It was January 2013, my house was full of two bicycles and baggage. There were two nice people that I hosted with a lot of stories that they brought, make my eyes open about the world is – more and more about travelling and cycling. I would like you to meet one of them.
He is Arjen Van Lopp, the Netherlander cyclist. He started his journey since September 2010, from Nederland through Europe, South East, Greece, Turkey, Middle East, Egypt, went by ship to Dubai, Iran, Central Asia, East Asia, then crossed from Kuala Lumpur to Pangkal Pinang, Riau Indonesia. His mission is meeting the world while cycling. He always makes a note like a kind of diary for all the raw material during his cycling.
He won’t have enough time, even a whole year to share all his cycling experiences to us. He ever met the same person for three times accidentally during his cycling around, that things that you would never be expected for-but it happened. The worst experience that he had before July 2011, he tried to camp near the road in the jungle. “If you camp in the dark , in the wild and alone, you don’t want to be seen by others people”, he advised one way how to find a place to stay whereas he out of the people. One of his experiences was being roped in Vietnam. The robber took some money which he got back later because the robber was arrested by the policeman. The robber did not rob like the others robber, he threw him up with some stones. He did not realize that the danger in front of him because the man also did not speak any English. That was the robber’s motif to separate him with all his belonging. That’s why you always need to keep on eye while travelling.
Almost more than four months in Indonesia, according to him, people are generally nice, friendly and welcome.” And now I’m enjoying more and more being in this country. I even don’t plan to and what time I should be in Australia, for my next destination” like he was said. One of his favorite things to do in Indonesia, “ I would like to have a break after my taught cycling, and I will stop near by the warung, have a sweet drink, kopi susu and have a talk with some local people” sometimes surprised him, the local people also have good English speaking. Moreover about Arjen, he has a giant and tall body, and he will attractive a lot of attention while he is travelling across the Indonesian nation, because he put the Indonesian and Dutch Flag on his bicycle. Even though he more looks like a rock star than traveler with his long blonde hair and people will always stare at him. That one of the uniqueness while he is travelling in Indonesia because people will ask him to take some snap too. He doesn’t mind to do that because he also like to communicate with the local people.
The most memorable food that he has during his cycling in West Sumatera, in the Maninjau lake , there is a kind of food look like martabak.”I think this person have his own recipe”, as he told, because he also did not sure what food is. He thought that food is kind like lumpia, because the is also term for Lumpia in dutch.
His biggest goal to finish his cycling travelling, and he will break his own record to cycle for four years. There is still time to go forward. For the future, he will get job again in Nederland or maybe somewhere and go back to place where he had been, and he is still not plan that yet . Currently, he will focus to finish his around world-trip cycling. Indonesia also one taught route that he ever experienced, because the route is also down and uphill, and he already consider it as the part of the deal, and he will not skip the part.” We cannot pick only the best part” just he told. In Indonesia can be hard road such as down-hill road, or quite-long road or even the crowded part and a heavy traffic jam.
For all his doing, it is not an easy choice, to quit the job, to leave the family and homeland for quite long time, to separate with friends and to out of the box, to out of the comfortable zone that he had. I salute for all his spirit to see the world, to experience it and to live with it. Am I will be brave enough to across the border and will anyone be to cycle the world??
warung = small shop in Indonesia
kopi susu = coffe milk
Documentation: Arjen’s picture collection (thanks for borrowing me the picture)