How Airports Extort Money from Us #1

Everything sold at an airport is bloody expensive. If you’d ever wondered how much they mark prices up, well, it could be 200% or more. No kidding. 

See some examples of prices at Juanda international airport in Surabaya:

Bogasari milkfish is priced based on weight: Rp 70,000-Rp 100,000

Coconut flakes (srundeng): Rp 30,000

Regular crackers (krupuk) Rp 30,000-Rp 85,000

This sh*tty overlysweet coffee is Rp 24,000, taken straight from that icky cheap Nescafe #coffee machine often found at 7-Eleven or Circle K 🙄 

… but I’d still prefer this place over Starbucks (coffee priced Rp 60,000 and up) because they are less crowded & has plenty of power outlets! 

Tip: If you want to spend more than an hour of waiting for eating & drinking, just head to the nearest lounge. They only charge Rp 150,000 per person (but of course it’s free for some Indonesia’s bank credit card holders). #juanda #surabaya #TGIF #airport #travel

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Have You Asked Questions on Quora?

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It’s been years since I registered on Quora, yet I just had the right time and mood to finally contribute answers in it.

The first question I answered was related to copywriting. It felt kinda nice to get some upvotes, doesn’t it? So, I tried to answer the second question when someone requested it. It’s kinda fun! Now I think I’m gonna do it more often, just like blogging…

Here are some of my first answers in Quora. Let me know your experience with the site, too 🙂

What does a good copywriter do?

A copywriter is a creative job best found in advertising agencies. In order to become a good copywriter, a person needs to develop few years of experience in writing for different outputs/ platforms.

For example, when I started my career as a copywriter, I have already had a writing portfolio because I regularly published short stories in local newspapers. As the years go by, my experience evolved from doing proofreads, writing product descriptions, creating taglines for print ads and TVCs, develop VO scripts for radio ads, to creating a concept for an entire campaign together with an art director partner under the supervision of a creative director. You will move up and become a creative director typically within 5–8 years.

It is better to build your career once you are graduated because there will be many competitions seeking for young talented creative copywriters. If within 1–3 years you did not win any competitions or advertising awards or get approached by big agencies, maybe you need to step up your game. Build your presentation and foreign language skills, especially if English is not your native language. Once you win a local award, try submitting your work to an international award. It is hard to measure if someone is really good at copywriting unless at some point he or she wins an award or recognition for it.

Where can I find a funny copywriter for chatbots?

Finding a funny copywriter is a tough job, most probably you wouldn’t find one in big agencies. Try hiring a scriptwriter whose previous gigs include a variety show or comedy series. Another option is to spot a fresh YouTuber talent/ video blogger on the internet. This person may not have a writing skill, but you can easily send the raw material to a copy editor for minor grammatical tweaks.

What are some things on which most people unnecessarily spend a lot of money?

  • Apple (iOS) products (worse specifications, much higher prices)
  • Bottled water (one can just use a permanent filter or put ice in tap water for drinking)
  • Lululemon/ branded yoga attire (we just buy at Target or Aeropostale – much cheaper)
  • Business class or first class flight (you can use miles to upgrade your flight. Miles are accumulated from flights on the same alliance partners, hotel partners, and travel credit cards).
  • Owning a car (you can use Uber and save up on gas, parking, maintenance, insurance, and your time!).

How do I deal with a girl that wants to be my girlfriend but I’m not interested?

I’m a girl and I know how it sucks not to hearing the truth but keep expecting things that would never happen. If the girl has verbally expressed her feelings to you, then you gotta tell her the truth: you consider her as a friend and you want to stay that way. However, if you think this girl has potentials in the future and you still want to open your way to having a relationship with her, ask her out on a date and see how it goes. Sometimes our minds play tricks on us. The moment we want to see the best in someone, we will be able to see it!

However, if you think this girl has potentials in the future and you still want to open your way to having a relationship with her, ask her out on a date and see how it goes. Sometimes our minds play tricks on us. The moment we want to see the best in someone, we will be able to see it!

If the girl hasn’t said anything to you… well, I think you’re just too full of yourself. She probably doesn’t fancy you that much. Girls are manipulative, sometimes we make guys think that we like them just so we could get what we want (e.g. getting a car ride home, helping with projects, buying lunch, etc.). Lol. Don’t fall into it 😉

How do I convince my Indonesian parents that girls can solo travel?

My big sister and I are both solo travelers and we came from a rather close-minded family. Although we are ten years apart, both of us become very independent and have lived away from our family for many years.

Here are some tips for you to consider:

  1. Moving out of your parents’ house. Personally, I think this is the most important decision I’ve ever made in my life. I know from a very young age that I want to move out and live by myself (like most young adults in Western countries). By the time I was 19, I have got myself two part-time jobs which I secured without my parent’s permission in the beginning. After a few months, they started noticing that I came home late every day, so when they finally asked, I told them that I’ve already got paid for doing a website design and some teaching jobs. By the time I was 21, I secured a full-time job in a bigger city, left my hometown and lived by myself (but I wasn’t scared at all because I’ve already had some experience working with other people). It was hard at first, but you’ll get used to it.
  2. Once I live by myself, I don’t need to ask money or permission from my parents. However, solo travel takes more than money and guts, you have to do proper research prior to your departure. The first country I visited alone was India, so it wasn’t as organized as Singapore or Hong Kong — for example. This experience has given me more courage to go to other more developed countries. Most of the times, I don’t tell my parents where I am going, but I will leave some notes at my place and tell my siblings about it. They would be able to detect my journey through Facebook and my other social media.
  3. When you have traveled to 1–2 foreign countries by yourself, share those experiences with your parents by showing them the beautiful pictures you’ve captured from your journey. By doing that, they would be reminded that you’re a responsible adult who knows perfectly how to take care of yourself.
  4. So far I’ve had traveled alone to 10+ countries, including India, Australia, Turkey, Korea, France, Spain, U.S.A., and Ireland. Nothing bad had ever happened to me, and believe me when I say this: you will find many good people who will help you on your journey. By traveling like this, I get to meet more local friends and realize that the world is not as bad as the news often describe to us.

If you’ve never spent time browsing on the site or ask/ answer anything, well, I think it is a bit like an acquired taste. I guess I just recently found my joy contributing and reading this site after I actually listed down all categories that I’m interested in and subscribed to their newsletter. Interested? You can follow my Quora here.

 

 

Living Not to Impress

When you live like you don’t care about the expected lifestyle or what other people think, you’ll stand out. It’s lonely, and easily misunderstood by most people.

Thus, always remember them who are always with you through your easy and difficult times.

Do they take advantage of your easy life?
Do they stay away from you when you’re in a difficulty?
Do they treat you the same when you’re in a high position or stripped off from your privileges in life?

I think, one doesn’t need to know people very long to determine their characters, but after 2 years you’ll get through all seasons twice and know a person better. 

After 5 years, you’ll realize how they’re important to you or not.

After 8+ years, if you’re still keep in touch on a regular basis, you will miss them when they’re away and you know you’ve found a best friend. #weekendthoughts

View on Path

After Two Weeks of Cycling

I have recently started riding my bicycle within 5 km distance to save time, money and get fitter. Needless to say, I quickly found my childhood joy of cycling! (even though I often got trapped in the middle of heavy polluted and congested traffic or got teased by male passersby. GRR!)

Spent absolutely Rp 0 for 3 roundtrips to the gym and grocery stores a week (which usually spent on Uber/ Gojek + multiple tiring phone calls to the drivers). I could reach 2 km distance in 10-15 mins (after finding nice shortcuts), in comparison to 30 mins waiting + travel time if I use Uber/Gojek. The downsides are I have to shower as soon as I reach a destination (cuz this is NOT a 4-season country like Italy), and run my washing machine more often.

“I noticed that I was spending huge money on things I didn’t really need: trips to the bar, pretty clothes, takeout coffee, and so on. And all this with a mortgage and other big expenses to take care of,” said the girl in the article.

Yass, I agree. Apparently, I can live without (Doohh, of course, you can!) buying new clothes, fatty snacks, fancy meals or even cut my lifestyle spending by 90%.

Things I miss the most:

  • Salon treatment (seriously, biweekly pedicure, hair spa, massage routine is nice)
  • Traveling to a new country
  • Mingle with friends in fancy cafes (I limit social meetups only with small circle of friends at a time)

Things I don’t miss at all:

  • Buying new clothes, shoes & bags
  • Eating out after work (I like cooking for myself, cuz I can listen to music & think about other stuff while preparing the meals)
  • Hipster food & drinks (Rejuve, Kopipapi, Kokonut, Shilin, MisterPotato, etc)
  • Starbucks (bought a coffee maker instead. One cup brewed from good coffee beans only costs like Rp 1,500)

Things I still hold on to:

  • Investment & insurance
  • Platinum gym membership (it’s almost like breaking off a long relationship with your gym buddies, teachers, etc. Plus, I still need the yoga classes & hot showers in strategic malls around the city)
  • Netflix (reduced it to 1 screen viewing, but I still like to see their original shows & I have committed to eliminate piracy within the best of my ability)
  • Books & digital storage purchases (paperback, ebook, cloud server)

I will slowly get back to my old routines once I get the right full-time job, but I think I’ve learned a lot through this frugal living experience and will continue to ride my bicycle for fun & health reason. After all, I’ve lost like 3 kilos within 2 weeks. Not bad at all.

Mom

Yes, mom, you worry too much
Really, mom, you can always tickle my nerves
Seriously, mom, I feel suffocated sometimes

But thank you, mom, for bringing out
the good and bad in me
For all your kindness and prayers

I think, mom, I don’t know what I’d do
without you
One day I’ll wake up and hope that
I could be more like you.

Happy Mother’s Day #poem #2016

View on Path

8 Gadget Bawaan Wajib Saat Traveling

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Aku masih ingat tujuh tahun yang lalu, saat pertama kali pergi tamasya seorang diri dengan berbekal beberapa lembar uang sepuluh dolar Amerika di kantong. Terdengar gila memang, apalagi bagi seorang perempuan Asia yang tidak kenal siapa-siapa di negara tujuan. Tapi orang bilang pengalaman itu mahal harganya, dan hingga kini aku selalu mencatat hal-hal apa saja yang perlu kusiapkan sebelum memulai petualangan di negeri asing.

Satu hal yang tidak bisa diremehkan lagi adalah keberadaan gadget, alias perangkat elektronik yang membuatku tetap tenang dan terhibur selama di perjalanan. Beberapa alat elektronik yang kumiliki di rumah saat ini berasal dari Electronic City, misalnya LCD TV, dan kamera digital.

Dalam rangka merayakan ulang tahun Electronic City yang sudah “15 Tahun Melayani Anda”, aku ingin memperkenalkan beberapa peralatan elektronik andalan yang selama ini setia menemaniku ber-solo traveling:

  1. Sepasang Smartphone

Yup, bukan cuma satu, tapi dua unit! Bagi kita orang Indonesia, hal ini tentu bukan hal yang luar biasa. Aku menemukan hal ini sangat membantu, terutama jika ingin tetap terhubung dengan nomor asal, misalnya untuk menerima panggilan bisnis atau sms dari Indonesia.

Lebih baik lagi jika dua unit smartphone tersebut memiliki Operating System berbeda, misalnya Apple iPhone 6 dan Xiaomi Redmi 3. Dengan begini, kita bisa mengunduh aplikasi mobile yang berbeda dan saling melengkapi. Misalnya, aku suka mengandalkan Yelp saat berada di Amerika Serikat untuk mencari restoran-restoran terdekat yang mendapat pujian tinggi dari pelanggan, atau sekedar mengunduh iChangi app saat transit di Singapura untuk mendapat WiFi gratis.

Tidak bisa dipungkiri kalau hidup kita sudah sangat tergantung pada smartphone. Dari mulai buka Google Map, hingga melihat jadwal bis atau pesan kendaraan pulang ke hotel, kita tetap butuh ditemani benda mungil itu. Nah, keberadaan smartphone cadangan akan sangat berguna saat kita kehabisan baterai atau ingin melakukan dua hal yang berbeda pada saat bersamaan, misalnya melihat peta sambil tetap bermain Pokémon Go – saya masih main hingga level 28, lho! Hehehe…

  1. Power Bank

Ia dikenal dengan nama berbeda-beda di seluruh dunia – power bank, portable charger, portable battery charger, battery pack – tapi kegunaan utamanya hanya satu, mengisi kembali daya gadget saat tidak tersedia power outlet alias colokan. Secara pribadi, aku hanya akan menggunakan alat pembantu yang satu ini dalam keadaan sangat terpaksa, karena konon kabarnya penggunaan power bank secara rutin bisa memperpendek usia baterai atau mengacaukan indikator baterai pada gadget. Suka sebel, kan, saat indikator mobile device kita menunjukkan baterai ”100% charged” tapi begitu dipakai langsung drop ke 40%?

Power bank akan sangat dibutuhkan terutama jika kita menjelajahi lokasi-lokasi outdoor seharian. Supaya lebih maksimal, pilih yang dilengkapi dua slot USB dan bisa sekaligus berfungsi sebagai senter.

  1. Kamera Digital

Sekarang memang sudah banyak smartphone yang dilengkapi dengan kamera depan dan belakang canggih, tapi bukan berarti keberadaan kamera digital menjadi sia-sia.

Buat kita yang gemar mengambil foto dan video selfie liburan tiap beberapa menit sekali, hal tersebut bisa menghabiskan baterai smartphone dengan cepat. Aku sendiri sudah merasakan perbedaan besar saat traveling sambil membawa kamera digital dan hanya mengandalkan smartphone. Apalagi sekarang kebanyakan kamera mirrorless sangat ringan, mungil dan dilengkapi WiFi untuk terhubung langsung ke internet

  1. Earphones dan Media Player

Sepertinya dua item ini sudah menjadi satu paket yang tidak pernah ketinggalan di dalam tote bag-ku bersama dengan kacamata hitam kesayangan. Kacamata hitam bisa rusak dan tergantikan, tapi playlist tetap setia menemani kemana pun kita pergi – terutama saat ingin meredam tangisan bayi di pesawat atau saat bosan menunggu kereta larut malam di subway.

Bagi kita yang sempat mengikuti perkembangan music player dari mulai era Walkman, MP3 player, iPod, hal ini sudah menjadi semacam nostalgia masa lalu. Saat ini, keberadaan media player bisa dengan mudah digantikan oleh smartphone dan digital watch. Kelebihan item yang terakhir adalah kita tidak perlu menghabiskan daya smartphone sama sekali – contohnya, kita bisa mendengarkan musik dengan menghubungkan koneksi earphones Bluetooth dengan Apple watch yang kita pakai sepanjang waktu.

  1. Laptop Mini atau Tablet

Tidak semua orang mau membawa perangkat elektronik yang satu ini saat tamasya. Alasannya, laptop bisa mengingatkan pada rutinitas kerja – apalagi jika yang dibawa adalah laptop milik kantor. Tapi ada beberapa profesi juga yang seakan ”mewajibkan” untuk bawa laptop, salah satunya blogger atau penulis.

Bagiku, traveling tanpa membawa laptop sama seperti tidak membuka diri terhadap inspirasi. Bagaimana kalau ide bagus tiba-tiba datang dan kita tidak siap mengolahnya dengan perangkat yang memadai? Kita mungkin bisa memakai PC atau laptop yang tersedia di hostel atau business center hotel, tapi terkadang itu memakan biaya yang tidak sedikit.

Misalnya, di sebuah hostel strategis di San Francisco – yang terkenal sebagai kota bagi pendiri startup yang ingin besar di Silicon Valley – penggunaan desktop PC bisa dikenakan biaya sebesar $5 per jam. Hostel di negara-negara Asia seperti Hong Kong, Korea, Jepang kebanyakan tidak mengenakan biaya, tapi Anda harus betah menggunakan keyboard dengan aksara asing dan bergantian memakai 1-2 komputer dengan belasan tamu lain yang juga tidak membawa komputer.

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Sebagai solusi, kita bisa memilih tablet hybrid yang sudah dilengkapi keyboard, misalnya laptop 2 in 1 murah meriah seperti Acer One 10 atau laptop high-end seperti Microsoft Surface Pro 4 yang super ringan namun berkekuatan Intel® Core™ processors generasi 7. Alternatif lain adalah membawa tablet beserta sebuah keyboard Bluetooth yang nyaman bagi jari-jari Anda. Kelemahan dari solusi terakhir ini adalah kita harus selalu ingat mengisi daya ke kedua perangkat tersebut, serta menghubungkan koneksi Bluetooth setiap kali ingin memakainya.

  1. E-book Reader

Perangkat yang satu ini tidak wajib dibawa, kecuali kamu adalah penggemar berat membaca sepertiku. Bermula dari membeli Kindle Paperwhite karena iseng, hingga akhirnya aku merasa keberadaannya bisa menggantikan buku-buku tebal yang sering diangkut selama perjalanan.

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Tak hanya menghemat ruang, aku pun tidak perlu merasa bersalah karena menghabiskan baterai smartphone atau tablet untuk aplikasi reader. Baterai e-book reader rata-rata mampu bertahan selama berhari-hari, bahkan berminggu-minggu, meski dinyalakan terus sepanjang hari.

  1. Epilator atau Alat Cukur Elektrik

Pilihan ini tergantung jenis kelamin kita – bagi  para laki-laki, pencukur elektrik tentu praktis dan menghemat waktu di jalan, sementara bagi perempuan, sebuah epilator bisa jadi alat pencukur mungil yang serba guna.

Kelebihan alat elektronik yang baru mulai banyak ditemukan di Indonesia beberapa tahun terakhir ini adalah, selain higienis, ia sangat mudah digunakan dan mengandung risiko lebih kecil. Pernah nggak sih tergores pisau cukur saat berusaha melenyapkan si bulu-bulu kaki dengan tergesa-gesa? Perih banget, kan?

Saat memakai alat ini, jangan lupa pastikan voltase listrik di negara yang kamu kunjungi sesuai dengan alat tersebut. Jika tidak, gunakan saja transformer atau converter listrik.

  1. Travel Adapter

Teman pendamping jalan-jalan yang satu ini tidak bisa dikategorikan sebagai gadget, tapi keberadaannya penting banget buat menunjang kelangsungan hidup semua gadget kita selama di perjalanan.unplug-worldwide-travel-charger-3400-ma-tc34wwmicz00e00-u

Sebelum pergi, cari tahu dulu jenis power socket seperti apa yang tersedia di negara tujuanmu, kemudian beli travel adapter yang sesuai. Hal terakhir yang ingin kamu lakukan adalah membeli travel adapter di bandara, karena sama seperti money changer di bandara, harganya bisa selangit. Beli saja travel adapter yang bisa digunakan untuk beberapa alat elektronik dan berfungsi di semua benua. Jika benar-benar kelupaan, kamu bisa membeli aksesoris ini di pesawat dengan harga yang cukup terjangkau.

Semoga beberapa tips di atas bisa berguna untuk perjalananmu selanjutnya. Untuk memudahkan pencarianmu, sebelum pergi mampir saja ke Electronic City terdekat di kotamu. Travelling bersama Electronic City pun terasa nyaman, karena sudah terbukti pelayanan staf-nya cepat dan garansi purna jualnya bisa dipercaya. Selamat berlibur, teman-teman!

 

(Penulis adalah seorang perempuan single dengan pengalaman solo traveling ke lebih dari 15 negara di seluruh dunia. Tulisan ini juga dipublikasikan lewat Kompasiana.)

Journey of an Asian solo female traveler

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