Indonesian writer exposes the naked truth about traveling


Thought this was interesting and somewhat akin to what I have been doing the last three years:

Where travel writer Trinity goes, more than 86,000 people follow. The Jakarta-basednaked traveler blogger and adventurer keeps thousands of fans posted via @TrinityTraveler on Twitter and on her blog, naked-traveler.com, which has spawned books in a series called, naturally, “The Naked Traveler.”

An English-language version of her book “The Naked Traveler: Across the Indonesian Archipelago” was launched at the Ubud Writers and Readers Festival.

Trinity says the “naked” in the title comes from the Indonesian word nekad meaning daring. But that’s not the full story.

Since Indonesia passed an anti-pornography law in 2008, Trinity has had two of her books banned for containing “sexually explicit” material.

The first contained stories about a nude beach in Australia and a gay bar in the United States, while the second told of her visit to a mixed-gender public bathing house in Japan.

Trinity doesn’t think there’s anything pornographic about nakedness, but says her descriptions may have been too candid for some.

“Maybe it’s the way I write it,” she said. “Its like, I describe the guy I took a bath together with — six pack and anunya kelihatan [his “thing” was visible].”

The publishers retracted Trinity’s books and rewrote the offending passages. On her blog, the original stories are there for all to see.

“It all came from my blog, and on a blog you don’t have a gatekeeper, you can say anything,” she said.

Trinity provides plenty of content for her fans, constantly updating Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and other social media with photos, videos and stories. She tries to give her “naked” opinion of the places she encounters, aiming to avoid the brochure-style reports of other travel writers.

Nevertheless, she does take on assignments as a “buzzer,” promoting businesses through her Twitter feed for a price as a way to fund her travel.

Trinity’s fans reply instantly to her posts, sometimes with travel tips of their own. Coming to Bali for the writers’ festival, Trinity asked her followers for information such as where to find a good hair salon, and they were very happy to oblige.

Trinity has loved to travel since she was a child. While other school friends were promised toys or sweets for good grades, Trinity and her brothers were promised a family holiday.

The trip didn’t have to be to an exotic location. Trinity says there is plenty of travel to do at home in Indonesia. Her new English-language book is all about her travels in the archipelago. But despite the opportunities on their doorstep, Trinity says many Indonesians do not travel.

“Most people value more if you have a car, a house, the material things,” she said. “They think if you go traveling it means you are rich and you waste too much money on everything.”

International travel guides can also prove unhelpful for Indonesian travelers, she said, as many places listed as “cheap” can be considered expensive by the average Indonesian. On top of that, Indonesians face difficulties in securing visas to some countries and many do not hold passports.

For young female travelers like Trinity, some friends even question the impact of travel on finding a life partner.

“People say, ‘Yeah, it’s because you travel, that’s why you’re still single,’ ” she said. “They consider it as negative in our society.”

But Trinity likes to travel alone so she can make friends along the way. Coming from a mixed background with a Christian Batak father and Muslim Sundanese mother, Trinity says she has always been open to people from diverse backgrounds.

Making friends in foreign countries has expanded her world view and revealed many different perspectives on life. That, she says, is something that all Indonesians should experience.

“I do believe that the more you travel, the more you open your mind, and then you become more tolerant.” – The Jakarta Globe

About 2bagsandapack

Lifetime journalist, author, magazine editor and publisher, now semi-retired and traveling the world. My plan, after living in Costa Rica for 14 months, was to visit a new country in southern Europe every three months to experience the culture and the challenge of adapting to a new environment, while on a fixed income. That plan was sidetracked when I was offered a job in Indonesia, providing an opportunity to explore Asia. Indonesia lasted for a 4 wonderful years but I have now moved on to Hua Hin, Thailand.
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