is an Indonesian travel writer and travel photographer. Started as a computer fresh graduate of Tsinghua University in Beijing who was fed up with the monotonous life of an engineer, Agustinus started a “Grand Overland Journey” in 2005 from Beijing and dreamed to reach South Africa totally by land with an optimistic budget of US$2000. His journey has taken him across Himalaya, South Asia, Afghanistan, Iran, and ex-Soviet Central Asian republics. The journey lasted for four years plus, including total of three years in Afghanistan. As he got no sponsor and he often ran out of money, Agustinus stopped in some of the countries to do any work he could find to keep financing his journey. He also submitted articles to various media in China and Indonesia, sold his photos, received photography assignments, and worked as volunteers in disaster areas, so he managed to keep travelling and seeing the world. His daily travel notes were then published as a regular column called Petualang (“The Adventurer”) in one of Indonesian biggest media outlets, Kompas.Com.
The column was very popular in Indonesia, so opened up the opportunities of publishing his travel stories into books. His three travel books based on the “Grand Overland Journey” were published by Gramedia Pustaka Utama, an Indonesian leading publishing house. His first book, considered a masterpiece by many, was Selimut Debu (A Blanket of Dust, 2010) which chronicles his journey in Afghanistan. It was followed by Garis Batas (Borderlines: A Journey through Central Asia, 2011), which examines issues of borderlines across ex-Soviet republics, including psychological borders and the search for national identity. Through his third book, Titik Nol (Ground Zero, 2013), he has pioneered a new genre in Indonesian travel literature by allowing readers to experience the writer’s physical, spiritual and emotional journey as they contemplate their own conflicts and anxieties. As Agustinus recounts his final hours with his dying mother, and honors her journey toward the afterlife, the reader is given time for personal reflection. Parallel storylines between mother and son provide unusual insights. The English version of Titik Nol, Ground Zero: When Journey Takes You Home, is to be released in 2015.
The depth of Agustinus’ writings is greatly influenced by his extensive interaction with the locals of any places he visits, thanks to his passion in linguistics. Agustinus speaks Indonesian, English and Mandarin Chinese fluently; and has learned Russian, Japanese, German and French academically; and has taught himself to speak many languages including Urdu, Farsi, Tajik, Kyrgyz, Kazakh, Uzbek, Mongol, Turkish, and Tok Pisin.
Agustinus has also translated some Chinese literary novels from Chinese to Indonesian, including (活着) To Live and Chronicle of a Blood Merchant (许三观 卖血 记) by Yu Hua 余华.
Currently Agustinus is working on a nonfiction book on nationalism in the Malay Archipelago.
Agustinus can be contacted here.