31 Mar 2013

Travel: Backpacking in East Indonesia

I've finally recorded my travel vlogs from my trip to East Indonesia in December 2012, and I wanted to share with you my impressions of the country. My boyfriend and I backpacked around the Maluku Islands region, which is a very remote part of the country that is largely untouched by mass tourism. We visited the Banda and Kei islands, where tourists are few and far between. If you want more information about this beautiful (albeit sometimes hard to reach destination) this is the best website with relatively up-to-date information: http://www.east-indonesia.info/

I included a lot of pictures in the video to make it interesting, but yes the vlogs are long! A lot happened, and I unfortunately ended up getting extremely ill at the end of my trip which forced us to cut out journey short to seek medical help. It was a nightmare ending to an otherwise adventurous and beautiful trip.

Part 2 goes into detail about what happened to me after getting extremely ill with Dengue Fever, a tropical disease transmitted through mosquito bite, and how we managed to make it home safely after what seemed like a nightmare week and a half.

Enjoy watching! Have you ever had a terrible experience in a foreign country, health or otherwise? What happened? Share in the comments!


  1. oh my god I hope that already sie you feel well

  2. I really enjoyed the videos :)
    As for a terrible experience, it isn't that bad but two years ago, when I was 18years old, I went to Moscow on my own. It was my first time experiencing solo traveling and even just travelling.
    I had been travelling for a week or so before, not sleeping very often and attending many concerts so I was a bit tired.
    When I arrived in Moscow I got SO sick. I didn't speak a single word of russian, had no cash anymore and couldn't access to my bank account, I was terribly sick, which was a nightmare in the line for the concert I was also attending in the city. And during this concert, I fainted. I woke up outside of the crowd, but with only one shoe and without my bag in which I had my passport and all my essentials like the adress of the hostel I was staying in. Fortunately someone picked it up for me, and a really sweet girl I had met during the line helped me to find my way back "home" and even paid for my subway ticket.
    That was quite an experience. On top of that, I really didn't like Moscow, I felt so unconfortable there, scared and the high fever I had really made it worse. I spent the whole night crying, thinking I'd never make it back to Paris aha.
    Well I finally did, and I'm going to go back to Moscow this summer, but with friends!
    Thank you again for sharing your trip with us :)

  3. Your story was amazing. Never know what happens.
    I have a Brazilian boyfriend and I'm from Finland. I spent the summer 2012 in Brazil. Everything was so beautiful and new. Just seeing a palm tree was a big wow. I got sick there, too. Ended up being only a cold and I didn't need a doctor or anything but I really scared me. I didn't feel good at all as knowing that if this is something worse there won't be people speaking English and I don't understand Portuguese well enough. All I could do was asking for medication I knew I would take in Finland. Eveything lasted almost for two weeks and every morning when I woke up I could just hope for the best and try to do my everything on my own so I could only get better.

    Your attitude is great and I love watching your videos. Every single one of them make me smile :) Hope you had a good Easter!

  4. Anonymous2:10 am

    Hello, Julia.
    I'm from Brazil and here is common dengue fever.
    The mosquito is diurnal and can bite through the clothes. So it is recommended to pass repellent on the legs even with long pants.
    And the most important to know is that you shouldn't take medicines with acetylsalicylic acid like asperin because it can cause bleeding.

  5. My god what an experience. Sucks that you got sick but so glad you made it back and recovered.

  6. Anonymous10:04 am

    Ich war zur selben Zeit dort ! Da du des Fieber hattest musst du bei deiner nächsten Reise aufpassen

  7. My Dad is from Maluku, we visited few years ago. The view is amazing, isn't it?..but yes, I admit the infrastructure weren't build/organize really well. Even shocked me because we usually live in sub-urban, everything exist in here, but sadly not in east indonesia. Thank you for visiting Maluku and I really really sorry for what happened to you during travel.

    Almost all my family get sick, the environment affected to our immune system.Glad you made great decision because Dengue Fever, can get worst and lean to death and sadly, Indonesian take it as not so "serious" ill anymore.

    In the name of Indonesia citizen, I'm sorry for your experience.

    Oh have you try Arabian oil to get your hair grown back.
    Mega Kristin

  8. These videos were really good and informative! It's really disappointing that you had such a bad time at the end. Before everything went wrong it seemed like such a beautiful trip. I hope you enjoyed the good parts even if they didn't cancel out the bad. <3


  9. Great to hear your feeling better. i spent about 9 months on an extended road trip. Never had any problem with remote areas of South Pacific. But after arriving in Denpasar, everything changed. i continued my trek from Bali thru thailand to india and nepal, but was constantly sick with various symptoms

  10. It's been over 25 years since I did my overland Asia thing. Sometimes, I contemplate a return to just doit travel to Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, etc. Thanks for reminding me, NOT.

    Get healthy. No shame in the tourist'e areas, especially in 3rd world countries.

  11. These videos are very good, rich content! It is very disappointing that you have such a bad time at the end. Before that, everything was wrong, and it looks like a beautiful trip. I hope you enjoy the good part, even if they did not cancel the bad.

  12. Anonymous4:45 am

    Hi Julia,
    I am in nursing school, and I have been taught that it is perfectly normal for people to mourn changes in their bodies that they can't control. It is perfectly normal to be feeling the way you are about your hair falling out. Please try not feel ashamed for whatever you are feeling. Your hair is a part of your identity, and your identity is what makes you "you". I am so sorry you went through such a terrible experience with the illness. Wow! I am speechless. What an experience you have had over the last few months, and seems to continue on. I do not know you, but I will keep you in my thoughts. I hope you come to a physical/mental recovery as soon as possible. I love following your videos, even the ones in Swiss-German. You are so real. I need to subscribe! I am half Swiss/half Italian. I can relate to a lot that you say. Thank you for presenting such a realistic picture of a very remote part of the world that not many people from the Western World get to experience! Merci vilmal!

  13. Julia sweetie, I'm so happy you re well now and I'm so sorry you had to go through this. First of all, for the hair: PANTOGAR. It's a medicine for hair growth for ppl with severe hair loss. I had a severe bout of stress a couple of years back and I lost 1/3 of my hair. Today almost all of it came back, slowly and even tho it is a couple inches long, the fullness in the top is back and slowly mixing with the longer strands.

    Today seeing your video I can relate 90% with it. I got sick, not where I was (the Netherlands) but when I came back. I left there with a slight cold and when I arrived in Brazil (home) I had a pulmonary embolism bc of the flight and with the cold it evolved into pneumonia in the span of 10 days. It felt like a cold that got worse and worse and even worse to the point I couldn't breathe. I spent 17days at the hospital and now I'm finally home. I left the hospital 2 days ago!

    I was left with such a scare, that something so simple as a flight could get me this sick. I'm now on a blood thinning drug and it needs to be balanced and it's a pain in the ass that scares me a lot. If unbalanced I can bleed out from anything.

    The fear that it can come back (the pneumonia or the PE) is still fresh in me and it's hard to sleep or to calm my brain sometimes. I still check if I have a fever, even tho I know I'm healed. It's like the disease is gone but my brain is on constant alert to any "symptom" that may appear like it actually hasn't been treated.

    To think I could have died, either from the overall sickness or the embolism could have gone to my brain or heart is shattering and I think I'm a bit traumatized with such a stark reminder that we can and will die someday and we have very little control over it.

    Your vid helped me and to see your frailty about what happened, it sang to me and reverberated with EXACTLY what I'm feeling. This sense of loss and "unprotectedness".

    It's a scary ordeal and I hope you are completely healed now. For the hair, look it up. It's worth a try and from my experience it works and you can find, at least in the NL, health supplements with Pantogar's ingredients on local drugstores. To start, I advise you go for the original, then change for the supplements. You can find Pantogar on ebay. It is worth the try.

    Loving regards,


  14. I really enjoyed seeing that vlog. Visiting the non-touristy places is the best way to know a country. That is what travelling is all about for me. Now I know where to go in Indonesia next time. :)

  15. I would say it’s more than a vlog, maybe we can call it a short documentary.

  16. Anonymous2:35 pm

    Julia, i am an Indonesian. i really love to watch your blog. i haven't open your blog about 3 months. i was surprise when i watched your trip to Maluku.
    Well, next time if you want to visit Ambon, just contact me to ibel_z82@yahoo.com. i am at jakarta and we can go there together because i have good access to that place.

  17. Wow really sorry what happen to you... specially when u not used to this kinda environment and hope u hair grow back used be before I feel for you had go through that

  18. really sorry for what happen to you specially when u not used to this kinda environment I feel for you hope you hair will go back to normal

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  20. Ugh! I hate getting ill while traveling! You fly all that way and spend the whole time on the toilet, or worse yet in a scary foreign hospital. You poor thing.