Nuriev From Kiev

Talking about traveling, I have one dream I really wish it would be happened anytime soon: exploring Europe by road with my very best friend, Ruli. Renting an old Fiat for three months, start the slow journey from Denmark, Germany, Czech Republic, Austria, till stop for a month in one of our dream destination in Italy, Tuscany. Staying in a country side and living like locals. It won’t be bad if we could enjoy the end of our trip with something a bit fancier. Doing nothing with a thick wallet in Santorini could be the perfect ending. Man, dunno when that will happen yet just imagining this dream could make me smile ear to ear for a whole day. 

Okay, back to REALITY.

There is one thing I have always loved from traveling is the people I meet along the way. Lucky me, most fellow travellers have become my friends for life. It is amazing every time I meet random people in another part of the world and feel connected after all. A fellow traveler from Kiev, is one of my new friend I would remember from my recent trip.

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“Hey, are you OK? Did you drink too much last night?”


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A question I heard right after I opened my eyes. I dropped my head on the pillow without an answer. My head was a bit dizzy from a horrible night when Hasan and I left the police station after 1am. Three minutes later I wrote, “so sorry, I don’t mean to be rude. I’m Azis, from Indonesia. I just lost my wallet last night.” on my iPhone. I went straight to the restroom to upchuck a wave of nausea and left my iPhone in his hand. I came back to our room that has four beds, it wasn’t that spacious yet I felt more comfortable than my previous hostel. I introduced myself to Deniz, a fellow traveler from Ukraine.

My mind wasn’t clear enough looking for solutions how I would survive in Istanbul. My mind was divided into two. Staying in hostel for a day or went outside to soothe my mind with camera in hand. Both options would have some of TL100 Hasan lent me for food. While I was looking for solutions, Deniz tucked himself with a thick white blanket, “I think I’ll sleep for two hours”. 

When I looked at him I said to myself, “I wish I could also tuck my body after I bathed, took a nap few hours and went for a proper lunch, with few new Zara after, that’s how I should enjoy my last two days here. It’s pesky I know”. Otherwise, I was busy thinking how I could get at least $150 till I left Turkey the next day. Deniz was still awoke with his smart phone in his hand. He didn’t close his eyes for napping yet busy browsing some infos how to transfer money to Ukranian bank. He showed me his card and laughed, “there’s no money here, Azis”. I laughed, too.

I had blocked all my cards last night so the only way to transfer money from my account was using token. And had no one with me, suck, sigh. I was busy contacting one of my good friend in Lagos a whole day to send me money, but I knew Lagos is funny (and in the end was zero, poor her). I didn’t give up till I finally got $160 from my colleague when she was in New Jersey, US. Stupid me, I gave Hasan’s details to her when she sent thru WU, it meant the final answer to get the money was meeting Hasan, ugh.

 


“I just want to grab a beer and breathe fresh air, wanna come along?”


 

Deniz was looking so fresh after he took a bath. I felt like, “damn why I had to stay a whole day in this room and tomorrow I’ll say bye to Turkey?”. I looked at Deniz and said “so sorry because of me you couldn’t even take a nap, but hey I don’t mind for a cold vodka”. Sure, the last sentence was a jest since I don’t drink (I promise).

I followed Deniz outside. That day was a pretty day in spring. We were walking around İstiklal Avenue, the weather was cool, the crowd was the same. Deniz offered me something to eat and I couldn’t lie anymore that I was starving. I said I didn’t mind for a cheap kebab, I laughed. Most affordable street food in Istanbul is delicious. With only TL100 I had no choice to be fancy. Deniz took me to a food stall near our hostel that sell döner kebap and friends.

We sat outside with warm wraps on the table. He had ayran while I had coke. Deniz was laughing when I said that I didn’t drink coke but it was an exception for that day. Not because he paid the bill, yet what I wanted was enjoying every second, every single thing I had in Istanbul. We had a very warm random conversation, about our dads, what we wanted to be in the next 5 years, when the first time we drank (he laughed again for this), and what we wanted to do if we are in Amsterdam one day.

“Why you love photographing food like that? Come on, eat”, he said. “I’ll remember this wrap in the next few years when I look at the picture you know”, I responded. 

After our quick-lunch, Deniz took me to one small cafe for Turkish coffee after I mentioned Starbucks (why Starbucks when Turkey has fantastic coffee, he said). We sat inside since the spring breeze was colder in the afternoon. We continued our random conversation from why I interested in interior design and would like to capture buildings in Amsterdam (Deniz shooked his head for this), why he studied obstetrics and gynaecology at Bogomolets National Medical University, how busy he is with his internship in Kiev, till when he started playing violin, saxophone, and piano.

 

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We went back to our hostel when he had to prepare his next trip with his uncle who lives in Istanbul. We said goodbye after I asked for some photos of him, few thank you’s for the wrap, the coffee, plus two cigarettes I took when I accompanied him smoking in front of our hostel (believe me, I don’t smoke and can’t live with smoker, but smoking in a cold day in spring could make you warmer, Deniz taught me how to smoke right).

Deniz was leaving when his uncle was arriving, and I kinda happy could hug him to say bye for a very short meeting with a friendship left behind.

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“I think Deniz really had no clue what he did was meant for someone who only had $30 for the last two days of vacation”


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Hey Deniz, if you read this post, let me make confession here. Do you remember when I slow down my steps in front of one market where fresh strawberries and blueberries were neatly displayed? And you were asking me, “do you want that?” and I said, “don’t worry, I’m fine.”?

I was lying to you that afternoon, lol. I was really, really wanted to taste those berries in spring where the weather was cool. I think it’s just my nature that I can’t ask too much when someone already helped without I even asked. You used to reply my message “forget it” when I said thanks again for that day.

Dear Deniz, what you did to me was more than enough, and it taught me one thing: sharing is a good thing, indeed. We don’t need to be rich to share something, it could be the real meaning of being rich when we do it wholeheartedly, unconditionally.

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спасибі за доброту Йора.

See you in Kiev.

And The Rest Was Such A Long-time Friendship

 

..was one of the best day I had in Turkey.


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One of the lesson I learned from my trip to Tokyo and Kyoto last year was simple: give yourself time to sit down at one corner, feel the ambiance and surrounding, breathe easy, and forget about destination. As mentioned that I had no itinerary when I was in Turkey, it gave me more spaces and options how I could enjoy my day. On my first day in hostel, I took an hour to do a small research and decided where was the best place to visit the day after.

Day two was when I headed to Sultanahmed area. I sat on the bench and enjoyed the view of the park in front of Hagia Sofia before strolling around Sirkeci, Grand Bazaar, and an afternoon treat at Hafidz Mustafa. I headed back to Hagia Sofia (though I didn’t enter cause I read the best time to visit is 9am) but I entered to one of the most beautiful sacred place nearby, instead.

There, I found some magical moments. The echo of call prayer from the mosque was magical. The architecture of the mosque was magical. And the thing I loved the most that day was an accidental friendship I found inside the mosque. I honestly love unpredictable moment just jumped up like that while I traveled. Magnifique, as French says.



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“If you don’t ask, the answer is always no.”


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I’m pretty sure you guys know the sentence above is one of the basic rules in life. If you do not ask for something, you’ll always have no as an answer. That exactly what I had in mind when I was inside Sultan Ahmed mosque.

Right after Asr prayer, I was still admiring the beauty of the mosque with a camera in my hand, typical tourist. Taking some pictures while my mind thought about every details on those fascinating domes. Five minutes after, I dropped my camera and what I wanted to do was recording the moment in my brain till there was a whisper knocked my mind, “take one with yourself in the picture.” 

If you ask me, I’m more like BTS person when I’m traveling. I do prefer to photograph the objects/people than seeing myself in the picture. But I said like, “come on, you are in Turkey, just do what you want to do. Having one with yourself in isn’t a bad idea, nah? even just one.”  I stood from the floor after I saw a gentleman stood too. The whisper was sounded louder than before,“if you don’t ask, the answer is always no.”

I had a fickle heart to ask to someone who I saw was busy taking picture. I bet you will think the same like what I thought then. If you are a solo traveler, you’ll prefer to ask somebody who looks like traveling alone. When I saw Safoine stood with his smart phone, I asked him if he could help me with my camera. The first time I gave my camera, he handed over to a gentleman that was standing in front of us, which I later knew his name is Hakan. Saf said Hakan could take photograph better. I offered them to have some photos from my camera after Hakan took myself twice. After that moment, we introduced ourselves. I never felt such a welcome acquaintance like what I had with Hakan and Saf before. It was warm, gracious, and genuine.

We left the mosque together and headed to somewhere near Galata bridge for sunset, with interesting conversations in between. Enjoying the late afternoon just before the golden hour will always be one of my happiness. And enjoying it with a view of Bosphorus strait, cool spring breeze, shrieking seagulls, and two new pleasant friends like Hakan Akansel and Safoine Adel, could be one the best happiness I won’t forget on my second day in Istanbul. Don’t judge me if I had to take some photos of them that day cause everything was so perfect.



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Thank you to the internet nowadays for making everything easier. I connected to Hakan after we exchanged our WhatsApp numbers before he and Saf went back to their hotel. We met again for a dinner at Mom’s Corner Istanbul as suggested by Hakan (he’s Turkish by blood and a real foodie anyway, so we just need to follow him for the best places in Istanbul). A cozy beautiful evening at a restaurant with strong elements, authentic Turkish food, a warm conversation with InstaStories plus Snapchats and our new friendship.

We were walking to İstiklal Avenue after dinner (gosh, it was such an exercise walking on uphill road in the evening!), passed Galata Tower, took scopes of ice cream and ended by chilling at Taksim Square.

I want to share some fun facts on my second day :)

  • I had 4 different interviews kind-of from some pupils around Hagia Sofia. They were having an English assignment and had to find somebody who could be asked some questions in English and recorded. The last one was when they stopped me, Hakan and Saf with the same purpose. Kinda funny yet interesting
  • I have to admit that most time I could be so garish when I meet someone new. When Hakan and Saf said they landed in the morning on the same day we met, flew from Paris, and they speak French, I said “I hate you guys”. Excusez-moi, call me garish and I don’t care
  • It was so fun I could record our dinner scene and posted on my Instagram Stories that day, I felt so cool you know :D (this is beyond garish I know)
  • An iPhone selfie we took together above was the better photo than the one Bangladesh man took from my camera. I did wish he could take the photo perfectly but a picture of myself with closed eyes was like “WHYYY?”
  • Hakan is so much better taking selfie photo rather than me. Most time I always shake holding an iPhone for a selfie
  • I just knew that croissant means crescent moon in English. I heard Hakan said “our meeting point is where that croissant is”, when he pointed the moon shape on one Turkish flag. I thought Hakan was jested for a real “croissant” after I told him and Saf that I’m a croissant lover
  • I met with Ali Murad, originally from Cyprus that works and lives in Qatar when I was waiting for Hakan & Saf before we went for a dinner. He was on a business trip in Istanbul and asked me if I could join him to the club in Taksim. I told him that I had an appointment with Hakan and Saf, he said “you can ask them to join later” ((oops! maybe next time Ali! :P three of us do not drink!). We became friends after exchanged WhatsApp number, the last time I spoke with him on the phone when he heard that I lost my wallet in Istanbul

 

Next post is when I thought was one of the most memorable day I had with still, Hakan and Saf.

 

Merci, H


“That day was colder, as I didn’t expect spring could be that cold.”


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I looked at the sky when I came out from Taksim metro station. It was grey and a bit dark. Rain just stopped pouring and left some drizzle from up. The hustle of people was still the same like the first time I arrived in Istanbul. That evening I arrived a bit late. I had a slightly longer flight because of the weather. I had a very pleasant short trip in Cappadocia and expecting my last three days in Istanbul could be a perfect ending. 

I said to myself that rain won’t stop me to enjoy every bits of the city. I had four beautiful days before flying to Cappadocia and I was so sure I would have a better time then. 

A cold day made me wanted to enjoy a warm Turkish street food at Taksim Square. Standing on one corner with a warm beef kebab while watching random faces enjoying their days under the drizzle could be one of a simply happiness. I decided to buy one for 11TL and thought it would be enough to fill my stomach before I continued looking for the way to my hostel. I finished half of my kebab and continued walking again pretending that drizzling made the evening scene in Taksim looked like a movie. 

The sky got darker and rain was started pouring again. I had to step faster so I won’t get wet on the street. Dragging my small suitcase under the rain on a busy Istiklal Caddesi wasn’t funny. What I had in mind that evening was I would find a soft bed with a thick white blanket in a warm room after I dropped my things in. Taking a bath with warm water under the shower, rested a bit and went out just to capture the evening scenes around. But all my imagination had disappeared instantly when I found that something serious was happening to me.

I couldn’t find my wallet when I wanted to pay my stay. I was so panic till I couldn’t talk for seconds. I couldn’t believe it. All my dollar, euro, naira, my debit cards, my green card, everything was inside. I felt so numb a bit.

The reception man suggested that I should go back to where I bought the kebab and tried to look around in case I got some lucks. Then after, I should go to the police station to get a report. Police? When I heard about it, my mind gone scarier. I was trying to calm myself down and started looking for solutions. My iPhone was about to die. I decided to charge it while I was thinking few people who I could ask helps to. Saf, my new friend that was on the conversation since I was on my way to Istanbul kept asking how I was doing. I couldn’t keep anything but told him what happened. He was already in Paris and a bit shocked, we talked on the phone for minutes. I kept trying to call one of my best friend in Indonesia, Mas Andhi to tell him too. It took minutes to finally speak with him on the phone after he was in another call. He told me to keep calm and started thinking clearly what to do. I was so confused, scared and tired in the same time. After I tried to calm myself down, I remembered the only person who could possibly help me in Istanbul was Hasan. 

I had no choice but told him everything. I had to see him wherever he was. I had to sort my lost. When Hasan answered that we could meet in Taksim square I said it would be better to see him at his hostel. I vividly remember how messy I was under the drizzle and the wind. My mind thought about where I would sleep at and what would I eat with for my last two days in Istanbul. I had nothing but 8TL left in my pocket with the most important document, my passport.

When I finally met Hasan in the hostel reception I had hopes. I held his hands to ensure he was real. I looked at him with half of my sense on, just wanted to say thank you. I repeated the same thank you for times cause truly, I had no clue what to do if he wasn’t by my side. 

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“Azis is okay, it’s normal. Don’t panic. I’m here. The most important thing right now is you. You’re safe.”


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I froze after Hasan spoke like that. Tho Hasan can barely speak English, his words was beyond enough to calm me down. I had no words to explain how lucky I was. He was true, I might be sad and confused cause I had no wallet, no cash, no cards, nothing. But I still had a genuinely kind person that I met only 1,5 hours after midnight, was helping me unconditionally in Istanbul.

I was still shocked but I had to get up.

My mind wasn’t complete when Hasan offered me to go to the nearest police station. I told him I was there before I met him but nobody speaks English. He told me to calm down then we went together to the police station. I couldn’t imagine if Hasan wasn’t around that evening. Who would help me to explain in Turkish what exactly had happened. Saf had told Hakan (he’s also my new friend, three of us met in Istanbul) if Hakan could explain to the police about the case though both of them were already back in Paris. Phone conversation could be my last option if Hasan wasn’t around tho I knew it would be more complicated.

Hasan and I were at the police station to explain what happened. I just looked at his face when he was explaining the case to the police trying to understand their language. “I’m dreaming I know. How could this happen to me” was still in my mind. Hasan kept calm me down. “Azis, it’s normal, OK”, and what I could say was only thank you.

10 minutes explanation at the police station, they instructed us to go back to the place where I surely thought my wallet was stolen. We met with two policemen there to get more information from me and from the cctv. I couldn’t stay focus cause I was froze, exhausted and ravenous that night. It was too bad. I almost said to Hasan to forget about my wallet. The only thing I thought about was my green card. Without the police report I would have a big problem in the immigration, definitely I would.

I really felt so bad dragging Hasan in my case. He wanted to enjoy his evening by watching a Turkish football match before, but there, he was with me, and two policemen. I kept saying “sorry Hasan, so sorry” till I couldn’t say anything again. I was so so sleepy and exhausted but I had to keep awake. The policemen were telling Hasan that they couldn’t see somebody stole my wallet from the cctv. I gave up, I didn’t care anymore with this case. I was just too tired, I just wanted to lay my body on the bed. Running from that freezing night. But Hasan told me to keep calm till we got the report. I couldn’t belive that after midnight we were still at the same place where I bought the kebab. Hasan said, “Azis, we will go back to the police station after the match. Is it okay for you?”

I looked at the wall clock, it showed to 1am. Right after people were cheering up for the winning team, I and Hasan went back to the police station. Our second visit was different. That time we finally entered the police room painted in white, with the room heater that made us warmer. After one policeman asked all the details he needed, and Turkish-English translation in between, 1o minutes later I got the police report. I smiled to Hasan with another thank you. If I had no one like him who speaks Turkish and French fluently after my lost there, in Istanbul, I couldn’t imagine how I would be.

We walked down through the same alley, back to Istiklal Caddesi, passing through the night market along Sahne Sk, till we arrived in my hostel somewhere at Kamer Hatun Caddesi. “You’re hungry Azis?”, “No, I’m fine Hasan, thanks.”

Sure, I was lying to him that I wasn’t ravenous. I sat on the couch while Hasan was trying to make a payment for my hostel.

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“Hasan, I need to sell this tomorrow, I dont’ know where but I have to pay back your money”

“Azis you can pay when you are back okay, I’m still in Istanbul for 2 weeks before back to France. I will lend you this, is it OK?”


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He gave me TL100 and I couldn’t speak words again. I was too tired. I was too messy. I packed my jacket, stored and double cross-checked my passport, and I was about ready to carry my suitcase up to my room.

I followed Hasan till we stood in front of my hostel. With a cigarette in his hand, we both smiled. I tried to do an instant recovering, I shook my head, and said thank you again to Hasan. “Azis you need to rest, you are okay? I need to sleep too. We will talk tomorrow?”

And I said goodnight when the clock showed 2am.

I had never imagined I would walk with Hasan almost midnight, in a very cold evening in spring that made me shiver, till we had a business in the police station when I was on holiday. Not even in my wildest dream. But I had no regret right now cause the drama that night gave me a huge lesson about the trip. About life, about kind human and about unconditional friendship. Hasan might think what he did to me was normal, to help somebody that needs help, as simple as that. But for me, he had no idea what he did was meant to me. I won’t take his kindness for granted, his help that night scored in my heart and my mind. It was a drama that made my trip unforgettable one.

P.S. I had to blur an iPhone selfie I took with Hasan. Hasan said on my last night in Turkey after we went to have a dinner that “No Azis, you can talk to me, but no picture.”. So to respect him, I had to blur his face here but in the same time, I want my memory with this kind human stays on this blog. I had time with Hasan after the drama, I’ll keep it till I have time to share it here. Half of this post was written on the plane, when I was on my way from Cairo to Lagos. I wrote it in my iPhone when I was remembering Hasan and all my new friends I met in Turkey. I arrived in Lagos yesterday afternoon with a little drama in Cairo Airport. I had nothing to regret for cause in the end, coming home safe and sound that matters. I’ll share more stories and photos from this trip very soon hopefully, right now, I’m back to a real life.

Three and Four

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Once again, HNY everyone!

Who’s with me that was so excited yesterday when found that Ed Sheeran had announced he’ll drop his new music this Friday?! Can’t wait righhht? 

I’m hoping we all have a good start and 2017 brings a lot of wonderful surprises! Beside that I’m hoping too I can improve the content of this blog this year with more deliberate and thoughtful posts, yummy food!, and one of the particular thing I’d like to push is clearer pictures. A new camera is on his way! *closinge-Bay* . The reason why I really want to get a new camera + quality lenses is come on, it’s 2017!, nope, that’s not the reason. I feel like really, I need to upgrade the quality of my pictures here to be more and more sharper and more visually interesting. Don’t want to say that I’m so obsessed wishing a blog like Alice Gao (holy shit her lenses are sick!) but as a visual person, I’ll easily fall in love with a blog that has appealing photos on it. I believe that I’ll make my time more for this blog this year when I get a new gear :P promise!

You guys can count my preamble as one of my NY resolution, too.

K right here, on this post, I specifically wanted to express what I feel about two favourite humans a.k.a my very very good and best friend that having birthdays on third and fourth of January. Though I grew up without one single birthday celebration in my family’s culture but this day, I feel I should celebrate and express more about my feeling to people I love. And I think remembering somebody’s birthday is as sweet as a ripe red cherry!

The idea of this post was born after I read a message on my iPhone when my very best friend, Ruli, stated how grateful he was on his birthday September last year. Me and two other bestfriends, Winda and Maya agreed to send him a green tea cheese cake then. When I saw his face on the picture Winda sent to our group, I said to myself that’s true what people say: “They may forget a thing you give them but they’ll never forget how you make them feel”.

Let me not lie to you that two gifts on this post are just props :P one of them is a Chanel perfume box *coughing*. I’m gonna pick some gifts for Andreas Knogler and Yuriko Liao for their birthdays while you guys can read what my wishes are below (gonna pick real b’day gifts, promise!. I’ll ask another best friend of mine, Rifda, to accompany me sending something for Yuriko :)).

I’ll end this post with nothing to say but grateful for my friendships with both of them is this touched enough? :P

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celebratelife2

celebratelife31 celebratelife32celebratelife4celebratelife5.



Some Hellos For The New Ones

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Hi guys, just wanted to drop something short here bout’ what I’m feeling right now. It is not a secret if you used to live outside country (or you’re one of those who is living like me) that it never has been easy living billion miles away from your family, best friends, and loved ones. You may say internet can bring them closer but still, only on your iPhone’s screen.

Sometimes I can be so fractious if I’m missing my best friends outside there. Though I never cry, I swear, but forgive me if you find glazed eyes. But you know something that is more important than bemoan about it? Being grateful cause I still have kind humans called best friends. And this time around I want to be more grateful while I’m keeping my old best friends and say hello for new ones.

Last week Sunday I had almost two hours catching up with my Austrian friend, Andreas, on the phone. It is always nice to talk to him but the last time I was stoked when I could finally see his face again through Skype (this sounds cheesy right? after 3 years away from Skyping). And this Sunday, I had a pleasant conversation with my Spanish friend, Judith, after a while since we met in Japan. She made my day when she dropped a message in Facebook days ago cause I felt it was a bit difficult reaching her through e-mail before. There was one sentence she sent that made me thought how lucky I am could meet her and became friends. You guys know my buddy Teppo? I believe he’s enjoying a camp somewhere in Finland :) It’s been a while I never drop hi to my super talented good friend. And hi Hiromi! It was so good finally talked with you on your birthday two weeks ago, we really have to sit and enjoy chocolate mousse together from Joël Robuchon if I visit Tokyo again :).

 


“Talking about friendship, I have one thing I believe. We will always have a certain time to meet, know, see, talk and share things in life with our friends. We all never know when we will be separated yet what we need to do is to enjoy every second of our friendship and create moments and memories that will last forever. Just remember that kind humans you can called best friends is a gift”


 

Hope you won’t have glazed eyes like I do right now. Oops.

From The Heart of Europe

fromtheheartofeurope


“Don’t worry guys, I haven’t visited Europe yet. Just keep reading”


 

I could remember how I enjoyed Tokyo at night. Sitting on a stone bench at a small park just beside my hostel with a cute matcha ice cream from Lawson, some chocolate almond Pocky on my table, and wishing if I could have 30 hours a day instead of 24. Many times I cheated myself to sleep after midnight even when I knew my eyes were wanted to close, and oxygen in my brain flew faster. Perhaps, I was fine enough living without ‘a world clock’.

At night when one of my best friend, Rifda, asked me what I was doing in Tokyo that day, I had a story to tell. I was so passionate sharing about what I saw in Kyoto a day before we spoke on the phone. How Kyoto mesmerized me even I only spent three days. Also, I shared about my hostel and who I met. When I sent text before I called her, there was one sentence that made my eyes wide-opened. She mentioned that she was so happy when I shared about other travelers I met in Japan. She said, she realised that in this life dream does come true. She told me that I used to tell her years ago that someday I’ll have a lot of friends from all over the world.

Andreas

I probably forgot when I said so to Rifda. But I will always remember how it felt when I met other travelers in Japan. It was really really exciting. Maybe because it was my first time became a solo traveler and found ‘friends’ that did the same thing.

I mentioned on my previous post if you’re lucky, you’ll get new friends by staying in a hostel when you travel outside country. And on this post, I’ll introduce you to my new good friend that I met in Tokyo, Andreas. He is from Europe (OMG Europe, I can’t stop thinking about you!). I asked him to share something on this well-known :P blog that hopefully, he will inspire you as much as I had.

 

Here we go!

 


 

AndreasKnogler1

Who is Andreas Knogler? What do you do and where do you live?

I am a passionate traveller who is looking for interesting talks and experiences which can enrich my personal horizon. I graduated at the University of Applied Sciences in Salzburg in July 2016. I got there my bachelor’s degree in Innovation & Management in Tourism. In September 2016 I will start a master programme which is organized roughly said by the European Union. The program aims to give an understanding of sustainable tourism in an international environment. It takes place in three different countries in Europe to give different insights into this topic.

Currently I am living in my hometown Eferding, in Austria which is not far located from the longest river of the European Union, the Danube. This river connects 10 different countries and reminds me always that there is so much to see outside of Austria and we should always think out of the box when problems are occurring.

Tell us about your background? Why did you decide to learn about tourism management? 

I was born in a rural and quiet area in Austria and lived there the most of my life. I can remember when I was 14 and in the last grade of the secondary school, our class went to a job fair where different companies and educational institutions could present themselves to potential employers or students. I was not sure about my future and I recognized this fair as an opportunity for me to clarify my future. At this fair I had the first contact with the possibility to study in the field of tourism management. At the stand of the tourism school, which I attended for the next 6 years I could get some answers about the process and the further career opportunities. Summing up, I think the visit at this job fair was a decisive point for me.

And what is the most interesting part of your study?

The most interesting part of my study is for sure the correlation of different factors which can influence decisions in the tourism industry. Especially the importance of communication between different people is a core point in this sector. Furthermore I am interested in the way of dealing with customers or employers from different cultural backgrounds.

Tell us more about Austria? And what’s part of your country that makes you feel and say “I’m proud was born as Austrian”?

Austria is a small country in the heart of Europe. This is the short version but it is more like that. Our country is for tourists well-known as a destination which you can visit through the whole year. During winter you can take a ride on prepared slopes and in summer you can hike or spend your days at picturesque lakes or rivers. (but not at the sea because we are in the centre of Europe this is one “thing” we don’t offer).

Our country is to a big part depending on tourism. Nevertheless when I am travelling outside of Europe and I answer the question about my origin country I get in 90 percent of the cases the answer: “Ohh, Australia the country of kangaroo and Eyers Rock”.

But here in Austria we take our fate with humour. I heard already about an Austrian company which is selling T-shirts with the message: In Austria there are no kangaroos! and these t-shirts are bestsellers.

One thing I am really proud about my country is the combination of urban lifestyle and the picturesque beauty of nature. After travelling a lot I see how essential an unspoiled nature is. And also the capital Vienna which is the city with the highest quality of living in the world ranked by the Mercer Quality of Living Survey is one reason to be proud.

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What is the “must-visit” destination in Austria that we should visit at least once before we die? How about “must-eat” Austrian food?

As already told Vienna is a good spot in Austria. You need several days to explore the city in a sufficient way. Salzburg would be also an interesting city for tourists. If you have only one day for visiting Austria I would highly recommend to look for a natural place like a natural park or somewhere in a mountainous region. Because admiring the natural scenery is more rewarding than trying to explore for just a couple of hours the capital.

I think the one “must-eat” food is for sure the Kaiserschmarren. It is a sweet dish. Basically it is a thick pancake which is scrambled, covered with powdered sugar and served with jam from apricots. Furthermore I can recommend the famous Wiener Schnitzel (*) which is a breaded veal cutlet served with potatoes and a salad. 

What inspired you to start travelling?

I got my inspiration to travel during my first longer stay abroad. In 2010 I did my practical training in an Italian hotel for 2 months and at the beginning I could barely speak Italian. After these 2 months I could speak Italian fluently and made a lot of experiences with a different culture. I realized that travelling or working abroad, even if these are different things, is helping me to raise my cultural awareness.

What’s the most memorable country you’ve visited on earth and why? 

The most memorable country I have visited is with no doubts North Korea. I spent 5 days in this isolated country run by a dictatorship. If I should describe my experiences in one sentence I would say

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The trip to this country showed me how good my life situation is and that the freedom of travelling is priceless.

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How many times you did solo travelling outside Austria? what’s the best part of it that changes you as a person?

The first time I spent 5 days in Cebu at the Philippines. The second time I went on a backpacking trip for 3 weeks to Japan. 

When I was travelling alone I changed myself as a person a lot. Especially in Japan I realized that I am more outgoing and approachable in order to get to know new people.

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Three things you can’t live without?

Friends, books and milk tea (I am addicted to milk tea since my exchange semester in Hong Kong).

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Which destinations are the top of your bucket list?

Brasil, IcelandIreland.

Is there anything as a tourism graduated young man that you have high hopes to accomplish? whether it be a personal projects or traveling to some exotic country?

My short-term goal I want to accomplish is to work for the Österreich Werbungafter the completion of my master. This company is the national tourism organization of Austria which aims to raise the awareness about Austria as a travel destination throughout the year. This company runs many foreign offices and to work in one of these is one of my personal goals because I like to have a job where a lot of intercultural communication is required.

My long-term goal is when I have gained work experience in the field of international tourism I want to run an own company. Even if I don’t know the exact field in which this company could serve I think to run a successful company is one of the most rewarding things in life that can happen to you.

Who is inspiring person you’ve been admiring about his/her dedication in their passion?

The person who is inspiring me the most is my father. He is nearly blind because of a rare eye disease which cannot be healed but at least it could be stopped to get much worse so far. This disease started already when he was a child and got much worse with the years but my father takes his fate in a very good way. He lives his life and is not afraid about the future because he cannot change anything even if he would be angry about it. So he shows me how important health is and that life can be enjoyable even with a handicap.

Do you have any message for boys and girls outside there about traveling, or even solo traveling?

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I always tell to myself when thinking about a trip in the future that I should not wait too long because life can change quite fast. That doesn’t mean you should do everything even if it is too expensive but

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We don’t know what will happen tomorrow, travelling where and when you want is a way of freedom which was not common for a lot of people in the past and is still for some people on this planet an unfulfilled dream. 

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Last question, what is the surprising side of Andreas Knogler?

I think this can only people answer who talked with me. Ask them ;)

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Actually, before I went to Kyoto I was looking for another hostel to experience. I got one somewhere near Shinjuku that has larger space and bigger bed. But then, I thought it would be easier for me to keep my luggage at the same hostel (hell no to carry a luggage east to west in Tokyo train station!). So I extended my stay for 3 more nights. Just because I arrived quite late in Tokyo, I had no regret being sluggish to wake up late and re-pack all my souvenirs I got from Kyoto (how could I say to myself to do ‘light travel”? it sounds like bullshit if you go with one backpack and come back with three!).

 


“Serendipity does exist”


 

When I was repacking my things, Andreas came and wanted to pass to get his backpack. With zombie eyes and rumpled I wore for five days that grey yikes! t-shirt, I asked him those simple questions immediately, “what’s your name – where are you coming from?”. And you know that thing when you meet somebody and you just feel ‘clicked’ and say “you can learn something from this guy!”?, that’s what I felt when I met Andreas.

Andreas may laugh reading this, but truly I felt like I was talking too much that day yet I didn’t realize :P. I might be too excited sharing my experiences and how Nigeria changed me as a person. Not to mention that I’m so envy because he speaks three different languages! hoping I had a longer time in Tokyo and had a longer conversation, too. Because I believe that Andreas has so many interesting stories about his experiences, his study, and his country.

I had to admit that I was really sad I couldn’t meet Andreas on my last day cause I had to fly in the morning. Even just to take a photograph of him with my iPhone. But right now I feel beyond grateful because our friendship didn’t end in Tokyo. Andreas told me,

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And I trust that ‘somewhere’ will be in Europe.

 

The Amazing Giri

Giri1It’s been long I know since I started KitKat, a place where I love to share bunch of cool people outside there yang menginspirasi, yang datang dari berbagai profesi. As long as they’re inspiring and has creative background, sebisa dan sesering mungkin saya akan mengorek siapa mereka di blog ini. Dan kali ini, saya berkesempatan memaksa seorang kreatif muda yang karya-karyanya berkali-kali membuat saya geleng-geleng kepala. Semoga Anda terinspirasi setelah membaca hasil cuap-cuap saya dengannya.

Here we go!

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For all those who never know Giri, it would be a nice to ask straight. Who is Giri? where do you live, and what do you do?

First thing first, you guys really don’t need to know about me, just be inspired by my pieces, I will be happy as human and video/film maker. TAPI KARENA DIPAKSA senior favorit satu ini, baiklah :D.

Nama saya Giri Prasetyo, I claimed my hometown in Surabaya (actually I live nomadic), sekarang tinggal di Jakarta Selatan sejak 4 tahun lalu. Mengawali rantau di Jakarta dengan bekerja di beberapa production house. Alhamdulillah sekarang sudah 2,5 tahun bekerja di production house milik sendiri. Posisi tepatnya selain owner, juga sutradara, cinematographer, dan editor”

How many years been professionally worked for what you are doing now?

“Sejak 2009, berarti 7 tahun ya. Wow I never realised it’s been 7 years!”

I’ve seen you have grown Gir, it amazes me how Giri Prasetyo produces many beautiful travel videos. If I may ask, how do you see yourself into your job?

Matur suwun mas, tenan iki, suwun. Jyan sampeyan iki kok, duh…

I didn’t call it a job, I think more like a passion. Saya nggak punya latar belakang akademis di bidang ini, apalagi sertifikasi khusus. Jadi ya apalagi yang bisa nge-drive saya buat terus konsisten kalau bukan passion, modal peralatan juga mati-matian dicari, koneksi dan ilmu juga blusuk sana blusuk sini digali, dan lagi-lagi alhamdulillah, karena passion ya happy-happy aja ngelakuinnya. Audio visual tampaknya sudah menyerap sejak saya masih SMA, ketika pertama membuat film pendek sekitar 11 tahun lalu (wtf I’m old!). Soal travel video, traveling adalah cara saya untuk mendapat ide-ide baru, mengalami hal-hal baru yang kemudian bertransformasi menjadi konsep baru”

What have been some of the most rewarding aspects of your job?

“Yang paling saya suka dari passion saya ini adalah, oke pertama saya bukan tipe talker, kecuali kalo lagi nge-direct ya. Bukannya apa-apa, because I prefer to show something in my mind rather than telling it. ‘Show’ ini berarti bisa mengutarakan, mengekspresikan, bahkan mengimpresikan siapa saya, apa yang saya pikirkan dan apa yang mau saya sampaikan. Dan audio visual adalah medium saya untuk mencapai itu. Bukan script writing, atau bukan public speaking (bahkan sering saya minta Atre buat nulis caption di instagram, karena males mikir kata-katanya, I mean, just read my pictures not my letter!). Otherwise, bukankah video adalah medium yang paling persuasif yang ada sekarang. Saya bisa ikut membawa penonton ke emosi yang saya rasakan, bisa membawa mereka ke hal-hal baru yang baru saya alami, dan sebagainya. Lalu melihat mereka tertawa, sedih, merinding, terinspirasi, itu sudah bisa bikin saya orgasme batiniah”

Sometimes, everybody that sees your work in social media would think it’s kind a dream job you’re having. I know every job has its own positive and negative sides, so what have been some of the most difficult aspects of your job Gir?

“Sebentar, dream job yang dimaksud ini job yang mana? yang traveling ya? semoga bener. Yang paling sulit adalah meninggalkan pacar sementara saya jalan-jalan! hahahaha. I never find it difficult, because it’s my passion. Fun! tapi mengikuti keinginan klien juga bikin senewen”

You have traveled to four continents already for some projects, which one was the most challenging? And which country that left mark in your heart?

As a project, di Jepang. waktu itu mengerjakan film panjang komersil pertama, dan langsung jadi DP (director of photography), dengan peralatan baru dan seadanya. Di sana juga saya mecahin satu filter ND yang mahal karena buru-buru set kamera. Dan juga berhadapan dengan aktris Jepang yang sudah terkenal di seluruh Asia. Edan, I didn’t see it coming, bro! The country that left mark sejauh ini sih Swiss. Karena sempat hampir (well, mereka udah jalan sih sebenernya) ditinggal kru lain ke Perancis karena sibuk cari spot yang bahkan orang lokal pun jarang yang tahu untuk materi video”

Who is your inspiration in videography? And why?

“Banyak sih, sampai lupa namanya (ga pernah inget nama orang), tapi yang saya inget berarti benar-benar jadi role model saya berkarya adalah Renan Ozturk. Kalau sebelumnya pekerjaan saya disebut dream job, maka saya menganggap orang ini punya heaven job. Dari project-projectnya, dari treatment visual, dari sketsa-sketsanya, inspiring. Ada lagi Garin Nugroho. Kalo doi ga perlu dijelaskan lah ya. Banyak lagi yang lain, tapi lupa, sumpah lupa”

What are some of your other hobbies and passions?

“Hobi yang lain adalah motoran, suka banget sama vespa dan custom motorcycles, dari culture, lifestyle, sampai desain-desainnya. Apa lagi ya, main gitar juga, sering main gitar kalau lagi buntu cari ide”

How do you see yourself in the next five years?

will be the man who still walk on my passion. Saya nggak mengharap ada reward dan kekayaan materi, tapi selama saya masih diberi kesempatan untuk berkarya, itu sangat mewah bagi saya”

Any dream place or call it home in your dream that you are really, really want to live there someday? Where and why?

“Serius pingin punya rumah terakhir di Banda Neira. Mimpi saya yang masih belum tahu bagaimana mendapatkannya. Kenapa? di pulau mini itu banyak sekali sejarahnya. Pernah suatu sore yang biasa, saya lagi duduk-duduk sambil menghisap rokok dan minum kopi di salah satu warung di dekat pasar ikan. Waktu itu hujan gerimis agak deras dikit, atmosfernya enak banget lah pokoknya buat mikirin hidup. Saya ngelamun aja liat lalu-lalang nelayan mengangkat kotak-kotak berisi ikan segar, ada ibu-ibu yang bawa dagangan dari pulau Banda besar, ada anak-anak yang masih saja sepedahan di tengah guyuran hujan. Dan itu semua dikelilingi oleh rumah tua pengasingan Syahrir dan Hatta, benteng Belanda, gereja tua yang ada tulisan-tulisan VOC, lalu saya melihat Mohammad Hatta jalan di tepian yang tidak terkena hujan. Matanya menatap lurus ke aspal, sambil tangannya mendekap satu sama lain. Itu aneh dan absurd, tapi pulau itu bisa memproyeksikan imajinasi saya secara fisik”

Any advices for beginner that has passion in videography?

“Klise, tapi ikutin terus passion-mu. Karena ya emang itu pegangan saya. Dari passion timbul idealisme. Dari idealisme timbul target achievement. Dari situ kamu bakal tahu apa saja yang dibutuhkan untuk mencapai apa yang kamu inginkan. Networking is the key. Bagi saya yang tidak dimanjakan pengetahuan dasar dari akademik, tidak disodori buku-buku film dan referensi-referensi, networking adalah cara saya mendapatkan knowledge khusus di bidang ini. Dan harus fokus tentunya”

Three things you can’t live without?

“Passion, passion, and passion. And that is a lot of things”

Finally, please share surprising side of Giri Prasetyo?

“I can be fully surprising when you underestimated me”


***

Bukan Azis namanya jika mengakhiri obrolan dengan inspiring human tanpa menodong karya visual mereka di blog ini. You guys know how I love beautiful pictures, dan Giri? let’s these pictures here speak by themselves. What he took from his recent trip to Iceland was beyond amazing. Now, you know why this post titled The Amazing Giri. 

For more of Giri’s beautiful work, visit and follow his instagram! I guarantee his travel videos on his vimeo will pamper your eyes, too :)

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Ijinkan saya flashback sedikit sebelum mengakhiri postingan ini, ya :)

Saya ingat betul sosok Giri beberapa tahun yang lalu (wtf, I’m old! benar kata Giri :() saat saya iseng menjadi asisten dosen mata kuliah furniture design di Desain Produk ITS. Di mata saya saat itu, Giri adalah seorang mahasiswa yang biasa, jauh dari kesan mahasiswa desain yang ekspresif dari luar. Namun saya berkeyakinan mahasiswa biasa itu memiliki sesuatu yang tak biasa. Setelah beberapa bulan mengakhiri tugas di ITS dan bergelut dengan rutinitas di perusahaan di Surabaya, hingga tahun pertama di Afrika, saya tak terhubung dengan Giri. Saya lupa-lupa ingat bagaimana kami terhubung kembali, jika saya tak salah saat nama dan karyanya beberapa kali disebut di blog milik Ayos Purwoadji yang sering saya kunjungi dulu, Hifatlobrain.

Setelah itu, dengan munculnya twitter dan instagram yang mempermudah kita mengetahui bagaimana dan sedang apa mereka-mereka di luar sana, saya bertemu kembali dengan Giri. Keyakinan saya pada ‘sesuatu’ yang tak biasa dari adik kelas saya ini terbukti. Giri is amazing, and I knew it since. Postingan karya-karyanya di instagram hanyalah secuil bukti dari kekaguman saya pada sosok Giri yang berkembang pesat sebagai seorang profesional, yang sudah terbang ke Jepang, Maldives, Perancis, Australia hingga New York.

Setelah tujuh tahun lamanya tak bertatap muka dengan Giri, tahun lalu saya beruntung memiliki waktu bertemu dengannya bersama pacarnya, Atre, dua kali di Surabaya. Pertemuan yang menginspirasi dari dua pribadi yang inspiratif. And how lucky I am mendapat pernak-pernik dari Maldives, Jepang dan Perancis dari Giri. Oh, he has another thing from Iceland for me, yess!!! :) 

Last one I promise :)

“Gir, I proud of you. Keep up your excellent work! There is nothing happier than live with your passion. Till next time, Gir!”

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