I’m not sure about my upcoming trip to Indonesia.
This is partially by design: Four of the past five trips I’ve taken – #eurobert, #isrobert, #ecuadorobert and last week’s trip to Thailand – have been sponsored to some degree, leaving me without financial obligation yes, but also without much freedom to discover, explore or get lost. There remains a great deal of ambiguity surrounding my trip to Indonesia and, to an extent, I prefer it that way.
And yet I’ve done extensive research on this trip, more than I can remember doing for any other single country. This is also partially by design: With more than a thousand islands – about 5-6 of which are meatier than many of the planet’s sovereign countries – Indonesia is one of the most intimidating places in the world to travel, from a logistical perspective. Landing in Jakarta without a basic outline, even for someone as experienced as me, would be foolish.
Of course, I’m still largely winging my trip to Indonesia. I have only four items booked: Two nights in a Jakarta guest house; and my inbound and outbound flights, three weeks apart. This latter fact in particular – the short length of my trip – has caused me the most anxiety, but not because I doubt my ability to achieve my primary Indonesia travel goals (seeing orangutans and the Kawa Ijen crater; lazing on the beach in Raja Ampat) during that time.
No, as is usually the case, the source of my trepidation is external. Basically everyone I know who has traveled to Indonesia has urged me to “stay longer,” a suggestion I know is well-meaning (and, probably, sensible) but defies my main 2014 travel resolution: Not to travel longer than a month at a time. I would love to travel in Indonesia for three months or even three years, but at this point in my life, it’s more important that my friends remember who I am when I return to Texas.
I’m not sure about my upcoming trip to Indonesia, and this thrills me. I have been far too sure about four of my last five trips (and even the fifth, my week-long sojourn to Goa, India, had a very specific goal in mind). Going somewhere with almost no idea of what to expect there (the premise on which I have taken nearly all of my trips, besides the five most-recent ones) is exhilarating; it is refreshing.
But it is also terrifying: I am leaving for Indonesia today.