Book: The Journey ‘From Jakarta to Himalaya’ – Gola Gong


Got to thank Wego Indonesia for introducing me to this book!

The Journey — From Jakarta To Himalaya by Gola Gong

  • Language: Bahasa Indonesia
  • Year Published: 2008
  • Publisher: Maximalis-an imprint of Salamadani

  • Who doesn’t want an adventure?

    Well, tell me if there is any person who actually doesn’t want—no, scratch that verb—dream an adventure of their own. I myself do dream about it one too many times. Everyone in my circle already knows my obsession to have one in India—Kerala to be specific (just don’t ask why, the history is kind of long and what you need to know of it is that a fiction has done its best in kicking my ass and opening my eyes about the place). So well, that’s an adventure for me.

    This book is an adventure itself. It tells about a trip attempted by a man who wanted to fulfill his dream of traveling around the world. The book is a personal experience of Gol A Gong. Often times his name is written by reducing a space between the first and second name, ‘Gola Gong’. It’s a pen-name. Born on 1963 in Purwakarta, he is the author of Balada Si Roy, a popular novel series in the 90s.

    If you ask me, I will not be able to elaborate on the author much. I have heard his name before, I have heard about Balada Si Roy before, and that’s it. So, this book is the first time I am meeting him.

    Gola Gong. To be honest, I don’t know that he is an avid traveler if not for this book. He is a dreamer. I can tell how a big dreamer he is from the book. A romanticist, a passionate man that won’t let his physical deficiency, lacks of money, and language-barrier bring him down.

    Gola Gong pushed and pushed himself through in an exhausting 9-month journey across Asia continent—Serawak, Malaysia, Thailand, Laos, Bangladesh, India, Nepal, and Pakistan. Until he was ready to go home; to go home and pause his dream of traveling around the world for awhile. Whether later on he continues to pursue that dream, is another matter altogether. However, in this journey that spanned from 1991 til 1992, he already made some of his childhood dreams coming true, such as riding camels in a desert. Say hello to Rajasthan!

    But no one ever have the same adventure twice. What happened to Gola Gong on his journey may not repeat to others. However, the way he spilled the adventures on this book, the way he told the tales, the courage he had on when tackling an exhausting trip, the wrongs and tricks he did to get a ‘story’, his feelings toward stuff happened to him, how he dealt with various people he met on his trip (the natives, fellow travelers)—it makes an enchanting story, through and through each pages. Even if his adventure ended more than two decades ago, it is still an enjoyable story to read.

    Sometimes when writing a story, especially one about a long journey that seemed to have no ending, it’s a homework itself to write it. What was good about The Journey here was that Gola Gong always focused on telling about the story per the place he came upon, then he inserted a public knowledge inside the story like historical or political stuffs, then added his own experience with sprinkles of what he felt about it. The reader—I meant me—got a story about the place from multiple angles, which was good. Wasn’t traveling also mean we learn something in that journey—something that could be just anything in life. In some points of his stories, my emotion went up and down just like what he was feeling, such as when he encountered a nice man that turned out to be a gay that wanted nothing but to seduce him.

    It was also interesting the way he spun his journey with a background story. He wrote The Journey on 2007 on a hospital. His father was sick at that time. During the time of this writing too, he himself fell sick. In this book, he told a story about his father—he admired his father, who had been a great ‘teacher of life’ for him; he adored him, and the lost he felt when his father died, the feeling of having to let go—and his strong mother who had been nothing but a sturdy rock, a constant strength for everyone in his family, then, there was his own family: a wife and four lovable kids, and Rumah Dunia. As he told on his blog, The Journey was not only ‘a physical journey’ but also a journey to come back home to God’s arms.

    Many times, I have wondered myself if I would be able to go through a trip like his. It’s more than a story of adventure, I can tell you as much. It is more a story of life he lived in when he traveled. The book isn’t done the travelogue style that goes all chronologically. It has a jumping-timeline, it goes randomly to the past (his journey) and the real time (during the writing of this book), that sometimes it gets confusing. Ah, but it was an enjoyable read. Although, there is one minus point. I found it annoying that the book has one too many typos more than it should have. Typos. Seriously.

    This book was lent to me by TED Wego Indonesia‘s Editor, Sica Harum, so I can learn something from it and improve my own writing. If ever that my writing got an improvement during internship that was influenced by this book, it was most likely the article of Tiu Kelep. Well, I still have to learn more, so I can share the story of my own adventure better in the future.

    If you have read my traveling stories in the past and the ones I wrote for the internship, do you think my writing has improved? Let me know your two cents.

    And last, after you read this book, how about having an adventure by yourself?

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