The Jakarta Post
For many people, traveling involves merely admiring a place and taking in the experience of just being there. By doing so, they hope to achieve self-enlightenment while carrying out recreational activities, but sometimes they lack an awareness of their surroundings.
To promote meaningful travel, a group of travel enthusiasts has established a community called Wanderlust to promote programs with the aim of engaging travelers with the places they visit so that they can leave these places of interest not just with contentment but also with a sense of community.
Established at the beginning of the year, the community aspires to integrate traveling with volunteering, as well as expose Jakarta's hidden heritage sites.
'When visiting a place, travelers usually spend a lot of their time merely enjoying it. We want to engage visitors so that they can contribute to the local environment by having them volunteer or partake in community activities,' cofounder Syahira Marinah told The Jakarta Post recently.
Syahira, who established Wanderlust with friends Dini Hajarrahma and Fany Ayuningtias, said that her community, therefore, would introduce travelers to locals and bring them closer to the environment.
During Wanderlust's planned excursion to Mount Krakatau in Banten at the beginning of May, for example, the community and its tour participants were set to work with several schools in the area to provide lessons while, at the same time, marvel at the legendary volcano, she said.
While Wanderlust sometimes holds socially conscious travel programs outside of Jakarta, one of its inner-city programs includes weekend excursions to hidden heritage sites.
Syahira mentioned that Wanderlust's travel-based programs could help spread awareness among younger generations on Jakarta's hidden heritage sites and the history behind them.
One of the group's recent excursions included a visit to the National Textile and Batik Museum in Tanah Abang and Petamburan cemetery, both in Central Jakarta. The visit to Petamburan cemetery was carried out in collaboration with Love Our Heritage, a historical preservation community that focuses on the preservation and exhibition of historical heritages in Jakarta.
Petamburan cemetery is home to the 9-meter high marble tomb of legendary Chinese-Indonesian businessman Khouw Oen Giok, which is reportedly the largest mausoleum in Southeast Asia. The cemetery also houses a number of Jewish graves that date back to the 1940s, and a Japanese urn dispensary building, which is managed by The Japan Foundation.
Love Our Heritage cofounder Adjie Hadipriawan said that the Wanderlust tour could promote the city's heritage sites.
'Most of the general public links Jakarta's history to well-known places such as Kota Tua and the Sunda Kelapa Port,' Adjie said. 'While these two landmarks are probably the most well-known historical sites, there is so much more. Love Our Heritage aims to enlighten people on what has been overlooked.'
Adjie added that Love Our Heritage usually held monthly tours to heritage sites in the city, such as Taman Prasasti cemetery in Tanah Abang and the Presidential Palace.
While visiting Petamburan cemetery, tour participants helped clean-up the area surrounding the Khouw mausoleum, to show respect for the deceased and the caretakers, while the visit to the textile and batik museum saw participants partake in tie-dye making.
Syahira said that undertaking such activities would boost awareness on textile-making and batik patterns.
'Through engaging in these activities also learn how various textile patterns are made, giving them an understanding of the museum's purpose,' she said. (dyl)
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