Living in Java: an update

Well, well, well. It’s been a pretty amazing year and a bit in Java. Spending one whole year in Java doesn’t actually sound like that much of a big deal to me right now. But I know that before arriving the thought of living anywhere other than Australia for a year seemed like sheer madness. Now it feels normal.

Just one of the many amazing places I have visited in Java in the past year
Just one of the many amazing places I have visited in Java in the past year

Earlier this year I posted a video montage celebrating a year in Indonesia. It’s a simple video which shows some of the trials, tribulations and delights of everyday life in Indonesia. Some with a keen eye will have seen some of the important moments from my time here in Indonesia so far.

Getting Married

The most important thing that has happened to me in Indonesia during the past year is getting married. I came to Java for a 3-month stint studying Indonesian and ended up getting married. How did that happen? Nobody knows, but I’m extremely happy and that’s all that really matters. Susan and I were married in June this year in Bali surrounded by a handful of friends and family.

Us on our wedding day
Us on our wedding day

Learning Indonesian in Bandung

I came originally to study at IMLAC for 3 months before shooting off to Bali to learn how to surf. Well, since I was getting to know Susan and was generally having a fab time living in Bandung, I decided to extend my Indonesian lessons. I ended up completing 6 months of full-time study. I thought that after completing this much studying that I would be fluent, but I am not. I can hold a conversation with anyone in Indonesian and can pickup a lot of what people are talking about when I overhear their conversations, but I still struggle to talk in the style of locals. Why? Because the proper way of speaking and writing in Indonesian is a long way from how most people actually speak. Many people studying at my school questioned why we didn’t learn the informal language, but that’s not something you go to school for. You learn that on the street and by interacting with people.

One of the classrooms at IMLAC
One of the classrooms at IMLAC

For anyone intending on staying in Indonesia for any extended period of time, I would highly recommend getting some formal training in Bahasa Indonesia. I saw many people arrive in IMLAC with no Indonesian language knowledge getting to a pretty good proficiency within 1 month.

Writing for Travelfish

I continued writing for Travelfish while in Indonesia and this took about 3 months of my time. I covered most of Java. Actually, to cover every tourism aspect of Java would probably take about 5 months, so I hit the spots that foreign tourists are more likely to hit. Even then I spent a week at one point without seeing another white person. Java doesn’t get many foreign tourists travelling through it. Those that do come here spend their time in Yogyakarta and then move on. How very sad.

Working for Travelfish is no holiday, but it's fun!
Working for Travelfish is no holiday, but it’s fun!


Recently Susan and I spent two months in Australia and New Zealand having our honeymoon. We stayed in campervans for most of the period and it was an incredible experience. Highly recommended. More to come on this.

Sunrise in the outback on our honeymoon
Sunrise in the outback on our honeymoon


Reflecting on the past year and a bit, I can truly say that life is unpredictable when you don’t have the anchor of a proper job dictating events. I’m becoming increasingly keen to start a business or ten here in Indonesia. Everywhere I look I see opportunity for people with my background to make money. Whether it be opening up a small guesthouse, a small eatery, a website or something else. Opportunity abounds here.

Right now Susan and I are experimenting with a new Indonesian travel website called Pergi Dulu which we hope one day will provide destination information to the growing masses of Indonesian travellers. Today it is a blog, tomorrow hopefully something different.

So that’s where I am at now. I’m truly passionate about Indonesia and am bullish on the country’s economic prospects and potential as a tourist destination. If only the rest of the world would wake up.

6 replies on “Living in Java: an update”

Have enjoyed your blogs on Travelfish – and as a result of reading them, have learned quite a bit about some interesting places in Java that are added to my ‘travel list’. I was last in Java in 1994, and the first time was in 1977 on a school trip (that’s showing my age!) – but you’ve ‘uncovered’ areas that I hadn’t heard of, so thank you!

I’ll subscribe to your other new website – I see some posts are in bahasa, so that will be good practice for me!

@busylizzy – Hey thanks, I really appreciate it. The people of Java are modernising fast, but the infrastructure isn’t. So what that means is there are lots of off the beaten track locations because it is just too difficult for people to get there in their cars. So when you come back, the old Java will still be here, but there will just be lots of people with cars and ipads rushing about on rutted roads.

@Nico – true. It feels more like Jakarta on weekends and I’m not in Indonesia for that. Maybe I should base myself near the beach. 🙂

Hiya Adam! My friend just told me about your site and I have been reading it and having a laugh! Life is definately full of surprises when you are open to absolutely anything happening!!

I came to Jakarta for a two week holiday – three and half years ago!! I still have no idea what I’m doing with myself here but I LOVE IT!!!! The people, the amazing places to travel to that are off the tourist trail… the culture, food, everything….. every day is a new adventure and filled with smiling faces… I feel so blessed to have ended up here and am now expecting my first baby so I guess I’ll be here for a lot longer than expected 🙂 No complaints from me!

I’m glad you have had the same random adventures and happiness as well!

Hello Tasha! I’m a big Indo fan as you are, but how do we extol the virtues of this wonderful land in a way that entices the masses to visit? I’m at a loss. Everyone just seems to end up in Thailand.

Thanks for dropping by the blog. I hope to start updating again when I get back to Indo in a couple of days!

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