Lost Girl of the Week: Merry Padang

Indonesia, Solo Travel — By on July 2, 2009 at 10:19 am

From the moment The Lost Girls touched down in Indonesia during our RTW trip, we were completely enchanted by the peaceful and effortless existence held so dear by islanders, who are without a doubt some of the kindest and most smily people we encountered on our journey. So we’re thrilled, and definitely a bit nostalgic for our old nomadic life, to have a native Indonesian, Merry Padang, as our Lost Girl of the Week. Merry’s traveled extensively since she was a little girl, choosing to “move around in the world, for really, no apparent reason, but for adventures” – no better reason if we do say so ourselves!

LuciaPadangMerry Padang on getting lost: The travel bug caught me early on in life. I was born in Manado, North Sulawesi, Indonesia, where the world famous Bunaken National Marine Park, a diving paradise, is situated. This is a city that recently hosted the 2009 World Ocean Conference. After spending the first ten years of my life there, I made the first big move with my family to Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia. Seven years later, I lived in the farthest address from home, studying aboard in an international boarding school in Kooralbyn, near Brisbane, Australia. A year after that, I was on vacation to Disneyland, Los Angeles, California, and decided to stay to experience a college life in America. I was a student for two semesters and a summer and I used that time to travel around the US.

Wanting to be closer to my family, I left the US and went back to Melbourne, Australia to finish my undergraduate degree. This second time around, I stayed in Australia for four years and spent every one of my vacation days traveling around Australia and New Zealand.

Post-college, after spending approximately seven years abroad, I went back to Jakarta, Indonesia. I was traveling back and forth to Australia, but always had the urge to come back to the US. Exactly four years after I graduated from college, I moved to New York.

I give my highest appreciation to my grandparents, who infected me with the travel bug and took me with them to travel the world. I remember my very first trip overseas to Singapore when I was four years old. The next one after that was the trip to Australia during Christmas and New Year when I was eight years old. I must say that I did not do well on the tour bus when I am tired and missing my own bed at home but I was always excited to check on the itinerary of places we will visit the next day.

Since then, I have visited more than thirty countries and planning to visit more. I currently live in New Jersey with my husband Chris and have tried hard to infect him with the travel bug. So far so good and we are planning to take a year off in the future to travel.

To me, traveling is a journey to experience life through different eyes and to capture the world through different lenses. So far, I have moved continents six times, visited more than 30 countries, hold dual citizenships and a Permanent Resident of a third country, have literally circled the globe one time, and have been to one “antipode” (the farthest distance of two cities in the globe measured diagonally – the polar opposites). I love photography and although my day job is a senior financial analyst (in Manhattan), I hope that my passion in Anthropology will take me closer to my own country Indonesia. I hope to write a book about Indonesia through my camera lenses, to closely examine my own cultures, a backyard that was a stranger to me.

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