This is one of my rare “travel diary” kind of posts which is a result of my introspection and where I express my deepest thoughts.

Can visiting a place for just a few days change me for life?

I thought to myself as I reflected back on the time I spent in Yogyakarta.

I arrived here as a backpacker with a typical “herd mentality”. Over the last few years, without realizing I was usually following the typical backpacker trail. Yes, from time to time, I did make an effort to interact with the locals and to learn about their culture. However, the majority of my time was spent with the other backpackers who I had met while traveling and spending many hours partying. But hey, I thought I was different.

Now here I am, thinking of my fondest memories of my travel in Indonesia, and what’s the first thing that comes to my mind? Spending many hours with the locals, learning more about their culture, learning their language and creating new things every day with my own hands in Yogyakarta after watching how the locals did it. Yogyakarta isn’t the only place that I visited in Indonesia − I spent a few days in spectacular Raja Ampat with dream like beaches and picture perfect Bali with lovely rice terraces in Ubud.

Click here to read about places to visit in Yogyakarta 

Now don’t get me wrong – there is nothing wrong with being a backpacker. It is a lot of fun being one and I will be a backpacker for a long time. Not everyone has the same travel style and it is absolutely okay as long you’re happy without harming anyone or anything else in the process. This post is not about that – it is just an expression of my thoughts after hours of introspection.

Paddy farming at Desa Pentingsari

Paddy farming at Desa Pentingsari

I can’t forget the time I said “no” for a party in Indonesia because, by that time, I was absolutely in love with Indonesian culture and wanted to wake up early to see more. I wouldn’t have done if I hadn’t got my taste of experiencing local culture in Yogyakarta. My mind has found a new snack and it is always hungry for more. I am hopelessly in love, and this time it is with Indonesian culture.

If you ask me to describe Yogyakarta in short, I would just utter three words – Art, culture, & heritage. Mind you, it is not one of those pretentious places where you spend a bomb to experience the local way of life by being a part of a carefully orchestrated charade. It is a place where things get real, whether it is making pottery with the villagers or carving faces on clay puppets.

Before traveling to Yogyakarta, a lot of people mentioned that it is a very touristy destination in Indonesia. But upon visiting, I wondered where the tourists were. I didn’t see any while I was exploring some very interesting areas in Yogyakarta. I got my answer when I visited the famous Borobudur temple. Yes, many people visit Yogyakarta to see this largest Buddhist temple that has a fascinating history. But only a few stay on for a longer time to explore the villages and the old town areas.

What is it about Yogyakarta that had this effect on me? Perhaps the fact I was making things with my hands made a difference. Or maybe it was because I was away from my smartphone while making those things that I finally allowed my brain to think and introspect.

Today I promise myself to take out time away from my gadgets as often as I can. I will use this time to create something with my own hands. I will give more time to Art.

Art is magic and it makes us forget a lot of things while making us realize who we are.

Did Yogyakarta transform me into a cultural traveler?

I don’t know the answer to that yet, but I hope to find out soon. What do you think? Have you ever felt this way about a destination? How has travel changed you?

PS: watch out, an epic Yogyakarta post is coming up next where I will shed more light on the things I did.

PPS: to get a glimpse, you can stalk me a little on Instagram 😉

Photo Credit: Bressiona Chastity (Indonesia) and Najii (Japan)

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