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I am lucky enough that in the past (before current currency turmoil) I got enough opportunities (...and certainly the bucks...) to travel around. What I mean by travel here is that I go to "foreign" places on my own, and making my own arrangements (sometimes I just packed and off, ... as if I were going to a shopping mall). Only once in my travels I took a package tour. Yuck, I hated it...and swear that I will never take such a tour again (unless somebody is going to pay it). Please do not feel offended reading this page (particularly reason #2). I'm trying to be are some reasons why I like to travel:

  1. To escape from tiredness and boredom associated with my routine life (work and school). I always feel "fresh" after returning from a vacation ....... and looking forward to having another vacation! I really mean this. A few years ago, I felt so depressed doing my job. I always felt dizzy, sweating, and wanted to escape when I about to perform my duties (what's that? ....... I guess I've told you what I am doing for living).

    The depression was so unbearable that I decided to quit and took a vacation for almost 2 months. I travelled to Europe (this is to show you that reason #2 below is true).....travelling from Britain, to France, Spain,...up to Scandinavia, and down to the Netherlands. Amazingly, after I returned home there was no more depression and I regretted my decision to quit.

  2. To show off to people that I have been to famous (and infamous) places, not only in my own country but other countries as well. To prove that I have been to a certain place, I took a picture of me in front of well-known landmark. So people will believe that I've been to this and that place. Unfortunately most of the pictures were damaged when my house was flooded several times....but I still have the negatives safe.

    So far, I've been visiting 24 of Indonesia's 27 provinces. The three provinces I haven't visited are: Jambi in Sumatra (it's now filled with smog!), Central Sulawesi, and East Timor. Aside from Indonesia and the Philippines where I live now, I've been to 36 other countries on 5 continents ...... including Afghanistan (kidding?). Actually I lived there .... when I was a 7-year old kid. CLICK here if you want to know places I have visited. Thirty six countries? Not so impresive, huh? I guess for an ordinary Indonesian who works as a "teacher" that number is not so bad.

  3. Ever since I was a kid, I always like airplanes. If I remembered correctly, my first flight happened when I was 6 years old. I even wanted to be a pilot. Unfortunately, I got no chance because I've been wearing glasses since I was only 12. I did not fly so much until I left college and got a job. Fortunately, my job involves a lot of travel and most involved flying to far away places. Even though I've flown so many times, I always feel excited when I have to fly...just like when I took my first flight.

  4. To be able to experience things I cannot experience at home such as ...... well, what would you expect to experience when you go to Bangkok, Thailand and make a trip to Patpong Road? ... or to Timog Avenue in Quezon City, Philippines? 42nd Street in New York City? In Jakarta, people go to Jalan Mangga Besar for the similar thing.

  5. ....... the usual things: learn other cultures, systems,...etc.

You may or may not agree with me.....the best way to experience new things is to travel on your own. Taking a group tour (like what Indonesians and maybe Filipinos like to do) won't enrich your life. Everything is pre-arranged, you won't experience the real thing, like how to cope with immigration and customs officers in some countries .... or what you will do if you lost your tickets and passport in a foreign land.....or the simplest thing: how to get your own food when everything is unfamiliar? With tour groups what you' ll get? Photo opportunities (Indonesians and Filipinos like this very included), visits to souvenir shops and factories (some sell inferior goods at exorbitant prices).

How do I get the information? Until know, I think LONELY PLANET is the best source of Information for independent travellers. Their books provide enough information for arranging your travel. Even during my trips within Indonesia, I relied on their book because they have almost everything you need to get going. Another source that might be useful is FODORS...I guess it is for upscale travellers. Sometimes (and it's normal for printed books) their books are outdated, but you can still use them. In Indonesia don't trust booklets or brochures provided by government tourist offices. I even wonder if they ever did the travel.

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Wibowo Santoso © 1997