I always want to write about one of my most memorable traveling stories this year, but I was too LAZY to open my laptop. Thanks to Putu and my randomtravelers friends who keep pushing me to write, finally I can share my story.
This year is so special for me. My whole life dream to go to Japan came true. As one of the 90s’ generation, I still remember how I spent my Sunday morning watching anime and tokusatsu (something like Kamen Riders) when I was a kid. I also have this forever J-POP and Dorama crush, so I never miss any Japan events in Jakarta from the small one held by my faculty’s neighbour “Gelar Jepang” to the biggest one “Jak-Japan Matsuri”. My mind was filled with this dream (since a very long time ago) to meet my favorite anime characters, experience the Japanese life and play in Tokyo Disneyland.
I decided to book a ticket for myself a year before my trip. At first, I planned to go to Japan with one of my office friend. I thought if I booked the ticket first, then she would follow me. But then, she decided not to go with me. I tried to ask my regular travelling friends (the random travelers) to join my trip but they already had their own plan to the honeymoon islands, Maldives. I didn’t give up. I asked my best friends to join but nobody could go with me.
I felt like, ohh ohkayy, I would end up as a Solo Traveler next year in Japan.
It is not that I don’t like solo traveling. But, I feel that it is much more fun if I can travel with people from the same country. Then, an idea came up in my mind. I heard that there was a very popular backpacker community in Indonesia. It is still very popular now among Indonesian backpackers. It has a website (here’s the address http://www.backpackerindonesia.com/). Just open it and you will meet thousands of backpackers ready to initiate or join a trip.
I decided to (why not!) register as a member and hang out in the forum. First, I tried to search other members’ trip to Japan, but unfortunately their schedules didn’t match my trip. The last resort that I could do was initiating a trip. By initiating a trip, I could make sure that my gang would travel to Japan on the same date with me and that we’d have the same taste.
The first thing I did was writing an interesting topic in the forum. I was requested to put some important info, such as arrival and departure date, members quota, budget required and description of the trip. I also put my Facebook photo so I looked reliable, LOL. The most important thing was the description of the trip. I guess, such description will determine whether you look serious or not with the trip.
I would love to share with you guys the screenshot of my topic page. See below.
Several weeks after posting a topic on the website, I got hundreds of viewers and more than 50 replies (now, maybe thousands of viewers and hundreds of replies, something to be proud of :p). I had to reply messages and comments from backpackersindonesia members like almost every day. Even if I realized that they were strangers, they were so enthusiastic and serious about the trip. Most of them would request the trip itinerary to be sent by email (mine was very detail). They also wanted to be friends with me in Facebook. As long as they were nice (not rude) and friendly, I thought I didn’t need to be worried.
I didn’t like uncertainty so only those who had booked the flight would be recognized as the members of my trip. So many people were interested in my trip, but only a few who were serious to book the flight. Amazingly, there were 5 persons (all girls) who finally joined my trip. So technically, 5 months before my departure, my trip quota had been full. Yippikayyay 😀
The first who book the flight was Devy. She booked the flight easily just like that. I think she works as a boss somewhere in Kupang (pardon me if I am wrong :p). The second was Zae, the accountant. She is good at counting something, i.e. rates, hostel expenses, train tickets, etc. The third was Dewi who liked to tell scary stories. She was also the funniest. The fourth was Deasy, a truly traveler. I remember she collects Starbucks tumblers from many parts of the world. And the last was Linda who was a very quiet person but surprisingly could speak Japanese. Once she speaks, everybody laughs and feels amazed. Well, I was so lucky to have a great team 🙂
Let me introduce you to my otaku friends :p
A month before the departure, I had a meeting with some of them (in Indonesia, we call it “Kopi Darat”). They needed to meet me in person and we fixed the itinerary together. I always opened for discussion in everything, except the departure date which had been fixed from the beginning. We even have a group chat in whatsapp called “Welcome to Japan!” which is still active until now.
When you have nobody to travel with, I suggest you this backpackers community as one of good option to look for travel partners. I, personally, love to make friends. You just need to make sure that you are comfortable enough to meet and hang out with new people.
I actually still have so many stories to tell you guys on our journey. But, I need more time to write, haha 😀 Hopefully, I will post other stories soon. (AS)