I’m planning to go back home to Indonesia September this year. My sister is getting married. Besides, it’s been 3 years since the last time I went home. Starting the beginning of this year, I tried to schedule a well-planned itinerary while i’m there: see the orangutans in their natural habitat either in Tanjung Puting Kalimantan or Bohorok Sumatera; shells hunting in Karimunjawa; stone tomb carved in giant granite rock in Sulawesi; or just street food hunting in Jakarta. I was also thinking to do a side trip to Seoul, South Korea and/or Phnom Penh, Cambodia. In short, I’m psyched!

Somewhere along the line, Indonesia faced a natural disaster when Mt Merapi erupted around mid may this year and continued rumbling, spitting out lava and hot clouds for about 6 days. Very recently, an earthquake shook Yogyakarta where the death toll is estimated to 6,200 according to CBC News per June 1. Still fresh in memory, December 2004 tsunami disaster that also killed thousand of people. And let’s not forget the notorious bird flu case. It is very concerning, I know. So i do understand when some friends expressed their concern about me going home. But what bothers me is when they said, “Why would you want to go to a place full of disaster? Don’t you guys have terrorists too there? Why would somebody want to live there anyway?”

Let’s see… here’s my answers:
1. I was born and raised there. I know my country better, regardless what the media says about all the nasty stuff that’s been going on there.
2. There are more to see than to worry about: 17,000 islands to explore. Well, 5 are the big ones and that should take you some years to intensively explore and experience.
3. Most-visited tourist destinations are not exactly disaster-free, either. For a list of world disaster (both man-made and natural), wikipedia has a nice list here. Catasthropic disease outbreaks, here’s a list of epidemics. It’s one thing to be cautious, just don’t be narrow-minded and ignorant.

Home sweet home… here I coooome!!