We’ve said it before but we’re very happy to say it again ”“ we have some incredibly talented people on the Wego team! Meet Herajeng Gustiayu, one of Wego’s Web Designers based in Jakarta, Indonesia, who is now also a proud author. Herajeng has just had her very popular blog published into a hard cover book called Backpacking 101.
Here we get an insight into backpacking, Herajeng’s successful blog and expert approach to her passion.
How long have you been interested in writing?
Since elementary school from memory. Growing up in Indonesia after a school holiday we would be asked to write an essay about our last holiday and I was always excited to write my story and share with others.
What inspired you to start a backpacking blog?
When I started blogging about my travel experiences I quickly realised there weren’t many travel blogs in Indonesia, little or no comprehensive guides to backpacking and I found it hard to find information about Indonesia in our own language. But I discovered many well written and informative blogs out there internationally which inspired to do the same for Indonesian travellers, with a focus on budget and independent travel.
What kind of feedback did you receive from fellow travellers?
They loved the idea! I also discovered more travel blog links written by Indonesians, and I started to make new contacts with other travel bloggers. It was so exciting, we arranged to meet offline and I made new friends with the same hobby as me: travelling.
Why publish a book and not just remain online?
As an avid book reader myself, sometimes I find it more comfortable to hold and read a printed book instead of reading from gadgets, especially when you are on the road. I have had this dream since school to write a book and see my name published, so I was very grateful when the opportunity arose to write it. I also wanted to encourage others who want to experience backpacking or budget travel. I loved backpacking so I wanted to share my experiences through as many forms of media that I could to reach as many people as possible. Hopefully my book will help others begin their own adventure.
5. What are some of your most interesting and enjoyable backpacking experiences and where did you travel to?
My first backpacking experience was travelling through four South East Asian countries in ten days – Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam, and Thailand. It was my first time backpacking with my closest friends. That’s when I first learned that even if you think you know your friends well, the unexpected stress and being tired all factor into long-term travelling and gradually will bring out the worst in you. As travellers we need to remember to keep our cool and be flexible with plans.
6. What would you say is the best backpacking-friendly country to visit?
Frankly, I haven’t been to lots of countries, but I’d say South East Asian countries are the most budget-friendly. Some of my fellow travellers have recommended backpacking in Australia and Europe too, they say it’s safer and the transportation systems are very well-connected and easy to follow.
7. What is the best advice you ever received in regards to backpacking?
I would share my favorite quotation from Paulo Coelho: “Don’t compare anything ”“ prices, standards of hygiene, quality of life, means of transport, nothing! You are not travelling in order to prove that you have a better life than other people ”“ your aim is to find out how other people live, what they can teach you, how they deal with reality and with the extraordinary.”
On the road, I always try not to compare and complain when things didn’t go as I would have liked. I try my best to turn it into something useful, like a form of self-improvement. I try to enjoy all the good as well as the bad experiences. When travelling, you have to expect the unexpected and deal with it.
8. How would you summarise a successful backpacking adventure?
Tough question… In my opinion, a successful backpacking adventure is when you and/or others get “something” from it. Travelling is a learning process that never ends; you will find something new in every journey. Any good or bad experience on the road helps shape your personality, resulting in a better you.
9. Which countries would you most like to explore backpacking and why?
Another tough question. I’d say Turkey and Peru for now. Turkey offers rich cultural experiences and is very exotic. I’d also like to visit Machu Picchu in Peru because I love historic places where ancient civilisations once existed. It always amazes me standing in a spot and thinking about what happened there hundreds of years ago.
10. What are the top five things every backpacker should know or remember for a successful experience?
Always be flexible with your plans, possess a healthy mind and body, be open-minded, keep your enthusiasm and excitement, and most importantly: don’t forget to have fun!
Read Herajeng’s blog at http://www.back