From picnic-dating to ‘flying’ a fighter jet, I crossed 6 more things off of my list this year.
In 2012, I published my 100-list: a random list of 100 things I’d like to do or experience in life. Some of the things I listed down there had been on my wish-list since I was still a teenage girl, while some others had been jotted down quite recently. I revisit my 100-list every year-end to see how far I’ve come, how many things I’ve crossed off, and what are the next things I can pursue.
I also feel like I’ve changed a bit (or even a lot) throughout the years, and it’s only natural that the things that once excited me didn’t excite me any longer–or vice versa. So, each year, apart from leaving the crossed-off list intact, I also examine the rest of my list to see if I want to alter one wish for another.
Why I’m Keeping My 100-List.
I keep my 100-list because these random (and somewhat silly) things reminded me of how, as a child, I looked at the world every single day with wonder and amazement. Of how I imagined a future of my own, without thinking about what’s possible or what’s impossible. Of how I believed that wishes–no matter how odd, could actually come true.
Climbing a tree, for instance, is something I’ve always wanted to do since I was a little girl, and until today, I still haven’t crossed it off of my list. It is indeed such a childish and simple wish. However, seeing this particular wish has never failed to remind me of that childhood thirst: to wonder, to dream, to imagine, to experience something new, to venture to the unknown. (updated: I did it, I have crossed it off my list)!
The 6 Things I Crossed Off of My List in 2015:
Until today, I have crossed 42 things off of my list (58 more to go!), and these are some of the things I managed to cross off of my list in 2015 (in no particular order):
ONE: Learning how to ‘fly’ a fighter jet/helicopter.
I received a message from my ex-colleague one day: “Do you want to learn how to fly a fighter jet?” I didn’t even know why she had to ask! I have always been fascinated by helicopters and fighter jets even before I watched Top Gun, so when Eurofighter Typhoon set up a fighter-jet simulator at a military exhibition and invited an
innocent civilian like me to try it out, of course, I said YES!
The fighter-jet simulator was actually there to be tested out by Indonesian Airforce’s fighter pilots, but on one sunny afternoon, I jumped into the simulator happily to learn how to fly a fighter jet. When we were about to start, the instructor asked me, “Have you ever flown this before?” and I replied with, “Oh yes, all the time!”
We looked at each other for a moment until he realized the absurdity of his question and we burst into laughter. And yes, it wasn’t easy to fly a fighter jet. I was so proud for being able to have a smooth take-off and get the jet balanced, but when I had to shoot other planes and check the altitude and everything else… *facepalm*
TWO: Learning how to give Thai massage.
I have always wanted to know how to give a proper massage. I think it would be lovely to help my loved ones relax after a long day by giving him/her a massage. In the end, it wasn’t really a Thai massage; but I took a 2-day massage class where the masseuses have combined Thai, Swedish, and Balinese traditional massage into a technique of their own.
“It’s important to know the right technique to do the massage,” said my instructor. “For instance, your body position must be correct, or else, after giving a massage, you’ll get back pain or shoulder pain. This is not the way to go. Yes, we are taking care of others, but we need to take care of ourselves first and foremost, too. Self-care is important.”
That message about self-care was so profound.
My instructor has worked there–as a masseuse, for more than 8 years. “I used to be a gardener at the owner’s house,” he told me as we went out for lunch together that day. “I mowed the lawn and threw away the garbage, those kinds of things. Until one day the owner called me and taught me how to do the basic massage, so I could massage him when he was tired. I started learning how to give a proper massage, and soon after, when some of his friends came over to the house, he would also ask me to give them a massage. They liked it, and along the way, I learned some more techniques and massage more people. When I had finished my training, I was recruited as a masseuse at the owner’s massage place, until today. Now I have learned English as well, to communicate better with the customers.”
THREE: Picnic-dating by the beach or in the park.
I almost did this at the end of 2014, when I was in Paris and a guy from Bordeaux asked me to have a picnic date with him by the Seine. “I’ll bring the wine,” he said. And he did. And we did have a picnic by the river. But I was there with my other two friends. So I hesitated for a while about crossing this one off from my list, and I decided not to cross it–yet.
But I finally experienced my picnic-dating–in the park, not the beach–and it was in Vondelpark, Amsterdam. We went to Albert Heijn for some freshly-squeezed orange juice and a bag of Doritos; and I sat on the passenger’s seat of my date’s bicycle, clutching his waist as he rode it skilfully to the park. Turned out there was a culinary fair at Vondelpark that day, so we treated ourselves to some grilled sausages and seaweed burger before retreating to sit on a low-raised stone wall overlooking the pond, reading books.
What? Reading books? If that doesn’t sound like a romantic date to you, trust me: that for a bookworm such as myself, reading books with your date is always counted as a romantic thing to do!
FOUR: Learning Latin dances.
I love to dance. And I always think that Latin dances are sexy–the music and the beat are so dynamic, and the dancers are always looking so passionate and confident. I had trained myself some moves via YouTube videos every now and then, but I knew I wouldn’t be able to really ‘dance’ that way. So the last time I was in Bali, I took 2-hour private salsa lessons.
My teacher is a Balinese salsa dancer, Made Lasia. He was so good at explaining and demonstrating the steps–and I was surprised to know that in the first half of an hour I could dance salsa already!
Of course, I am still a beginner. Sometimes I still lost count of my steps as I dance, or couldn’t really grasp what my partner was trying to say when he lifted up my hand a certain way. But I’m learning! *baila, baila*
FIVE: Traveling across Indonesia and visiting all the big islands.
Finally! This is something I have always wanted to cross out of my list–and the opportunity came to me in mid-2015, when I got an assignment to cover the stories of various nonprofit organizations from Nias to Ambon, from Muna Island to Pontianak. I traveled non-stop for 3 months while working on interview transcripts and writing feature stories all the way, and it was really tiring. At the end of the trip, I didn’t feel like I want to go traveling again for at least 3 months (but, of course, I travel again in less than a month).
I have to admit, though, that I didn’t have that much time to go ‘sightseeing’ during my 3-month all-around Indonesia trip. So, we may need to erase the images about a relaxing time by the beach or a leisurely hike by the mountains. The schedule was so packed, and I spent my whole days following the activists on their field duty, but I didn’t regret it at all. In fact, it was a money-can’t-buy experience altogether; as I was exposed to inspiring stories and courageous people throughout–and it made me believe that Indonesia is going to be alright.
In some remote islands, villages, or forests all over the archipelago, there are actually some amazing people doing amazing things for their community. For their country. And this gives me hope.
SIX: Sleeping in the outdoors, underneath the sky.
Sawendui is the highlight of my traveling journey in 2015. To reach this hidden paradise, I needed to fly from Jakarta to Biak and then hopped into Saireri Paradise Foundation’s speedboat that would take me to Sawendui village in around 2.5 or 3.5 hours, depending upon the mercy of the sea.
There’s only one wooden hut by the beach in Sawendui–it’s a basic hut where the staffs of Saireri Paradise Foundation gather with the Sawendui people every day; either to have a briefing, a meeting, a communal lunch, or to throw an all-night-long musical fiesta. The foundation has worked together with the locals in Sawendui for some time to conserve Paradise birds and turtles around the area.
Yes, there are rooms inside the wooden hut and bathrooms, too. But the staff (one from Sumatera and the other one from Sulawesi) preferred to sleep in the outdoors–either by the beach or in the forest, and they didn’t understand why one would want to use the bathroom if one could jump into the pristine river inside the forest–that can be reached in 30 steps from the main hut.
I spent the days in Sawendui with my friend, Windy–and we did experience the lovely feeling of sleeping by the river inside a forest; to be woken up by sunshine and the cries of the birds and to fall asleep while listening to the serene crackle of the branches from the fire where the staff and the locals grilled some chicken, corns, and bananas close to midnight.
There was this one time when we came with the locals and the staff at night on their turtle patrol. We walked through the pitch-dark forest and then along the beach, the wave sounded so furious yet majestic, and the moon was our only source of light. When we were tired after walking for 2 hours, we decided to wait for the locals-on-patrol by the beach, and just slept there until they finished their patrol. The log is our pillow, the sand is our mattress, the sky is our roof. It was the closest moment I have with nature: and it felt so humbling to know that I am only a tiny dot in this Universe of Creation.
What about you? Do you have your 100-list, too? Are there some dreams or wishes from your childhood that are still close to your heart today?