After cutting ties with his previous job, Febrian stays in the traveling lane of his own. 9-5 job with a music album turns out to be not of his cuppa. 3 years delving in the travel blogging scene, Febrian hosts his own YouTube channel Jurnal Indonesia Kaya. As an active blogger, he contributes articles regularly for Wonderful Indonesia e-magz.
So, tell us about your journey about being a travel blogger?
“So I started around three years ago. Before I write, I was a singer back then, I had an album in 2010 but it didn’t work out because of the label and management, so I quit. And I started blogging not long after that. At first, I moved to Jogjakarta for a month, then to Malang, by my own expenses. I made a content out of it, from my experience of hiking on mountains, visiting the beach as well. And apparently people love to read my blog. And after a year, I got invited to Indonesia Kaya to host their upcoming project, Jurnal Indonesia Kaya, and it’s been two years since.”
You mentioned earlier that you first moved to Jogja and Malang and make your own blog content, was that your initial goal?
“So as a travel blogger, you have to move from one place to another and share the information about that place to people. At first, I moved to one city to another city just to make a content, I want to share how beautiful Jogjakarta is, what’s in Malang, what’s in Kalimantan, and what’s in Sulawesi. Because most of the people who follow my Instagram, or read my blog, they really don’t have a chance to travel. The purpose is as simple as it seems; I wanna make myself happy and spread the happiness to others.”
When you started your blog, did you find any difficulties that made you feel stagnant/stuck?
“I believe in every kind of job, there must be obstacles and difficulties. But since this is the job that I really love and fits my passion, plus the fact that I love travelling, I can’t complain because sometimes people want what I have in life. I feel very grateful because not many have the time to travel, but I got this kind of privilege from God to have this job. But to answer to your question, the difficulty came from money, I mean traveling is expensive. But I felt like it’s a miracle from God cause I always had the chance to get by. For me, it’s about take and give sometimes. I did some charity projects with NGOs where I had to travel to remote areas in Indonesia. I taught kids and encouraged them the importance to reach their dreams. I also had some projects where I lived in one area for several days to help the locals. So, yeah for me it’s about take and give, the more you give back, the more you’ll get back in return.”
Worst experience to date?
“Well, probably the worst experience is when you got scammed from other people, especially if you go to other countries that you have never been in to. There’s also racism, when I went to Australia –some white guys called me chopsticks because I have small eyes. It was like an unpleasant experience, but it sure taught me something. I like seeing the bright side in everything, so I don’t really think much about it. Oh, I also got scammed when I was in India. I went there with my friend, when we walked to the hotel from the train station, and an Indian guy followed us and asked many things. He told us that he could take us to the said hotel but I politely declined it because I had google maps, plus it was only 10 minutes away. But he forced us to follow his lead, we ignored him and suddenly he grabbed my bag and tried to snatch it. And after that, I ran to the police station and the guy disappeared. That’s probably the bad thing that you will face when you’re traveling. You have to stay aware to a new surrounding, because not every people are kind to you, and you just have to be really careful with that.”
Besides bringing your camera or phone, what’s the little thing that people usually forget to bring while traveling?
“The first thing that people usually forget is actually toothbrush. I found people don’t really care about it, because, yes, sometimes people expect that it would be available from the hotel toiletries. But what if you are going to stay in a small village and you don’t bring your toothbrush with you? And the other one is sunblock – it’s very important. You know our country is a tropical country and the sun burns your skin all the time. Before, I don’t really care about it, but my friend told me that I should bring it because UV protection is very important. He also told me that his boss, who always went to outdoor work, got a skin cancer because he didn’t use sunblock. That’s when I started to bring sunblock everywhere.”
Speaking of traveling as a work, you also participated in Galeri Indonesia Kaya. Tell us more about the project please.
“I got contacted by Indonesia Kaya and they asked me to do audition first for hosting the show, Jurnal Indonesia Kaya. So I did the audition and got it. It’s been two years since I became the host of the show. As the show grows, we put a little drama for the documentary program. We even make a series titled Goresan Jejak. When I was traveling alone, I didn’t really know about the culture, and ever since I host the show, i know more, gain a deeper knowledge about Indonesian culture and tradition, from the food to the cultural ceremony. And frankly speaking, I got the chance to visit the place that I don’t think I would’ve visited if I was alone. And because of the show, I already visited all the provinces in Indonesia. It opens my eyes that our country is really rich in culture, and very diverse and we are united as one. So I feel proud to be an Indonesian, even more after I hosted the show.”
After you travel all around Indonesia, what’s your personal favorite place?
“Though I’ve visited more than 21 countries in the world, and my fave has always been Flores. It’s like the face of Indonesia, you can find everything about Indonesia there. The people are so kind and very welcoming. If you want to see an underwater scenery, you can go to Labuan Bajo, or Komodo National Park. From the west to the east, they’re so rich in culture. If you wanna see the woven fabric or known as ikat, you can find it there and they’ll provide you with the story about their ancestor. For hiking, you can go to Wae Rebo as well, it’s a very famous village in Flores. Plus, Flores’ coffee is so good. And for the culture traits, in the eastern part of Flores, there is a village called Larantuka where they always celebrate Easter ceremony every year and it’s very festive.”
Any experience that you can’t forget during your stay in Flores?
“I probably will say that this is a life changing experience. I was living in a local people’s house for the project with NGO in some villages for a month. During that time, I had to sleep on the floor with only a blanket or mattres as the cover. From that, I learned that there were people out there that being grateful for what they have. They don’t have those expensive things in their house, but they can feel happy and grateful for it. I can see that they’re very sincere and very simple.”
Did you also experience a culture shock?
“Yes of course, but not during my travel. I actually was born in a small town in Kuningan, West Java. So I moved here in 2005 for college. I had always wanted to move to Jakarta to pursue my studies and to have a career here. But moving here, I don’t really like the city, the people, as well as the traffic. It’s too crowded and over-polluted, shattered my image of Jakarta that I was dreaming about. 3 months living in the big city, I whined a lot about the hot weather. After I finished my studies in 4 years, I worked for an event organizer company as a marketing executive but I didn’t feel like the job suited me so I quit and became a wedding singer. Didn’t feel the vibe either, I left the job and started blogging. And now here I am.”
During your struggle of adjusting living in the Big Durian, how did you manage to keep on moving?
“Just being myself. I don’t really care about what others think about me, being who I am helped me a lot.”
What’s your plan for the next five years?
“I really wanna build a travel-related business, probably make a book about my experience –still unsure what kind of book, we’ll see.”
Writer: Adhinda Latifa
Photographer: Mario Raymond
Videographer: Iqbal Syafei
MUA: Nadia Renata
Wardrobe: Arjuna Weda, Batik Semar, Original Finch