on Merbabu

Solo Priority

Lately, I’ve been thinking about my favourite destinations. My likes and dislikes from travelling solo, in pair or groups.

I’m passionate about the cities where I lived. My feelings for those cities are too complicated. It’s more like a love and hate relationship. Wherever you go, there are always good sides and bad sides of life.

One of those cities is Warsaw, my hometown, the place where I was born, lived for most of my life and the place where I’m living now. It’s like my place on Earth, and I feel very attached to my hometown. Almost my whole life I lived in the same district of Warsaw, Wola, the houses being just few bus stops from each other.

Central Java map
Central Java map, © Indonesia-tourism.com

The other city is the only place except for Warsaw where I ever lived. I travelled solo to a town that is “on the other side of the world”. Eleven thousands of kilometres, or so, from my hometown. To a city largely unknown in Europe, because the guidebooks don’t cover it. The city itself boasts as “the spirit of Java”, and indeed it’s a place with lots of traditional Javanese culture there and around. But it looses in recognition with a smaller city, 60-70 km away, called Yogya (official name: Yogyakarta). In Solo (official name: Surakarta) European tourists are hardly visible which might be problematic at times.

I went there alone, but it doesn’t mean I was alone in there. I found there new friends, new family. Those people were with me during good and bad times. They cared for me, even when I was in a hospital. I’m grateful to them for sticking with me and for the times we spent. Thanks, my friends!

At some point in time, whenever travelling through Java, I was often replying that I’m from Solo. It was a home for me; I grow to know (more or less) the routes in the city, had my favourite places etc. Life wasn’t always happy there, but it’s not a story for now.

What is important is that my coming back (even as a tourist) to Solo and broader Indonesia is my priority now. When I was leaving Solo after living for almost a year there (September 2012 – end of July 2013), I felt it was too rushed. I didn’t want to leave it, but I had to. For my peace of mind, at least, I want to go back there. I want to visit my friends, who still almost after a year from parting often ask me when I’ll be coming back. Those questions make me happy. Despite all the cultural difference mishaps we had, I feel like I gained life-long friends… and that I got accepted, at least by them.

So, my dear friends from Solo and other cities, you can be sure I’ll be back there, as soon as possible. If I could, I’d go there right now. I miss you, and I miss the fun we had. And I want to take another look at Solo and Indonesia, now when I know what to expect when I can go there fully prepared when I’m able to talk freely in Indonesian… I’m very curious how will I look at Indonesia now.

I think that this one photo sums up much what I wanted to convey in my post. Even if there are only a few people on it. See you soon, hopefully.

on Merbabu
May 2013, on Merbabu mountain. © Sam, 2013

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