A while ago, I went to Jogjakarta twice, one of them was in November and the other one was exactly a day before Christmas. The city is often overlooked as a travel destination. People usually go there only to visit their family or go to college. However, Jogjakarta is probably the art capital of Indonesia. It is home to rich cultural heritage such as temples, dances, batik, and cuisines.
On my first trip, I went to some viral locations that was apparently popularised by a famous Indonesian movie (that I did not watch) such as Pigeon Church, Kalibiru, Merapi and Breksi Cliff. Please note that the movie only popularised the church and Kalibiru, I think.
When I first arrived in Jogjakarta, I directly went to Kalibiru to see what the hype is all about. It turned out to be just a nature conserve with photo spots that made you look like you’re sitting on top of an extremely high birdwatching deck, and that’s it. It was quite disappointing because I thought there served more than just out bond sports and photo spots, but the view definitely paid my time. Everything was green and gorgeous and there were lots of live owls that can be used as a photo prop for your touristy needs. Most of the people that visited this particular spot came from Jakarta and other cities just like any other tourism spots. I took some pictures on the said birdwatching deck, but I’m not going to share them here since 1. they look cliche as fuck, 2. I hate being photographed, so I look pissed in most of the photo, and 3. I hate sharing pictures of myself.
After the sun sets, we went to eat dinner at Milas, a vegetarian restaurant. The place was very spacious and comfortable. The food was exquisite, and I had a good plate of biryani rice and a glass of kombucha. There were also a small library at this restaurant. If I were to live in Jogjakarta, I know for sure that this would be my go to place.
I was already searching the idea of freedom on my November Jogja trip. However, I hadn’t really put everything into work so I did not ask around to locals about it, but I took some notes on how some of the locals that I met live their life and probably achieve personal freedom through it. My personal highlight is this little kid who works as a small owl rental at Breksi Cliff. He told me that he was taking a day off from his school.
I don’t know about that, he probably was really taking a day off. I thought he was working alone, and I felt really bad for him, but it turned out that he was working for somebody else, and yeah I felt even worse. I could actually have gained more informations and interesting stories from him, but my social anxiety was holding me back. Anyway, it was quite refreshing to see a child his age talking and caring an owl. They had a special bond. He also has a sufficient knowledge about owl breeds, and told me that his own will never grow bigger. I wanted to pay him a visit when I went to Jogja last December, but we did not go to Breksi, so I was quite disappointed.
Back on the topic of freedom, I felt free when I looked at him talking to his owl and running around to chase the other owl rentals. But then again, I always feel free every single time I see children. It reminds me of my childhood when I see the world in a more surreal way, when I tried to close my eyes and wanting to see humanoid trees and talking flowers. I still practice that thing sometimes, I just don’t act it out anymore because people already see me in a weird light, I don’t want to encourage them to think worse.
The next day, we went to Merapi. That famous volcano with shit ton of mythologies and mysticism around it. We hopped on an old all terrain jeep and cruised around the mountain. The first destination was the eruption museum. The place actually gave me that kind of beautifully eerie vibe about it, but since there were a lot of people who went there without listening to the guide’s story and just straight on taking pictures, it was just… meh. I met an old man who was one of the museum’s “guards”, he was one of the carers of the museum.
People like him probably find freedom in devotion. I actually have met a lot of people who found freedom in devotion or dedication, corporate wise and spiritual wise. It is a strange concept for me, but if that brings them happiness, then who am I to judge?
At one point of my trip, we went to Taman Sari, which is a former royal garden of the Sultanate of Jogjakarta. We were guided by an Abdi Dalam, a man who dedicated his life to the Sultanate. Again, I met someone who found freedom through devotion and simplicity of life. We wandered around the castle and encountered a lot of people hanging around near their houses, roasting satay together, and they looked happy. As someone who probably never felt a genuine happiness, I was stunned. I was stunned on how easy it was for other people to be happy. I’m still questioning myself to this day whether it is normal for me to think that I’ve never experienced real happiness or not. I feel like I’m way too privileged to feel this way.
I’m going to close this post here. I need to learn how to make a good travel and report writing again, because clearly, this post is shit and has no direction. I’m still on the freedom quest, I want to know what it really means and how it’s supposed to look like.