so attached to Juventus? this one I know for sure why.

Growing up, I always have this feeling that I am an odd duck. I am different. And I don’t belong anywhere.

I am different than the rest of my family, till this day, I still can’t explain my job (what I do as a process engineer) to my parents and my extended family without puzzling them. Our worlds are just too different. I don’t always feel belong in my family.

Also, I went to school too early, so I always was the youngest in class, yet I was always one of the smartest too (not to brag), so that my classmates treated me a slightly differently. I don’t always feel belong in schools.

And I don’t always feel belong in the office. I am pretty good at my works, but I have a bit difficulty to mingle with my co-workers, simply because I have different interests with the majority of them. I am always eyeing for cheap tickets for my next travel, and have no interest in the latest movie, fashion trends and what is happening between who and who in the office.

And I am an Introvert, so naturally, I dislike small talk. And the vast majority of Indonesia loves small talks. So, I rarely feel belong anywhere else.

But what does all the above have anything to do with Juventus?

Well, Juventus has helped to bridge me with my outside world. There are a lot of happy memories in those places, even when I don’t feel belong to, related to Juventus. I remember my father woke me up in the middle of the night to watch Juventus game. No, he didn’t watch the game, he woke up for tahajud pray, but he woke me up for the game, because he knew that I would be extremely upset if I missed it. I remember my classmate stole a Pippo Inzaghi poster from school library’s newspaper for me, back then when the internet was still scarce and we still relied on newspaper for football news. And I didn’t even ask for the poster, this friend just knew that I would be happy to have it. And I remember discussing Juventus games with my boss at the office, as football is the only thing we have in common outside work, and I was so thankful for those football conversations to balance out the uninteresting small talks that I have to do with others.

On top of that, Juventus is one of a few who made me the person who I am today. Juventus teaches me to love something so far far away, thus it inspires me to travel. If it wasn’t for the life-long dream of watching Juventus live in our stadium in Turin, I would never travel to Europe. If I hadn’t done that Eurotrip, I would never continue to travel to anywhere else in the world, which now traveling the world has become the greatest joy of my life. If I hadn’t traveled the world, I might not be inspired to pursue this scholarship and to have the experience of living abroad. If it wasn’t for Juventus, I would never learn Italian, which made me fall in love in learning multiple languages.

At some extent, I owe it to Juventus, and that’s why I love Juventus so much.

For the same reason, I got offended very easily when someone insults Juventus and when it happens, I will lose my respect to these people almost immediately. I mean, these people, I know them for how long? I will always know Juventus longer than I know them. Juventus was the one who always there, accompanied me growing up and now growing old, through the happy and upsetting moments, through celebrations and rejections, while where were they? So, it is only natural that I will always take Juventus side.

At the end, probably I will not give this blog link if I get the same question again. It is longer than I predicted, and I couldn’t imagine that people really want to read it till the end, which doesn’t really matter, anyway. I am just glad that I write it. It is something that I have been kept for myself.

So next time people asked me how do I become a huge fan of Juventus? I will just say: it just happened.

Forza Juventus!!!

 

 

Journey to The Shire, Hobbiton, Matamata

Lord of The Rings (LoTR) trilogy is one of my favorites movies of all time. It’s the movie that I could re-watch over and over again. I love the plot, the actors, and the setting. Actually, it is also one of few things that inspired me to study in New Zealand. Being so close to Middle Earth – a dream that all LoTR fans share, I guess..

So, naturally – Hobbiton was high up on my travel bucket list, which I have gladly crossed on March 18, 2017, less than a month since I stepped my foot in this country. To go to Hobbiton from Auckland, simply take a bus to Matamata (or alternatively rent a car). Bus connection to Matamata is provided by Nakedbus or Intercity. Bus fare is varied, depend on luck, it’s possible to get $1 fare one way but I got mine for $19 for a return journey. It takes around 2.5 hours to get to Matamata from Auckland. A full 2.5 hours of blue sky, green hills, farms, sheep, cows, the majority of New Zealand scenery.

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The scenery along the way

 

Once arrived in Matamata, the bus stop is in front of the I-Site Office (45 Broadway Street), where Hobbiton tour ticket can be bought here (price: $79/adult). Or alternatively book in advance at:

Hobbiton Tours

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Matamata I-Site Office

 

Matamata is a very small city, which I heard from the tour guide that it almost did not exist before the Hobbiton was built. So timing is important here, as nothing much to do in Matamata. It is literally only one street lined-up with fast food restaurants and a few stores. The Hobbiton tours itself only take around 3 hours in total, including the return journey from Matamata I-Site to Hobbiton location (30 minutes one way), which is already part of the tour.

The Hobbiton tours itself only take around 3 hours in total, including the return journey from Matamata I-Site to Hobbiton location (30 minutes one way), which is already part of the tour. It is a fully-guided tour, so we have to stay with the guide and the group during the entire tour, which honestly I did not like. There were chances to take pictures and everything – but since there were so many people, we had to keep moving, so I felt like in a rush in the entire tour.

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in front of a hobbit hole

 

Despite all of that, the place is really beautiful indeed. Even with so many people there, I could feel the serenity of The Shire. The place is very well-maintained and the details are preserved, it was just like we have seen in the movie. My favorite place is the bridge near the Dragon Inn where I can see the lakes and hobbit holes from afar.

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My favorite spot

 

Anyway, it is a movie set, so wherever I pointed my camera, a good picture is guaranteed. Just make sure to check the weather before booking the tour, the fun won’t be the same without the sun!

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Me and travelmates: Saras, Yurike, Mas Irfan, Bang Ihsan

 

Random Thoughts

As per today, 5 April 2017 – I have been living in Auckland, New Zealand for 1.5 months and it comes to my senses to evaluate, whether this is really what I expected before.

Living abroad, together with pursuing master degree internationally – are two of my bucket list items, which have been sitting there for so long up to the point that I thought that they were not really for me. Until finally in 2015, I found the courage to leave the company where I grew up professionally, whom at this very moment, I really miss for some reasons that I can’t really explain myself. I am not sure if it is because of the dynamic, the pride. the mentorship or the companionship, since when I was there, all I want is being here.

Now I am here and everything is going according to the plan up to this point. I got the full scholarship at the top university in the country that I have been dreaming to live in. I stay in a nice accommodation with the stunning view, the nicest in my whole life even. I meet a lot of new friends and even some potential new best friends. No problem on my study so far, at least I can stay on top of it until today. And I still have time to travel to new and exciting places in between my study schedule. My life seems to go in a right direction at last.

But here I am, thinking, whether it is really what I want?

One of my mentors, a man that I respect in a great deal, told me once that doing this (living and study abroad by myself) would be good for me. He has experienced it himself when he did his research in Swiss – he said during that time, when he was alone in the foreign country, surrounded by beautiful nature when he really took the time to think – what he really wanted to do with his life. What I am experiencing now – was it what he talked about?

It feels weird to think of things like this. I am so accustomed to a life where everything moves so fast and I am just trying to catch up. I have been always very busy or very tired to do anything else. Then here I am, puzzled.

Auckland City Tour

It has been almost a month since I moved to Auckland. In between my study schedule, I always try to go to new places to explore. Luckily, it is not a hard thing to do in Auckland. I read before that in New Zealand, we’ll never too far away from somewhere beautiful – and it is not a myth!. So I listed below the places that I have visited around Auckland. The best thing about these places is that they’re still within <10 km from the city center – so approximately only 5 – 20 minutes by bus.

  • Auckland Domain

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  • Auckland War Memorial Museum

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  • Mount Eden

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  • One Tree Hill

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  • Mission Bay

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  • Parnell Rose Garden

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  • Albert Park

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$5-ish Moslem Friendly Meal in Auckland City

I move to Auckland as student on scholarship, after 10 years working with full income. Therefore I have to adjust my lifestyle, including finding the cheapest place to eat.

To be honest, it’s not easy thing to do in Auckland. First,even the cheapest food here can be categorized expensive in Indonesian currency. And second, even it’s cheap, it still has to comply with halal criteria.

So after a week in Auckland, here are the list:

  1. Domino Pizza, the vegetarian option. Its value-range pizza costs only $5 (8 slices). Their vegetarian options include: Cheesy Garlic, Simply Cheese and Veg Trio. There’s also classic Margharita for $6. They have a lot of branches and there are 2 branches in Auckland CBD (near Queen Street).
  2. Kebab, wrap or rice dish. Most of kebab stalls in Auckland CBD offer halal option. I know 2 stalls: Star Kebab on Queen Street and King Kebab in AUT that offers student deal $5 on weekday 9am-9pm.
  3. NZ Kebabs Sensational Chicken on 11a Mount Street. In addition to kebab and rice dish, this place offers Chicken and Chips, started at $5.

I will update the list when I found new places.

One Day Trip to Mount Bromo

In the world population that is divided by morning risers and night owls, I am definitely NOT a morning riser. I hate morning and I admire those who don’t, I have no idea how they do it. Everyday’s sunrise is really not a big deal for me, I am asleep in most of it. So, to be awake at 3 AM to climb a hill to watch sunrise in Mt. Bromo, was a really big effort for me. But it was worthy.

I did it on the morning of January 22nd, and to do that, I traveled to Bromo-Tengger-Semeru National Park from Surabaya the night before. Together with a group of 6 people, organized by an open trip, we climbed to the hill called Penanjakan-1 by using a Jeep. It was not on the jeep all the way, we had to hike for about 10 minutes or so to the sunrise-watching spot, where at 3 AM was already packed by people.

And after standing in the cold for almost 2 hours, the sun came up. It was cloudy, so it was not as magnificent as I thought before. But I was really amazed by the dark-to-light transformation, it was really beautiful indeed.

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Sunrise at Penanjakan-1

In addition to the sunrise, there are 3 other places that are popular around Mt. Bromo. These are: Padang Savanah, Pasir Berbisik and Mt. Bromo’s crater itself. I was again amazed about how different these places are, it was actually hard for me to believe that these places are located in one area. So close to each other, yet so different.

Padang Savanah is a huge field and hills covered with green grass, which also known as Bukit Teletubbies for its similarity with the kids TV show Teletubbies scene.

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Padang Savanah/ Bukit Teletubbies

Pasir berbisik is actually a wide sand-field surrounding Mt. Bromo and Mt. Batok, it got its name from an Indonesia movie which used it as one of its set. I love this place the most because it was such a contrast with the previous place, and it did make a great photo background.

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Pasir Berbisik

The last place, which was also the most challenging to reach, is Mt. Bromo’s crater. Mt. Bromo is an active volcano, and just recently it was closed for visitor because of increase of volcanic activity. So I felt lucky that I went there on the right time. To get to the crater, we had to walk and hike for 3KM from Jeep parking area, then continued to hike the 250 stairs up to edge of the crater. If walking and hiking is not your thing, you can ride horse up to the start of the stairs. The horse ride cost is around IDR 30K-120K depend on your starting point to ride, and the horse owner will be very persistent to offer you the ride.

To be honest I was quite shocked when I reached the top of the stairs, because the edge of the crater was right there and nothing between me and the crater other than an old concrete fence. The fence did not seem strong enough, moreover with so many people leaned on it. Also it has wide gaps on the bottom, I could easily slip and free fall through the gap!

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Mt. Bromo’s Crater

I spent only 5 minutes up in the crater’s edge, mostly because of the fear and also because of the sulfur smell, then I rushed to go down the stairs.

Trip to Mt. Bromo can be very expensive if you go alone. The cost will be heavily spent in transportation from the city to Bromo-Tengger-Semeru National Park and also the Jeep rental to explore the area. Note that national park covers the area of 50,000 hectares, so it is impossible to walk around it in one day. It is better to go in a group of 6-7 people, it will cost around IDR 2 million in total. But if you can’t gather enough people to join you, another option is to join an open trip just like I did, which was only cost IDR 350K. The trip cost covers everything from pick-up (at 11.30 PM) at selected point in Malang city (in my case is Malang Train Station) to drop-off (at 1 PM) also in Malang City. As I was staying in Surabaya at that time, I went from to Surabaya to Malang by Tumapel Train (IDR 10K at 8 PM) then go back to Surabaya by Penataran Train (IDR 12K at 5 PM).

The open trip information can be found below:

Nusantara Trip – Bromo

Travelling alone is not always bad. in my experience if I always wait for friends to go somewhere, at the end I will not go at all. After all, we can always find new friends along the way, just like I met in Mt. Bromo here.

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Me and my new friends, in front of our rental Jeep

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I am an introvert, so what?

It is not until last year when I learned about the correct definition about introvert/extrovert. I have heard these terms several times before, and all I knew was extrovert is good and introvert is bad, extrovert is preferred among friends and introvert is a loner without any friend. Had someone asked me several years ago, which one I was? I would have definitely say proudly that I am an extrovert, solely for the fact that I have friends, and I am not a shy, awkward loner.

But the psychology course in last September totally changed my point of view. It is turned out that introvert is nothing to do with shyness, awkwardness or loneliness. Introverts and extroverts are different in the way they gain and spend their energy. Introverts’ energy depletes when they are among other people and recharge when they are alone. While extroverts are the opposite, they gain energy when they are among people and depletes theirs when alone.

That’s why an introvert still can be an outgoing person who is sparkling among his/her peers, because introverts can have a truly enjoyable times with others, but not all the time. After spending some time with others, no matter how enjoyable it is, the energy of introverts will deplete and therefore they will need some time alone to recharge. So if you can think of friends who seem always having good times in parties/gathering but also always have an excuse to leave early, most likely they are introverts.

And I am belong to one of them.

I love to hang out with my friends, but not for long. After some time being with them, all I want is lock myself in my room, reading a book or listening to the radio. I love my time in the office, working alongside my colleagues, but after office hours, I prefer to wandering alone in silence. Even during travelling with a group of friends, usually after several days of being together everywhere, I always purposely take a different route/destination so I can go there alone. And if I don’t get my alone time in any given situation, I notice then I become cranky.

For long, I thought that I am “different”, so it is kind of a relief to find out that I am not the only one. Based on what I read, one third of world population is introvert. It means that extroverts outnumbers introverts by twice, so it is logical that we meet more extroverts in our life and the introverts will feel that they are different compared to their surrounding.

If you want to learn deeper about this, I recommend you this one book: The Introvert Advantage – How to Thrive in an Extrovert World by Marti Olsen Laney, Psy.D. I can swear that the book is one of the most useful book that I have read in my entire life, I feel that the book explains myself and it provides guidance on how to be a better version of myself.

Introverts have been misunderstood for long time, even by the introverts themselves. Until today, it is still hard for me to believe how late I found out about this, even when the information is largely available in world wide web. Had I known about it sooner, say when I was a child, I could have developed my potential more.  For me, it is a reminder that  I should always educate myself and learn about new things everyday, because there’s so much knowledge out there that I don’t know yet!

Fettucini with Shimeji Mushroom

 

I usually go with spaghetti and champignon mushroom, but last week I accidentally grabbed a pack of fettucini instead of spaghetti and there was no a single good pack of champignon mushroom in the store, so I took the other mushroom instead, which then I know from google that it is called shimeji mushroom.

Shimeji mushroom (also known as crab mushroom) is smaller size mushrooms, attached together in the bottom of its stalks. Apparently it is normally used in soup or japanese dishes, so if you look for the recipe, almost none mentions pasta. Shimeji mushroom comes with brown and white color. I took the white one because it looks so clean and fresh.

White Shimeji Mushroom

I use the usual simple ingredients for my pasta dish: garlic, chili, olive oil and salt.

How to cook:

  • Cook fettucini in bouling water, remember that fettucini will need more time to cook than spaghetti.
  • Chop garlic and chili in smallest piece as possible.
  • Cut the bottom of shimeji mushroom, and separate each stalk.
  • Heat olive oil in the pan, when it is hot put chopped garlic and chili, sautee till a bit brownish.
  • Put the shimeji mushroom in, sautee for 3-5 minutes. Ensure the mushroom is cooked, otherwise it will taste bitter.
  • Put fettucini in, add some salt and mix together. Done!

I like the taste of my invented recipe, shimeji mushroom is more chewy than champignon mushroom and it goes very well with garlic and chili.

Fettucini and Shimeji Mushroom