Lamentation of a lonely wanderlust

While I was on my first solo trip to Medan, Indonesia, I decided to ‘journal’ my thoughts or observation when I had time to do so (which was a lot of time as I had to wait for transport, as well as make use of the free time I had during the night and some parts of the day).

Below is everything (edited slightly and clarified). Enjoy.

Medan Trip

27 April 2018

Time: 6.46am Malaysia time
Location: Penang International Airport
Specific location: Sitting at some random chair near McDonald’s

I was out with my friends for dinner last night and I got a SMS saying that my flight was cancelled. What? So last minute! I was stressed out and tried to figure out what to do with my sisters staying in KL helping. I then decided that I’ll just go to the airport and see what happens. My sister told me to check the website see what flights are available and I saw that there was an 8am one so I planned to leave earlier than I’m supposed to. If I didn’t check the time I would’ve arrived at the airport at about 9am or so, which wouldn’t have given me the time to get on an earlier flight.

Reached the counter and they said that the flight is full and I have to come and check back at 7.30 whether there are going to be empty seats or not. Gosh I surely hoped there were.

Other people do go on holidays and trips as well, right? Why does mine always have issues and obstacles? Am I not meant to travel even though I want to?

Never mind. I kept chanting “obstacles makes me stronger. Obstacles makes me stronger.” Let’s wait and see. I’m praying to the universe that I get on that flight by hook or by crook. I’ll just sit here and stare into the abyss in the meanwhile. I’m not going back home. I’m going to Medan!

Time: 7.38am Malaysia time
Location: Penang International Airport
Specific Location: Gate 7

I’m lining up to get into the 8.10 plane. Praise the heavens. I knew there was a divine up there. Please protect me on my first solo trip out of the country. I’m a little nervous. But who isn’t. My best friend was the one who reminded me to document my feelings and stuff and that’s what I’m doing now. I’m going in.

Time: 7.57am Malaysia time
Location: Penang International Airport
Specific Location: Inside the airplace, seat 14C

Thankfully I quickly used the restroom just now because I just came at the right time to the counter at 7.30am to get changed flights. If I was a little later they would’ve closed the counter. That would’ve been a bust.

I’m sitting at the emergency exit door. Please don’t let any thing happen. They just briefed us on how to handle the door. I’m not ready for that responsibility. Thanks.

Time: 9.48am Indonesian time (1 hour delay from Malaysia)
Location: Medan, Indonesia
Specific location: Inside the shared taxi

Met two people (a couple) from Penang as well. Good conversation because they’re around my age so it’s easier to communicate. This is one of the reasons why I like traveling. Meeting and talking to new people and learning new stuff.

We took a shared taxi on the way to Parapat where I need to get a boat from the Ajibata Harbour. I’m sleepy but I don’t feel like sleeping just yet. Well maybe in a while when I’m done writing.

I hope to God that the direct boat from Ajibata Harbor is delayed so that they only move when I’m there. Don’t leave earlier lol. Okay I’ll update more later.

Time: 10.27am Indonesian time
Location: Medan, Indonesia
Specific Location: In the shared taxi

After riding this car I think I’ll never complain when my friend is driving anymore. This uncle drive like crazy and the roads were bumpy.

Time: 2.22pm Indonesian time
Location: Ajibata Harbour, Parapat
Specific Location: In a motorboat

I’m in a motorboat waiting. Any trip is not complete without hours of waiting. I’ve never rode a motorboat before – I think. Speedboat yeah, when I was in Langkawi, but not a motorboat. The passenger ferry parks beside us while we wait (we being, some random man and old lady) in the boat and the waves makes the boat so rocky. I should’ve taken the sea sick medicine. I think the boat ride is 1 hour.

Okay took my medicine. So the couple I met got off at Tiga Raja Jetty while I have to get the Ajibata jetty (about less than 2 minutes away by the taxi). Had to say goodbye to them 😢. They were fun and they asked me if I wanna join them on the trip back to Medan. I said yes. Of course I want! I’m up for any adventure.

I hope they get to find a car then I can join them. If not I’ll just get a shared taxi again back to Medan by my own. Cross fingers.

As usual like my Jeju trip in February, I’m the only foreigner here. Somehow I always choose adventures least traveled by. I’m not complaining though. The jetty is like a seaside town -everything smells like water and the people are burnt to crisps. The air is cooler here even though there’s the sun. There was a geographical reason for it I read online but I can’t remember what. Something to do with the volcano that made this lake.

I hope the rest of my trip goes well as well. Cross fingers. I’m gonna rest my eyes now before they start the boat.

Time: 4.53 pm. Indonesian time
Location: Silimalombu Eco Village Homestay, Danau Toba
Specific Location: In my room

I’m at Silimalombu Homestay already. It’s so quiet in here. Too quiet. I don’t know how am I going to sleep. It’s like being in another world here. My internet also so slow so I’m literally cut off from the world. I should appreciate it as we don’t get this often.

Time: 6.49pm Indonesian time
Location: Silimalombu Eco Village Homestay, Danau Toba
Specific Location: Balcony area upstairs in the main area

I had the longest 30 minutes sleep with only the wind blowing in the room and the sound of insects in the background. It’s so quiet and the only noises are the footsteps of the people who own this place upstairs.

I’m not used to the silence. I think later that night if I want to sleep I have to put some music on only then can I actually drift off to sleep because its too quiet that I can hear the pounding of my pulse.

Not complaining though. Just describing my experience. I have barely enough internet so I’m cut out from the world. Best social detox ever.

28 April 2018

Time: 6.53am Indonesian time
Location: Silimalombu Eco Village Homestay, Danau Toba
Specific Location: In my room

The sun has already risen. I woke up to see the sun bright on my face and I thought it must be 7 something but no, when I checked my phone it’s only 6 something. Yeah I know Indonesia is behind us in 1 hour but i thought the sun will rise the same time anyways. No matter, I’m going to wake up at 6am tomorrow to take a time lapse video of the sunrise.

The plan today was to follow the Belgian guy who works at the farm to the market at Ajibata and Tiga Raja. That means, taking the motorboat and travelling to the other side again.

Time: 11.49am Indonesian time
Location: Ajibata Harbour, Parapat
Specific Location: In a noodle shop

I can’t believe it’s not even 12pm. I’ve been out in what feels like forever. Followed the Belgian guy to two markets which were loud and chaotic. We rode on what they called a bus which looked like a van and now I’m sitting and waiting for the Belgian guy to go and get some stuff. I think he knows I’m tired d that’s why he asked me to wait in the shop instead of running around with him. I am though. I feel like I might actually just go to sleep straight tonight and not wake up suddenly at 11 something.

Why did I say that? Well, because last night I suddenly woke up at 11.35 and there was some random sound around the room. Not in my room but outside. I was terrified. If you hear sounds when you’re awake is not as terrifying as waking up abruptly to a sound in the middle of the night.

I thought it was almost day time so that if there was any ghosts then boo to them as the sun is going to come out soon, but no –  it was not even 12pm. I felt like I’ve slept for hours by then. I stayed awake for what felt like an hour with random tapping and scurrying around the walls and then finally I was able to sleep when I heard footsteps upstairs. Because that means the sound was probably from someone not asleep yet, not the paranormal as I feared.

Then I found out this morning that there were 2 guests who arrived last night at 11.30. It was them. Not a ghost. I freaked out for nothing and wasted precious sleep.

Time: 7.03pm Indonesian time
Location: Silimalombu Eco Village Homestay, Danau Toba
Specific location: In the balcony place in the common place upstairs

The sun has already set. It’s seven and it’s as dark as 8pm. Waiting for dinner to be cooked then maybe roast some coffee so I can buy back home.

Might go back to Medan with a shared taxi with the other two people I met or maybe find my own way. They couldn’t find proper good priced tour guide for Berastagi and Parapat.

I miscalculated my rupiah for the tour in Medan. I think tomorrow need to go change some money at the airport.

Time: 6.51am Indonesian time
Location: Silimalombu Eco Village Homestay, Danau Toba
Specific Location: In my room

Last day at this beautiful paradise. Going back to Medan today later at 9am. I thought I miscalculated my money but it was fine. Nothing to worry about at this point. The couple was asking if I want to get a shared taxi with them but her data is not so good so don’t know if we’ll rendezvous at the same time or not. I better find my own and go.

At least I managed to catch the beautiful sun rise this morning.

Time: 8.57am Indonesian time
Location: Danau Toba
Specific Location: On the motorboat leaving Silimalombu

On the motorboat on my way to Ajibata. Well, that was a good experience. And good hospitality by the people there. I’m definitely coming back here bringing my mom and whoever that wants a nature getaway.

My friend told me to use this time to list down my anxieties and work on them but sitting here my anxieties seems so far away.

What was bothering me when I was in Penang isn’t much on my mind here at all. It’s like I gain better perspective out here and talk to other people and see other people’s life and my stupid anxiety is just me thinking too much.

Hope I keep this mentality even when I’m back.

My city girl-ness is much more obvious here. All I’ve been doing here is observing people’s lifestyle. The people here live a different life from me. The motorboat is like a bus on water. It comes every morning and stops at each small village collecting people and their things. Then sometimes they even transfer heavy items from one boat to another. Do you know how shaky it is? Even for me to walk from the front to the back of the boat is super scary. What If I fell over? Oh, how is my mom going to deal with this though. She probably won’t want to come here. I wont tell her that it’s a tiny bit scary.

The boat then stops at Ajibata and everyone gets off and do their marketing and what not buying their stuff. The boat will then leave the harbor after 2pm. You have to be on the boat at 2 but it usually only moves at 3.

I followed the Belgian guy who stays and works here to the market in Ajibata and Tiga Raja. It was soo chaotic and noisy and everyone stares. I think it’s normal to be stared at. That’s what happened in Jeju as well. Why do I always go places where I’m the minority. The kids of these places are super friendly though. They love saying hi to foreigners and waving from vans and shops.

Also alot of people stared at the Belgian dude and then me because we were going together Hahaha yeah not in that way people, calm down. They must be wondering what a white guy and brown girl are doing together. He’s just my guide. Hes been here for 6 months. I rushed to leave so I did not get the chance to give him my contact number in case he comes Penang and I can bring him around like he did for me here. Ah well.

Also the kids here are all water babies. Of course, since they live surrounded by water.

Time: 5.54pm Indonesian time
Location: Medan city
Specific location: In my room

I’m at the other Airbnb in Medan and going out to go find food to eat or things to buy. Its a house so I’m staying in a room. This is more close to home than yesterday’s place.

Met my new friends and traveled back together again and somehow I was like their therapist in their relationship. It was fun.

We’re going to hang out again in Penang once we’re all back.

I’m thinking there must be a reason that my flight was cancelled and I had to take an earlier flight. If I was in my original flight then I wouldn’t have met this two and forged new friendship. Secondly if I had come late then I wouldn’t have been able to catch the motorboat that goes straight to the Homestay and would have to go to Tomok and then request a motorcycle which would have incurred more cost. In a way it’s a blessing in disguise.

Obstacles don’t only make people stronger. It also paves way for fate.

Time: 9.29pm Indonesian time
Location: Medan
Specific Location: In my room

Just went for a drive around Medan town looked for oleh oleh (souvenirs) and food and had a long conversation with my host learning new things. This is what I love about traveling.

Time: 3.10pm Indonesian time
Location: Kualanamu airport
Specific Location: Waiting for a plane at the terminal

I talked to a lot of people during my solo trip to Medan and I learnt a lot of things. Someone who left Europe and decided to live on a farm, working his bones off because it is much more satisfying than the rat race in the city.

A lovely couple who were friendly and had their little bickering while I sat like a therapist asking both side of the story to see who won. A German man who married a local Batak woman and opened the farm because he didn’t believe in restricted living.

I also observed the lifestyle of people who lived on the water where goods are exchanged on the water by boats and kids swam like dolphins beside ferries. But I think one thing that stayed with me was something told to me by the taxi driver as he sent me to Medan.

He told me that it’s dangerous for me to be single at my age and it’s not because of my biological clock ticking or anything but because once I get used to being alone and comfortable with it then I’d never want to get married.

That stung me a bit because yes I do want to get married some day but I’ve also grown comfortable being by myself. And when you’re comfortable with yourself and enjoy your own company, do you need another person? You’d think not but I think it’s necessary to have someone.

Not because you can’t be alone but because if you don’t rely on people then it’s easy for you to cut people off with no qualms. And I have come dangerously close to that. It’s just that in the recent years I’ve realized that and decided to hold on.

To hold on to those dear to me because of how easily I can let go. I am self aware that humans need other humans so I won’t push people away. I will still remember that I need people, not just myself. Thanks for the reminder pak supir, despite the extra money you took from me.

Time: 2.27pm Malaysian time
Location: Penang, Malaysia
Specific location: My desk

I am back home and my head is more refreshed. My body’s tired as hell, but my head is clearer. Things that annoyed me before is less annoying now. However I know that continuing my routine here is gonna make me overthink and anxious again so it’s good to plan another getaway after a few months. Never sit still for a long time.

Toodles.


Hey, since you’re here, you might want to read this next:

3 Things I Learned During My 3 Days In Paris

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