Seeing Labuan Bajo and Sumba pictures popped up on Instagram, we’re wondering if Indonesia has other gems we don’t know about.
Then, we stumbled across Sabrina’s travel pictures. She explored Indonesian places we had no idea about (and they’re all beautiful).
Curious, we asked her a lot about her travels. Here’s how it went:
Can you tell us a few things about yourself?
Hi there! My name is Sabrina, and I guess I’m all about Design x Travel. I love being immersed in adventure, nature, and culture - hence I share stories about Indonesia and abroad in theclassicwanderer.com.
Aside from travel blogging, I’m also working as an Interaction Designer in one of Indonesia’s travel tech company. If it sounds kinda alien to you, in short, I participate in designing the user experience of the product.
What's always on your travel bag?
My phone (of course), camera family [sony a6000 kit lens + 35mm 1.8f lens], basic family [charger & earphones!], a light make up kit, and wallet.
If you have a time machine, which traveling experience would you like to repeat again?
I would love to repeat my experience during my college's community development in Alor, East Nusa Tenggara. Since went there for around 2 months, and live with the locals, it made me reflect on life a lot. It was also really challenging at some point to stay away from home for a long time living in a completely different culture, meeting people who have different behavior than you.
I learned a lot about myself, culture, and about Indonesia. Including putting empathy to people around you.
During our free time, we tried our best to explore the city, sometimes with a local from our village guiding us. For example, there is a beach that’s just around 1 KM from the house where I lived that connects directly to the sea. We did snorkeling there to the underwater spots they recommended us to, and the coral was very beautiful and have good visibility. Not only that, it’s like we have the sea all to ourselves. It was a magical experience to explore unknown lands.
The thing that made me miss the most is our “lifestyle” there, where we’re totally disconnected from the world since signals aren’t that easy. we don’t open our laptops often, we totally enjoyed spending the afternoon playing with the kids, we’re living close to nature. So different from my city life. I can see the stars every time I go to my house’s toilet. Seriously.
Can you share with us a few of Indonesia's hidden gems?
Again, I would say Alor, East Nusa Tenggara. I feel like they have it all, from underwater to beautiful mountain landscapes, wrapped in an authentic culture. I’m pretty sure there are still plenty of hidden gems in Nusa Tenggara area.
I also can never get enough of Yogyakarta, especially in Kulon Progo region. Even though I’ve lived there for 4 years, they always have a new exciting landscape to enjoy.
West Sumatera also has fantastic small islands with crystal clear water and clean sands. I believe there are still many more islands that are just like that in the area.
Where is the best food you ever tasted in Indonesia?
It can’t really tell a specific one since nothing beats Indonesian food. I felt this every time I get back from going to other countries, especially non-Asian country. So, I’m proud to be Indonesian (and Asian!)
But I may go with the classic Mie Ayam and Martabak Coklat-Keju (Chocolate Cheese Flavor).
Tell us an unforgettable travel story ??
I think it’s the time where I got lost in a non-English speaking country in the middle of the night. It was in Busan, South Korea.
So I went home kinda late after meeting my Korean friend on a corner of the city. I rode the train to my sister’s dorm. After arriving at the station, I waited for the bus to come for a long time, but ended up riding the wrong bus and stopped at the wrong location where I had to walk for around 2km. It was probably the last bus was, it was late so I have no choice.
The problem is that It was still the end of Winter season, it was DARK, and there was literally no one on the street. The worst part — because it was cold at almost 0 degrees Celsius, my phone is dying and I couldn’t locate my sister’s dorm where I stayed.
In Busan, almost no one literally speak English and not much sign, until I met a lady who talked to me and gave me directions. We communicated via an app, where she recorded her voice in Korean language and it speaks out the English translation.
It was not long until I found out the lady was actually drunk. Thankfully I really did found my sister’s dorm. I had to literally climb the school gate because it’s closed and finally arrived home safely. What a LONG night!
Who takes your pictures when you travel? Any tips on how to explain to a friend who can't get the angles right?
There are 2 possibilities:
- My friend (which most of the time I took the time to redirect to make sure they got the angle that I want!)
- A gorilla tripod. Seriously this tool saved my life a lot of times.
It’s very rare for me to ask a stranger’s help though, but I’ve done it for a few times as well.
Any tips? Hmm if you want yourself to be an object inside the frame, try to just take a picture of them first and told them how you want it exactly to be. If it still doesn’t work, try taking the angle yourself, pass it on to your friend while not moving the position of your camera!
Do you think it is safe for a girl to travel alone in Indonesia? Do you have any tips?
I personally think it depends on the place and cultural context. It can be safe if you obey the culture.
My tip is to understand the overview of the culture within the destination through research on the internet or asking people. For example, dress politely in some places, don’t be too loud when you’re in a neighborhood area, or don’t come home too late by yourself.
We heard about your project @kultara_ What gets you excited about it?
I’m excited about the fact of connecting people to experience local culture they never knew existed, and help to open the eyes of local culture to a lot of opportunities they also didn’t know existed.
Indonesia is so unique. As simple as learning a local place’s culture activity is already fun. If I look back, my experience in Alor I told you earlier inspired me to start this. Because there was a time when our team took some foreign tourists to go to or village and meet the locals, and not only they are blown with the unique experience, but the locals are really happy to know their culture and land are appreciated in the eyes of other people. It's also priceless to see the interaction between the traveler's children of the travelers and the local kids.
I believe that sustainable tourism can be a tool to empower local potential (from culture or even human resource) and increase the local economy. To enable more people to do the purposeful traveling.
Take a look at our collections (www.wearstatuquo.com), how would Sabrina style an outfit to go to her favorite destination?
More details on Sabrina's picks: Vintage Fleur Dress, Tall Jumpsuit, Jogjakarta Set.
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