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What I Gained from Solo-Trippin' to My Home Country


Cities we visit, food we eat, and the fun things we do there. 

What I Gained from Solo-Trippin' to My Home Country

Debora Manusama

In the past 2 years, I've been hustling hard and doing damage to my body like nobody's business. I was restless, chased by my deadlines, drowning in obligations,  and suffocated by the guilt of giving my family only scraps of the love I was meant to give them. 

I was drained. Emotionally. And if you've been reading my blog for a while, you could tell that my content has become more commercialized and just loaded with ads. Buy this, eat this, try this, do that -- I mean, I genuinely mean them all. I will never write/advertise something I do not like. But it became too much. Because I was doing too much. An internship, a part-time job, a freelance gig or two, plus mothering a kid who needs a special attention -- I don't know how I did it. I think I was running on autopilot on most days.

But then my generous and wise husband, Mr. Man, suggested something that was so profound called : resting. He said, " Why don't you go on a vacation. Take a break from everything and just rest. I'll pay for everything." 

Dang, thank God I said 'I do' 5 years ago, right? Haha. 

So on November 30, 2017, I packed my gigantic pink suitcase and flew to my home country, Indonesia. Why Indonesia? Because I kinda felt like it was the perfect place for me to rest. It's home! 

And what did I gain from the trip?

1. A Much-Needed Time to Rest and just Be

Shauna Niequist's book called Present over Perfect, was just what I needed! In this amazing book about resting and living soulfully in the moment, Niequist says : 

"Part of being an adult is taking responsibility for resting your body and your soul."

Just like me, Niequist was addicted to working hard. She was addicted to the rush she felt whenever she pushes through and gets things done. She said it made her feel adequate. I wonder if that's why I've been doing too many things too? Maybe I just liked the feeling of being needed by many and being good at a few things? And just like any drug, this 'addiction' has disconnected me from the people that I love and even from myself and my own voice. 

This had to stop. And thankfully resting really gave me some time to reflect and learn about the importance of doing less, and living more. 

2. A Full Tummy

Nothing satisfies my hunger like Indonesian food! Chicken Satay with peanut sauce, Ketoprak (bean sprouts, tofu, peanut sauce), char-grilled fish -- I had them all within my first 18 hours there and I was so happy. 

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Not having to lift a finger to prep my meals was another thing that I loved! My mom fed me good, y'all!

3. The Memories of Who I Was (and lessons from them)

Sometimes, in order for you to appreciate who you've become and to figure out who you want to be, you need to go back and get to know the person you were. So it was fun to hear stories of who I was and the things I used to say and do, coming from some of my closest friends. 

Trust me when I tell you this : I'm glad that I'm not the person I was before. But I'm glad I went through it all. 

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4. The Realization of Who I've Always Been

In between those funny convos about the days of the old, I came across this beautiful girl name Debora who happens to be one of my most, if not the most, faithful readers of my blog. She reminded me of who I am and have always been : a light-bearer. 

When people say they like the restaurants you recommended or the clothes you advertised a while ago, that's great. But when somebody said you've inspired and encouraged them through your writing --- it fulfills you. It's like, the greatest honor ever! And I know I want to do more of it in the years to come! 

My bestie Dewi also reminded me of that quality of mine. She said she's always been inspired by me, and I was like wow. She knew back in the day, when I was not living my best life, and yet she saw that in me. So yes, I'm not gonna dim it anymore. I'm gonna share it! 

5. A Sense of Who I Want To Be

"It is better to be loved than admired. It is better to be truly known and seen and taken care of by a small tribe than adored by strangers who think they know you in a meaningful way."
-- Shauna Niequist
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I'd like a do-over. And this time, hopefully I want to strive to achieve my goals, not at the expense of the quality of my relationships with my loved ones. I know I've said something like this back in 2015, before I got trapped in my own need of feeling useful and adequate. But this time I really mean it when I say : I have not been happy with the way I've been living. 

So yes. I want to disappoint people who love me less often, even if that means to disappoint people who don't really know me, more often. Will you join me?

I'll leave you with this quote, again by my new favorite person in the world, Shauna Niequist :

" What makes our lives meaningful is not what we accomplish, but how deeply and honestly we connect with the people in our lives, and how wholly we give ourselves to the making of a better world, through kindness and courage."