I’m a junkie, a travel junkie. My only rehab is out there and the more I go out there the more addicted I become. I guess I will always need a fix to get fixed!
Bromo was just a couple of weeks ago, it is becoming apparent that my ability to endure between-travel intervals has reduced significantly more than I realised. Looks like I need that travel dope shot in the arm more frequently now.
It’s amazing how the thought of travelling again brings a certain zest to my life and just as I bought the ticket to that next random destination it feels like it was only yesterday that I went away and came back the last time. The excitement begins. Once again. No long haul flights required, flying out to the country next door would do. In fact, flying out of town to anywhere without a passport would do.
This was my first time in Jogja. Comparatively, I feel better connected with Surabaya but Jogja has her own appeal and the art scene bought me in hands down, I like both Surabaya and Jogjakarta for different reasons the way I belief every city or place has a reason to be liked. It is so easy to like them all when you focus on what makes you happy, well, what’s the point of travelling if you indulge in looking for reasons not to like a place. I was lucky that my random travel dates coincided with Jogart, the annual contemporary art show and exhibition that conveniently found a slot in my open itinerary after the must-do temple visits. The art spaces and hip cafes are reasons enough for me to swing by Jogja again sooner or later.
It’s amazing how a single city offers two amazing man-made structures to visit – two different temples, two different stories. After a back-to-back visit to both I can’t stop thinking which experience resonates better, a Hindu or Buddhist temple? I have absolutely no bias here, it’s all about the stories of humanity and them being exhibits of “interchange of human values over a span of time” as described by the UNESCO plaque at the walkway to the Borobudur.
The Borobudur may appear more majestic and pomp but I somehow found Prambanan more interesting. Built in the 9th. century, the Prambanan temple was to honour Lord Shiva. The temple collapsed during a major earthquake in the 16th. century and was restored by the Dutch in 1930. It is ironic that a temple built to honour Shiva the destroyer and transformer was itself destroyed (by an earthquake) later. Built in the same century as the Prambanan, the Borobudur is the world’s biggest Buddhist temple with 72 Buddha statues each seated in a perforated stupa surrounding the central dome, a feature I like most. The temples of Prambanan are like 3-D ancient books with amazingly well preserved carvings on the outer walls.
Clearly I like the story of Prambanan’s ironic destruction and restoration 400 years later and the stories it keeps on telling just by standing there battered but unperturbed by its vulnerability. Civilisations come and go but it is so easy to behave as if ours is the only one that matters. Perhaps in the future the remnants of our civilisation will be nothing more but a tourist attraction with lessons attached to it mostly missed out of ignorance as humanity once again press the repeat button of history.
Walking the streets of Jogjakarta discovering graffitis is such a delight. Some may argue the artfulness of graffitis but I found so many beautiful ones here. I saw a particular one on a rusting zinc sheet that made me cringe inside knowing that the beautiful image on it will only last for so long to be appreciated. This I saw while in the Grab car on the way back to the hotel, I tried taking a photo in the moving car but it was too blurry to be worthy of sharing here.
Somewhere in Jogjakarta, lost in the streets and in the colours of the graffitis it dawned on me that all my little travel adventures are actually one, the biggest one there is – life. I’m glad I did not wait blindly thinking that one big adventure needed to happen to define it. I’m glad I did not sacrifice the so called smaller ones to make way for the biggest because the biggest adventure is already here, all I need to do is live it. Living it means my 3-day adventure in Jogja is little merely because of partition of time and I need to take the partition away to make it whole and become what it should be – part of the big adventure. There are no little adventures, only one. Live it Joey.
Jogjakarta, 12 June 2017