Story written by Nyimas Laula Li’An Amie
Have you ever expect that a simple word ‘yes’ could take you very far until you find what you are really looking for after all this time? Trying to encourage yourself to dive into a sea of probability and surrender to the destiny, wherever it brings.
This is the tale of some strangers that becoming the best of friends.
RideTheYellowVolks Journey began from ten days impulsive trip with three men which actually not very close enough, or considered strangers, Me, Bismo Aryo, Danar Tri Atmojo and Adhi Bewok Reksa has now becoming one package that people love to call us Yellow Folks.
Last year August in the holiday of Eid Fitri, Danar suddenly asked me to go on a trip to Jogjakarta from the 3rd until 7th, because he intended to book the ticket right at that time. Whoa. Too impulsive. I had to think about it twice because I only have 600k IDR on my pocket which could only covered the cost of round trip ticket. I’m in condition of longing to adventure, because it’s been two years since my last and I just finished my final judgement of my university in the perfect time and perfect score–that was enough reason for driving me agrees to join the trip, because I deserved it. While in the same time, Bismo had just posted his Yellow Safari of his and somehow it intrigued me to put a comment “Mo, bawa sini lah, kita roadtrip”, which we finally did in the next following week.
I know Bismo merely through instagram, and this person can be considered as one of the biggest twist in my life. You know what? He’s the star of Dancow Milk advertising which I would bet all of the Indonesian 90’s kid will know. Yes, the one and only iconic Dancow TV ad “Ma, Ma, tangan adek udah sampe belum? (Put his hand on the head to the ears)”. That kid was him. During the days when the Ad was hype, I always mimicked the gesture whether my hand has reached the ears or not. Even before the trip was begin, in a fine morning I had confronted with a simple question from Bismo if I want morning milk. Without much thinking I said yes and only expected getting a box of Ultramilk and drink it on our way to the train station, instead Bismo brought me a glass of warm chocolate milk. Yes, the Dancow Milk.
Danar is a skinny tortoise I’ve also acquainted from Instagram. Why tortoise? Because he could free dive for 5 minutes straight, one breathe. Five fucking minutes! I even barely stand one minute and end up float like a buoy. We’ve met for the first time when Danar visited Bandung and had a small street photo walk and we get along really well since then. Lastly, I know Adhi purely because of this trip; I haven’t known him from Instagram or even never knew who he is. My first impression when meeting him a day before the trip was: AL-QAEDA. With the dense beard and all black outfit, that was the first word came through my mind. He’s garbage who got a lot of desires; over a food or unimportant things a.k.a Banyak Mau. But he’s the one that had raised his career from being a Mc Donalds waiter until becoming professional videographer behind our TV ads which made me have a big respect on him. And one question for you, how old is he?
- 25 yo
- 28 yo
- 30 yo
- 32 yo
The trip was begun in a train heading to Jogjakarta. August 3rd, during nine hours drive past the limit of region which four of us agreed moments on the train was the moment we long for. We have many conversations that reveal ourselves to each other, breaking the ice of awkwardness. As we made through the sugarcane field, that was the time when we had very long laugh out loud hearing my final project story about me grinding 30 kilograms of sugarcane waste with pastel dough hand-machine. Also we hatched another impulsive idea about hiking Prau Mountain that I’ve not prepared for. Fear and excitement fought inside me; that would be my first real-mountain, and I did not brought sleeping bag or any proper hiking gear, only a gifted jacket from a best friend and handmade leather boots from Mom’s birth town. And fear, whether I would be a burden for them because I’m not strong enough to finish the hike, or be surprised by the tale that lies beneath the sky.
As we have arrived at Jogjakarta, we went straight to Magelang to take a bus to Temanggung, Bismo’s hometown, where his father picked us up with the Yellow Campertop Volkswagen. We had welcomed with the chill weather, a pleasantly unostentatious house, friendly inhabitants, and not to forget a garage in the back with two Yellow Volkswagens which will become a history of a lifetime.
The night grew colder, warm tea and coffee led us into serious discussion about choosing the hashtag of our journey. Fingers were pointed to my nose, because caption-making and word business is always handed over to me, so is this letter. Typing over dozen of words, #RideTheYellowVolks was rhyme just right. The word has grown over us, we couldn’t hold the youth spirit within us, drove our sleepy eyes to make portraits in front of the Duo Dangerous Yellow Volkswagen for just one purpose; to make people sleep in jealousy, because tomorrow is Monday and we will begin our adventure.
Boots clanged our feet, sunglasses on; we lifted out the Yellow Safari hood and begin our ride to Dieng. Riding around the town to fill up my film ammunition, the car was broke down in City Hall of Temanggung—500 m far from Bismo’s house. Round up things coming next: Sunglasses off, rolled up the sleeves, and pushed the car until nearest gas station but rather than feeling frustrated towards the consequences we will face through, we choose to laugh it off. Sunglasses on.
Hardly arrived at Wonosobo, we were late. The car was not cooperating really well but Bismo just knew how to deal with it. Even we need to hold our breath a little while he took a zig-zag in every ramp we faced. Sadly, the sun already set down, we’ve had grasped by the night fog, a slight hard rain made us lift the car hood, even though the small drops still insist to let itself in. Enjoying the last light of the day, we rested the engine. Grab some coffee and Indomie before we continued our ride to Dieng and arrived at night. We decided to set a camp and hike at the noon.
The silly thing was, we camp at the Parking area near Sikunir Lake, with the reason that The Yellow Volks cannot be locked (yep, old car issue) and we have so many gear inside the car. The camp had set; time to fill the hungry stomachs. Me and Danar cooked a pot of spagehetti while Bismo and Adhi were away to get some cigarettes. Not long after that, Adhi opened the tent and scream “Sinterklas datang bawa Carica..!!” with his dense beard, holding a box Caricas (the sweetmeat of Carica Fruit) and a cup of Indomie Goreng in his hands. That’s Adhi for you.
When the morning came, we found out awkwardly one camp that set within dozen of cars, which is ours.
We had lunch and recharged our gear—which I don’t need to since I left my digital camera in Bismo’s house and only brought the film one; I limited myself upon frames in film, taught me to preserve what need to be remembered. To give myself time to think and reconsider every shot, while not being busy making great photo for everyone else, instead, I have chosen the old tradition; think, aim, shot, enjoy the moment and be surprised of what will be coming out from the chemical process.
So it began the hike to Prau Mountain. We were treated to a gentle mountain slopes, at the same time, the beautiful and regal scenery of Prau can be already seen from below. I smiled a little; I knew the journey was still very far away. I fear. I tried to burn the fear into spirit and strength.
I took time to greet the farmers we met, while starting to feel the shortness of my breath. Lush forest overshadow us, even the climbing did not give a slightest mercy to set our feet on a flat ground. Adhi kept nagging that he could not stand it anymore. He stopped every five minutes and said the same thing but he kept going. While Danar and Bismo always asked if I’m okay, said we didn’t need to be hurry. I tried to deal with my breath rhythm, kept saying inside I know I can make it. I know.
Feet up, knee to the face, hands on the ground. The most evil climb inclines made me crawl up on the dusty ground to the first stop; The Tower. I’d love to call it MORDOR while Adhi called it “Tower Bangsaattttt……!!”
Shortly after climbing torture, I was shown by a sight………that I cannot explain with words. I still in disbelieve when I start remembering it again. For the first time my eyes opened and slapped believing to the tale of a mountain. We were walking on a path away, nothing but we were walking between the clouds, and we break through it like we put aside a curtain. Winds and waters, the fog drops dropped. We almost soaked in wet, we ran to catch the light. We screamed victoriously. We were having the best time, but we really didn’t expect of what was coming next.
“Congratulations, we officially arrived at Prau peak. Congratulation Nyim, for your first mountain. You made it”
Danar said. We hugged each other.
The fog was dense, the wind was strong, but the light resisted to be seen that evening. We stunned in awe, we laughed and we cried. We scream out loud thanking the Universe for one moment of a lifetime. I threw myself down to the Daisy field, looked at the sky, let the fog droplets grasped my face and wet my jacket. The time when I feel I have strong enough to reached to the top of one mountain, being in thousand meters above the sea, I felt I was flying and touched the sky, but then I dropped down to the lowest ground while seeing the real comparison between myself and the Nature. I was nothing.
That’s when I became to understand the quote that carved in Bismo’s back,
It’s not the mountain we conquer but ourselves.
I feel whole as a human.
There was no one but us, we sat against the set down sun, tried to say anything would describe the moment but not any single word came out to from my mouth. I looked in Bismo’s teary eyes, the corner smile in Danar cheeks which described the joy of freedom. Adhi gently stroked the wet hat in my head. It was the mountain that carved our friendship, the freedom cynically has taught us the value of having each other’s back. The gratitude.
We hurriedly set the camp before dark. Eat, smoke, fart, sleep and awake in sunrise. Danar, who has experienced a morning at Prau Summit, he was also in awe that morning because he never experienced Prau so bright and majestic like that day.
It was almost 0` celcius where my jaw could not hold the shiver, hands were trembling, the knee ached, the wind blew my body strong enough to make it hard to walk straightly. But inside I felt warm enough beside three men which yet climbing slowly the chart of my favorite person in life. The blanket of friendship—that’s what I’d love to call it.
We put our gear to the ground and we enjoyed the moment.
8 AM, the wind blew our camp down and we need to quickly packed things up and climbing down the mountain. Sunkissed in The Savanna of Prau, we felt surreal yet magical.
August 6th, we arrived at Bismo’s House in Temanggung, we planned to go back to Jakarta at August 7th by train. We searched for the ticket and all of them were sold out until August 10th. We tried to search for bus ticket and everything that possible but there was no way. Life was gave us lemons which we have chosen to make lemonade from it. The only ticket available was only destined to Bandung, executive class, August 9th late night, which means, The Journey has to be extended and Yogyakarta was the perfect destination for us. Moreover, we brought The Yellow Campertop because Yellow Safari need a lil’ bit of rest after the tough adventure. Well, a VW Campertop for traveling? That’s everyone’s dream. We’re lucky.
The first destination of our arrival in Yogyakarta is Imogiri Forest. Honestly, from here I could not tell much about the place, at the same time, when I rewrite the back story of this trip, I also began to realize that traveling for me is not just about the coolest place that will we go, but the people. The people who go along with or the new people you eager to know during the travel. It really taught me and moved me about trusting others, even more for an introvert person like me; I can feel I can go anywhere as long as four of us together. As I find it quite strange to think that home was no longer about a sense of place but about the sense of feeling when you’re beside certain people.
I sat there, inside a vehicle with fragrance of wood which still smell new, Danar sat beside me. I look forward; Adhi was always busy making videos while Bismo’s driving style was still just inconsiderate. I feel very extensive, I feel very happy. Secretly I looked back and contemplate how dare I think my life will never be this happy, this exciting, nor doubting my capability to climb a mountain. I really missed the conversations there, where we were talking for hours about unimportant matters, laughing at people in the street and another sudden decision we’ve made towards random street we coincidentally found on our way to Gumuk Pasir, where the legend memorable shot of us in front of the Yellow Volks taken.
Gratitude—for unforgotten 10 days of my life, for every trouble we choose to laugh it off, the improper meal we ate, silly woman make up masker we wore, the slap battle, and for the joy and happiness.
I recall the days were few, that is all that I can do. Hugs, kisses, fist-bump.