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beach. All artificial, manmade mega skyscrapers like the infamous Burj Khalifa stood 

tall, as if the higher they are, the higher mankind’s achievement was. Or was it? Was 
it just another recurring dream of pomp and grandeur that’s never really gone away 

since the Tower of Babel era? I guess there will always be Nimrods among us and 

within us.


I stayed two years there with occasional business visits to neighboring cities like Abu 

Dhabi, Sharjah, and Ajman. Cities where the rains were only 10 minute drizzles. And 
another year in between for short business trips to other countries in the region. I flew 

to Bangalore and Tamilnadu, southern India with its crowded streets where people 

horn every 20 meters while driving without any apparent reason, tasted Persian dishes 
and drinking Doogh while staring at Golestan Palace in Tehran, Iran, and ravished the 

seafood at Mount Lavinia seashore in Colombo, Srilanka. I managed to try the desert 
safari n rode a camel, while spent a barbecue night under the vast starry desert sky. 

Different places, different sights, different people, but then again as I said earlier, the 

journey is always the same. And I still take notes on what people say, even now.


At the end of the third year, the same old boredom crept in, that same feeling of void, 

hollow, meaningless routines started to take its toll. After long thoughts, I decided to 
lay down the job, packed my bags and leave. But I didn’t want to go back to Jakarta, 

so I spent a few days looking up the map to see where I will land next. Then my 

attention dropped to this island. Hmm.. Bali. Why not? It will be a wonderful idea. I 
needed a vacation anyway. I told my boss about the plan to quit and thanked him for 

his kindness, then booked a flight and flew the next month. Took a transit flight to 
Bangkok and spent a week there, then straight on to Denpasar, Bali. Yay, I felt free 

again.


One thing I learned from all these journeys. There is no such thing as a perfect place. 

Everyone dreams about Utopia, a perfect place where everything is in harmony, a 

paradise on earth, the garden of Eden revisited. But, if all are so perfect, then how do 
we learn and progress? Where is the challenge? You need mistakes, negativity, and 

failures to learn from them and transform them to success and positive things. So 

being in the balance is the key. To me Utopia is rather a state of mind. You can be 
free and happy wherever you are, and in whatever condition you are in. I remembered 

I’ve read a passage in a Niciren Buddhism sect book, Ichinen Sanzen, that there are 
three thousand realms happening at once in a single moment of life, in a single blink 

of an eye. From the lowest hell up to the highest heaven are all embodied within us. I 

learned that the less a person cling to this dense material illusion, the bigger the 
chance for him/her to live a joyful and gratifying life. From attachments, sufferings 

arise.


I’m more of a freethinker sort of person. I’m more into the esoteric than the exoteric. 

Eventhough I’ve read almost all so called Holy Books, Scriptures, Sacred Texts from 

almost all religious beliefs and philosophical views, I somehow managed to keep 
myself as a bystander, an observer, or like a bumble bee savoring honey from 

different types of flowers. I figured if all these beliefs were flowers, it would be a 

really boring world if you could only see one kind of flower. Isn’t it better and prettier 
if the world is flourished with vast varying combinations of flowers, each with its own 

distinct color and fragrance? Varieties give us wonderful opportunities to exercise our 
free will and the right to choose what is best for ourselves. And only when there is




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