Enjoying Classic Quarter-Life Crisis in Yogyakarta

So... okay, the way I see it, the best decision I have made this year so far is to give myself a few days break before jumping right into a whole new job.

After a heartfelt farewell celebration that had me crying for hours, there was this emptiness in me that I felt like never before. I cried when I was cleaning my drawers and packing all of my belongings, a little harder during the celebration, and even harder when I was alone afterwards. The sadness resembled a broken heart, much like leaving someone you had been together with for years, only less painful.

When one of my managers said, “Leave. Go and see the world for yourself. After you get tired of it, you can go ‘home’,” I know she meant it as a commander always ready to welcome back her troop. I, on the other hand, saw it as a confirmation that this truly had been a second home for me. Since 'home' is where the heart is, or so people claimed, I suppose my being brokenhearted over quitting is valida little dramatic, but still valid.

Bordering on the pro tips of how to treat a grieving heart, I realize that giving myself enough time and space to heal is important. Yogyakarta was where I chose to swallow the bitter pill. Visiting the places I had never been before, I would say it was the perfect way to enjoy the so-called quarter-life crisis and ignore the fasten-the-seatbelt warning.


I kicked off my trip to Jogja this year with quite a different enthusiasm. Waking up at 03.30 in the morning, I was more than eager to start the day in two shakes. Since it would be my first time traveling by a long-distance train, and I had always been a creature of habit, I urged my mom and sister to get ready as early as possible.

We arrived at Pasar Senen station at almost 5 o’clockhow very in time for us to check in and board the train as it had just been readied. Our train took off forty-five minutes after that, so we had the privilege of gaining the best access to wallow in the sunrise from the big window beside our seats. For me, the view was definitely worth waking up earlier for.

Six hours on the train seemed to me so long as I couldn’t get myself to sleep. From taking tons of pictures, listening to my current playlist over and over, and munching bread that I brought from homeI had done everything I could in the name of killing time. We finally arrived at Yogyakarta station at about 12.30 p.m.

It’s safe to say that all of us touched down in a very hungry state then. We immediately went to Gudeg Yu Djum Pusat located in Gang Cokrowolo Karangasem to lunch. From top left to bottom right: nasi gudeg krecek telur ayam suwir, nasi gudeg krecek telur tahu, and nasi gudeg krecek telur paha atas.

My mom's favorite! I personally thought the krecek was good but spicy.

After fulfilling our desire for something local, we put our luggage in our hotel room before going straight to our next destination. Obelix Village was where we went to spend the sunny afternoon. Located in Sleman, the place consisted of a mini zoo and garden with several beautiful spots to take cute pictures. We were only required to pay an entrance fee amounting to IDR 20.000 per pax.

Traveler tips: Please remember that there are two entirely different places with similar names here: Obelix Hills and Obelix Village. I suggest that you do your research first before deciding which one to visit.

I wasn't ready but the parrot was, so...  #longlivetheparrot

Contrary to the amount of pictures I posted above, Obelix Village turned out to be not as big as we had first imagined. After about an hour or so there, we were done circling the area, and so we decided to just laze away our evening in Filosofi Kopi, a coffee shop that was physically adapted from the creative mind of Dee Lestari, one of my favorite local writers.

I had visited Jakarta’s Filosofi Kopi a few years ago. Compared to the one in Menteng, Filosofi Kopi Jogja was much bigger and more comfortable. Sitting in the outdoor area of the coffee shop, we drank our orders: Iced Avocado and Hazelnut Latte while the wind blew gently, chasing away the remaining heat.

We talked and reveled in comfortable silence alternately for quite a while. It felt dreamlike and very pleasant that evening slowly turned darker without us really noticing. On our way out, we stumbled upon a beautiful rainbow in the middle of the magenta-colored sky that pictures couldn’t ever do justice.

Finally. It’s time for the much-anticipated dinner. My sister had managed a reservation in a hidden pork-based ramen restaurant called Kuro Buta, so off we went to Dahlia Road number 62. What a historical day for the three of us.

From a friend of my sister we knew about this cool hidden gem. Closed from Monday to Thursday and also Sunday, the restaurant didn’t accept customers with no reservation. My sister informed me that a reservation could only be made on Tuesday afternoon, that’s why she was really thrilled when she had succeeded in squeezing our name into the long list of curious diners.

What piqued our interest even more was the fact that it seemed so exclusiveKuro Buta offered a limited eating slot which we could pick from either 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. or 06.30 p.m. to 08.30 p.m. We ordered two kakuni tonkotsu-men, one ton-karaage tonkotsu-men, and a plate of tatsu-ya ton-karaage for the later slot. I preferred the kakuni tonkotsu-men more. For such an affordable price, what’s in my bowl tasted great.

Alas, the few hours after dinner went a bit blurry for me. I was pretty much half asleep during our night strolling in Malioboro. I remembered observing some things though: buskers with beautiful voices inviting passersby to sing along, crowded streets with stunning retro neon lights, and rows of trishaws and horse-drawn buggies urging us to ride in.


Being that tired, waking up early the next day was a challenge in itself. I think it was the product of not getting enough rest for the last few weeks, or maybe it was the liberating feeling of being able to be in Jogja for two unexpected nights with no deadlines whatsoever to stress about. Whatever the reason was, my eyes were completely glued for a few minutes. 

We tried to get ready as fast as we could, but time was not siding with us this time. Since we left a little later than scheduled, we didn’t arrive at Glagah Beach in time to catch the sunrise. It didn’t bum us out as much as the fact that we couldn’t find what was on our top prioritized list: the sunflower garden.

It turned out that Jogja had been in a drought for quite so long that all the sunflowers died of thirst. Should we want to revisit this place in the future, doing so during the wet season would be our best pick, informed the locals we met. Albeit unfortunate, we were still quite pleased as the scenery was quite unordinary: the waves were bigger in here than in any ocean I had ever encountered, and we stumbled upon the cheapest fried sand fleas, soft-shell crabs, and shrimps for only IDR 10.000 until IDR 12.000 each.

Breakfast went quite satisfying, but there was nothing much to do there so we left shortly afterward. To avoid Jogja’s sun-blazing heat, we decided to first stop by Tempo Gelato located in Prawirotaman. We ordered a medium-sized gelato with yogurt, caramel mix fruit, and Nutella flavor. 

Since the street outside Tempo Gelato reminded us so much of Canggu, we took a short walk and window-shopped the row of stores available. If you like journaling, I suggest that you give Art Craft and Flower a visit on your next trip! During my visit, I was so tempted by the wide variety of washi tapes, stickers, and other cute kits displayed aesthetically. If only I was still journaling, I wouldn’t think twice and bought some.

If we had kicked off our second day in Jogja a little behind schedule, we unintentionally made up for it during the afternoon. As it turned out, we had prematurely checked the empty boxes in our agenda before three. Since we were quite out of ideas about where to go, we decided to do lunch early. We tried two similar dishes with similar names located nearbythe first one was a bowl of pork meatballs in "Bakso Babi Bethesda". A little plot twist: it was located right inside Bethesda’s Hospital canteen, much to our surprise.

I preferred the second one more though. Located right outside Bethesda Hospital, "Bakso Bethesda 74" (a no-pork meatball tent stall) served us good fried meatballs that I liked so much. No wonder the stall was already so packed even an hour before the actual lunchtime.

The fried meatballs were a little dry but tasted so good!

Sadly, the weather was getting inevitably hotter and hotter then. After shopping for souvenirs in Bakpia Pathok 25, we went back to our hotel to rest for a little while. Albeit it may sound like we were lacking activities, I assure you there is nothing to worry about as everything got more drastically fun afterward. The three of us, like some real tourists that we were, gave Candi Prambanan a not-so-short visit. We wandered around the ancient temple and watched the sunset there. The experience felt surreal.

We continued our culinary tourism later that night in Malioboro, a crowded place that seemed so lively instead of suffocating. Since I felt much more awake this time, strolling around the place felt more like a fun mini-adventure. Our first stop was the wedang jahe (hot ginger drink) my mom had been craving for for quite some time.

After the hot drink, we dined in Raos Eco, a random restaurant somewhere in one of Malioboro's busy alleys I chose to eat mangut lele. Since I had always been a fried catfish lover, trying a smoked variation of this dish mixed with coconut milk was certainly a must. We also ordered a plate of fried noodles in the same restaurant and a glass of iced durian from another random street vendor on the front. As if to make our night more complete, we unhesitantly walked some more to a stall selling tahu walika traditional dish made from a combination of tofu and cassava flourbefore going back to our hotel.

As we were strolling back following the steps we had earlier made, I realized just how liberating it was to be able to enjoy my weekend without stressing about some deadline-named ghost. I thought about a lot of possibilities, about the things I could do with my life now that I was back in control of the steering wheel, and about how should I make it out to be.

Getting yourself back after temporarily losing it is nothing but a blessing, trust me. My two nights trip in Jogja turned out to be the cure I needed to heal myself from within. Don't get me wrong though: I wasn't fully mended yetthe feeling of emptiness didn't just go away that easily. But as I saw random strangers walking through the crowded street of Malioborosome looked like they were friends having a fun night out, some looked like they were mere tourists like me looking for either something or nothing, while some looked like they were familiar with the busy streetI registered the feeling of longing deep down in me.

I long to do a lot of things in life, to be able to become what I want and be with whom I want. I long to feel another genuine sense of belongingthe main reason I was left feeling so emptybut this time with a new home that I could call forever. And I secretly long to do another long walking in Malioboro with the said sense already instilled deep in me someday.

As we boarded the plane that would take us back to the familiar air of Jakarta the next morning, I promised myself that I would do the best I could with the best girl boss energy a girl could muster while also accommodating her worth and capability.