Living Life Like Foreigners

To say that I love traveling, is an understatement. My mind and body are suffering with curiosity and just constantly demanding to be fed with the wonders of discovering new things. Amen to those who say that “if money was not an issue, I would leave and never come back.”

I love the feeling of seeing and experiencing new things through a fresh pair of eyes and mind, which makes ordinary things become extraordinary. This was that feeling that I had when I first walked through the crowded and fast-paced streets of NYC; when I stood under and was struck by the majestic Eiffel Tower, that was fully lit during the night; when I sat on the extremely complicated and comfortable toilets in Japan; when I bought my first fresh sausages in the Vic Market of Melbourne; the list goes on.

Those are the things that are ordinary for the locals, but incredibly extraordinary for me. Just like riding an ojek feels extraordinary (and maybe unsafe) for foreigners, but terribly normal for us. Because it’s so habitual. And people tend to take habits for granted.

To the eyes of the locals, when foreigners like me visit their city, I may look like a child, because I am just excited about everything. Some locals might find overly-excited foreigners annoying. I am not sorry for that. In fact, as a local Indonesian, I find the behavior of excited foreigners as normal, even endearing. You see, in a place where things are extremely different than in your home, it is very normal to be surprised and even excited about new experiences.

I think that people should have this kind of mindset all the time. The kind of mindset that a foreigner always has, which is a mindset that is always eager to wander and discover. I realized this, when I met a foreigner friend who lived in Indonesia for years. We talked about how he has been to all the beautiful places in Indonesia, that I have not. It is a little embarrassing to know that a foreigner has seen more of Indonesia than Indonesians themselves.

My point is, as locals, we like to take things for granted. We think that those places aren’t going anywhere and that we have all the time in the world to visit. But, do we? The thing with all travelings is that it always ends. When foreigners visit a place, be it for business of pleasure, they know that there is a clock for every trip. And when the alarm goes off, you’ve got to leave.

Life is also like traveling. It is a trip. It is temporary. But you have so many things to do, places to go, people to meet, books to read, movie to watch, food to try, words to say…

When you think of life as a trip, you live life like a foreigner.

See life with those child-like eyes. Be surprised at every turn.

Don’t waste every second.

Never stop wandering, even when you are at home.

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