Earth Day reflection

Sunday, May 21, 2017

We left the city driving our way straight to the harbor without really knowing what lies upon us. Despite the time that almost hit midnight, the harbor was still as energetic as it could be filled with locals who were ready to embrace the long weekend. You can pretty much smell the air of excitement even before entering the gate. While waiting for the last boat ride of the day, we exchanged some stories with a few strangers who turned into companion throughout the trip.

There was a midday worker, Arief who lived by the motto of "Work hard, travel harder" which was printed on the front side of his T-shirt. At first, I thought it’s only a mere statement, while in fact hearing his solo trip stories from Banyuwangi crossing the border to the island of Gods by boat proved me wrong. Meeting like-minded people like him reminded me once again that there’s nothing to be afraid of when it comes to traveling. You work hard, and the reward might be as memorable as when you decided to just go for it.


While the view and sunshine intake that I've got during this trip were undeniably good, moments that I'll always recall are the people that we've become friends with. Being on a long boat ride crossing the island will do no good if there's no good companion throughout it. Luckily this time, we met with a lovely grandmother who joined her kids and two grandchildren on this trip together.

Seeing her take such a good care of the kids really reminded me of my own grandma who passed away 2 years ago. She took all the responsibilities with a full compassion, from changing her grandchildren' swimwear, made them eat three times a day, until making sure we're all being well-fed. In one fine afternoon, while others were asleep after such a tiring day being out in the open water for hours, we sat together under the big tree overlooking the sea. Hearing her stories about life makes me miss my grandma even more. Her spirit in life even though her husband had passed away is something that I'll always hold close in my heart.

"Seeing my grandchildren grow up is what keeps me going every day. In the city, I take care of them while their parents work, and now I get to enjoy taking care of them while being on a trip like this which is even more better."

I don't know about you but I always look up to a figure of a grandmother. Maybe because they become wiser as they grew older, or maybe I just have a thing for older people and their positive outlook on life. Only after that trip, I realize that in every journey that we take, we can be reminded of our dearly beloved by the people whom we've shared our meals with within that particular days.


Being near the sea makes me happy for no reason. I stared out the window of our boat for hours to find the constant movement of the water passing was peaceful. The next morning, we woke up before dawn to catch a sunrise overlooking Mt. Krakatoa. The trek itself was not too difficult compared to the breathtaking view that welcomed us as our biggest reward of the day. Standing in front of such a beautiful mountain surely felt amazing. To be able to witness that kind of view brought me back to imagine how tragic the story was when the big eruption hit this volcano island in 1883, killing more than 36.000 people. A gentle reminder that this world is much bigger than yourself, and to take a good care of the mother nature is everyone's responsibility.

(accidentally) Celebrating Earth day near my element on a bloated boat filled with ecstatic strangers never crossed my mind even at once. And I'm so glad I did.

Zen corner and the art of decluttering

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Every once in a while, we might stumble into a never ending thought of having a dream bedroom. Some people consider the act of flipping through interior books as a natural high, while others prefer to do it on the screen while scrolling through an endless images on Pinterest and create their own 'dream bedroom wish list'. Because nowadays I'm having more time at home, I don't really have that much options rather than doing work in my bedroom since spending day out at a coffee shop will cost a fortune for my weekly expenses.

I haven't really put that much thought of doing a makeover for my bedroom after recently realised how I feel overwhelmed by the things that surrounded me which were hiding in boxes on my closet. While previously working a 9-5 job, I rarely spent time at my bedroom so I just leave it the way it was, but now to keep it clean and organised are on top of my priority.

The first step was decluttering my closet, I've heard many good things about this and how it will not only give more space of inventory but leave a really great impact for our lives personally. It gives the freedom to save time while getting ready to dress up and live by the philosophy of 'less is more'.

On the clean up day, I was surprised to find my elementary uniform and swimwear from when I were a kindergarten, boxes of memories filled with bits and pieces from junior high school, journals, band T-shirts, invitations, brand new greetings card, and A LOT of printed photographs. I realised that I'm such a sentimental keeper (or more like a hoarder), so the process of cleaning up my whole bedroom sure wasn't easy.

Thankfully, I keep Marie Kondo ultimate tips on top of my head:
Nostalgia Is Not Your Friend

Zen Corner

After hours of cleaning up, finally comes the most exciting part, although my bedroom is far from perfect (I have the most cheesy bedroom wallpaper you could ever imagine and a big closet that take a lot of spaces :( ) I decided that we gotta use what we have now and make the best out of it. So I clean up my bedside table which usually filled with clothes, and transform it into what I'd like to call a Zen Corner.

I gathered things that carry an element of nature and life behind it. Such as my sun print creations, sea shells which I always carry back home from a tropical getaway, a handmade pottery by one of a very talented young potters I know, and a wooden painted doll by a local illustrator. This corner is dedicated to that two elements, I always have this spot for handmade stuffs because I'm a firm believer that we not only buy the product but the time, effort, and thought that goes behind it. 
Now every time I look at this zen corner, I just feel at ease.

On Being Vulnerable

Monday, May 8, 2017

I stumbled upon this interesting fact by researcher Brene Brown about vulnerability and when do people feel most vulnerable. It turns out that a lot of us feel vulnerable during the most simple and serene moments in our life. For me, it's the moment when you can fall asleep beside your mother, it's when you can hear your dad's humming to an old crappy karaoke TV show, it's when your brother checked on you before bedtime, and so on. 

Life is indeed a collection of moments, not when or how you reach another milestone.

Letting go of Phở

Thursday, April 6, 2017

April marked the most unforgettable month of this year, and it's only the beginning of April
This month, I learn how to let go of things and be mindful to make decisions that is close as a priority in life
Instead of keeping this thought to myself, I feel the need to pour it all out and share it with you, and here's why...

This month, I let go of
my return flight tickets from Jakarta to Vietnam, right on the day before my departure
a long overdue trip with the closest friends that we've been planning for months
a remarkable food tour in Hanoi by local university students
a 3day2night adventure on the boat overlooking the beautiful karst in Lan Ha Bay
a dream to do kayaking in one of the most iconic sight in Asia
the stupid conversations over a round table filled with Bánh mì, Phở, and the famous egg coffee
some meaningful conversations between all five of us that might only happen throughout the trip
teasing a few of them who will protest the idea of sleeping in a capsule hostel
admiring the heavy French influence in Vietnam modern days
a day trip to Hue in search of ancient tombs and their history
the proud moment to spend my own savings after working tirelessly for a trip abroad
the evening bike ride wandering through alleys and small bridges in Hoi An
being homesick on the last few days before going back home listening to Float' Pulang in between transit
feeling both exhilarated and tired upon the arrival to my homeland after 12 days, and grow to appreciate things more

I was feeling both devastated and relieved at the same time while cancelling that trip the day before. I was devastated because all of my expectations and the efforts that have gone to make that trip possible. Yet I felt also relieved knowing that I don't have to worry about my mother's health throughout that trip and that I can take a good care of her while she's sick. I can only imagine it would be too painful to be on a holiday while worrying and instantly checking up on her condition separated by thousand miles away.

It has been hard and I only hope for things to get better. I come to an understanding that we learn the most valuable life lessons only during the hardest moment. This time, to let go of a trip that you wanted to go so badly and choose what really matter to the heart. Although I'm such an avid fan of making plans. Somehow, we cannot compare a privilege of taking care of our parents with such thing as checking items off the bucket list. Plans shifted, unexpected things happen all of a sudden, and that's okay.

Moment of Solitary

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

I've never felt so content with a moment of solitary
Usually it will leaves me feeling anxious, but not today
With an upcoming trip exploring Vietnam for 12 days
I crave it for more than anything in the world

I wonder why since when,
packing up things into a suitcase feels so unfamiliar 
Maybe it's just the terrible weather,
or maybe it's a grown up thing

The day of getting out is usually the best day in the world
But with much unnecessary random thoughts
Appreciating more time alone is as important
as a way to see the world before my own eyes

(the so-called pre vacation blues, if there's one. I hope it goes away pretty soon)

Finding peace amid the chaos

Monday, March 13, 2017

It was dawn when I set my foot on the first train aboard to the so called hidden gem of West Java
A total of 3 hours commuting get me into a peaceful sight of paddy fields and the mountain
But the beauty of its landscape slowly fades away by my work-related expectation
I was chased by my own time, thoughts, and efforts

Having lived in a fast paced city, wasting time gave me an uneasy feeling
It let me down to a sudden disappointment when all the plans were screwed up
While this happened, I found myself wanted to scream
But luckily my heart didn't let it happen

Instead, it reminded me to breathe for a second and enjoy a brief moment of revelation
It was when the sky turned into purple pink and I slept my way through the sound of cricket singing lullaby
The next day, Kathleen Collins' short story calmed me down
Before braving myself getting into the two wheels, followed by another three hours train ride back home

Behind The Lens: A Tropical Feast

Friday, March 3, 2017

The thing that always get me excited to collaborate with magazine is the opportunity to meet with people from different backgrounds, especially when I get a chance to shoot their humble abode with endless stories of where their inspiration comes from as a bonus. In this post, I'm sharing with you my thoughts behind a recent editorial work for ELLE Decoration Indonesia : Festive Issue. I usually update my works on my portfolio website: here, but I'm planning to share more stories/thoughts about works that I do more often here on the blog under Behind The Lens category, let me know what you think!

I believe that a home should be able to portray one's personality, it accommodates not only a shelter to live, but a sanctuary where you could feel alive even though you spend the rest of your day lazing around. This time, the journey brings me to a very lovely house belongs to Riana Bismarak. You could never guess that down in a narrow street of Kemang is where this tropical house situated, with so much open air, colours, and lush of greens.

I arrived early and spent the next hour getting to know the household before entering the shooting mode. This conversation is always a crucial moment for me since it will decide whether a shoot will go smoothly or not. Even though the main objective is to get some worthy photographs of how a festive moment should be celebrated, it really is not that simple. During those conversation, I got to know how she fight for her own dreams, after working for a long time in a corporate world, she left the job and lived in Bali for a few years before embark on an entrepreneurial journey in Jakarta. I strongly believe that as a photographer, especially with a scoop of work shooting lifestyle, it has to come natural to you to interact with people. Not for the sake of getting good photography, but for being inspired with people's stories.

Shooting at her home brings back all the memories of having a dream house when I was a little. I always get so thrilled whenever visiting bookstore flipping through beautiful pages of Interior books. Despite living in a big city since I was born, I do believe that I'm a really tropical girl at heart.

Analog Diary : Tanjung Puting National Park

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Earlier today, I was browsing through an old archive from a trip to the home of orang-utans in Tanjung Putting National Park, Borneo a few years ago to support a blogpost material I wrote for ILL: link. I thought it would be nice to share these photos here on the blog, as it sure brings back all the good memories of my first part time gig at this digital agency. It was an eye opening experience seeing orang utans in their natural habitat without being threatened by giant corporate who burned down the forest to get palm oils. 

Looking back now, I feel really lucky to be given the opportunity to work and earned a living from my passion. With a bonus of exploring hidden treasure in my own country. I dearly hope the upcoming journey will lead me into more adventures like this :)

Embracing Uncertainity

Sunday, January 29, 2017

“It sounds paradoxical, but uncertainty and vulnerability are your guides through this soggy life you’re living." - Heather Havrilesky
Some of you might have known that I take photograph for a living, but not so many people know this personal story of mine, that I was working an almost full-time job while still juggle on photography projects here and there. And today, I just feel like sharing it with whoever reading this blog right now. Since my college days, I didn't really have the luxury to go out with friends after class, let alone hanging out around campus after lunch time. Besides studying, most of my time will be spent working a part time job as a writer at a digital agency. I never regret it at first, since it gave me all the opportunities to meet amazing colleagues who turned into friends, a chance to travel, share stories with people, and gained a practical knowledge about creative industry business.

Entering the last semester of my university, I went out from that job to try a different path. I remained jobless for around 4 months, got a photo assignment for an international publication covering stories of Batik in Solo, before applying for another part time job at Indoestri, a makerspace with Self Made spirit which surprisingly was only 10 minutes away from where I lived. It was since the end of 2014 and here I am right now. 

I've been working for almost 3 years now since the early development of Indoestri Makerspace who had contributed such a very strong handcrafting movement amongst youth and entrepreneurs in Indonesia. I was responsible for their content, which also involves PR & Business Development strategies. Over the years, I always knew that photography and storytelling are two of my core strengths. In any kind of job that I've taken, these two are inseparable. I've also met some of the very genuine and passionate people while working there, who I can rely on to exchange both creative ideas as well as the personal ones. For that fact, I'm forever thankful.

It's always in the hardest moments when being courageous to stand on our two feet might become the best option, to move forward and embracing the unknown. Changes are scary, but one thing I know for sure is that good things take time and it won't just fall into the right place altogether. I'll allow myself to embrace the process, to keep doing what I love the most, helping people craft their stories through photography. 

Dear future self, if you're reading this, things might or might not fall into the right place just yet. But I salute your bravery to take the first step to do things that feel right to the heart, even before seeing the whole staircase. I'm writing this post before embarking on a full-time freelance journey starting next month, leaving a job with stable income and the most wonderful people who I called as my second family. It's been real and I'm forever grateful for this chance of a lifetime. Thank you for making me who I am today, you guys know who you are.

Jakarta, 29 January 2017
9:05 PM with a hot chocolate and Sufjan Stevens playlist

Analog Diary : Pulau Seram, Maluku

Friday, January 13, 2017

I almost forgot how I like being surrounded by open air and the sea until we took our year-end trip to the long forgotten island, Pulau Seram, Maluku. It was my first experience crossing island in the Banda Sea that most of the time gave me chills. Since I always treasure my time on the road, I couldn't think of any ideal situation for a 2-hour boat ride than to enjoy it on the front deck. Our journey started from Tulehu to Amahai, and another 3-hour road trip until we reach Desa Saleman to the so-called Maldives of Indonesia, Ora Beach.

I'm sharing with you some of my favorite photos taken with the film during the trip and if you feel like reading longer stories and insights (how to get there, what to explore, etc), kindly head to this link: here where I contributed a post for I Like Local.

Taking a smaller boat from Saleman Village to Ora Beach. The nature and color of Maluku simply remind me of a beautiful landscape that we often find in our history book about Indonesia. As much as I hate the very hot weather, I can definitely get used to this kind of view of hills and the sea which perfectly aligns together.

Mata Air Belanda, a natural phenomenon of a crazy clear river which comes from a spring that flows right to the beach. Surrounded by a lush of greens and sound of forest birds chirping, it felt like I was in the middle of Amazon, or nowhere to be exact!

Locals and their daily activities at the floating village, Sawai.  From the moment we arrived, I was greeted by happy kids playing with used plastic glass, locals busy doing their laundry and a kid taking his morning bath in the river. I can honestly say that the locals here are blessed by the spring.

Morning light at Saleman Village. The last two photos from my last roll of film before we headed back to Ambon to catch our evening flight. The last one was a shot of a public elementary school. Thank you Maluku for reminding me of how beautiful my country and people are.

Fransisca Angela


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