This is my 1st bulletin after the last one that was written in June 2020.
YES. TWO YEARS AGO.
When the pandemic started, I believe no one ever thought that it would happen in their whole life ever. If you read the article “The Story of Double Twenty” that I wrote on my personal blog, Peek Holidays, I was just back from visiting my family over Chinese New Year in Singapore when gradually everything started shutting down. For the sake of many people, doing activities and meeting people has become restricted, or maybe I should say, prohibited. For a long time, people avoided meeting eye to eye, distancing apart, and suddenly, the surroundings became so cold.
Like for everyone else who stays far from their family or the people they love, the news of border closings was shocking. The thought of not being able to see my family and my friends for an uncertain period of time was dreadful. Those friends include all of you, Indonesia Explorer fellas, my travelmates. :)
Staying positive during that time was not easy. There were times when negative thoughts steered my head, like driving on a freeway. Thanks partly to the facilities that we have nowadays, we can still stay connected despite the distance and restrictions.
At this point, as I am writing this, if I think it over, a tiny part of me still can’t believe that whatever happened in the past two years was actually real. It was like a nightmare, and I am glad that we are all awake now.
• • •
Almost nine months later, since everything shut down, I finally landed my foot on the floor of the aircraft again. I must say that the first time I stepped out of my so-called safe house and dropped myself off at the dangerous zone, a.k.a. airport, for my 12-day trip exploring East Nusa Tenggara with the local tourism board was quite interesting.
There were 13 of us in the group then. I recall the tension, the awareness of who was sitting next to us at the airpot, who we were talking to. How we couldn’t give a hug to one another. No flight meals were served on board, and we all ended up starving as we arrived at the destination airport in the early morning.
Masks and hand sanitizers have become must-have items in our bags. That’s not all. We had to get our finger on that oxymeter device that our group coordinator prepared every morning, and he once got panicked because the number shown on the device when I placed my finger was not within the normal range. He was ready to take me to the local hospital – an even scarier place during that time. Fortunately, it turned out that the inaccuracy was due to the device’s fault.
• • •
Two years later, the situation is already much better compared to then. It is almost back to normal like it used to be (I think!). And I finally made my first overseas trip to meet my family and spend quality time with them for a few months.
Last month, the Indonesian government finally opened the Indonesian border to international visitors. I must say that, thanks to the MotoGP event in Lombok last month, that has indirectly become the trial period for welcoming international visitors. At present, the entry point for tourism purposes is only available via Bali and is limited to certain countries. At the very least, it indicates that we will soon be able to fly in and out freely again.
Regardless of the never-ending bad news that appears whenever it pleases, we should probably ask ourselves if we are ready to leave our safe haven and live our lives as we used to be. To do what we love, chase our dreams, and most importantly, never give them up.
Time slipped away. Two years have passed. Although we might have lost many opportunities or missed the targets we have set for ourselves in the last two years, perhaps it is just like the popular quote says, “To rest is to prepare for a longer journey ahead.”
And I hope this lengthy newsletter doesn’t turn you away.
Until we meet again soon. Stay healthy!
[Update as of April 06, 2022] – Entry port for international visitors are already extended to many other airports in Indonesia as shown below.