As I start to put thoughts onto the computer screen, I am thinking of one of our students, Patricia, who was considering whether to register for the Aromatic Indonesian trip coming up in May this year, and the questions she asked. I actually started writing this blog in my head as I drove up to the Seattle Passport Office to get extra pages put into my completely filled-up passport. I realized how much I love to flip through my passport recalling adventures, images, plants, aromas, people, friends, great meals, as much as I would a travel journal. Maybe it was growing up in New Zealand where from an early age people ask you when are you going to get your “OE.” That is kiwi (NZ) speak for “overseas experience.” Or maybe it was the scrapbook I lovingly created with the exotic photographs and images from the National Geographic Magazines my granddad gave me, and oh, what joy, when he said “yes” I could cut out the pictures.
Having an easy to use camera that can video ensures you won't miss a thing. Check out my next career as a Gamelan player in Indonesia. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s9Te-wEOTBE&feature=youtu.be
Either way, travel has been a huge part of my life, and I have been blessed to be able to roam the world exploring people, plants, cultures, traditional medicine, and doing what I love the most: sourcing essential oils and herbs. Travel is a life-changer and one of the best forms of education. If you are already studying aromatherapy, herbal medicine or holistic health with ACHS it is an enriching addition to your program or you may need continuing education or professional development. If you are a Registered Aromatherapist with ARC you can apply to use it as continuing education. Other health care professionals should check with their professional bodies.
I continue my thoughts on the joys of travel while hanging out in the deli on the ground floor of the Seattle Passport Office building waiting for my passport appointment. My hybrid car was a delight to drive from Portland, Oregon, and despite sticking to the speed limit, I am still two hours early. While sitting at the deli, the owner and the man stocking the shelves ask me about my accent. It turns out the owner is from Fiji and the man stocking the shelves is an ex-marine who has memories from all over the world. They are excited about their plans to go back to Fiji together in December of this year. We chat for a while about the joys of travel. I am enjoying the ambience in the little corner deli, but not just because the folks in there are super friendly and fun to talk to; the music is great. I close my eyes and think I could be in Turkey. When I share how great the music is with the owner, he says, “Thanks. I believe that is what life is about: friends, music, and great food.”
I have to agree. Travel is a great way to create a rich, experience-filled memory bank with all those components and more. One of the reasons I love to travel is the people I meet, which I’ve shared with our student, Patricia. I love to talk with everyone and anyone.
Of course, that does not mean I am not careful and safe when I travel. Safety is one of Patricia’s concerns, she tells me.
Travel Tip 1: My golden safety rule is: if I am traveling alone and not joining or running a tour group, I never arrive anywhere in the dark. Of course, these days, that may not be possible. So, once I choose a flight itinerary, I make sure I know where I will sleep that first night, and if it is a night arrival, it will always be close to the airport. Other obvious safety precautions I follow are not wearing my favorite sentimental or expensive jewelry and not carrying a lot of money or having my credit cards and passport in a bag slung over my back in crowded areas (more on this later).
I love to sail, and when I moved to Portland, I had to learn to sail the Columbia River. Fast flowing, and crowded like a Los Angeles or Seattle rush-hour freeway with sailboats, powerboats, and grain barges, it requires my full attention. One of my teachers taught me the 360 rule!
Travel Tip 2: Every three minutes you turn your head a full 360 degrees and look. I use this when I travel. Not only does it help to stay safe in areas that may be dicey, I get to see a lot and not miss a thing! Try it!
Of course our Aromatic Indonesia trip will be safe, as we have chosen locations, hotels, distilleries, Jamu factories and vendors, and plant research institutes that are in very safe locations. We have an experienced English-speaking guide the entire way plus our own motor coach. During the Bali portion of the trip, we are staying far from the site of the sad and terrible Bali bombing tragedy. In fact, we stay in a beautiful, organically operated wellness resort on a hill top location, which is considered better for our health by the locals.
Travel Tip 3: Another thing to consider is visa requirements. Personally, if it is available, I like to take care of my visa on arrival. It is available in Indonesia, and I have never found it a problem in all the times I have been there.
You can read more about the visa requirements at this website: http://www.embassyofindonesia.org/consular/voa.htm
If you are from any of the countries listed here, you are eligible for a visa on arrival. USA is on the list. This visa, in my opinion, is the easiest. You get it on arrival in Jakarta after you get off the plane but before you go through immigration and pick up your baggage. It costs $25 US, and you can pay by credit card or with cash. You can only stay with the visa on arrival for 30 days, but you can extend it for another 30 days. But note you can’t convert it to an immigration visa just in case you fall in love with Indonesia and want to stay!
Other things to check:
- Your passport must be valid for a minimum of six months from the date you enter Indonesia.
- You must have more than one page left in your passport. Indonesian authorities will not stamp the last page.
- You must have your return ticket.
- You do not have to show vaccinations. More on vaccinations and my homeopathic recommendations in my next blog post!
If you are joining the Aromatic Study tour from Brunei Darussalam, Chile, Hong Kong, Macao, Malaysia, Morocco, Peru, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, or Vietnam, you do not need a visa. You can find more information online at: http://www.embassyofindonesia.org/consular/nonvisa.htm
Travel Tip 4: Travel insurance is another important part of travel. I do not always get travel insurance but you are, however, required to purchase travel insurance for this trip and our agent in Indonesia has recommended AIG: http://www.aig.com/travel-insurance_3171_441378.html They have an office in Jakarta, too. So you can buy it in the U.S. and still can get assistance while in Indonesia.
Travel Tip 5: While traveling to Indonesia, you may have a long layover in Singapore. The Singapore airport is beautiful, clean, shiny, and safe with a lush tropical orchid-laden décor. If your layover is shorter than four hours, just find your gate, a quiet chair or place to stretch out on the floor, and make yourself comfortable. There are at least three terminals, but once you have figured out which terminal you arrive at and leave from, head to your departure terminal. I always stay at my departure terminal so I am ready for the next flight. You don’t need to leave the airport when you change terminals. There are moving walkways and lots of signs. Don’t hesitate to ask for directions; everyone speaks English! If you have a longer layover, there are a couple of great transit hotels where you can rent a clean but modest room for a minimum of six hours. This is the one I usually use: http://www.harilelahospitality.com/transit_hotel_reservation.html
Book at least four weeks in advance. If you have a longer layover, this is a more expensive and nicer hotel still within the airport grounds, but you need to take a bus or taxi: http://www.ihg.com/crowneplaza/hotels/us/en/reservation The taxi ride is short. They do take credit cards, and you can expect to pay about $25 US. The bus is a bit difficult to find, so ask for directions.
Travel Tip 6: Money is another worry for travelers. I don’t carry traveler’s checks or a lot of cash with me. I usually just hit the ATM on arrival. Make sure your card has the PLUS 3 triangle sign. The only country I have been to recently where I had trouble finding an ATM that would work with my cards was Japan. Eventually I walked five blocks from my hotel to a post office, and it worked!
Credit cards charge a hefty foreign transaction fee, so watch for that. I travel with cards that have no international fees and you can read more here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ellen-cannon/no-foreign-transaction-fees_b_1690617.html I personally prefer a Chase Sapphire card because they have the best points program and no fees.
Travel Tip 7: Luggage is always a challenge. Packing light gets harder for me if I pack at the last minute. I like to write down my itinerary with the days of the week and plan my clothing for each day and evening if there is an outing. I think about a basic color scheme—black, white, and tan are great—and then add color with a scarf or inexpensive earrings. A bathing suit and workout gear are a must, as are comfy shoes. I lay it all out on the floor, and then take at least half of it away (the hard part). One good thing about Asia, laundry is available at all the hotels, and it is very inexpensive. I also pack a small day bag with lots of pockets and zips, which I wear across my body. My day bag holds my passport, credit cards,lip gloss, wipes, my camera, and a water bottle, which I hang from a curved sturdy clip from REI called a Nite Ize S-Biner.
Travel Tip 8: I love photography and travel provides a lot of material. I am not a fan of heavy, bulky equipment though, so I just carry my trusty Canon Power Shot SX 230 HS and my twisty tripod that will attach to anything. It is not the latest model, but it works just fine and shoots quite good video! Having an easy to use camera that can video ensures you won't miss a thing. Check out my next career as a Gamelan player in Indonesia. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s9Te-wEOTBE&feature=youtu.be
Next week I will share my top five homeopathic travel remedies and top five essential oils to never leave home without!
If you have any questions about the information I’ve shared in this post, please feel free to ask. Leave a comment, and I’ll get right back to you with more information.
I hope you can join us for the trip of a lifetime! Change your life, build memories, and get educated all at the same time!
UPDATE: ACHS will be journey across the globe AGAIN for Aromatic Indonesia 2014! Curious about the trip? Click the button below for more information!