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Ujung Kulon, Indonesia

Ujung Kulon, Indonesia

Naran, Pakistan

Naran, Pakistan

alhea houtman




“A Mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions a quote by Oliver Wendell Holmes


(First, before I start, it is not my position in stating facts or advice or even professional suggestions to give, but I would love to share my suggestions and advice, sharing from my own perspective & my own experience) 

We all have different opinions about what this quote means to us but in my opinion. Our mind, if we experience and see something new, we can never go back to our old perspectives, our old way of thinking, why? We’ve been exactly exposed to the unfiltered world, what is it really like out there? Being able to get the knowledge and experience of the unfiltered world is very interesting and can be a little dangerous (at some point), and there are a lot of things to take in. I definitely recommend, wherever you live, whoever you are, how old you are, you definitely should try traveling in any way you like, before it’s too late. First Tip; Travel before it’s too late. No matter how old you are, where you are from, at least you have to Travel, now, in this case, I don’t mean traveling “luxuriously” it somewhat doesn’t give that much of an impact, you’re not experiencing it right and your presence is compulsory. So this time stay close to nature, turn off your phones and gadgets, now look around you, socialize with people, try their creations, gather as much information from spending time there, and experiencing it on your own. Try comparing and contrasting, “is what other people say about this place true?”, see the difference… you’re witnessing it and you should be able to tell what other people say was right or wrong. Try seeing what the world out there is like from different perspectives and experiencing it on your own. Traveling will help mold your mind and so as the way you think, “a mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions”.


When you’ve experienced new things, you can never think the old way of how you did before. Living in a world filled with different people saying different opinions, you really can’t trust what other people say, yet. Which we have come to our Second Tip. Second Tip; How Social Media is NOT 100% Accurate. Nowadays, news spreads very fast, using one of the special tools to spread them, the Media. In this case, we’re in the 21st Century a lot of things are now modern. Usually, the Media, (ex.the Newspapers, Magazines, etc.) are one of the verified sources of Informations. Hence, nowadays Social Media has been a part of where News is spread, and let me tell you something… it spreads really-really fast. But, all information that is spread and added into the social media platforms aren’t 100% verified, there are a lot of rumors, hoaxes or false information going around social media, which is why we have to be alert and open-minded about these certain things. But let me tell you something, I’m not saying that social media is bad, because let’s be honest I have one and in this case… me and my family, we’re trying to make good use of it, trying to share important stories based on our own experiences :) 

Now speaking of How Social Media is NOT 100% Accurate, back in January my Culminating Project (CP) was about How Social Media is NOT 100% Accurate, yet it’s obvious that it’s not 100% Accurate but a lot of people in this world today still tend to believe it. In this case, there are a lot of beautiful things behind the bad rumors about certain communities & places, meaning why they have different beliefs and different cultures. It’s quite hard to understand, but when people spread information, things can be filtered. People who misunderstand will get the wrong information, will get the wrong idea and spread it to their friends and family. When you start a journey you have to keep in mind that there are a lot of things that you need to be able to handle and manage, your mind needs to be ready for anything. The world is a very huge place, and there are millions and billions of information that you can get, from the very little things to the huge things that matter the most. Here are a couple of posters I made for my Culminating Project,

Last but not least the Third Tip. Third Tip: Be Ready & Be Open-Minded. At first, before we started this journey, I didn't really have the idea of “be ready for anything”. Ibu & Bapak kept on saying, “you should be ready for anything throughout this trip”. I understand what they meant, but I don’t really have the idea of how “bad or worst” is it going to be, or how “amazing and great” is it going to be? We even met Om Hawke, I believe a lot of you guys or a lot of people have heard about him, and if you don’t you should definitely search him. He’s an amazing Experienced Senior Overlander, he definitely helps us out before the trip, sharing some of his experiences, and the little things that we should be aware of, things that us kids have to be paying attention to, things that each and one of us has a job for something during the trip, what we’re responsible for. In order to make this work, we all have to work and help each other. So sometimes when Ibu & Bapak aren’t around the car, then us kids as Gemma are responsible to look out for whatever happens to Bejo & our surroundings. Times like this it is important to stay alert because literally anything can happen, Om Hawke already told us that we should look out & see if anyone touched Bejo or our belongings. What’s interesting is that people can stick harmful and illegal things on us, but during times that we don’t really realize. They can put a bomb for example in our car, but we didn’t really notice, or a tracker. We never know, in this world. There are a lot of dangerous things that people can do, but there are more amazing and beautiful things that are happening in this world today. That is why from our trip we acknowledge the fact that bad things like that happen and it became a lesson to us, but what’s more important about our trip is the value. So that we are able to share it with other people, the beautiful things that they aren’t able to see. 

But the important lesson that we take from our whole experience is that as an overlander we have to be open-minded. Now, according to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, “receptive to arguments and ideas”. Being receptive means, taking in and receiving knowledge, or you are willing to accept ideas & suggestions. But, there are people who are quite stubborn in the topic of the term accepting or being receptive towards new knowledge, accepting new information or ideas. Who doesn’t want to take in new information, or new suggestions? Me, do you want to know one thing that changed the way I think after the trip? The term open-minded. I thought I was quite an accepting person, who accepts reality, accepts the situation, etc. But no, I was not. Not even close, but after coming home from the trip, I've realized the way I think was improving, I was able to accept more criticism, more suggestions, and feedback. My teachers told me that, so did my aunts-uncles and my friends. In Conclusion, let’s summarize. First Tip, Travel before it’s too late. Gather information and experience as much as you can, last but not least try your best to disconnect from all gadgets surrounding you and pay attention to what's going on out there. It is a MUST to travel, Second Tip, How Social Media is NOT 100% Accurate. You should be able to find a good source to trust and experience things on your own to get that once in a lifetime experience. Third Tip: Be Ready & Be Open-Minded, whatever you’re going to go through, wherever you’re going to go, you have to be ready and open-minded at all times. Especially seeing the unfiltered world, you have to be able to accept things in any way shape or form, tolerate each other and you must be ready to take in all real-life experiences, at all times. 

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