中国网:呈现|“寻家”之路 道阻且长(No.103)

印尼人?中国人?从18岁起,奥古斯丁开始只身踏上“寻家”之路,当行走成为挑战自我的模式,他的足迹开始踏及吉尔吉克斯坦,巴基斯坦,土库曼斯坦,伊朗,遍布整个中东。终于,他通过行走得到了内心的和解,打破了旧有的“墙”,让当下和过去握手言和。 An in-depth article from (中国网) on my searching of identity as a Chinese Indonesian, about my winding journey to find the real “home”.   中国网 原创 2015-05-09 陈潇 印尼华人作家奥古斯丁最近把自己微信签名改为“新书要出啦”。34岁,十余年旅途,行走阿富汗、巴基斯坦、外蒙古等地。按他话说,《Ground Zero》作为他第三本书甚至凝聚他30年行走心血,一切视角核心围绕“家”。“对,我就是想给大家讲一个回家的故事”。 [read more]

May 10, 2015 // 0 Comments

Adventurer Agustinus Wibowo: A journey home

By Rory Howard, May 8, 2015 Agustinus Wibowo is a Chinese-Indonesian author. At first glance, he seems more like a traveler than an adventurer and more like a happy conversationalist than a philosopher. But just as my first impression of him is challenged by what I learn of him in our conversation, so too do we find in his latest book, “Ground Zero: When the Journey Takes You Home,” that his sense of self has been tested by his upbringing, his culture and his travels. Danger, charity, humanity Wibowo’s first two books – “A Blanket of Dust” and “Borderlines: A Journey to Central Asia” – tell of his earlier travels through Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. When asked what took him to these places, he answers that his journeys were governed by chance. “I wanted to be a journalist, but I didn’t have a background in journalism. The road itself is the best university,” he says. His [read more]

May 8, 2015 // 1 Comment

Jakarta Globe (2013): Detailing a Nomad’s Return to Point Zero

4 April 2013 Detailing a Nomad’s Return to Point Zero By Lisa Siregar on 3:24 pm April 4, 2013. Category Features, Travel Travel writer Agustinus Wibowo has walked many kilometers and dangerous turns during adventures in Afghanistan and across Asia — a long way from his childhood days in Lumajang, East Java, when he used to chase passing aircraft. After years away from his family, Agustinus eventually returned home to read the stories he had written about his experiences to his ill, bedridden mother. These previously unpublished tales of his journeys to Nepal, India and Pakistan, as well as the conversations with his mother in her final days, are the main themes of his new book, “Titik Nol” (“The Zero Point”, or “Ground Zero”). “To lose my mother is the worst thing that happened to me in my life,” Agustinus said at the launch of his book in Jakarta. “But I keep writing, [read more]

April 4, 2013 // 0 Comments

Kabul – End of Journey?

Mama, wearing my academic dress. She did not finish her primary education, as the school was forced to close by the Suharto regime. But her dream is to learn, learn a lot, and be a real university student The last few weeks were very difficult time for me. Once my dad called from Indonesia, “Your mom is going to have an operation. Please pray for her.” It’s very unlikely that my mom gets sick, as my mom is a very active woman, doing physical exercise almost on daily basis. In late few years I have never heard she fell into serious sickness, even for once.The news was not too good. It turned out to be tumor, cells which grow abnormally. It sounds not so serious, my mom just complained of pain in her abdominal. Operation was conducted. It’s not a simple tumor. Doctor said it was malignant tumor, euphemism of saying ‘your mom got cancer’. My mom ovary was lifted. The next diagnosis saying that the cancer has spread to her intestine, and they claimed my mom got a Stage-3C [read more]

May 28, 2009 // 30 Comments



July 1, 2007 // 2 Comments

Globe Asia (2007): Solo Travel – Wealth of Experience

  SOLO TRAVEL: WEALTH OF EXPERIENCE Holiday season is approaching and perhaps it’s time to do something different. Try solo traveling. The trip might be more costly than joining an arranged tour but the joy of discovery is more than adequate reward, say Agustinus Weng and Nefransjah. BY MARY R. SILABAN Flying business class, staying at five-star resorts, joining a flock of fellow tourists in an air-conditioned bus and eating a sandwich while visiting an ancient temple is not how Nefransjah and Agustinus Wibowo like to travel. The two independent travelers, or what people usually call backpackers, demand the freedom to add their own flavor. While on the road, Nefransjah tries to be as close as he can to the street, and that means taking as few air flights as possible and avoiding the usual tourist sites. “1 want to absorb all the local ambience,’ says the 37 year-old. For Agustinus, 26, there’s no thought of joining a group tour. “When we travel solo, we have [read more]

June 29, 2007 // 0 Comments

Dushanbe – Back to Dushanbe

The dangerous journey through the mountains, back to Dushanbe After bad weather in last two days in Istaravshan, I decided to go back earlier to Dushanbe to sort out my Kyrgyz visa application. I took a taxi from the bazaar. Actually it was not a proper taxi. There were two men originally from Kurgan Teppa at the south, going back to their town. As there were only two of them (one was the driver), the back seat was empty. Rather than letting it empty, they decided to grab a passenger or two to lessen the burden of the oil price. And without I realizing earlier, I was the only passenger in this car, and they were two completely stranger men. I felt quite insecure when leaving Istaravshan, but I just believed at my luck. The driver, Muhammad Rasul, was not fasting, but his friend was. Despite of having fast, his friend always tickled all young girls we met on road, made me wonder whether he knows the meaning of fasting rather than only not eating and drinking during the days. The man [read more]

October 15, 2006 // 0 Comments

Kabul – The First Day of Ramazan

Fantastic breakfast: big bread and bean soup Yesterday people were not sure yet whether the fasting month of Ramazan would start today or the day after. “We are waiting for the announcement,” said Abdullah, a driver from Bamiyan. But today, it was clear that the Ramazan started officially. It is one day earlier than in Indonesia, as Afghanistan was following the trend in the Middle East. For travellers, fasting is not obligatory. Kebab restaurants still prepared their meat and actually you still can eat anything as usual, just not in open way. The restaurant owner made the kebab indoor so that the smell would not invite people who were fasting. The Hazaras are Shiite. Abdullah said that for Shiite it was OK not to fast when travelling, but the Sunni Afghans were very strict about religion and still maintained fasting even when travelling long distance. As Ramazan started, suddenly the number of travellers dropped dramatically. Usually it was easy to collect passengers to go to [read more]

September 23, 2006 // 0 Comments

Chekhcheran – The Journey to Chekhcheran

Other passenger hitchhiking together with me “This is not the place for humans. This is place for animals” – a driver from Chekhcheran The one-eyed hotel owner of Garmao was a very good man. Not only he conducted body search (taloshi) for the passengers sleeping in his restaurant to find my lost harddisk, he also helped me to get a truck lift from Garmao to the provincial capital of Chekhcheran. There were only two trucks passing the lonely village that day, after I had been waiting for more than 24 hours. The owner, a slim, bearded man, was reluctant to take me. He quoted 400 Af price which was very expensive, as he said, he was afraid that Taliban would specially targeted foreigners. It was only an excuse. The hotel owner, with his big voice, insisted him to take me. He was very authoritative, even the truck owner was afraid of him. Traveling by truck was far more interesting, comfortable, and cheap way of traversing the mountainous area of Afghanistan. It was slow. It [read more]

September 16, 2006 // 0 Comments

Garmao – The Minaret of Jam

The legendary Minaret of Jam “What was illegal has to be legal now, but what is legal is still illegal.” – Mohammad Yousuf Nassir Ahmad, a driver from Heart, owned a Mazda truck. His Mazda served as a public transport to the villages along the Central Route of Afghanistan, especially for those in Heart and Ghor provinces. From Garmao, some traders from the Jam village hired his car to transport their trading goods, and Nassir offered me a ride to the historical minaret of Jam. We departed from Garmao at 5:30 in the morning, delayed an hour from the initial planned time. Garmao, literally means ‘hot water’, seemed got its name in mistake, as the morning was extremely freezing. The truck had been loaded by goods of the traders, from rice, wheat, until strawberry jam and carbonated drinks Zam Zam from Iran. We, the hitch-hikers, sat on the open truck on the trading goods. The wind was very strong, and chilled. The rugged hills of Ghour province. Transport in [read more]

September 14, 2006 // 0 Comments

Garmao – The Journey to Jam

Travellers (musafirs) sleeping on the floor of restaurant along the central route of Afghanistan. The restaurants also serve as hotel for passengers. Along the isolated Central Route, the most common way of travelling is by hitchhiking a truck, like these. “Peida misha (it will be found)” – a passenger from Herat Same quote as a previous post from Iran, same story to be happened (again). After waiting for two days for transport heading east from Chisht, at last I found these two trucks. They were repairing the broken trucks when I came there out of the Chisht bazaar together with Abdurrahman, a boy from the village. Kalendar, one of the truck drivers, agreed to take me. But I had to wait 2 more hours until they finished repairing the broken truck. The night before, I had talked with another truck driver in the Iqbal restaurant to take me to Kamenj. The driver quoted astronomical price of 500 Af for the ride (normal price was 100 Af by truck). I bargained it down until [read more]

September 13, 2006 // 0 Comments

Chisht-o-Sharif – The Journey through the Central Route

With s0 many locals with Mongoloid face, no wonder they also think I am part of them “Where in Afghanistan Indonesia is?” – a passenger from Obey My today had nothing to do with the remembrance of the September 11 accident. So was the life in this part of Afghanistan. Everything was just the same as it was in any other days. I started my journey to Kabul through the Central Route of Afghanistan, passing through the mountainous areas from Herat, Ghor, and Bamiyan provinces. I had heard that the bus to Obey, the first stop of the Central Route, departed from Darb-e-Khosh near the Friday Mosque. When I was there, there was no car at all. There was another old villager with big sack like that of Santa Claus, as confused as I was. After asking around, we found that we were waiting at the wrong place. The old man told me that we should take a rickshaw to the bus terminal. There was a mini bus going to Obey, 2 and half hours away from Herat. The ticket was 90 Af. The old man [read more]

September 11, 2006 // 0 Comments

Herat – Back to Afghanistan Again

From Mashhad … After being 3 weeks in Iran, virtually doing nothing, now I am back into my life, traveling around, in Afghanistan again. I started quite early from a neighbourhood near the Holy Shrine of Imam Reza in Mashhad. When I was asking for direction for taking the bus, I was helped by a man from Tehran who was doing business in Jakarta and Bandung. He praised Jakarta to be a modern city and Bandung to be interesting traditional town (?). I took the direct bus from Mashhad to Herat. It was 60,000 Real. I was warned by my friend not to take the international bus, despite of the cheap price, due to the massive check from the Iranian officials toward the Afghans. It was the case coming to Iran from Afghanistan, as Iran worried about smuggling of drugs from their cute neighbor. I thought it should not be the case for the opposite way, as Afghanistan usually doesnt worry of anything coming to their country, and as today was Friday, there should be not many people lingering [read more]

September 8, 2006 // 4 Comments

Herat – The Journey to Herat

Traveling in Afghanistan is painful. I felt almost died when arrived here. “You got malaria” – a man from Maimana As everywhere in Afghanistan, long distance journey from Maimana starts as early as 4. I was completely exhausted after the long bus journey from Mazhar the day before, and it was a terrifying night in Massoud’s guest room that I couldn’t rest properly. I was not ready at all to do this 2-day-journey to Heart, but Massoud, probably disappointed of not being able to get me, rushed me out of his house as early as 3:30. I walked like a drunk. The only vehicle going to Herat was only Falancoach type, a minibus where passengers are stuffed like tinned sardine and there is no way to stretch the body for relaxing. I know the journey would be very painful. The cars to Herat depart from Darvaza-e-Herat (Herat Gate) quite out of the town. They were ready at 4 but the cars got full at 5. When I arrived I immediately chose a window seat and sleep, after paying the fare [read more]

August 15, 2006 // 0 Comments

Qala Panjah – Leaving Wakhan

The water is too deep to cross. Today Mr. Juma Khan had to go to Khandod for a business, so I had the chance to hich his tractor to go back as far as Khandod. Transport in Wakhan Valley is always difficult and chance like this of course doesn’t come everyday. My legs are still painful after the long hike some days before and I hardly can walk long. It was not only me the free loader (muftah). Moalem also took the ride. They way along the southern bank of Wakhan river was quite difficult as there were many rivers and streams to cross, and also the road after the Baba Tangi village was flooded as deep as waist. The river after Baba Tangi was so deep and strong, that we had to throw stones to make the way for the tractor through the water. Then it was another steep climb up the hill. The empty tractor couldn’t make it. Juma Khan was a good leader, and he really knew what to do in all situations. He asked all the hitchhikers (all locals who took the opportunity for free hitch) to [read more]

August 5, 2006 // 0 Comments

Faizabad – The Journey to Badakhshan

On a painful journey through mountains to Badakhshan “Taliban never came here” The vehicles taking the passengers from Taloqan to Badakhshan were already busy in the bus depot as early as 5 a.m. in the morning. There were many different types of cars, from the cheapest Falancoach until the costly Volvo. I chose the Falancoach coaster. But I didn’t come quite early, as passengers started to be scarce after 5:30. It was not until 7 the driver successfully collected the passengers to fill up his car and started to depart. I sat on the third line of the seats in a coaster which was supposed to carry 14 passengers, but was overloaded by 18. In front of me, there were two women under burqas. Apparently the younger, slimmer one was the daughter of the older one. When I came to my seat, they were already there, busy with three young kids. There was also another boy sitting next to them, obviously, their relative, as it’s forbidden in Afghanistan for non related male to sit next to [read more]

July 25, 2006 // 0 Comments

Kunduz – Set Back

The beautiful land of Pakistan that I saw in my dream “You will have to return back and start to think how to get back to the original place to continue your journey …” Lam Li once told me that after months of traveling, it was a common phenomenon to develop certain “nightmares”. The travelers’ nightmare as she experienced quite often was seeing herself somehow had to be thrown back to her home country, and in the dream she had to struggle hard to return back to the place where the journey was interrupted. “You will have to return back and start to think how to get back to the original place to continue your journey …” I heard about this when I met her in Kandahar. My journey started on July 28, 2005. So it is only a week for it to reach its 1st anniversary. It was a long overland journey from the busy city of Beijing, through the mainland China to the land of the Uyghurs in the west, climbed up the heavenly peaks of Tibet, traversing the province before going down [read more]

July 22, 2006 // 2 Comments

Bahawalpur – Train Journey to Sindh

May 8, 2006 The totally-not-express Bahauddin Zakariya Express Packed. Hundreds of passengers, agressively jumped into the economy train of Bahauddin Zakariya which served the bottom class of people of cheap mass transport. The passengers blocked the only passage from the chart door until the seats with the unimaginable number of luggage of their each, and their huriness which dont allow others to pass. This was the common scene of passenger boarding in public transports in Sub Continents. It seems that everybody doesnt have any second of time, and ‘time is money’ concept suddenly overwhelmed the laid-back mind of these Pakistani passengers. The hurried passengers, each with their own hysteria of screaming and pushing, also zipping through, made everything worst. The train came late. It started from Multan, and Bahawalpur was supposed to be the second stop, separated around one and half hour. But the train came two hours late, and departure from Bahawalpur was in the [read more]

May 8, 2006 // 0 Comments

Khewra – The Salt Mines

April 21, 2006 The salt mine of Khewra Salt mines? For Indonesians, the concept of salt mines may be difficult to accept, as in our country the salt is produced through the drainage of sea water. But in Pakistan, it does exist the world’s second biggest salt mine on earth (the first one is in Poland). Yes, the salt is produced from the caves in the salt hills in the heart of Punjab. That was the reason led me to Chakwal, the northern gate to the salt range, not far from Rawalpindi. The town itself is not inspiring. Not far from Chakwal, there is ancient Hindu pilgrimage in Katas. Katas can be reached by public buses from Chakwal to Choa Shaden Shah (the name of this town is also interesting, as Choa in Urdu does mean ‘rat’), 25 km to southeast, continued by an easy five kilometre ride to Katas. Katas, once a very important Hindu pilgrimage, now is quite desarted after the partition of India-Pakistan, as almost no Hindus left in this area. The legend said that the [read more]

April 21, 2006 // 2 Comments

Rawalpindi – Welcome to Rawalpindi

Guys having fun in Rawalpindi January 27, 2006 Hotel Al Hayat Hotel, Liaquat Chowk, Pindi, 130 Rs/nite The gruelling 20 hours bus journey from Gilgit, which I regretted to take, at last finished. The regret came from to my anxiety of getting the ticket since the road block, that I thought the ticket can be difficult to get, so I booked earlier. The bus I booked started at 3 pm yesterday, and I booked the ticket at 12. When I lingered along gilgit road, I was invited by Pathani truck drivers to go with them in their truck to Pindi. But I had the bus ticket already, and they couldnt wait for me to cancel the ticket. What happened next was I attracted so much crowds on the streets, as I tried to explain to the drivers that I would like to go with them but I need to cancel the ticket I got first (650 Rs, not that cheap to throw away). Then the owner of their truck coming, and saying I had to pay 400 Rs if I hitch the truck, which I think more like a polite refusal and suggested me to take [read more]

January 27, 2006 // 2 Comments

Karimabad – Travelling Again

Journey is about meeting and farewell. Now comes the time to say goodbye to Hunza. January 24, 2006 His name is Hassan Shah, a father of 4 sons and 1 daughter. Today, two of his sons are going to leave him to Manshera, which is around 18 hours away bus journey from Karimabad. Hussain Shah, one of the sons, is bringing his elder brother, Salman Shah, for medical check up. His brother has got a sudden mental attack 2 years ago, and regular check up is needed, as now Salman’s hairs are getting lesser and lesser. This might be a very, very common farewell of a short separate between father and sons. But when this happen to Karimabad, in a family which rarely separated each other, this can be very dramatic. Hussain has never been further than Rawalpindi, not to mention how he dreamed to go abroad. But as Northern Areas citizen, passport for them is not easy to get. Only China is the country that people from this area can go, easily, with border pass. Passport for Northern Areas could [read more]

January 24, 2006 // 2 Comments

Going North

Going up north to the mountains. But it seems they love China so much… As my sickness require me to take a total rest for about 2 weeks or so, I decided to move out of Lahore to go up north in the mountainous area of Himalaya. The journey will start today to Rawalpindi, staying there from some days, before taking the long bus journey to the Northern Areas. Meanwhile, Internet will not always available, so that I wouldnt be able to update my blog often nor replying email for quite a time. I hope that my absence will not make you worrying I will be allright for sure. But I am trying to get a new mobile phone number and I will announce the number to anybody who is interested. I love Lahore very much, but I havent seen much of it. Surely I will come back here again as soon as possible, as well as travelling around Pakistan. But yet, I also need a rest anyway…. Salaam [read more]

December 17, 2005 // 1 Comment