EVER dreamed about traveling around Indonesia, west to east, north to south? Sabang to Merauke? Miangas island to Ndana island?
Meet Anto, a big guy (178/86) with a big heart. Although known as a ‘stress-metal guy’ but I see him as a gentle and kind-hearted one. Together with his partner in crime, Cliff, they have been on their half-way journey traveling around Indonesia, by bike! They go under the name of Kayuh Pedal Cumbu Indonesia (KPCI), or free translated as ‘pedaling and praising Indonesia’. And I must say that they’re living their dream now.
I last met Anto the day before they started the journey on June 12, 2012. Started from Bogor, they now have been cycling through 13 provinces (Java-Bali-lesser Sunda islands-a part of Sulawesi-Maluku-Papua). It’s been over a year now, and there are about 17 other provinces to go (Maluku Utara, a part of Sulawesi, Kalimantan, Sumatera, Banten, and the trip will be finished in Bogor), so they have plan to be on the road until 2014.
After several on-off communications because of bad cell signal reception (they were in Sorong and Ternate during this conversation), I finally managed to hold an online interview with Anto.
Disgiovery (D): Tell us more about KPCI, how did it all begin?
Anto (A): I first met Cliff through Kaskus OANC (Outdoor Adventure & Nature Club) community back in 2011. Cliff originally had a plan to explore Sulawesi by bike (he’d succeeded cycling Bogor-Aceh before, all alone by himself). And I was like, “Why don’t you go bike ride across Indonesia, Cliff?” Later on I asked myself the same question, “Why don’t you, Anto?” So here we are.
D: What is your mission actually?
A: To witness God’s creations on this beloved country and to pay respect to the life itself. We travel by bike, we pick up trash, we visit 4 most outer points of Indonesia, we interact with locals. That’s how we praise our Indonesia.
D: How long did you two prepare?
A: It took one year preparation. You know, quit the job, assemble the bikes, write proposals, find sponsorships, etc, including ask our parents permission. My dad was an easy task, but my mom was such a big deal. She finally let me go with a harsh comment, “When will you get married then?” Ouch, hahaha!
D: What was it exactly that made you quit your job, leaving all you’ve got behind?
A: Living my dream. When I was in elementary, a teacher asked what I wanted to be, and I was like: ‘I want to be able to walk my feet in every province in Indonesia!’ And now it’s the time. I still can find another job, but this is once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
D: Anyway, how do you fund your trip?
A: To be frank, we didn’t get any sponsor. That’s why we’ve been selling merchandise. At first we brought along our KPCI t-shirts on our bike, selling them to the local biking community, police officers, etc. Now we’ve been selling it online (with the help of our friends). We open up new pre-order in every two months for our newly designed t-shirt. Just visit our website for more info.
D: Do you guys welcome any donation?
A: We’d gladly welcome any donation made, but we wouldn’t ask for it at the first place. And one thing importantly, the donation doesn’t involve any political party.
D: How do you guys work together as a team?
A: We know what each of us is good at. I’m capable at looking for links or network, while Cliff works well on mapping or planning the route. Basically, we don’t assign one to do this and that, but we just do what we’re able to.
D: Have you two ever been in some disagreement that leads into a quarrel/fight?
A: The key is knowing each other’s character. One year preparation has made us no strangers to each other. I’m the fire, Cliff’s the water. One must know how to handle his fellow. Believe it or not, as long as I can remember, we only had one severe argument during the trip, a silly one actually.
D: What was that?
A: A soap opera, hahaha! Cliff accidentally left our soap in toiletry bag all wet, so it did wet my bag too. I first mentioned him about it but he didn’t seem to listen. So I addressed him about it in front of other people, and obviously he didn’t like it. It misled us into some confrontation, before we realized that this argument had no use. I simply don’t like my bag gets wet, and Cliff doesn’t like being confronted about internal problems in front of people. Communication is the key. It applies to all aspects.
D: So you guys, two lonesome adventurers, have argued over a soap. This is hilarious!
A: Yes, and we sometimes make a joke about it! Hahaha!
ON THE JOURNEY
D: How far do you ride the bicycle in a day?
A: Normally we can go 40-60 km a day. It’s going to be a long journey, you know, so we must save our energy and stay fit. Sometimes we got muscle pain & stiffness in our legs & feet, but that’s the risk of pedaling, I guess.
D: Ever got sick so you couldn’t even get out of bed?
A: After 80-hour sailing from Aru to Merauke, both Cliff and I got sick at the same time. Probably because of exhaustion. Months before, I once had my left foot wound which made me unable to ride the bike in Sumba. But we’re fine now. Nevertheless, under normal circumstances we are as healthy as stallions! 😉
D: So, what do stallions eat? Ever tried extreme food?
A: Haven’t found such. We only consume regular local food. I like kapurung alias sinonggi alias papeda very much!
D: Jimmy Nelson (photographer) once said, ‘The further away you get, the kinder people are.’ Is it true? What was your impression on the people you’ve met?
A: People had already given us warnings such as ‘be extra careful in Bima’ or ‘watch out for Timorese people’. But the fact is, the more you’re getting away from Java, the more friendly people you’re meeting.
D: I bet you’ve experienced some funny moments with these people.
A: In Rote island, people thought we were clothes sellers. In other remote areas, some thought we were special agents working undercover. That might be the reason why the crowd of gamblers started to disperse as we passed by in Kei Kecil island.
D: Any sad moments?
A: It’s always sad when you have to say goodbye to kind-hearted people who have helped you, accompanied you, or given you some accomodation. We met as strangers, we leave as friends.
ON ACHIEVING MISSION
D: So, what do you achieve from this journey so far?
A: That we should give back to nature. Not only cycling, we’re hiking mountains and exploring little islands too, picking up trash especially plastic bottles and drop them into a dumpster or give them away to the local rangers. We’ve also spent some extra time in Calabai village, Dompu, West Nusa Tenggara to participate in coral reef transplantation, organized by Komppak (Komunitas Pencinta Penyu dan Karang).
D: Where was your biggest catch in collecting trash? How many bottles?
A: We once collected 367 plastic bottles in Kenawa, a small uninhabited island in Sumbawa. Actually there were still more left, but we both couldn’t pick them all. Can you imagine how serious the problem can be. And this is the least we can do to keep our environment clean & healthy.
D: You’ve traveled to East Nusa Tenggara and Papua. Did you manage to reach the southernmost point in Ndana island and the easternmost point in Merauke?
A: Yes, we’ve reached the easternmost point at the border of Indonesia and Papua New Guinea in Taman Sota, Distrik Sota, Merauke, Papua, just a few weeks ago. People were very nice to us, including border guards.
D: Awesome! But I heard you guys had trouble back in Rote island when trying to reach the southernmost point of Indonesia?
A: Never forget the day we got expelled by a platoon commander in Oeseli, Rote island. We thought we could catch a boat to Ndana island, but there was a marine post that didn’t allow us to pass through. Maybe because it was dark already, or the island was simply unaccessible by strangers but the marines themselves. I got so angry & frustrated, luckily Cliff calmed me down. So we went back through the bumpy & deserted road, and pretended that Rote island was our southernmost point instead of Ndana island.
D: I wish you luck on your next northernmost (Miangas island) & westernmost point (Sabang)!
A: Thank you, but it all depends on the weather, the ship, the budget, the timing. We’ll see what happens.
ON PERSONAL LIFE
D: Do you get bored sometimes being on the road, faraway from home?
A: Of course. It ocassionaly happens when I sit alone by the beach or deep in the wood, and all of a sudden I remember all the people and all the things I’ve left. But it won’t take long, besides I’m leaving for only two years.
D: You’re traveling for about two years. Any objection from your girlfriend?
A: Luckily I don’t have one. *silence* Dude, should I say ‘luckily’?
D: Aal izz well, dude! Now, what about the girls you’ve met during this trip, any crush yet?
A: No luck, hahaha! But we’ll see what happens later perhaps in Manado or Palembang, you know what I mean.
D: How much has this journey changed you?
A: Cliff said I’ve become more patient and sincere, and I don’t deny that. My communication skill has also improved by meeting many different people. And I’ve become more strict if it’s related to bookkeeping, hahaha!
D: So, after 13 provinces, several mountains & islands, hundreds of local people, countless experiences, what do you say about Indonesia? What is your message?
A: Indonesia is not only Java.
D: That’s deep! Hahaha, thanks, bro!
A: You’re very welcome.
All images courtesy of KPCI. Edited by Disgiovery.