My Introverted Trip to Kendari

When my manager asked me last Friday whether or not I was able to go to Kendari for a business trip the following week, my answer was swift and simple, "Yes, I can." One, it's a part of my job that I couldn't say no to. Two, I had never visited Sulawesi in my entire life, so why not?

Just to be on the safe side, I brought a book with me on that trip. It turned out to be a good decision since Jakarta and Kendari were separated by a three-hour flight. A part of me was relieved to get back to reading again, to ignore my surrounding just to get into an untouchable space in my head. It was the first sign of my introverted self showing, and I couldn't feel any more comfortable.

We arrived at the Haluoleo Airport at about 12.40 pm WITA, and my very first impression of Kendari was the greatness of its nature. There were a lot of green spaces both in the airport and out. The sky was so blue that the clouds looked so clear and near. At one point I was even convinced that some of them were hanging not far above my head.

We then decided to have lunch at a restaurant not far from our hotel named RM Angkasa Nikmat. The waitress recommended us one of the local specialties: the barbecued ribs, widely known as 'konro bakar' here. It tasted good with a small bowl of gulai as its complement. I had a quite satisfying lunch.

The rest of the day went quite ordinary after that. So did the next day. We had to do what our main aim going here was: working, so there was not much leisure time to enjoy. But after a long, tiring meeting on the second day, we were rewarded with a good dinner at a beautiful place called Kampung Bakau, and I couldn't be more satisfied with the clever choice of restaurant.

The restaurant was located at the edge of Kendari Bay which, trust me, looked wonderful at night. On top of that, this place managed to make me feel peaceful somehow. In the middle of a pack of almost strangers, I felt at ease, so unlike the usual me. I didn't even try to make any conversation. I just let my eyes wander the entire night like I wanted to absorb the setting and tattooed it to my brain.

Hence one of the reasons I took a lot of pictures here, though my most favorite photograph has got to be this one right here:

At first glance, this picture might look sad. Focusing on an empty chair, I had originally claimed that this picture reeked of lonesome and desolation. I thought about being stood up by someone you loved so much, about the despair you left the chair with, all alone and not quite the same as before.

After a few moments though, something snapped inside me, and I changed my mind. It was certainly not a portrait of sorrow. It was something more like a story instead: the night after your big, beautiful wedding, when all the guests had gone home and the place was empty; like a left-over of your happiness; the setting of your most memorable night after you left.

In simpler words, it was like a memory so beautiful that it left you hollow inside when it ended.

If the beautiful night moved a little too quickly, the next two days were much, much slower. I got more familiar with Kendari's beautiful settingthe perk of being on my own in the hotel room. The view from my floor, it turned out, was stunning. I had just only realized it when I was aimlessly wandering around alone.

My 4D3N in Kendari turned out to be the first impromptu, introverted trip of mine that automatically became an eye-opener. It felt good not to force myself to become someone I wasn't and initiate a conversation when I didn't want to, and to know that silence between two strangers could be comfortable too. It was a bold yet liberating move for someone who had always tried to please others, but what a good turn.