10 Years Challenge: This Decade on My Beau, Beauty, and Travel Journey

I just got back from an event in Jakarta when I felt like I lost motivation to do almost everything, including updating my blog. It's like, not only did I get some kind of writer's block but I just felt like taking naps every time. It was only this afternoon that the 10 years challenge came across my mind.

I remember that this 10 years challenge was hyped a few months ago on Instagram. Well, I am not really active at the platform, but I figure I could also apply this challenge on my blog instead. After all, the end of 2019 is kind of special since it's the end of this decade.

While I usually create a post to look back my whole year to match up with the resolution that I made earlier that year, I decide to make something different this time. Instead of looking back to 2019 only, why not trying to flashback and see my personal growth within this decade?!

No kidding, I even scrolled down my Facebook gallery to find some pics I took within the decade. I've been through a lot, and even just by looking at my Facebook gallery, I know that I've grown far from the bubbly 20-years-old I was 10 years ago.

10 Years Challenge: This Decade on My Beau, Beauty, and Travel Journey - The BeauTraveler

This Decade For Me (2009-2019)

I'm sure you could all relate that a decade is a long period for you to actually feel the ups and downs in life. Some of you probably could see the difference between you 10 years ago and the current version of yourself. Only then, you realize that yes, you've grown so far into what you are today.

Scrolling down the pics that I've had on my Facebook gallery kinda gave me that feeling. Sure, I only posted the happy parts of my life within the decade on social media. But I never really forget what actually happened behind the happy pictures that I got there.

This decade has marked a lot of opportunities that I had to be someone that is so ambiguous in a way that maybe my younger self wouldn't be so proud, but I think the older version of myself would understand more about the decisions that I have to get through this decade.

So, how was my decade?! Let's get deep into my life in this post, because I swear that this post could also be some kind of resume to show you how I turned into a sarcastic bitch that you came to know and love today. LOL.

Source: Unsplash.

2009 – The End of My Puppy Love

My friend and I around 2009, sitting somewhere around the corner at my ex's campus.

I was dating my puppy love for about a year and a half during my university years. By puppy love, I really meant it because I had a crush on him when we were in elementary school. HAHA.

He was my senior at school, and we got connected again through Facebook. It took only a couple of months until we had our first date at this restaurant, the place where we finally decided to get together as a couple as well.

Looking back, the current me even questioned myself how funny my life turned out. Believe it or not, my ex is actually the last guy that I brought home to my family. He was the last guy that could come to my house, met my parents and siblings and treat them as if they were his.

My mom loved him so much, that even until now there are times when I just got tired of the questions she asked about this ex-boyfriend in particular. We've lost contact for years, and my mom occasionally asked things about him as if she lowkey wishes that I would surprise her by dating him again for the second time.

How I See Myself in My Current Point of View

I was 20, and I forgive me for being so selfish with so many insecurities at that age.

I don't know what he saw in me at the time, but even the current me thinks that he's out of my league. LOL. No kidding. First, he was an A-list student who did well in other things in life. He came from a respected family, he played music too and on top of that, he was also good looking. I basically won a lottery for dating him because I was… Well, me.

Even now, we've been still friends on Facebook and I could see how successful he is right now. The younger me might feel sorry for herself, but the older me is actually glad that we broke up. I could never imagine how I turned out if we were still together.

We could have been married right now, and I got all my shit together based on the society's point of view. But who knows? Maybe I wouldn't be as happy as I am right now with all the pressure, especially being with a person with such a high profile.

2010 – My First Time Abroad!

My friend and I in 2010. The photo was taken in the House of Virgin Mary, Selcuk in Turkey.

If you're a frequent reader of my blog, you probably know by now that I never got on the plane until I was 21. It was in this year that I got a scholarship for the Turkish Summer Course in Izmir.

My first flight was also my first time abroad, and it was basically the beginning of my travel bugs.

It was in 2010 when I had my first passport to apply for the scholarship. The first time I had to deal with the paperwork and the struggle of dealing with bureaucracy on my own.

From the drama in Jakarta when I sent the scholarship application, to the point of getting lost once we arrived in Izmir for the first time with limited knowledge of Turkish. Imagine the struggle, because even the technology wasn't as advanced as today.

But it was the highlight of this year, because 3 months in Turkey was just when my life started as a world citizen. This was the first time that I made a real connection with international friends. This was also the time when I had to experience running out of money and getting stranded while at the same time being broke as fuck.

How I See Myself in My Current Point of View

Looking back, I'm actually proud of myself. For a beginner, I handled everything quite well. From the language barrier, to the effort to solve my own problem in a foreign land. I could never be more proud of myself for being reliable even in such distress.

I've maintained some good friendships with all the people I met there, and it definitely woke my travel bugs more than ever. If it wasn't because of this, maybe I wouldn't run a travel blog right now and I thank God for that.

2011 – As Vitamin C Sings, G.R.A.D.U.A.T.I.O.N!

My friend and I at the graduation ceremony.

You could call me all you want, but I think one word that doesn't suit me is ‘indecisive'. I always know what I want, and it reflected in my study.

After going back home from Turkey, I knew what I wanted to write for my thesis, and it just had something to do with my favorite football team: Croatia.

So, that's the subject that I brought on my thesis topic: The Cultural Diplomacy of Serbia and Croatia in the Post-Yugoslav Era.

And you know what? I've done it well, and even better because I made a really great connection along the way. From penpals that became my interviewee to even some people at the embassy who became my Linkedin connection a few years later.

On top of that, I got an A in my thesis defense. I graduated on time, and I spent half a year gap since I volunteered for SEA Games 2011 too.

There would be another highlight too during the competition. I got sexually assaulted by my supervisor. I got trapped in the same room with this married man and forced into staying overnight with him. I told my friends about it, only for some of them judging me in the end. The very reason why I understand that some victims would choose to say nothing when it happened to them.

I spoke out. Instead of helping me, some people would look dirty at me.

How I See Myself in My Current Point of View

You know what? If there's one thing that I'm so proud of myself, then that would be it. It's amazing how I could stand up for myself in the society so judgemental and closed-minded.

At this point, I think that's the turning point in which what doesn't kill me, only makes me stronger. What happened in Jakarta during SEA Games actually made me hate Jakarta, and I had to think twice about whether I wanted to work in Jakarta after the games.

It wasn't until 2016 when I eventually lived in Jakarta. But it took me a lot of considerations to remove those disgusting hands trying to grope me from my memories.

Source: Unsplash.

2012 – Jakarta Was Indeed Not My Destiny.

My late friend Taufan and me during training for Airasia. He passed away in May this year. 🙁

After having some interviews in Jakarta with a lot of companies, earlier in 2012 I finally got a confirmation call from AirAsia. At first, they said that I would be based in Bali for the job.

At the last minute, they informed me that I'd be placed in Semarang instead. I couldn't be more thankful for the decision, because this is where my adult life began.

I've made a meaningful friendship with my coworkers. In fact, they were more like family than coworkers. It was probably the happiest time of my life as a professional. Our office was so small at the time, but I enjoyed my time working with all these people.

But at the time, I was so young and full of lives. I was an idealist. I've always been. It's just that I wasn't sure if I wanted to work in the aviation industry forever. I enjoyed my job, but I just didn't know what exactly I wanted to do in life. You know how early 20s be like. HAHA.

At the time, there was some company regulation that I had to question for some reason while at the same time I also still wanted to continue my study. I wanted to apply for a scholarship so I could study for my master's degree abroad.

How I See Myself in My Current Point of View

This is actually one of the most important periods in this decade because this is where I've learned about almost everything in life.

I get so used of living in a happy family, and my circle during my school years is pretty much like me too. During this year, I've met my coworkers who eventually become my best friends. And I've learned that some of them got trauma when it comes to their relationship with their parents.

It was only then I understand that a happy family is actually a privilege. Not everyone is blessed with the situation, and I thank God for that.

If I could name people who come close as a family than friends, that would be the people I've met in this period. I've lost one of them, Taufan, this year. And it's nothing but the kindness that I could remember from him. He was like a big brother for me who would nag at me whenever I got the attitude. I'd definitely cherish the memory forever. 🙂

2013 – How I Learned About Silverlining

Me during my flying times.

On my birthday this year, it marked the reconnection between me and one of my friends that I met in Turkey. At the time, I already quit the job at AirAsia, and I was waiting for the scholarship application to open.

So, after he sent me a birthday wish on Messenger, we chat frequently to the point we were like, “Hey, let's give our relationship a try, I think you're cool.”

Yeah, then we decided to get into a long-distance relationship. He even helped me with my scholarship application. He was studying for his bachelor's degree in Istanbul at the time, so then I applied for 2 scholarships in 2013: Erasmus Mundus and the scholarship from Turkish government like the one that I got for the summer course in 2010.

Since it was uncertain for my application to get approved, I also applied for some alternative jobs. I had an interview for another airline while waiting for the announcement of the scholarship grantee.

As it turned out, I didn't get the scholarship but I got the job at the airlines. This time, I had to relocate to Saudi Arabia for the job as a flight attendant.

Long story short, the relationship with my ex was a bit shaky in the mid-2013 because… I had an affair with my coworker. In my defense, he literally gave me some silent treatment for a few weeks without any explanation before my coworker made his move. And he was such a fine lad that I could easily lure into!

Still though, I flew to Istanbul by the end of the year to meet my ex there. It was the first meeting we had after we started dating, and guess what? It sucked. Like, I knew I wanted to break up with him by the time I left Istanbul.

How I See Myself in My Current Point of View

This is the period where I started to learn that maybe I deserve the best for me.

It took me years until I started dating again since I broke up with my puppy love in 2009. And even better, because he was my friend at first. It was all fun and games until he became so moody, and finally, the silent treatment period that made me question my place in his life. Like, am I not that important that he thought that he didn't owe me any explanation about his behavior? Why would he do that?

And even when I came to Istanbul for him, it was only clearer that the gap between us was there. Especially since he was still a student at the time. I was the one making money at the time, and I paid almost everything when we were together.

While I didn't mind paying for our dates, it was just I found it ridiculous at some point when I had to pay for literally everything. I was his girlfriend, was it a bit too much to expect him to spoil me a little?

2014 – Another Attempt for Master's Degree (That Failed)

My friend, my sister and me after the TOEFL test we took for the scholarship.

In 2014, I came back home for good to make yet another attempt for the scholarship to continue my studies and get a master's degree. This time, I was looking at the opportunity to study in Japan.

Long story short, I got accepted at Hiroshima University for International Development program, only for me to fail for the scholarship grants. At the same time, my facial tic disorder got worse that I just had to start my therapy for that.

I spent a few months unemployed, as I thought it would only take a while to finish my therapy session. But nope, my facial tic disorder was still there months after months so maybe it was meant to be there forever if not for years.

It was only by the end of 2014 when I started applying for jobs in my hometown. It was a bit tough, especially since my previous salary was way too high for the local's standard. But I managed to get a job by the end of 2014 so then I could start fresh in 2015.

How I See Myself in My Current Point of View

Again, I praised myself that if anything… I am not a quitter. My ambition to continue my study was so high that I had to sacrifice my first two jobs for the uncertainty of getting a scholarship.

But even then, I already told to myself to keep trying. If by the time I was 26 I didn't get the scholarship, then maybe it was just the universe telling me to focus on my career. And that's what I did.

The failure to continue my studies at Hiroshima University was my last attempt to apply for the scholarship for my master's degree.

2015 – The Beginning of My Hoe Phase

Me and my coworkers.

Well, to be fair my hoe phase began during my flying time. But it was a bit under control since I got into an on-and-off relationship with that coworker with whom I had an affair with. Like, I slept around when we were off, but then I stopped when we got back together. The cycle was like that until we broke up for good.

But the real hoe phase actually began in 2015. Ironically when I lived in my hometown. Could you even imagine? HAHA.

That was the time when I started to use dating apps like OKCupid and Tinder. And almost every time I matched with someone, I ended up having a one night stand. I know I was supposed to be ashamed, but you'd be surprised at how much it helped me grow as a person and a woman. 😛

Apart from that, I was actually happy with my new job. It was a healthy work environment there, the only problem was with the company as a whole since it got a lot of problems with their headquarters so since we worked at the branch, we got affected.

The instability eventually made me try to find some new opportunities since as I said, I wouldn't bother to try applying for more scholarships and I just wanted to focus on my career as I was already 26 then.

How I See Myself in My Current Point of View

My relationship with coworkers at my workplace actually lasts forever. My ex-boss is now my best friend, and we basically share similar views on a lot of things. More importantly, we still tag each other memes. If that doesn't describe how it is a treasure, I don't know what does. 😛

Meanwhile, I could only thank myself for the hoe phase since maybe because of this, I don't have to get into that FOMO situation once I settle down with someone. I've tried enough dicks with different positions that I can't even tell what I haven't done yet. LOL

Look, I've encountered so many people in some unhappy marriage. While some cheat on their partners while staying in a toxic marriage, the others just got straight to divorce only to throw hate to each other. It only gives me an epiphany that maybe it's okay to be a bit promiscuous.

That way, at least you'll know when it's the right time to stay.

Source: Unsplash.

2016 – New Journey in J-Town

Me in Genting, after my solo trip to Vietnam.

By the end of 2015, I already had some interviews for the potential new job. I had my first solo trip to Vietnam during Christmas until early January, and I got the e-mail to notify me that I got one of the jobs when I was in Saigon.

The job was initially to be based in Johor Bahru, Malaysia. And I was excited as I got the opportunity to live abroad one more time.

That, until I got another call from the HR of the new company that they decided to move my base to Jakarta office instead. I was a bit disappointed at first, but then I figure since my sister lives in Jakarta, we could rent a place together to save the living cost.

Well, it's what we did… I moved to Jakarta in March. Until, by the end of the year, I felt dumb because I worked in sales yet I barely made any sales. I felt useless and frustrated about the job.

It got worse cause then I realized that my salary wasn't enough for me to live in Jakarta. I had to work two jobs, only to have less energy to do everything as I lost focus on both. I got depressed, and I remember it was the end of 2016 when I tried to weigh in on whether I should stay at both of my jobs or leave.

How I See Myself in My Current Point of View

I could only be thankful that I am where I am today, because I really didn't want to look back and feel the frustration I felt within this year. The restless feeling because I had to wake up early for my office job, only to come home late because of the delayed train schedule during peak hours.

Once I got home, I still got some work to do. Sometimes I even had to stay so late to finish my work for the day that I barely had time to sleep because I got ready for my office job the next day. The cycle was like that, and I was lucky that I didn't even snap.

But you know the quote about how a diamond is a piece of coal under pressure. And the only way for it to shine, it is with enough pressure and time? Well, this is the period when I felt a lot of pressure that made me the diamond I am today.

I've learned a lot through this period. More importantly about how it's okay to leave toxic stuff around you. Some things are probably just not meant to be, and it's okay.

2017 – The Lowest Point of My Life So Far

Me and my brother in Bangkok for my 28th birthday.

Well, some people hit their mid-life crisis when they were 25. My mid-life crisis happened when I was 28. That was when I felt lost, I asked myself what I was doing with my life multiple times only to feel disappointed for myself. It was hard.

At that point, I'm not even sure whether the problem is within me or the environment I was in.

I don't know if I sucked so hard at work because I was too dumb, or simply because the pressure from work was too hard for the little ol' me.

Self-blaming at its best, I decided to start this blog from a scratch. I've been blogging since forever, but it was only in 2017 that I started to think about purchasing my own domain and treat it like a business. There were some learning curves about blogging that I had to get through trial and error, but here I am. Stronger than ever.

On my 28th birthday, I went to Hongkong and Bangkok for my birthday trip. I even took my siblings with me for the latter. I was hoping that maybe after this trip, I'd be able to start fresh at work. The thing is, I finally made my first sale worth $60,000 USD but I wasn't even satisfied with the fact that I finally did it.

In April, I got an offer through LinkedIn to work for an international design school in Jakarta. I only worked there for 3 months during my probation period, because as it turned out… Their management was fucking fraud.

I couldn't stand it, so I quit. Without any plan B, my only rescue was when my friend offered me a job as a copywriter for her brother's company. It didn't pay much. I get paid for less than $100 USD in a month, and that was the only income that I earned for the last few months in 2017.

I borrowed some money from my dad to start a business, only for it to burn in pieces. That was tough. If there's any year that I wouldn't want to look back, it was 2017.

How I See Myself in My Current Point of View

As an Indonesian myself, I'd borrow the quote written by R.A. Kartini in one of her letters.

“No clouds stay in the sky forever. No sunny weather is eternal. After a pitch dark night, comes a new beautiful morning. Life of mankind is similar to nature.” R.A. Kartini

Well, 2017 is my pitch dark night. And the best thing about the worst situation is that it could only get better. I was lost in 2017, but it was only the beginning of my growth to get rid of the things that aren't good for me. And I couldn't be more thankful for that.

I'm glad that despite the fact that I barely made money in the last few months of the year, I got an amazing support system like my family. People who actually understand my decision to do the best for me, and support me when things get hard.

Again, that's a privilege that I've got and I'm not ashamed to admit it.

The only positive thing about this year was actually this blog. I'm glad that I decided to create this, as it eventually became my financial support too in the future. Life could only get better after this, and I'm grateful.

2018 – The Turning Point When Things Got A Little Better

Me in 2018, taken in Singkawang as a part of my Borneo trip.

Earlier that year, I got my first sponsored post for my blog. I remember I got paid only $50 USD for that, but it was quite a lot for someone who barely makes $100 USD a month.

It was also in the first quarter of 2018 when I got an offer to help one of the Indonesian A-list celebrities as her social media consultant. by then, at least my monthly income reached the same salary I got from the office job that I had in my hometown. It wasn't much, but I could live decently without asking my parents for extra money to fulfill my basic needs.

This year, the first client that I got as a copywriter, the company owned by a friend's brother… They started growing into 3 more sister companies, to whom I also got an offer as their main copywriter. Needless to say, this gotta be my lucky year because after all these years… Everything finally came into place.

I volunteered as a protocol assistant for the last Asian Games held in Jakarta. Unlike SEA Games in 2011, I had a fantastic time participating in the event. I've met a lot of great people there, from the driver I worked with on a daily basis to even some of my guests from Sri Lanka.

By the end of 2018, I could finally afford to travel again as I went for my Borneo trip. I spent almost a month to travel around the island, and within the period of my travel, I got some side gigs for my blog too. At this point, I had less worry financially because I got some sustainable sources of income. More importantly, because I genuinely enjoy what I do.

To top of it, I also met a guy through OKCupid this year. He's Singaporean, and we met in Singapore. He was a nice guy, even though he wasn't really my type. But hey, who am I if not giving everyone a chance? LOL

How I See Myself in My Current Point of View

I hate to sound biblical, but I guess at this point I finally reaped what I sowed?! 😛

After a couple of years struggling with my identity as well as what I've been doing in life, I've finally found my calling. Even better because I could make a living out of it. After all these years, I've finally enjoyed what I do in life. And as surprising as it sounds, I could finally start saving.

Long story short, life is finally good.

Source: Unsplash.

2019 – The Year When I Finally Got My Shit Together

Me and my mom in Dieng.

I embraced 2019 with a bit of fear because this year, I would turn 30. But life was too good for me to even worry about it, because earlier this year, it was almost like I got my shit together.

I started dating this Singaporean guy I met on OKC. He was a great friend, as well as a caring boyfriend. We had a future plan together, even though we had to get into a long-distance relationship again, as he spends half of the year in the Netherlands to do his Phd. Things went alright, ironically until he came back to Singapore.

The plan that we had, he started to avoid it. We had a plan to go to Bali together, only for him to give me excuses about everything. At one point, we finally had a talk and I asked whether he's seen me somewhere in his future. I'm too afraid to waste my time with someone who isn't sure about what we are, and clearly he's that someone.

So we broke up amicably. But what I lost from a relationship, I gained from a career aspect. I got another job as a virtual assistant. This time, it's an international client who pay me in USD. And if last year I could live decently, this year I gotta admit that I live comfortably.

I even hire my nephew and my cousin as my virtual assistant so they could help me with some of my blog matters. At this point, I could only be grateful that I'm finally 30 and slowly getting my shit together.

How I See Myself in My Current Point of View

I've been raised by a tiger Asian mom who would still see a gap no matter how you think you're already complete in life. Having a traditional Sundanese mom, she still thinks that my life is incomplete because I'm still single with no sign of a boyfriend. And this opinion often caused arguments between us.

In fact, I'm considering to buy a house just so I could live independently away from my parents. This is something that my parents still disagree because the patriarchy in my culture still thinks that I can't do anything as big as buying a house without a husband beside me.

I'm 30, and I feel like no matter how my parents see me… A part of me has become more mature now. Some of my mindset has changed. Earlier this decade, I dreamt of getting married by 25 and having kids by the time I was 28. I passed those periods without any sign that came close to marriage at this point, and in my 30s I've finally embraced the possibility that maybe I'm meant to be alone.

It's a little lonely, sure… But one has to live. It would be nice to support myself first, just so if one day I meet the right person then he'd only be there to complete my life.

My Hope for the Next Decade

Time flies so fast, for sure. I lowkey feel like I'm still in my 20s, but I'm not. I can stand on the ground by myself for now. As snobby as it sounds, I think I've got everything I need right now.

And the reason why I start thinking about buying a house is that I haven't got any commitment for way too long. As the master of failure in love, marriage is almost off of the table for now. It would be nice to have something to commit for a long time. And maybe, if it's the commitment to buy a house first, then be it…

After all, as much as I love my parents, I'm not planning to live with them forever. Especially with a lot of pressure about a lot of stuff. Living under the same roof as theirs only could cause more fights for us in the future, especially when the pressure they have (husband, duh!) is out of my hands.

In the next decade, I just want to have my personal growth as well as my personal belonging. At this point, I'm okay if I have to end up being alone. But it would be nice to have someone too, it's just that I won't just pick anyone because what the hell… I have some standards too. LOL

So, how was the last decade for you? Any hope for the next decade? Share yours below in the comment section, and cheerio! 🙂

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