2008 Indonesia

When two worlds unite…

Around 60 years ago Indonesia was struggling to become independent after being a Dutch colony for a long period of time. The Dutch tried to protect their interests and it was during the ‘politionele acties’ my father, being a young officer went overseas in order to assist the Dutch army. In spite of the bad and dangerous times he developed a deep love for the country, its people and its culture. Many years later this love was gradually transferred to me. It all started when I discovered an old picture book on the bookshelf at home.

Intrigued by the pictures and stories my desire grew to travel to the country which meant so much to my father and see it by myself. That became reality in 1987 when I traveled for the first time to Indonesia, together with my friend Charl. It turned out to be the first of many journeys to follow.

My father returned to Indonesia twice. In the nineties with his good friend Bob for a trip to discover Java & Bali and visit many places which they were not able to go to during the time they were there as a military. The last time was in 2002 when he and my mother went together on a vacation to Bali. Although my mother loved that trip she was not very keen to return there so it seemed that was my father’s last trip to Indonesia. It remained his biggest wish to go back one more time but that was never going to happen, something my father was very aware of.

That was at least what he thought until somewhere in summer 2007… By then in my mind the plan had developed to travel once again to Indonesia but this time in the company of my father. I discussed this with Paul and he fully supported the idea, especially as he had already invited my mother on a trip to France in order to visit her youngest brother. So halfway June I took my father by surprise when I invited him on a trip to Java and Bali. The whole idea must have been a bit surreal to him in the beginning but he became very enthusiastic once he realized this was a serious offer. Little less than a week later the flights were booked and plans can now be made.

As usual plans change and when I was with Paul in Bali in September 2007 I called my father and told him I added another week to our trip, making it a 4 week trip.  On the 12th of April 2008, two days after my father’s 80th birthday, we boarded Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 and started our trip to Indonesia.

My father has a lot of memories on Indonesia, both the good and the bad, and tells a lot about it. I do have a lot of memories on Indonesia as well, most of them very good.  Our memories not always matched so there was a bit of ‘my father’s’ Indonesia and ‘my’ Indonesia. With this trip we changed that and made it ‘our’ Indonesia.

Here’s the story of our trip, a trip where two worlds united…

Start the journey in Java