“Trish, see the world”, said my beloved grandma one afternoon. At the time, I just smirked and coldly responded “we’ll see”.
It’s not that I don’t like to travel, believe me, I love it! It’s just that I hate facing things that are beyond my control. For me, everything needs to be well planned and predictable. You need to make time to think about the pros and cons, and being reckless just because ‘YOLO’ is for me, utter nonsense.
Last July was particularly hectic for me.
At work, I had been given responsibility for leading a new major account. Domestically, I had some chores to attend to. Tension was building up.
When my sister suggested that we take a trip together to Hanoi, I readily agreed.
I must admit that the past two years have been very tough for me. There were times when I felt like I was losing myself and hitting rock bottom. I did not give myself much time to enjoy things that I like because I was focusing more on how to be perfect. I realized that I would go crazy if I kept living my life that way, so I started to look for ways to escape my routine.
When was the last time you did something that truly scares you? Mine was last year: I jumped off a plane over the scenic Great Ocean Road, just two hours from Melbourne, Australia.
I wish I could say that I am this daredevil who lives life untethered and gets off on the adrenaline. I am not, but every year, I made it a point to do at least one thing that terrifies me.
Many have said that South Korea is a place worth visiting. Some would say for its food, others would argue for its skincare products. Those reasons never appealed to me, as I found the country rather boring.
That was before I got pulled into a black hole called K-pop.
Influenced by manga, anime, martial arts, and Zen since young, Monitoring and Analytics manager Charlie Tjokrodinata’s dream came true when he got the opportunity to visit Japan. There he found his inner Zen in the most unlikely of places.
From childhood, Japan has been a spiritual and somewhat of a cultural home for me.
Japanese culture, for people of my generation, was to us what Korean culture is to Gen Z today. I grew up on manga comics and Japanese animated films, more popularly known as anime. My infatuation with manga, anime and Hong Kong action movies drove me to pick up martial arts.
Solo traveling did not come easy for me. It took me four years of wishful thinking before I could summon enough courage to travel alone to somewhere distant and adventurous.
For someone raised in a family where girls are looked down upon, it took the lure of a free stipend from a Personal Development Fund from Maverick, the company I work for, to decide me to travel. The fun, equivalent to a month’s salary, is what the company gives its staff who have worked there for a year to develop themselves. They can do so traveling to a place they haven’t been before or taking a course that develops them as persons.
Resolute, I bought air tickets for Kathmandu, packed my bag, and told my parents that I was visiting my best friend in Bangkok, a necessary little white lie to placate my conservative parents.
There is something magical about Japan, waiting to be revealed
When you hear the word “Japan”, what do you have in mind? Sushi? Kimono? Sakura blossoms? Some might even think of the Fuji Mountain, Japan’s highest mountain and most iconic landmark. From the breathtaking natural landscapes to its authentic food, from the cultural history to the modern technology, people around the world are so intrigued by Japan that they decide to travel there for the unique travel experience offered. According to Japan Tourism Statistics, the number of foreign visitors to Japan last year reached 28.7 million and the number keeps increasing!
Among those foreign visitors were our Mavchicks and Mavbros. Utilizing Maverick’s Personal Development Fund (PDF), six of Mavchicks and Mavbros—Marsha, Dhini, Fuad, Karen, Karina, and Rendy—visited Japan at different times during 2016-2018. For you who wonder what PDF is, it is a benefit provided by Maverick to its employees to go to places that have never been visited or take courses and learn new things outside of work. The purpose of PDF is to support employees in developing themselves and adding experience beyond their daily work. Sounds cool, huh?
Curious about their experience, we asked them five questions. Their answers might give you hints about Japan and help you plan your holiday when you decide to visit the Land of the Rising Sun.
Unlike many of my three million fellow Chinese-Indonesians in the country, I grew up in a family that was pretty removed from the Chinese culture. I never celebrated Cheng Beng or Cap Go Meh, nor did I know when to eat bakcang or kue keranjang. One that I especially yearned for growing up was to celebrate the Lunar New Year the true Chinese way.
So, when my Personal Development Fund (PDF) from Maverick was due this year, I used it to fly to Taipei, Taiwan just in time for the Lunar New Year.
I expected lots of festivity, with dim sum a-plenty and firecrackers going off every few meters. Instead I found…
Mount Sinabung decided to erupt just about I landed at Medan’s Kualanamu International Airport. As I walked from the runway to the airport building, I began to receive text messages on my mobile. My friends were asking how I was doing. “The volcano is far away so I’ll be fine,” I confidently replied to them.
That was how I jinxed my trip.