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Author Archives: sekardewi

About sekardewi

I'm passionate about music, photography, creative writing and traveling. My dream is to travel solo while I write story and capture pictures from all over the world.

The Joy of Traveling Alone


My Sunday morning is lousy. ‘Weather-wise, it’s such a lovely day’, but the noise and the house aura suck : someone has ruined Sunday morning. At times like this morning, I find myself dreaming about my traveling days, especially those days when I travel alone.

The joy of traveling alone begins the second I decide when to do the trip. The destination was determined way before this – usually triggered by reading some travel articles. I don’t have to think about the availability of my travel companion, if he/she can get a time off from his/her office. I don’t have to think about whether it’s a high season, low season, rainy season, dry season at destination and if my travel companion can afford to go there or no, or if he/she is OK to monsoon or if he/she can endure the heat.

I always like experiencing 2 travel style in one period. The first few days/weeks I do some serious splurge. The higher floor the bar is located (hence the fatter the cocktail bill), is the better. The fewer rooms the boutique hotel has, the better it is. Then I move to a cheaper (yet still safe) scene : all-girl dorm room.
I can’t do this kind of traveling when having a travel companion : They usually want to stay at normal room at an international chain hotel. What’s the fun of doing that?

I wake up very early in the morning when I travel : usually before sunrise, even after all those alcohols consumed the night before (read : a few hours before). I call it a duty call. It’s a shame if I can’t take sunrise photo from where I’m at. The morning light is the best soft light and I don’t care if I have to wake up at 4 AM to get it.
Imagine if a travel companion comes back to the hotel with me at 2:30 AM in a not sober state and they will hear noises of me getting ready for the door at 4? Isn’t it a disturbing picture for you?

I like to take a nap in the afternoon when I travel. I need my energy to go out drinking at night and waking up early in the morning for the sunrise. I don’t do tourist activity after lunch time, they’re all packed with tourists in colorful shirts and dresses. I can’t take a good photo with them around. I visit those places in the morning after my sunrise photo shoot – when the places are still abandoned by tourists and abandoned by my travel companion.

During my days of traveling alone, I seldom have meal alone. You see, there are a lot of websites and apps of finding a fellow solo travelers. I’ve tried www.travbuddy.com for doing the bar-hopping for the nights, all ended well (sometimes too well). Of course when I’m staying at the dorm, there’s always a fellow solo woman traveler who’s up for dinner downstairs or go to swanky bar.

 The almost down-side of traveling alone is not having someone to take a photo of me. I’m not into doing selfie when I travel, mind you. But this issue is always solved by smiling to someone who has a DSLR camera (I always bump into professional photographers at 4-8 AM) and ask them to take a photo of me.

The bad thing of traveling alone for me is when I miss having a debate with someone, an argument bantering – if you must say. When that happens, I top up my SIM card and call overseas. The arguments and the noises that once make my Sunday morning lousy are somehow bearable when I’m away from home, traveling alone. 

 
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Posted by on February 9, 2014 in Travel

 

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Decisions, Decisions…


Ajahn Brahm (You can Google him up if you want, he’s a cool Theravada monk from Perth, Australia) once said in one of his teaching sessions that there’s no such things as bad decisions or wrong decisions. A Buddhist (or at least people who believe in reincarnation like yours truly) can be born again, so you can get your decision right in your next life. That is simple, why worry about making bad decisions. Later in that very session, he said something similar to this, “A decision is never wrong when it’s made out of a well mind”.

I was editing my photos on my second to last night in Bangkok in a dorm shared with 4 other females (one of them was an Australian which I had dinner with). I was somewhat frustrated to the quality of the Floating Market photos that I took earlier that day. And bang, suddenly that very Ajahn Brahm’s teaching about how to make a decision appeared in my mind, right down to his Australian/British accents

Bridge 045 editted.

The Bangkok trip was planned 35 hours before the ETD. Despite what my girlfriends and fiance told me (not to go), I walked down to the ATM to pay my plane ticket (expensive despite using the budget airline mind you), paid the daily tour packages with my paypal, and told my fiance and girlfriends to go some place else and mind anyone’s business but mine. (Oh usually as a very-well-planned-traveler-it-annoys-my-fiance-and-my-family-so-much I book ticket and hotels way ahead of the travel date and I have a not-so-firm itinerary so I can wander around the village/the city I’m in)

Was I in my well mind? No. I was not. I was mad and I was upset and I had not slept for days and all I could think of was whether or not I had a photo assignment, I had to travel. Then Bangkok came to mind. Why Bangkok, you asked? No idea. I had no idea why I decided to fly to Bangkok (but maybe the cheap living cost there was the main idea).

Before flying to Bangkok there were lots of yelling to friends and fiance (see above). I told them I wanted an adventure hence the back-packing with a very heavy Nikon camera and 2 lenses. Out of his worry, the fiance booked me a room in a 4-star hotel. That also produced another series of screaming (especially from HIS SIDE after buying the room for 3 nights for me and knowing that I stayed in Bangkok for way more than 3 nights). One of the girlfriends offered to accompany me in Bangkok several days after my arrival, but I didn’t want to have any of that.

I flew to Bangkok, alone. Traveling with little cash and a debit card (I didn’t want to shop I just wanted to take photos anyways, right?) and a pledge not to spend more than USD 12 per day for meal. I promised those 3 people that I would keep in touch, so I had no choice but spending almost 500 THB for phone and Blackberry Service.

I didn’t say it’s not fun. It’s totally the opposite of not fun. The trip had 91% fun and 9% un-coolness (and thank God, I got a photo assignment once I was there). But that very night in my hostel room when suddenly Ajahn Bhram’s voice appeared in my head, I knew the decision of traveling to Bangkok was not a good decision. It was an impulsive decision that has led me to an adventure (just like what I had expected before), but not a safe one.

Next time (at least later when I’m born again), I’ll make better adventures and better decisions.

 
 

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They Can’t Take That Away From Me : the fiction (part 3)


The Ceremony : Chandra Story

we may never never meet again on that bumpy road to love
but I always always keep the memories of…

I was Jade’s mate of honor and walked down the aisle in the processional right before Jade and her dad. During the rehearsal the night before I was told to arrange my pace so I would arrive to my place right when the guitarists ended John Denver’s Perhaps Love. As I walked down the aisle I thought about the feeling I used to have for Jade and the agony I used to have when learning about William and Jade’s engagement.

Jade had broken my heart for the first time when I was 15. It had taken a lot of courage for a fifteen-year old- boy to ask a girl out on a date. In which she replied, “Us? Out on a date? But we’re best friends, we’re like siblings”
She had broken my heart again when I was 18 when we had been dating for 3 months. I was driving her home after we went to a movie one Saturday night when she dumped me.
“I still don’t feel any real chemistry between us”

Over years, Jade had over and over again broken my heart. Back in her early university years (I was in Kansas at that time), she kept telling me about Chris ‘my cute senior from the hiking club with great taste of music’. I didn’t feel that there was any romance between them though. Chris, in short was my substitute for Jade. Man, I felt for him. But I was still jealous. And there was this other guy, that German guy Timm Neumann. Jade said that they were just friends, ‘Timm’s more like my travel companion’. He was there in Bali when Jade celebrated her 25th birthday; Jade had celebrated Christmas with Timm’s family in Munchen; they travelled to Morocco together and as if those were not enough to make me jealous, they traveled to the US to attend my graduation.

I thought I could never hate a man as much as I hated Timm until a little bit over a year ago when she asked me to pick her up at the airport so that I could meet William. I almost didn’t recognize Jade when I saw her at the airport. She looked unbelievably beautiful and radiant. A guy behind her gave me his awkward smile. I remembered that for a moment I shut myself from Jade and the rest of the world and tried to concentrate on that guy. Medium height, had a messy dirty blonde hair, and a pair of boyish green eyes underneath his tortoise square glasses. The word ‘nerd’ crossed my mind right before Jade knocked my head with the 750g Toblerone bar and said, “Chandra, this is William my boyfriend. William, this is my best friend Chandra”.

Thus began my love and hate relationship with Jade & William. Listening to how they met (at a party when they were seated next to each other and ‘William was the one who saved me from dozing off in that party full of snobs’) to how they got engaged a few months after the airport moment (‘like an Easter egg hunting, but instead of finding a painted egg I found his granny’s Faberge egg with “will you marry me” note in it’) until she requested me to be her mate of honor had made my friendship with Jade in a very awkward situation. I had still expected Jade to return home after getting tired of her abroad adventure and married the guy next door who had known her since her preschool days. What exactly that William had and I didn’t have except for that hyphenated surname? Wasn’t it easier to marry someone from the same cultural background? I had all those questions crowding my head until I got a series of birthday presents from Jade on my birthday.

She showed up in my house with a box of good cigars at breakfast with notes “a mate of honor should always enjoy cigars with the bride”. She surprised me again by giving me the latest Kindle device (which was a useless little device in Jakarta), a pair of cuff links with my birth stone and had arranged to rent a boat for the whole weekend which we could use for fishing – a memory of our childhood weekend. After gulping down uncountable cans of beer, on the deck of the boat she produced a stack of cards from her purse which I immediately recognized her birthday cards from me over these years.

“You know, at the end of any of these cards you always wrote down ‘I wish you nothing but the best’. Through our ups and downs, you always wrote that. Lately knowing you always sulk when we talk about my wedding, I wonder if you really meant them”, she startled me with her words, I mumbled saying that of course I meant every word I wrote.
“Well, thank you for that. I think that because of those wishes you wrote me every year, I had found my best partner in life as I had found you as my best friend in life. I just want to tell you that I also wish you nothing but the best”.

As in cue, my 3 minutes long walk had come to an end as the guitarists finished their song. I took my place beside Lauren and winked at William as we both facing the aisle waiting for Jade and her dad to enter the ceremony site.

 
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Posted by on October 27, 2012 in Fiction

 

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If I Were a Dog


My family used to have 24 dogs. Twenty-four. No, we were not a breeder.

Leif

My family used to have 24 dogs. Twenty-four. No, we were not a breeder.

My old man and my had ma started with 2 dogs and they, you know, bred. None of the family members had any heart to sterilize the gods nor to sell the puppies, we did give some puppies to people who had a good track recorder with dogs though.

"My family used to have 24 dogs"

It was a great line and had become a great ice-breaker telling people that we used to have twenty-four dogs. They were mixed-breed and they were all playful. We kept them since we love them not because we were proud showing them off around.

My mom now has a pure-bred shih-tzu named Thomas Phillip. I'm sure (after living with the dog for the last 3 years) that I'm nothing like Thomas, personality traits and resemblance wise. For starter, I'm not that spoiled a girl and I don't follow people around like that nosy dog. I'm sure I'm nothing like a pomeranian (which will come to the house next week as my mom's next dog). I'm not that yappy.

I may be a German shepherd, I'm nervous being around noisy kids (and crying babies). I may be a Jack Russel Terrier because : I'm good at hunting, I'm loyal to my loved ones, and one shouldn't forget the one blue eye (one bruised eye to be exact) that I had once.

So there you go, a mixed of German Shepherd and Jack Russel terrier.

ps : I'm cute also, so I guess it's a mixed between German Shepherd, Jack Russel terrier and a maltese.

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Posted by on July 28, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

44 reasons why I love my fiance


I asked my fiancé what present he wanted for his 44th birthday present. He couldn’t think of any. So we kinda make a discussion if I can find the list of 44 things about him. Let’s do it now!

Below is the 44 reasons why I love him (in random order) :
1. He has the loveliest green eyes
2. He is a genius
3. He knows the history of indonesia so well
4. He sucks at lying and ends up making fake excuses and lame names such as United Clean Sand organization
5. He’s funny – 3 stooges funny
6. He has a sexy morning voice when answering my daily wake up call
7. He sings rawhide much better and funnier than one in Blues brother
8. He has a pepsodent smile
9. He sends me flowers
10. He bought me an Ipod for no reason
11. He works really hard to make me happy
12. He likes dogs
13. He likes mountain climbing and hiking
14. He doesn’t mind that I don’t dive
15. He bought me a camera for my birthday
16. He has so many shoes
17. He tells great story
18. He doesn’t mind having more than one wedding reception
19. He likes to wake up late so I can have my morning yoga session undisturbed during holiday
20. He bought me a new ipod after the first one is broken
21. He jumps off the plane – parachuting
22. He creates a rhyming nicknames for me
23. He made the first approach
24. He stands by me
25. He always calls our immigration lawyer right after his payday
26. He doesn’t realize that I snore
27. He’s a great kisser
28. He gets along well with parents
29. He thinks all my pictures are cute and my songs are pretty. I think he’s lying but I love him for trying
30. He’s a great analyst
31. He’s a great athlete
32. He bought me a nicer camera after my boss ruined the first one
33. He encourages me to try new things
34. He’s so patient
35. His idea of being pampered is me plucking out his facial hair
36. He prays every night for me
37. He always gives me clues that I should have a cooler gadget (iPad, kindle) although I’m not a gadget freak
38. He appreciates classier things in life (yes, classier means expensive)
39. He’s a generous guy
40. He says thanks to strangers
41. He’s open to new ideas
42. He likes to give me pop quiz about him
43. He trusts me blindly
44. He loves me -an uptown girl- just the way I am

Happy birthday baby bear! Mwah

 
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Posted by on December 28, 2011 in Dating & its nitty gritty, List of things

 

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SELF PORTRAIT


I have taken so many pictures of myself. I took a picture of myself after coming home from a party. If the make up still looked fresh then doubtless it would be my latest Facebook and/or BBM profile picture. If the make up had already faded, then I would call my dermatologist friend and complained about my oily skin (sigh) Those pictures however are not self-portraits, those are proofs of Narcissism.

Then I read about self portrait. And literally, on Christmas eve, ten minutes after reading that article, I decided to give it a try. How difficult is it anyway? Like I said, I have taken a lot of pictures of myself. So there I was, taking out the tripod, picking up which cameras to use, making a concept of the self portrait photo session, taking out clothes to wear.

Now, more than 24 hour after my first trial of self portrait photography I can say that although intriguing and fun, it’s far from easy. I clicked so many (too many?) shots and only get a few good pictures.

Here are ones of them. Which one do you like?

Image

Mirror image.

I can't be without my earrings

Ashtanga yoga

 

 

 
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Posted by on December 25, 2011 in Dailies, Photography

 

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10 Things I'm Certain Of


Sunsets Sunrise

I’m certain that there are more of uncertainties in life than certainties in life.
I bet there are millions of uncertainties in life, but I can only find like a hundred or so certainties.

Here are 10 of them :

1. I’m certain that sun sets in the west and rises in the east.
It’s there in the encyclopedia, in the science book, in wikipedia, and here in my blog.

2. I’m certain that being too careful in setting the aperture and the speed in your DSLR camera will just a waste of time and you’ll lose THE moment.
My advice : set it in automatic setting and click away

3. I’m certain that scatting (as in jazz) can only be done by a very few singers in the world. Ms. Ella Fitzgerald is one of them..

4. I’m certain that driving an automatic transmission car can be done in using 1 foot only

5. I’m certain that Ubud, Bali is the place to go if you want to be away from the city life.
Ask Liz Gilbert (whose book, btw, I haven’t finished reading)

6. I’m certain that Frank Sinatra has the smoothest voice in history.
Ask your dad.

7. I’m certain that the hardest problem is that the one one is having that moment.

8. I’m certain that things will always pass, including that hardest problem one is facing.

9. I’m certain that putting on night cream is one of the boring things in life.
Ask me (but please don’t tell my dermatologist friend)

10. I’m certain that life is awesome.

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Posted by on December 9, 2011 in Dailies