Three days after arriving back home, still I haven’t unpacked, haven’t gone out, haven’t met anyone, and haven’t done anything productive—apart from replying to some emails that need to be replied, and meeting deadlines. I am that kind of person. After being surrounded by a lot of people or being on the road for a long time, constantly moving and bumping into others—I need my downtime. I need to recharge. I need a break.

I need to pause.


Do you need to be alone to recharge?

I’ve known some friends who can be on the road for what seems like an indefinite period, moving from one city to another every 3-4 days, then coming back home and heading out to see some friends directly from the airport. The next day, they would have had some meetings or meet-ups, attended events, edited pictures, and wrote some articles about their travels, went to the gym, unpacked, plus organized another trip.

I envy them.
I envy people who do not need downtime.

Those who live their lives like an Energizer bunny. They are so energized. So active. So unstoppable. It seems as if they could do so much in the first few days they came back from their traveling journeys, while here I am, still enjoying the feeling of not having to go anywhere or to do anything, savoring the privilege of being alone.

These past few days can be simply summarised into coffee – books – bed – movies – lunch – books – bed – coffee -movies – bed (insert ‘work’ only when really necessary—meaning, deadline is tomorrow).


This is how I recharge. To recover from travel-lag. To readjust the pace and pattern of my day. I live best the way I travel best: slowly.

There are 2 places I would dearly call home.

My real hometown in Bogor, and my adopted little town of Ubud.

Both are easy to navigate because each one is a donut: Bogor with the Botanical Garden to fill in the hole, and Ubud with its Monkey Forest.

Both are small towns (my boyfriend still finds it funny whenever I refer to Bogor, with a million people, as a small town) with access to networks, opportunities, and vibrant creative communities trying to make a difference. Only an hour away from Bogor, there’s Jakarta: the capital of all things shiny—while an hour or two away from Ubud, there’s Sanur and Seminyak: the hubs for any kind of jobs imaginable.

Both hometowns host loving friends and families (I once wrote that home is any place where you’ll be missed, while the boyfriend said that home is wherever your wi-fi connects automatically).

They are both small enough for you to bump into old friends (or exes!) in public events, restaurants, and coffee shops, but big enough should you want to exile yourself in the faraway villages or hide in the mountains. Nature provides plenty of breathing spaces not far from the center, and the arrays of mouth-watering street food deserve no such thing as a diet.

Nevertheless, the silent contentment of being home is simply that: being home.

beradadisini being home (stocksnap)To wake up on the same bed where you’ve cried yourself to sleep when you’re still an angsty teenager. To be surrounded by your overloaded bookshelves. To have your dog jumps on you because she wants to play. To talk to your Dad about how you’ve managed to float like a starfish in Raja Ampat.

To walk around the house with that old shirt and pants you’ve had since you were 17. To cook whatever you want because the kitchen utensils are all there, waiting to be put into good use. To create new therapeutic ointments with coconut oil and your growing collections of essential oils. To put your clay mask on and compress your eyes with slices of cucumbers.

To start your day with a set of routines you’ve developed throughout the years. To know what everything is for, where everything is stored, and how everything works.

To feel as if you can go anywhere, but at the same time not wanting to go somewhere else.

Probably, as much as it’s a convenient place, home is more of a feeling: about knowing that no matter how far you go, you’ll always find a place to go back to. About remembering your root and who you truly are. About being you when nobody’s noticing. It’s a feeling of knowing that you are free both to leave or to stay.

It’s about that yearning that keeps tugging on your heartstrings when you’re away.

Whatever that yearning is, it’s home.

PS: If reading is one of your favorite down-time, you might want to check Bookmate–a mobile reading app where you could find tons of fiction and non-fiction books. If you’d like to try the premium access for free for a month, insert the code readwithhanny here. I have a shelf there storing some of my favorite books about writing, Writer’s Reads.


50 Responses

  1. I used to work in an industry that was GoGoGo on the road 24/7!!! Then when that project was finished it was Dead Stop. Some people have trouble adjusting after having every waking hour planned and busy busy busy.
    Like you I used to enjoy being home and hearing the mantle clock ticking. Thank you for an enjoyable post.

    1. Thank you for leaving such a nostalgic comment! 🙂 True, when you’re in a line of work that allows you to travel often, the true ‘vacation’ is simply: staying at home! 🙂

    1. “I had to love myself, before I could truly love another.” – oh your mother is such a wise woman :’) It is funny how one must go on his own journey to really understand what that means.

    1. I think for me, these days, simply discovering the city by foot while unplugging is such a refreshing experience. Not checking Google Maps and let myself get lost, not asking friends on Facebook about where is the best coffee shop but simply entering one that tugs my heartstring, not updating social media but conversing with strangers. Then it seemed as if the clock is ticking much slower 🙂

  2. This gives me so many feels <3 I'm leaving my home next year, and even though I'm excited about it, I know there would be times for me when I'd feel the same as you do.
    Keep writing! 🙂

    1. aaaaw, this is is sweet :’) indeed, absence makes the heart grow fonder. send my hugs to your Mom 🙂

  3. I can totally relate to this blog. I love down time after traveling to recuperate and reconnect with myself. I like the way to describe home being a place that you are comfortable and familiar with and surrounded by love ones. During my down time, I like to journal, connect and refocus so that I am ready for the next task refreshed and renewed. Like Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz, “There is no place like home, there is no place like home, there is no place like home.”

    1. Indeed. Sometimes, I think traveling expose us to so many things, and we simply need some down time to digest the experience. Some people digest is fast, some digest is slower.

  4. I loved this post and can really learn from it! Sometimes I run from one activity to another, knowing in the back of my mind that I should take a deep breath and not rush it. This post was an useful reminder to not just think it, but actually do it!

  5. Great post, and I completely understand the need for downtime, and being at home. After traveling, I love to be at home where I am comfortable, in my space, and with my family. Some folks feed off of others’ energy. I, and it sounds like you as well, find joy and feed my soul through quiet, contentment, and surrounded by the comfort of home.

  6. Ditto – I love going away, but no bed compares to our (awesome memory foam) one and having a never ending supply of fruit, biscuits and decent tea make home an awesome place.

  7. I am like you. I need downtime, people can be exhausting. I am sure that after a hefty week I will always have a downtime of a day!

    PS: I loved your boyfriend’s definition of home.

  8. I love this, and can totally relate. I need a seemingly infinite amount of downtime (also known as “me time” to my friends, lol) to recharge from the day. I’m currently crashing at my parents’ house and there’s a lot of nostalgia coming back… funnily enough, it doesn’t quite feel like “home” to me anymore, at least not right now.

    But I do always appreciate having my own space — no matter how much teenage angst from 2003 comes seeping through the walls 😉

    Thank you for this beautiful post! Glad to know someone else understands. 🙂

  9. Love it! Wrote something similar about winding down in your own serene private space. Great article. 🙂

  10. I totally understand the alone time ?? I enjoy my own company. My job requires me to be very sociable but at the end of the day – I sit alone for an hour with a coffee and my own thoughts recharging my batteries.

  11. I’m with you on this. I need to be away from people after a holiday and just enjoy a nice home cooked meal and not have to rush anywhere

  12. Sangat suka this post! You’ve captured really nicely how I (and many others) feel about home. I’m back at my parent’s house and I still consider it home and guess what? I haven’t gone out in like 4 days; content with cooking, watching shows on Netflix, spring cleaning my room and just talking with my parents. We’re fortunate to have identified where our homes are, where we feel comfortable and content. Glad you have your homes where you feel free and complete =)

  13. this was so beautifully written, and i completely relate to the need to re-charge. i wish it were easier being around people for a long period of time, but some of us need to enjoy solitude for a while to gather enough energy to keep going! 🙂

  14. home is a feeling. true that.

    some people lived for years and years searching for that special place. they go to all beautiful places, they tried all things new and different, but none seemed to anchor them at all. they are like kites dancing in the hurricane. quote james bond.

    everyday sometimes feel either like a new beginning or an endless journey that begin to take its toll. when all you wanted was just to close your eyes and make berth but the stars in the night sky was just too beautiful to close your eyes against.

    that’s when you realise your soul has aged a little quicker. tire a little more.

    and just when you thought you are doomed to drift away into the unknown like sputnik forever lost in a beautiful space, you found someone. who took one look at you and immediately know you. from a life that you could not remember. speaks a language that only you could understand.

    home is a feeling.
    when you look into their eyes.

    and feel safe no matter where you are.

  15. Yes, home is so important to me. I really need to be alone (or with my partner) and I always need to time to recharge, even if it’s after coming home from a long day of work. I get overstimulated and need certain comforts. Thanks for the interesting perspective/blog post!

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Legs and Apples
Do it because it’s fun. Because it brings you joy; because it’s meaningful to you. Do it because it gives you simple tiny pleasures. Do it because it makes you smile.
The view from De Klok
I took another digital detox this weekend—I limited myself to a 5-minute screen time on Saturday and Sunday to quickly check my business account. I closed my social media account for the rest of the days.
Hanny illustrator
I am an Indonesian writer/artist/illustrator and stationery web shop owner (Cafe Analog) based in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. I love facilitating writing/creative workshops and retreats, especially when they are tied to self-exploration and self-expression. In Indonesian, 'beradadisini' means being here. So, here I am, documenting life—one word at a time.