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// MY NAME IS DANIELAnd after years of dreaming I've sold everything I own and set off on the open road. I've made this site as a sort of photo journal of my travels. The map shows where I've been (red), where I've stayed a month or more (yellow), and where I plan to go (white). And so, armed with little more than a backpack, a camera, and a dream, I now take the road less traveled by. So it goes.


PADANG SUMATRA Fom Malaysia I found a $35 flight to the Sumatran city of Padang. I'd never heard of Padang before, but it turned out to be a fascinating city, spanning the coastline and surrounded by dense jungle mountains. There were both Dutch and Chinese colonial buildings in the city center, a great many mosques, as well as the unique traditional buildings of the indigenous Sumatrans, which you'll see later in some of the villages.
SUMATRAN COAST SUMATRA Indonesia is made up of more than 17,000 islands --- 6000 of which are inhabited. The major islands are Sumatra, Java, Borneo, Sulawesi, and Papua though some of the smaller ones, like Bali, are also quite famous. I traveled up the coast of Sumatra by motorbike, visiting several beaches and even a sea turtle conservation where for a dollar or two of support, you can release a baby turtle into the ocean by hand.
PARIANGAN SUMATRA Pariangan is a small village of the ethnic Minang people. Here you can see the 'rumah gadang' traditional architecture of West Sumatra. A village elder was kind enough to give me a tour of the village (the man in the photo with me is actually my host, who brought me here). In the last two photos you can see his house which is in a nearby village.
LAKE SINGKARAK SUMATRA One of Sumatra's largest inland lakes.
MOTORBIKING AROUND WEST SUMATRA SUMATRA I hired a driver and spent three days motorbiking around West Sumatra. The countryside was amazing, peaceful, awash in rice field terraces and the random roadside monkey. I even had some local cuisine, all of which you can see below.
JAKARTA JAVA It was time to leave the island of Sumatra and head for Java, an island roughly the size of England but home to 141 million people, making it the most populated island in the world. Indonesia's capital, Jakarta, is here, a sprawling megacity with a metropolitan population of over 30 million. I didn't spend much time in the city, it was chaotic and congested, though my hotel room had amazing views, which you can see below (the first three photos were taken from my hotel). The food was also good, but spicy...
TASIKMALAYA JAVA Leaving the chaos of Jakarta, I took a very nice and modern train to the southside of Java island, to a small city called Tasikmalaya. It was an interesting town, though my main reason for coming here was to explore some of the surrounding villages and countryside. It's worth noting, that the center of Java also has a great many Buddhist and Hindu historic sites. The Indonesians were on the receiving end of colonial influences for centuries even before the Dutch arrived. The first influences were from Hindu traders from India more than a thousand years ago, followed later by Buddhist and Confucius settlers from China. It's suspected that the elites of Indonesia converted to these foreign religions for political purposes and were followed in turn by the masses of people (Bali, for example, is still largely Hindu). Muslim Sultans came centuries later, forcibly carving out pieces of Indonesia for themselves and declaring Islam the state religion. Christianity came with the Dutch, who took control of Indonesia as part of the Dutch East India Company in the 1600s. The Japanese took the island from the Dutch during World War II after which, in 1945, Indonesia emerged as an independent secular nation.
KAMPUNG NAGA JAVA Kampung Naga is one of the villages near Tasikmalaya that I wanted to visit. It is home to indigenous Sudanese people still holding strongly to their traditional way of life, living in communal homes with no electricity. Though nominally Muslim (most villages in Indonesia converted to Islam when under the control of the sultans to avoid paying a special tax levied against all non-Muslims) the villagers here are some of the few Sudanese in the country who still practice the pre-colonial ancestral religions of Java island (generically called 'adat').
BATU KARAS JAVA Finally, on the south of Java, I arrived at the small beach town of Batu Karas. I don't have much to say. You can see the tiny cabin I stayed below, along with a river tour I took. It was a beautiful and peaceful place, but alas, it was time to head into the jungles of the neighboring island of Borneo.