A Different Christmas Culture: Travel

“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.”

―St. Augustine

Christmas in Indonesia is somewhat different from Christmas elsewhere. We still have the ever-rampant Christmas sales everywhere, but the tradition in celebrating it is rather different.

More often than not, only few families here gather around and exchange gifts and eat scrumptious meals and enjoy the warmth of a family the way everyone else does. When it comes to Christmas, the most popular question here would be “Where will you go?”. Christmas is a peak holiday season where families here would travel abroad in the Christmas – New Year time period.

This is a part of our culture, but still resembles the Western culture of Christmas in the way the spirit of giving is emphasized (parents here give kids gifts, only in the form of a one-week paid trip to Hong Kong with family, or equivalent). However, we practically chopped off all unnecessary physical items to be bought as gifts and substituted it with quality time in a quality place other than home. Less clutter.

Aside from that, giving a travel gift helps us not to indulge in impulsive purchases. No more window shopping or anything like it, especially when “SALE” is printed everywhere during Christmas.

On the other hand, the sad truth is that most people (in Indonesia, as I see it) would only visit the popular tourist attractions. They merely give short-term chills and thrills that would eventually be replaced by the next travel holiday season. In the end, all we remember would be something that seemed repetitive and monotonous (theme parks, theme parks, theme parks). They are not important.

Comparatively, travel is better than physical gifts in terms of value (memories last longer than physical objects). Travel also demotes the endless Christmas shopping spree. But is travel the right Christmas gift? There is no same answer for everyone. To me, travel is a great gift choice if it does not involve the same-old go-to tourist attractions, but the lesser-known, culture-related destinations that can expand our world view. Attending local events, tasting local delicacies and conversing with the natives of the area are great places to start. As for families, some creativity might be useful to spice up their holiday plans, because some of these lesser-known destinations are not necessarily approved to be ‘fun’ for kids. Tell the great stories that comes with the destination, make them feel comfortable and excited.

Travel is the window to the world, and not merely a pleasure haven. With Christmas just around the corner, will travel be your Christmas gift this year?


Minimalism and Social Solitude

“I have never found a companion that was so companionable as solitude.”
― Henry David Thoreau

NOTE: This is the first of a two-part series on Minimalism and Solitude. Click here to check out part 2.

If there’s a choice between being exposed to cacophonies in massive events and reading a good book at home, I’ll most definitely opt for the latter (I have a high Introversion preference). Being an introvert, solitude is becoming a necessity for me. Not only does it “recharge” myself for the all-time-loud-and-exhausting school hours the following day, but it also helps me focus more on tasks at hand, and getting to know more of myself (questioning myself on important personal matters, stuff like that). Solitude, however, is not confined to introverts. Extroverts need them as well, though not as much as introverts need them. Everyone needs solitude to find rest away from our busy everyday lives and contemplate on life-shaping decisions (such as deciding which university to attend, which is unfortunately pretty complicated).

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The Tale of the Treasure Hunters

The story begins somewhere around a rapid stream, with a group of treasure hunters in it. The stream roared and crashed to the banks, where there stood another group of not-treasure-hunters, reaching out their hands to help these treasure hunters.

Some hunters do not notice the helpers and continue to swim away with the current, risking their lives and believing that there is a pot of gold at the end of the stream waiting for them if they continue. Those who noticed the helpers? Some believed that the helpers are just illusions that are hindering them from finding treasure and so they won’t bother to be helped. Some, with full might, desired to be like those standing on the banks, happy and safe, so they swim against the current in an attempt to find a shallow ground for them to step out of the stream. They didn’t bother the helping hand. As a result, only a few made it, while the rest returned to the mercy of the stream. The rest took the helping hand and pulled themselves to safety. Continue reading

Some Misconceptions about Minimalism

A lot of people became skeptical towards minimalism when they first heard it. This is no surprise. After all, being stress-free at work and still having the time to pursue our passions and be happy and experience lots of great stuff is too good to be true, right? Says who? Continue reading

Definition of Minimalism


Minimalism is a word that has a lot of meaning. To Google, minimalism is art-related. To most others, minimalism is “giving up possessions and live like a Tibetan monk”, or “living out of a backpack”, or at best “living in tiny houses with no decorations”.

Little do people (and Google) know that minimalism is not just art, but a lifestyle; not an extreme lifestyle, but a desirable one.

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Restraint and Minimalism: How to Think Win-Win

Quick fact: I still live with my parents. Nearly all 17-year-olds in Indonesia does.

Living with my parents is definitely one of the greatest blessings of being in the Eastern half of the world and I love it, the drawback is always that tiny nuisance called restraint.

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