2016
08.05

AIRPORT WARNING SIGN

SYNOPSIS:  A few brief reflections on this trip.

17,000+ islands, 300+ different ethnic minorities, 500+ languages and dialects, 5+ main religious groups — how can anyone even begin to comprehend this country?  Not a lifetime of visits or even living here permanently, can accomplish this.

Indonesia is by all measures the most diverse country I have ever been to, and one of the most intriguing ones.  From a modern metropolis like Jakarta to the backwaters of Boti — and I have not even been really off the beaten path or got even close to groups that are truly remote from civilization, such as can still be found in the jungles of Kalimantan, or on the island of Papua. 

Papua… I did not even set foot into, along with many other famous but smaller islands.  Papua is the second largest island after Greenland in the world.  I figured, it deserves an entire trip someday. 

But the island-hopping did accomplish what I had hoped for. 

Traveling for me is never just the destination or exploring the place I go to.  It is about gaining a new perspective on things.  And I got that.

From the positive surprise in Banda Aceh on how lax sharia law can be practiced in even the most strict Islamic province, to the disappointment about the loss of Dayak and other cultural traditions, I bring home many new insights and impressions.  Most positively rank the people from the poorest to the richest.  Their kindness, their welcoming nature, and their openness towards strangers were a breath of fresh air. 

The world is so big that with most countries I travel to, I know full-well that I will see them once only.  Iran and Israel captured my interest further and I hope that someday I will be able to return to either one of them for longer periods. 

Now, I will add Indonesia to that list. 

Thank you, for being with me on this trip!

See you next year in … we shall see.