Vertical Exploration

I just came back from Bali and this time, I didn’t do the usual beach trip. I trekked up Mt. Batur.

To be honest, this is my first real mountain-hike. Mt Bromo was not a hike at all. Jeep covered 80% of the trekking and horse did 15% and I just used my feet for 5% of the whole journey.

Trekking Mt. batur was a very unique experience for me. It’s not a surprise for me that I love outdoor activity, I’ve always enjoyed hiking, but so far I’ve only done horizontal hiking, like in Italy (Cinque terre hiking) and some national park in Australia. Yes, Blue mountains was vertical too, but Mt. Batur was raw. No man-made steps or anything. It was just me and the mountain. It’s raw. The feeling was mixed between exciting, scared, curious and amazed. It’s personal, intimate.

The path from the "New Crater"

The path from the “New Crater”

Technical stuffs first!

If you want to trek mount Batur, you need a car and a guide. If you want to pay around US$80 then you can book online and some tour will pick you up from hotel.

But we don’t wanna pay US$80 of course. :p we rented a car and drove from our villa in Ubud. The journey supposed to be 1-1.5 hours until the carpark of Mt Batur Trekking guide association, but we were lost so it took us 2.5 hours. :(

We finally reached there abour 4:30 am and immediatelly found a guide. Don’t worry there are plenty of guides, you won’t run out of guides. Our guide, Made, was a cheerful and humorous person and he, of course, knows a lot about Mt. Batur. Throughout the journey he told stories about the eruptions (there are several eruptions) and how once the whole village was swept off just like Pompeii.

We dealt for 750K (S$75) which shared by 5 persons. Bandi, I, Ricky (Bandi’s groomsman), Wai Sie (Ricky’s gf), and Klemens (my childhood friend). It’s super cheap if you compare with the tour that costs US$80 per person!

The guide will provide torch and he will bring your stuffs if you’re tired (just try not to bring so many stuffs!) and of course they will open the trek for you.

The journey

Trekking Mt. Batur is no joke. I’m not super fit with six packs but I exercise regularly and I consider myself fit, however… I still huffed and puffed all the way up. The trek was quite challenging especially yhe part between the first stop-base to the first summit (the one with so many monkeys).

Ain't it kiddo cute!?

Ain’t this kiddo cute!?

So the first part of the trekking was from carpark to the stop-base. It took about 1 hours, at first it was flat and then became quite steep. We left Klemens in the stop-base coz he was not fit that day and he decided to stop. The four of us continued going up and it was really tiring for me. First of all, I haven’t eaten anything, that’s probably my biggest mistake. Learn from it. Eat something before challenging Mt. Batur!

It took me another 45 minutes full of 42 degrees of steepness and total rough rocks. Super difficult for me as a newbie in mountaneering. But once I reached the top, it was worth it. :) the view was amazing. Universe is awesome, eh? I met so many cute monkeys too!

Oh life's good.

Oh life’s good.

We made it!

We made it!

There is actually another summit (maybe another 45 minutes up) and I rejected the proposal. I was effing tired. So the guide proposed to explore other area, the new crater. It was another 45 minutes to the new crater and another 1 hour to another viewing point. The journey was much more interesting than going up. We walked around the mountain to the other side and went up to the crater. It was not so difficult but dangerous as some wrong steps could lead to falling down.

I enjoyed this part so much. When we went back down, there was one part of the area that was full of sand and we had to run in order to go down and the sand would suck our feet while we ran and it seemed like we were flying down the mountains like a ninja. It was super fun!!!

My friend, Ricky made this image below as a memoir of our adventure. The four of us made a pact to trek to Mt. Agung next year!

Photo 25-11-15, 11 29 34 AM

The aftermath

Of course I slept like dead once I reached the villa, just right after I stuffed 1 huge pack of nasi padang into my mouth. Oh wait, we’re not talking about that aftermath, are we?

I swore a lot in my mind when I climbed up the trek why did I do this? How could I end up here, gasping for air to breathe? This will be the last time! Etc. But then I felt a foreign feeling when I reached the peak and I wanted more. It’s like addiction. It’s like that annoying TV commercial that plays in your head. It’s annoying but it comforts you strangely.

It’s not the mountain we conquered, but ourselves.

– Sir. Edmund Hillary

I always wanted to see the world. It turns out we can explore the world vertically ad well. I’m still unable to face my phobia of being drowning hence no diving, but I can keep exploring mountains.

Cheers,

May, keep exploring.

Impromptu

I woke up feeling awesome today after yesterday’s blue so I make a post about awesome thing today.

One thing I love the most about life is impromptu moments, of course I don’t like the bad ones, but I’m still willing to take the risk for such “Surprise me!” moment to a meal in the restaurant, a choice of cake flavor, or a simple “how do you want your eggs?”

The most awesome moment of life closest to surprises is an impromptu trip. I have done it three times in my life (and still counting).

First was in March 2009, I was renting a house with my two bestfriends, Strawberry and Avocado (I name them anonymously based on their favorite fruits. Why must anon? Dunno, just seem cool) in Bandung. We were finished college just months ago and Avocado was still looking for a job. She texted me and strawberry in the middle of our work saying that she got a job interview from an NGO’s that she was so excited about. The problem was that the job was in Jogjakarta.

So later that night, Avocado and me went to the train station and took the midnight train from Bandung to Jogjakarta while Strawberry (was in Jakarta) took another train from Jakarta. We met in Jogja the next morning and stayed in a freakin cheap hotel that didn’t even have proper door. We ate Lontong Sayur for breakfast that costed only about 50cents and it was freaking delicious! The three of us ended up having a blast and Avocado ended up getting the job. =)

Here’s a photo of them posing with random Bule.

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The second impromptu trip was in November 2011, it was Saturday morning and I was so stressed at work when my Strawberry told me that she’s going to take off to Bali to meet up with our other friends and have a holiday. She actually already told me about this Bali trip months before and kept asking whether I could join but I said I can’t because I had work and I didn’t have any leave left.

I’m texting with my Strawberry on regular basis so she usually will tell me almost everything (I know this sounds like lesbian relationship, especially when I said my strawberry). She texted me, “Ok, I’m off to Bali now. Talk to you later.”

And I replied, “wait. I wanna come.”

She knows me so well to know that I’m serious. “Buy a ticket now and I’ll wait at the airport.”

Then I did the craziest thing ever, I opened Jet Star website, book  the flight on 3pm that day and costed me about $300. Well, not so bad for a last minute flight. I went back home from office in noon in a rush, met Bandi to kiss him goodbye for the weekend and off to Changi Airport, 2 hours later, I was already in Bali. Four friends were there waiting for me at the airport and it turned out, it was one of the best holiday I had ever had!!!

Five of us stayed at my Cininta’s house, the one on the far right in the picture. She’s a Balinese, she’s one hell of lucky bitch, Bali is her hometown!

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We were five single girls having carefree time on one of the most beautiful island in the world. We spent afternoons on the beach and nights on bars and mornings on beds. And that, my friend, is the kind of holiday a girl must have at least once in their life.

I’m so glad I followed my guts.

The third one was last Saturday, January 2013So it started on Friday night when I hung out with friends and they asked me to come along to Batam the next day. I told them I couldn’t because I had NDP audition in the afternoon and it was a very serious thing that I couldn’t miss or skip. However on Saturday morning, Bandi asked me, “why are you so grumpy today?”

I said, “I don’t know. Maybe because the Hougang Gang is going to Batam today and I can’t come along.” I have been living in Singapore for more than two years and not even once I ever went to Batam. So the idea popped up, “Hey, let’s just go there after your work finished.” (Because Bandi worked overtime on that Saturday) And Bandi said yes. So I called the ferry booking hotline and booked the same hotel with my friends who already went off to Batam.

I went for NDP audition that started on 2pm and only took about one hour, while my other friend who also went for audition was still stuck there for the next two hours. I was so lucky, I went straight to Harborfront and reached there on time like I promised to the ferry hotline, to take the 4 pm ferry.

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Again, my impromptu trip was a blast! I ate Seafood, nasi warteg, martabak manis, martabak telor, nasi padang, bubur ayam, lontong sayur and everything that’s still possible to go into my already-big-tummy. We were karaoke-ing for freaking four hours until we lost our voices and at last I went to saloon for a hair spa, after about one year! (I never go to saloon in Singapore because they are freaking expensive!)

The bottom is, I had a great time during my 24 hours stay in Batam. Good food, great friends and 4 hours non-stop singing? What could’ve gone wrong!

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Why impromptu moments are always a blast?

Impromptu, (not only a trip, it could be spontaneous moment like a dance, a movie night, hang out with friends or cooking session) is always a blast. It is because we don’t have any expectation. When we plan something, we must have an expectation, and if the moment turns out to be below our expectation, we’d be disappointed. That is why unplanned things are always the best. =)

im·promp·tu [im-promp-too, -tyoo]: made or done without previous preparation

The impromptu trip: How and When?

  1. Eliminate the excuses. It is surely appears at first, such as: But I don’t have any leave left, but I must do laundry tonight, but there’s a season finale of Glee tonight, or whatever. There are always ways to figure it out. You can always reschedule unimportant things, ask a friend a favor to cover something, take unpaid leave or anything! This might sound irresponsible, that is why I don’t do this every month (gee!) so once in a while, just live your life like today is your last day.
  2. Money matter. I used to think going on a trip must be expensive or at least will cost my allowance or my lunch for one week. Yes, it needs money, but again, you can always compromise. If you don’t have that much of money in your saving account, then don’t go so far or take the cheapest train, stay in a very cheap hotel. If you don’t want to lose any money at all, then don’t go on a trip at all, or find a sugar daddy. There’s always a way. I myself always spare some amount of money on my payday to be transferred to my travel account. (Yes, I have one bank account specially made for my travel purposes. Haha)
  3. It is always the right time. There is no bad time for an impromptu trip, trust me! It is always the right time. Don’t think too much! Regardless the people, the place and the season, If it feels right, then it probably is.
  4. Don’t look back. When you already book the ticket, don’t think twice for pack and go to the train station/airport/ferry terminal. JUST GO, don’t sit and think “what the hell did I just do?” JUST GO. Once you’re inside the train/airplane/ferry, there’s no way of going back. Yes, there is always the scary feeling once you hit the book button, it’s normal. Just don’t look back and go ahead with plan A.
  5. Tell at least one person. This is very important! Either you’re going with friends or alone, ALWAYS tell somebody about it. Just in case something happened, somebody would know where you were going. I know impromptu trip is a little reckless, but it doesn’t mean you must be stupid.
  6. No what ifs. When the trip is finally happening, don’t think about what is the thing you supposed to do on that time, like what happens with Rachel on Glee, or Is your dirty laundry being eaten by rats or any stupid worries. Just enjoy your time and get ready to have one memorable time when you can tell your grandkids all about.

Bandi said I’m the kind of person who lives life more of the moments I have than the things I’ve achieved, while he’s the other way around. I guess he’s right. Without Bandi, maybe I will be just living my life from one moment to another without motivations for achievement, and without me Bandi will just work work work without having real adventures. I guess universe had introduced the two of us for a reason.

There’s a silver lining that I’m holding Indonesian passport, because if only I held one of those black passport, I would probably spend my salary for the impromptu trip every month and live the rest of the month eating only Indomie. =P

So, any impromptu trip you wanna share with me? ;)

Cheering with kuah lontong sayur,

May.