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Meet The Traveler #006

Reuben Wu

Tell us about yourself. 

I’m a visual artist, tourist and music producer, originally from Liverpool, UK, based in Chicago USA.

What motivated you to travel and what was the first overseas trip you took?

When I was a kid, I obviously followed my parents, but my dad was also a keen traveller and he regularly took us to places of natural beauty: mountains, waterfalls and canyons. Since then I’ve been most comfortable when I’m hiking in nature.

Over the years, the interest in nature developed into the wider subject of outer space, science and technology, as well as the human back story.

Are you more of a spontaneous person or a well-planned person? Are you always traveling alone or with friends?

A bit of both really. Research into a place is very useful especially when it’s in a foreign country, and with Google Earth and everything on the internet, you’d be a fool not to. It really helps to research when you want to avoid crowds and travel alone, as that can dull my experience of being in a natural place.

When I’m doing photography and needing to be on my feet, I have to work alone. I rely on instinct as to where to shoot so I much prefer to be by myself, but when there is other fun to be had, I love travelling with others..

When did you come to Indonesia and why? Where did you go?

I first came in 2009 when I was DJing in Jakarta, my second time was in 2011, and then this summer I came back to travel for 3 weeks with my wife.

We went to Bali, Flores (and Komodo) and Java.

How do you travel around?

I try to be as practical as possible. Buses, airplanes, trains, and taxis went I have to.

Do you think it’s necessary to adapt to local style and customs? What would you suggest if you think it does

Definitely. Important to remind myself that I’m a guest and to treat everyone with respect.

Is there any specific reason of you to come visiting Indonesia?

Yes, specifically I wanted to see the blue fire at Kawah Ijen and the volcanoes of the Tengger Caldera.

How did you determine or manage your budget for your trip?

We did things pretty cheaply on the whole. Occasionally we spent a bit more on a hotel just because we felt like it, but we tried to find that balance of good service + good rates, which Tripadvisor is very useful for.

The best experience was really eating amazing local home made food for less than a US dollar, and being served by such friendly and sweet people.

How much do you usually bring with you on travels (one backpack/one check-in luggage)?

I took two carry on pieces. One 40L backpack for clothes and personal stuff, and a shoulder bag for my camera equipment.

What was your most memorable moment during your visit in Indonesia?

My most memorable moment was climbing into Kawah Ijen at sunset. I was inside a cloud of yellow gas for most of it, but when I emerged at the bottom, the sun was cutting a beam through the steaming acid lake – it was magical.

What is the most challenging part of traveling overseas?

It is a challenge to figure out how to adapt your flight plans when things go wrong, like a volcano erupting. There is a lot of confusion and the language barrier doesn’t help when you’re at the airport trying to find out what is happening.

Some people may be willing to travel but some are afraid to take the leap or worried about safety issues. What would you say to them?

Do your research. Know your limits. Have confidence to push your limits when it is safe to do so. Own a good pair of boots and take care of them.

What have you learned from about yourself and what do you think you will learn?

Time moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around for a while, you could miss it.

Any parting words for our reader?

If you like my pictures, please check out my instagram @itsreuben

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