One of the best books for touring abroad is the work of Stephen Langitan, entitled Naik Motor Seorang Diri Jakarta-London 30000 Km (Riding a Motorcycle Alone Jakarta-London 30.000 Km) (2019). This book was written by a senior Indonesian biker who has explored remote areas of Indonesia, and several ASEAN countries in the archipelago and rode a motorbike alone to London from Jakarta.
The author presented this book to me while visiting his residence in Tomohon (North Sulawesi) on September 14, 2021, when I was touring Indonesia with my wife with the theme “Indonesian Harmony.” Stephen Langitan became an inspiration for adventurers in the archipelago. When giving this book, Stephen Langitan wrote a message: “Hopefully, this book will be an inspiration.” I probably understand that Stephen wants us to follow in his footsteps to travel the world. That’s roughly the impression I received when Stephen Langitan gave this book to me.
During the rest of our trip around Indonesia, I read this book while I was resting at the homestay. As a social anthropological researcher, I consider Stephen Langitan’s experience during his travels to be an ethnographic record that is exceptionally rich in data. Therefore, I finished reading this 430-page book before arriving at my residence in Banda Aceh on December 7, 2021.
Why do I say this book is rich in data?
First, Stephen Langitan told all his experiences, from the preparation of the tour until his return to Indonesia, which was picked up by his wife and boy in London, after celebrating Indonesia’s independence day, on August 17, 2018, at the Indonesian Embassy in London.
Second, Stephen Langitan records all his notes well and in sufficient detail. The contents of this book are on his Youtube Channel and the website managed by Stephen and his team. Stephen’s ability to write well and his language style is relaxed and crisp so that readers will not be bored with the contents of this book. Details and rich data make anyone who reads it imagine what Stephen experienced when he alone rode a motorbike through various countries, from Southeast Asia, South Asia, the Middle East to the European continent.
Third, in presenting his experience on the road, Stephen also describes his cultural interactions with himself as a non-Muslim Indonesian who enters Muslim countries during the fasting month, to the various kindnesses he received while passing through several countries until he arrived in London. He feels that we as citizens of the world will receive heart, regardless of background, ethnicity, and religion, as long as we want to spread kindness and happiness while on the road. Bikers often say with one jargon: “Greetings One Asphalt, Million Brotherhood.”
Fourth, this book also tells about Stephen Langitan’s belief in his “conscience” and “his belief in God.” Stephen Langitan did all of that with the spirit and spiritual power of Stephen Langitan: His various experiences, especially when facing situations that were not in line with predictions, choosing a route that was quite extreme for a solo rider, making the right decisions in uncertain cases, convincing everyone with the mission he wanted to carry out starting from his wife and children, then raising funds for his trip, and experiences in applying for visas in embassies.
Therefore, apart from being a travel log, this book can also be used as a record of a person’s spiritual journey, who initially suffers from an illness, then comes the determination and enthusiasm to travel long distances alone on a motorbike for 30000 km.
Stephen Langitan’s experience at every border, from obstacles to convenience, can be an essential lesson for bikers who want to pass through the countries Stephen Langitan has done. The strategy of applying for a visa from many countries as an Indonesian citizen. Then, deciding the day of departure while seeking support from the government can also be used as a lesson. In addition, Stephen also presents tips and tricks on preparing for long-distance touring, especially overseas. The experience of getting sponsors for this trip is also enjoyable to observe.
Stephen Langitan’s house seems to be a checkpoint for Nusantara adventurers. Now Stephen Langitan is living in his hometown of Tomohon, North Sulawesi. Every biker passing through this province will stop at Stephen Langitan’s house. At least, the biker can pass on Stephen Langitan’s experience to anyone interested in adventure, especially those who use motorbikes. Those who stop at Stephen Langitan’s house will be awarded this book.
Finally, I would like to say that this book is instrumental for anyone who will leave their home in a short or long time, to travel to remote parts of the country. Indonesian bikers have experience traveling the world but have not written down their travel experiences in book form. Their adventure experiences are mostly found on their social media accounts. The travel experience is an academic record from the field, as experienced by Stephen Langitan, which is indispensable in studying social sciences and humanities.