When it was just the second month of the year and I almost went insane. I knew I need a quick break from my routine. As a beach-person, going to the nearest beach or joining an open trip is always the perfect quick fix for my mind and soul. However, during the first months of the years, it is the rainy season in Jakarta. Sigh.

So it was the time when my brain is willing to be more creative and figure out what to do and where to go. For those of you guys who live in Jakarta or happens to have a similar situation, here is my gateaway trip cheat sheet to break away from the hustle and bustle metropolitan.

Go on a foodie gateway trip

I’m a big foodie when travelling. Born and raised in Indonesia, my taste buds cannot live without the spices and richness in flavours. Also, the fact that the country has over 30 provinces with different kinds of food in each region, there are no such things as ‘done exploring’ the food here.

So, while you are on a gateway trip, forgot about calories. Seriously. You’ll prolly gain one or two kilos in fat but then it will go away after a few days clean eating and cardio days. Been there, done that.

My recent trip was Yogyakarta. It is one of the must-visit cities in Indonesia. The city is very popular for its culture, nature and food. I was there for the food. Luckily, one of my friends used to go to university in this tow, so boom, I got the best bits!

Some food I would recommend for you to try out:

  1. Gudeg. I had to try these three legends: Yu Djum, Sagan and Bu Ahmad.
  2. Bakmi Jowo
  3. Tempo gelato
  4. Pecel
  5. Jadah tempe Mba Carik

Sometimes, you don’t need to go far to do a foodie gateway trip. You can also explore any area in your city you haven’t touched – I’m sure there is! Maybe there’s a bagel shop or dim sum restaurant on the Northern side of the city you need to taste? Check them out.

Book an Airbnb and chill out

Have you ever randomly check out Airbnb listing? If you haven’t go open the web and look at what they got. So many cool places and some of them are affordable!

The idea of this trip is not just splurging on a cute Airbnb room, take photos and share it on your Instagram but to let your mind experience different thing for a day or two. Though, you might still post the picturesque corner of your rented flat on Instagram.

Booking a place like this doesn’t have to be out of town nor it has to be in a big group. You can book a place in your own town for yourself or just one or two friends. Make sure you already list some activities (or chilling time) so you won’t be feeling like you are only wasting your money and time there.

A hotel at Yogyakarta

Another alternative that you can do, especially if you are an extrovert and need a sip of social interactions, booking a bed at a hostel in your city might be an option as well. Not only getting a new atmosphere also new friends! Meeting people in a hostel is always a fun thing to do, you’ll be surprised by whom you meet.

Take a walk on nature

Research reveals that nature brings a significant decrease in our stress-level. Ikigai, a book about how Japanese can live longer and happier than the rest of the world also tells that bringing yourself back to nature can help you focus and peace to your mind, which help to declutter stress.

Living in a city like Jakarta, you won’t get much of greenish in the city. If you do have time and effort, take a short trip to Sentul or maybe the Thousand Island across Ancol for a quick break.

Yes, I know the park is kinda nature but no don’t count it as one. Unless it is something like Richmond Park or Botanical Garden, that is fine. Just, don’t count the park near the traffic light is a ‘nature’. Drive a bit too out of town and go to an actual natural spot, maybe you can go trek hills, explore waterfalls, walk at tea farm or chill at a hut enjoying rice fields view.

Turn off your phone and read your unfinished book

This last one is the easiest yet giving the most content feeling at the end. It might be because of the perfect combination of disconnecting from the whole addictive Internet world while completing your unfinished business.

I don’t know about you, but for me the feeling of checking my to-do-list and completing a task makes me fulfilled, just like finishes my unfinished books. I’ve read something that also said that human is naturally programmed to finish a task or target.

So, if are not a big reader, maybe try people-watching. Sounds silly but there’s something satisfying about it; to be grounded, present and aware of everything passing through you every second.

There are so many news out there saying millennials are entitled, not settled and only care about holidays. However, being how competitive the world is today and busy people are every day – I don’t think we can judge today’s generation and compare it with the previous ones. This complex and sophisticated era is definitely something new for all of us. So keep sane people 🙂


Alifa is a marketer who ended up in tech. A newbie expat in Singapore. She tries to turn her complaints, struggles and memorable moments being a 20-something millennials into a life 'win & learn'; hoping that maybe others would benefit from it. When she’s not writing, she enjoys beaches, workout and pizza.

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