The Jakarta Post
Amid chaos in the country’s tourism management, one person has risen to save the day and help Indonesia be recognized as one of the most interesting tourist destinations in the world.
But don’t be mistaken. She is not the heroine with martial art skills from the Hollywood science fiction epic The Matrix.
Trinity from Indonesia lives in Jakarta and doesn’t possess any super powers, even though she confessed that the name was a pseudonym inspired by the movie.
But behaving like a superhero, Trinity refuses to reveal her real name.
“Just call me Trinity. People are already familiar with that name,” she said in a recent interview with The Jakarta Post.
On first impression, Trinity is like any other young, active Indonesian woman in her thirties.
After spending almost an hour talking with the cheerful and easy-going mannered lady, the Post understood that people do not need superpowers to be a hero or heroine: All you need is determination and guts.
The Trinity Indonesians know is the avid travel writer committed to promoting Indonesia as a tourist destination the world.
She has traveled to 44 countries, 30 provinces in Indonesia and published three best-selling travelogues that are said to have changed Indonesians’ view about traveling.
People here used to believe that traveling was the preserve of the wealthy. But Trinity’s books show it is financially possible for everyone to travel.
Trinity’s books, which received praise from Lonely Planet founder Tony Wheeler, have also been eye openers for locals and foreigners unaware of the country’s beauty.
Trinity has introduced remote places in the archipelago as new tourist destinations; treasures for the Indonesian tourism sector. Thanks to Trinity, places such as Komodo Island, in East Nusa Tenggara, Derawan Island in East Kalimantan and Cubadak Island in West Sumatra have become new hot spots for travelgoers.
From her experience in various countries, the recipient of the 2010 Indonesia leading travel writer award still thinks Indonesia is the best destination for tourism.
“We have it all here: Culture, the people, nature and the weather. We have sun all year around,” she said.
However, the government’s inability to promote tourism successfully and its stifling bureaucracy, Trinity believes, mean the country’s potential remains untapped, and she wants to be behind the change.
“I want to become the culture and tourism minister,” she said.
Trinity believes there are many things the government can do to maximize the country’s tourism sector, including building a solid network between ministries and initiating good promotional programs.
“Despite the government’s massive efforts to promote tourism, the public has never been involved,” she said, referring to tourism campaigns in Thailand and Malaysia that have attracted 15 and 20 million foreign tourists every year, respectively, more than twice the number of tourists visiting Indonesia each year.
Given the local government’s inability to promote tourism here, it seems that Trinity has brought new hopes for the future of the country’s tourism sector.
Apart from writing, the editor-in chief of the Jakarta-based travel magazine Venture has promoted
Indonesia using other ways, including spreading information about Indonesia to strangers when she travels abroad.
Her next mission is to endorse Indonesian tourism in Namibia, where she will be a speaker at a tourism conference.
“I feel that is the least I can do when I go anywhere, by becoming the ambassador for Indonesia,” she said.
Judging by her achievements, mission and dreams for Indonesian tourism, Trinity may well become the ideal candidate for the position of tourism minister, and change the fate of the country’s tourism sector.
However, no one could possibly guess our heroine was once a 9-to-5 corporate slave.
The former marketing communications officer quit her job to follow her dream of being a writer and a traveler after completing her masters in management in Manila, the Philippines.
One of Trinity’s professors inspired her to follow her dream.
“My lecturer said follow your passion and success will follow you. And here I am living my dream job,” said the woman regarded as the most influential travel writer in the country.
She began writing diaries when she was only small. Her first article on traveling was published in the teen magazine Mode, in which she shared her experience visiting the US during high school.
In 2005, to accommodate her passions both in traveling and writing, she started a blog under the name Naked Traveler ( naked-traveler.com ) that contained her travel experiences. This blog gave birth to her travelogues that share the same title.
“I wanted to name it something that was catchy and I realized Indonesians are fond of porn. That’s why I choose the word ‘naked’,” she said jokingly, adding that from a philosophical point of view, the name referred to travel stories that are honest and blatant, different from the ones found in major publications that mostly write only about the good stuff.
Raised in an adventurous family, Trinity has traveled around Indonesia and abroad since she was a child.
“My mother and my late grand mother are travel maniacs. At the age of 70, my grandmother still traveled around Europe. When we get together, we talk about traveling,” she said.
This supportive environment enabled the young Trinity to become an expert when it comes to traveling.
She started traveling and putting together travel itineraries since she was in junior high school.
“My parents told me to make proposals containing the detail of my trips, the destination and budget,” said the woman, who went backpacking to Europe for six weeks while she was at college.
And what’s her next travel plan?
The woman, who wishes to visit every country in the world says she is planning to take one-year off over the next two years to travel to South America.
Even a heroine has the right to take a break. Doesn’t she?