Dina Hi, this is Dina. In short, I’m a backpacker, exploring the world together with my husband. In this web-blog, I will give you reports from the road, while Ryan will be your travel advisor. Of course we will exchange role time to time. If you have any questions or comments, want to say hi or seek for traveling advice, don’t hesitate to leave us message or you can email me at: dina *at* vagabondquest *dot* com. And now, here is my story…

Silakan masuk - Madura
‘Silakan masuk’ sign, Indonesian phrase for ‘please come in’, in a warung (street food stall) in Madura, an island north of East Java.

INDONESIA I was born and grew up in the Island of Java (you know, west from Bali). I graduated from a university in Bandung with a BSc. in Chemistry degree. The first time I traveled abroad was to Germany, France, and Switzerland, thank to my sister and parents. I and my sister stayed in a very small town in Maulburg, Germany, in the edge of the Black Forest, really close to the border with France and Switzerland. It was an unforgettable moment, being in the nature, culture, and towns so different from where I used to be. It was the first time my eyes were opened that the world doesn’t only share one point of view.

Typical house in Tomohon, North Sulawesi
A typical house in Tomohon – North Sulawesi

Being a backpacker from Indonesia, my Indonesian friends and family often misinterpret what I’m doing. Typically people there will contact travel agencies to take care of their flights, hotels, and tours, which makes a journey expensive. Being backpackers, we always try to be as cheap as possible. You know, staying in hostels or other cheap accommodation, walking for hours instead of taking taxi rides, eating from supermarket, arranging our own walking route instead of paying for a guided tour, washing clothes in sinks and drying them around the bed, and so on. No pile of pretty summer dresses, tight jeans of different color shades, or many pairs of exotic shoes, just a few of light-weight quick-dry tank tops and cargo pants. Pay nothing if you can do without. This idea of traveling is still unusual, so some of them think I’ve been a splurge traveler for the last 11 months. I hope this blog will give people a better idea of what backpackers and backpacking are.

Flower Market Amsterdam
Dina and all of her possession inside her backpack, Flower Market, Amsterdam

CANADA I moved to Canada. I continued my education, and this time I was dealing with radioactive related synthesis Organic Chemistry for cancer detection. A year before I finished my study, I had to choose between continuing my education for 4 more year to get PhD degree, or cutting it to just 1 more year, then I could start our backpacking journey sooner. It took a long time to decide, but I made the right decision. I graduated with a MSc degree a year later, I’m now a backpacker, and I couldn’t be happier.

25 cents Canadian coin
25 cents Canadian coin, at Royal Canadian Mint, Ottawa

BACKPACK WORLD After the graduation, we were preparing for leaving. We sold, gave away, or dumped most of out possessions. Common donations, as well as a self-help one: we left our stuff around the garbage dumpster of our apartment, and homeless people from 3 different homeless shelters nearby picked them up right away. Ryan told me that he saw a homeless carrying my college backpack in his back while sniffing the freshness of his old undergarment. We didn’t have the heart to put undergarments in official donation bags, chose to leave it as garbage, but look what happen to them. Next time I will launder all clothes before throwing them away. We released our apartment, left the hometown, and joined the world.

Knossos Palace Crete Greece
The Minoan’s Palace of Knossos, Crete Island, Greece

So, we have been on the road since April 2009. Us and 2 backpacks are what we have, and we enjoy our simplicity. We travel light. I found that you can live comfortably during a summertime with only 1 pair of pants, 1 pair of shorts, 2 tank tops, 1 t-shirt, 1 windbreakers, 1 swimsuit, a few underwear, 3 pairs of socks, a pair of comfortable shoes and a pair of flip-flops. Of course in my possession sometimes these number are increasing because sometimes I can’t stop myself from shopping. Then, when our possession got to heavy, we purge: ship our stuff to our parents home. Being light and cheap are essential for us.

Temple of Poseidon - Sounion - Greece
Temple of Poseidon, Sounion, Greece

It’s almost a year since we’ve been on the road, and we don’t see we are going to stop. The world is just too big and too interesting to stop exploring.

Articles by Dina



We now have a traveling blog in Indonesian language as well, check it out!

Sekarang kami punya travel blog dalam bahasa Indonesia juga, ayo kunjungi!


17 Responses to “Dina”

  1. noni
    16 April 2010 at 2:04 pm #

    what you do is suppppeeeeerrrrr coooollll !

    and sounds like what I wanna do in the future (as well)
    but I’m gonna keep it secret (at least from my parents) until the moment is come!

    read your stories already made me feeling very excited about it…. Haha !

    good luck in your journey !


  2. Dina
    17 April 2010 at 4:05 pm #

    Hi Noni! Thanks :D
    I hope your moment will come soon! Your parents don’t like the idea of you do backpacking? I got (and still get) many discouraging comments from family and friends, sometimes it’s tough to answer their questions. If that happens to you too, don’t get discouraged! It’s so much fun out here :D

    Good luck with your future plan ;)

  3. Sabina
    16 May 2010 at 7:44 pm #

    Dina, I just read this. Your story is very interesting. I hope to meet you guys some day.

    • Dina
      17 May 2010 at 2:37 am #

      Thanks Sabina! We should always keep in touch, it will be great when we are finally in the same location and can meet!!

  4. Rani
    17 May 2010 at 10:46 am #

    Wow… that so cool and amazing experience mbak Dina..
    Probably, it will stay as a dream for me.. hikshiks..

    I will wait for your latest stories..

    • Dina
      17 May 2010 at 12:27 pm #

      Ran, you can do Japan first! :D I’m glad you enjoy the blog!

  5. Gayle
    20 May 2010 at 2:07 am #

    You’re both living our dream! Awesome! Maybe we’ll get our kids to do the same when they graduate from college before entering the real world and we can just live vicariously through them (since we’ll be too old by then).
    Looking forward to your latest adventures…Happy and safe travels!

    • Dina
      20 May 2010 at 12:14 pm #

      Hi Gayle, welcome to our site! Thanks so much for you kind words!! Yes, we are living our dream :) I hope you guys will have opportunity to do this when you kids are old enough. I think you are great parents since you will encourage your kids to do this :D
      We are going to NZ soon, so happy!!

  6. Financial Samurai
    4 July 2010 at 11:36 pm #

    Hi Dina,

    Thanks for sharing your story!

    May I asked when you decided to be a backpacker? Also, what are some of your goals? If it is to travel, would it have been better to do without getting a MS degree?

    Or, did the MS degree do you in so bad that all you want to do now is travel?



  7. Dina
    7 July 2010 at 2:11 am #

    Hi Sam, thanks for visiting our blog :) MS degree that I take actually have nothing to do with our decision to backpack. I love my university, my lab, and my research, and if anything, because I love my education so much, it made it hard to decide to quit for this journey. I can’t say the degree has helped me in backpacking. I’ll say it’s just different aspect of my life.

    We decided to be backpackers probably about a year prior to my graduation. At first, it was more “how if” kind of thinking. But the more we talked about it, the more we wanted to actually do it.

    We are curious about the world. We want to see, learn, and experience all parts of the world. I’m easily enchanted by the remnants of human civilization in the past, as well as the beauty of nature. Different parts of the world offer different atmosphere. I think it’s more of a journey than a goal. The world is so huge, I can’t see the end of it. I guess we will keep doing it while the opportunity is still opened for us.

  8. Financial Samurai
    7 July 2010 at 9:50 am #

    Good stuff Dina. What about working, and then traveling 4-6 weeks a year? Is that too little time?

    PRofessors/teachers have some good balance b/c they are off 3-4 months a year. Whatcha think about that angle?



    • Dina
      25 March 2011 at 2:31 pm #

      3-4 months sounds quite good actually! 4-6 weeks is already much better than the regular 2 weeks. It’s tough to get submerged in a new place only within a couple of weeks.


  9. Sandra
    22 March 2011 at 5:08 am #

    Saw this blog from another travel blog. My girlfriend and I are going backpacking to Europe for the summer. The thing is, I have never travelled just with a backpack. So I have a few questions for you (the expert), hopefully you can shed some light for us. One, do you check you baggage or just take it as a carry-on baggage to the cabin? I bought this framed technical pack and I am not so sure if I can take it to the cabin since it’s quite heavy and huge(well, not really huge but moderate size for men). I talked to the airlines ppl but they are not much help and websites can only tell so much. Second, how necessary is underwears? I planned on disposable underwears but I suposse they’re not really comfy are they? (tad weird question but I seriously am not joking about it. Third one is not a question, just a simple wishing you guys all the fun in the world. Best wishes from us in California :)

    • Dina
      25 March 2011 at 2:46 pm #

      Hi Sandra! Thanks for coming here :)
      The normal max dimension for carry on is around 23x40x55 cm (9×15.5×21.5 in), but check it out with the flight you are using, it could be different. The max weight is probably about 10 kgs, but again, check it out. Do you know the dimension and weight of your backpack? Too bad that your airlines wont help :(
      Ryan’s backpack is slightly taller than allowed carry on size, but sometimes we managed to sneak it in, in the case we had to pay for checked luggage.
      Usually in cabin, they allowed 1 carry on size luggage + 1 other personal bag (computer bag, little backpack, woman handbag, etc).

      If the airplane you are using not charging you for checked in luggage, not a big deal to check it in. But many budget flights in Europe will charge you, so better check the cost (don’t assume they all will be the same). Lock your backpack.
      And if you do, checking in your main backpack, carry all valuables with you in cabin (use a small bag, maybe your day pack/bag/purse). I always bring my laptop with me in cabin.

      Haha, it’s a real question, I know! Disposable underwear is not my favourite thing, not comfy. Especially if you are going to walk a lot and it’s hot. Use regular breathable underwear, you can just wash it in sink and dry it overnight (squeeze it inside towel first to make it dry faster). ExOfficio has quick dry underwear that is great, except that it costs around $20. If you want to know more about it, let me know.

      Hey, thanks for the wish, I wish you have a blast too in Europe!! How long do you girls going to be on the road? Best wishes from us in Honduras :D

      Let me know any other questions ;)

  10. nyuker
    15 July 2011 at 11:34 am #

    nyukin, waduhhh baru ada sempat baca2 blogmu…..
    mau ngomong apa nih…bener2 awesome banget ^^
    jadi kangen mau ketemu loe nih buat cerita2 hahhahaa
    eh kapan travellingnya sampe ke china?
    tar kestau gw yaaa hahaha

    good luck yahhh
    jiayou in chinese :)
    miss u

  11. Christa
    14 October 2011 at 1:25 am #

    Hi Dina, I found your blog from another travel blog. I’m an Indonesian girl myself, I’ve already laid plans for a several year RTW trip, and I was wondering how you get around the visa issues we Indonesians have to face. Is it possible to get visas on the road in a country other than the country of our passport issuer or residence? Eg, say I was in Jordan (Indonesians can get in with VOA) and wanted to get into Syria (which I can’t get into legally visa-free or with VOA). Is it possible to apply for the visa in Jordan? Or maybe it’s best to plan a fixed route in advance and get visas before leaving? (But this doesn’t work well for me, I have a tendency to not follow plans :D) Or maybe you should take the trip in several short bursts and come home every few months to get visas for the next leg instead of doing one long journey? This has been my biggest hurdle in planning my trip so far. I’ve been reading some Indonesian blogs, but I’ve only found one blog so far that talks about this issue, and only for the countries the writer himself visited, not as a general rule.

    Maybe you could shed some light on this for me, assuming of course you’re traveling on an Indonesian passport. If not, oh well, guess I’ll just have to keep asking around :D

  12. Ross
    16 October 2011 at 4:40 pm #

    Hello to both of you, it sounds like you guys are doing what I plan to do in a couple of months. Just taking my backpack and thats it. Working and camping here and there, but always on the move.

    Nice to meet you!

    Ross´s last post…Now on Twitter!

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