I am constantly missing something these days. Traveling. Never been anywhere,literally, for almost 2 years. I miss airports, packed-luggages, stamped-passport and everything about it.
Recently, little brother-in law has just departed to Manchester, pursuing his master degree in UoM. Went with his pregnant wife to the very same city I had been exactly 20 years ago where my father pursued his master degree.
Since it is impossible to go anywhere right now and maybe still (quite) impossible in the next few years, maybe reminiscing some of my traveling experiences done with my family in past years will do :
1. June 1994, Manchester,UK
Have written about this completely in the previous post. My very first flying experience abroad by Emirates. It was beyond awesome.
Visited several other cities too such London,Sheffield, Harrogate, Buxton, Bath, Blackburn, and Stockport.
It brought more than a mere experience of living abroad or vacation for me. It had greater impact which benefits me in so many things in my life in upcoming years.
It was 20 years ago, yet, those days still vividly pictured in my mind like it was just a week ago.
2. October 2003, Saudi Arabia
It took 9 years until our second big trip together. It was right after my birthday that we were leaving for Mecca and Medina to do our first Umra.
Since we flew with Gulf Air, we stopped by and stayed for a night in Manama,Bahrain also. Two nights actually, depart and return. It was quite a bonus.
Couldn’t helped crying while seeing Ka’bah for the first time. Live. I felt so small. Not forget to mention, it was not an ordinary Umra. It was a-Ramadhan-Umra. Having experienced Ramadhan Umra was something special. It was double bonuses.
We enjoyed break-fasting together in the mosque. Came only with a glass of tea and few dates but returned to hotel with youghurt,bread,and any other food given from others. Tarawih prayer was done in 23 raka’at and I was not able to keep up with that. Exhausting:-(
Strangely, we had more energy to walk around the shopping malls after tarawih for hours:-))
All the market and shopping malls were closed during the day in Ramadhan. Instead, they started opening after Asar till sahur.
I decided to wear jilbab after returned. Another thing that proved traveling brought more than merely going to some places. It went far beyond that.
3. May 2008, Batam-Singapore
After returned Umra, I started having a long-term traveling plans. I started saving for Hajj and visiting other countries. Not long after I returned from Umra, I got my first permanent job as a piano teacher. So, it helped a lot. I saved religiously and buying US Dollars once the balance reach 10 millions rupiahs. Yes, thinking about that right now, it was quite unbelievable that I had almost USD 6000 few years ago:))
Singapore was the first country I went with others without any of my family members. I went with my dad collegues, staying in a budget hotel, wandering on the Orchard Road by myself, visiting Borders ( a-most-fascinating book store i had ever seen), Takashimaya, Isetan, the famous Merlion statue, and stopped by Sentosa Island using cable car.
I remember a quote from Ibnu Batuta, if I am not mistaken, saying, “Traveling, it makes you speechless then turn you into a story teller”. Something like that.
It is definitely true. When I came home, I couldn’t stop telling everyone at home about my first ‘solo’ trip until they had it more than enough:))
4. November 2008, KL,Malaysia
Just 6 months after my Singapore trip, I had another chance of going on ‘solo’ trip. It was the most impulsive trip that I have ever had. It came suddenly out of nothing.
Started when me and my family plan to visit my grandma after a wedding reception. It was just an usual visit on Sunday. Then, one of my aunt was there too at grandma’s house. I didn’t know how it began, suddenly there was a convo that my aunt would leave for KL on Tuesday for a confrence. Nothing special with that.
What stunned me at that time was she suddenly asked me to join her. Told me that I just needed to buy the tickets and I could stay in a-5-stars hotel where the confrence took place with her. She said that I just needed to prepare for the tickets and some pocket money for 4 days.
My heart was racing hearing all those offers. But, the problem was I had my job and it was too sudden. How could I obtain a permission from my principal in one day notice? It was Sunday and she planned to leave on Tuesday.
It even seemed more impossible at that time where my partner was currently in Australia for student exchange, so I was alone in-charge for the class. If I left too, then no teacher in charge for the class for several days. And, I just started working there only about 4 months. So many impossibilities laid over head.
I spent the rest of Sunday thinking over and over about that. It was a very rare chance, but yet, how I could conquer all those impossibilities. What reason to be explained to gain the permission. It was really an experience;))
I went to school on Monday with a very heavy heart. Mentally prepared to talk with my principal. She was ok actually and I was pretty close too, but she could be very strict. I had prepare my reason and truthfully, I had said yes to my aunt on Sunday night. Should remember that I could be that insane in the past years:))
I talked to my principal slowly, telling her that I had to go for immediate and urgent family matters for three days and apologized for this sudden notice since the bussiness also came suddenly and could not be delayed at all. It was very important for me to go.
At first, she was very surprised. Leaving the class for three days, when my partner was not there too, maybe she thought I didn’t have my consciousness. But since I have started everything so I had to go all the way. Then she started to slowly accepted it by asking me if i could shorten it for two days or even one day. I told her that it was quite impossible since the ticket had been issued and etc.
I think it was very true that everything that should be yours will really go to you no matter how,when, and where. This trip taught me that. I left my principal office with her permission and simple order that I had to prepare everything while I was absent. I entered the room as if carried a big rock in my heart and left with my as-light-as feather heart:D
I flew with Malaysian Airlines this time. When I remembered again, I think it was not an economy class since the price was quite expensive and it was very spacious. So different with one I went few next years when I went there to study.
Arrived at KLIA at 11 pm and had a taxi to the hotel. My aunt had her, i dont know how it called, but a malaysian young man that once stayed at her house for a months before, so this man had escorted me and my aunt during our staying, not always, but most of the time.
Thanks to him, I went to many interesting places. He took me to Istana Negara, eating a delicuous rojak nearby, bought me a ticket to go up the famous Petronas Twin Towers, yes I went up there to the 42nd floor, tried sate Kajang, went to Putrajaya at night, and many other places. It was the very first time too I rode on two-doors BMW, with a guy that I just known in few days,alone:))
I also had my literally solo trip there. I went to Melaka with a tour group by bus. I went alone while my aunt had her confrence. It was a one-day trip. Oh, I was also recently broke up with le husband that time. Our worst one. So, during the trip, I had a very good time to think about everything happened. It was a great escape.
What funny was, 4 years later, around the same month, I went to Melaka for the second time with that one I broke-up with,while he was visiting me when I studied my master degree. Sometimes, life is truly beyond belief:).
Melaka was like a historical city. I went to the famous chirstchurch, and eformosa ( not sure about the spelling), the deserted castle-like from Portuguese colonial.
I also had unexpected lunch date with a Turkish man from the tour since only both of us were moslem while the tour leader chose a non halal chinese restaurant for lunch. So, we had our lunch in Secret Recipe together and had small talks which made us almost missed and being left by the bus back to KL:))
I had to go home earlier than scheduled when my mum called from Jakarta that I had passed the test on Bappenas and had to have the next test on Saturday morning. So, I had to change my flight to Friday evening so I could attend the test the following day.
Since I arrived at KL so late at night, I had not have a chance to look around the airport. But, blessing in disguise, thanks to the flight change, I could wander around KLIA by my self before take-off. I bought small gift from Harrods, went to other terminal by the train inside the airport, it was really exciting.
I really hope I can be as good as my parents to my kids later for them not to miss such experiences and opportunities in their life later. I really hope I could give them better than I had.
5. June 2010, Istanbul,Turkey and Second Umra
I had a chance to visit the Holy cities for the second time on 2010 and this time it was plus Istanbul. It was so exciting. We flew with Turkish Airlines.
Stayed for 3 days at Istanbul, visiting Grand Bazaar, Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, Topkapi Palace, and cruising Bosphorus strait. It was crossing the border between Asia and Europe.
We proceeded to Medina from Istanbul and stayed for 3 days then continued the journey to Holy Mecca to perform Umra.
I didn’t have so many memorable moments on this trip. It was fun but it felt a bit different. Dunno what.
It might be only 5 trips, but the benefits stay for tens years ahead..