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Written by Eleonora Adara | Edited by Maria Joesphine & Edsel Pragiwaka | Design: Marsha Susanna

Who doesn't love traveling? Well, why don’t we ask Padma Danti? She is a 4th-year student from Jakarta who loves going on solo trips, hiking adventures, and exploring different parts of Japan. She is currently in her last semester, majoring in Hospitality and Tourism.

Padma has been exposed to traveling from a very young age. Ever since she was little, her family would always take her traveling regularly within Indonesia and abroad. She has really gotten used to the travel experience, and it has become such an integral part of her life.

When traveling, Padma always looks for certain nature-based activities that she can do, instead of just going sightseeing. “I’m not a really big fan of big cities,” she said. So, if she were going to somewhere like Tokyo, she would try to search for things to do just outside of the city. She has recently gotten into skiing, and she enjoys climbing mountains. She has gone on many hiking trips in Indonesia, and has climbed several mountains in Japan. Last year, she even climbed Mount Fuji!

Going traveling this often, and opting for outdoor activities most of the time, Padma is aware that she needs to stay physically fit. “I routinely do yoga and go on morning walks,” she said. With a hobby like hers, it’s crucial to maintain a good physical condition!

Padma is relatively laid back when it comes to traveling companions. When she’s set her mind to go somewhere, she’ll do it – whether or not she finds someone who’ll be going together with her. “If no one’s coming, then I’ll go alone,” she said. This kind of mindset has led Padma to go on countless trips on her own – a.k.a, solo trips! A plus point of solo travel is that, “I can go anywhere I want without having to follow other people around.”

For those of you who still have doubts on going for your first solo trip, here are some reassuring words from Padma. First of all, she said that Japan is a relatively safe country to go places on your own. With clear directions around you, and with your smartphone in hand, you’ll surely make your way around. Padma herself admitted, “I don’t speak very good Japanese.” But even so, she’s never really had issues when traveling alone in Japan. So, not to worry!

One important thing she advised is to plan your trips. It doesn’t have to be too detailed, but it’s always better to have a general plan so you can prepare what you need beforehand. Look for the information you’ll be needing, such as bus and train timetables, and so on. “I usually create an Excel sheet,” she laughed. “It has the days and dates, the activities I plan to do, and links to the relevant websites,” she explained.

Some of you might be thinking, “Going on all these trips must cost a fortune!” But as a student herself, Padma always has some tricks up her sleeve to minimize her travel expenses. One way of doing so is to purchase seishun tickets issued by the JR railway company. With only around ¥12.000, you’ll be granted unlimited rides on local rail lines within a certain period of time.

Another thing to keep in mind when traveling is to pack light. As for Padma, she usually fits everything into a cabin-sized luggage, so she wouldn’t have to spend extra on baggage fees. If she wanted to buy some souvenirs on her way home, she would buy lightweight and practical ones, like postcards. But of course, everywhere she travels, she always has her essentials, which include her tripod, power bank, and polaroid camera.

Furthermore, Padma says that it’s also possible to cut down your budget by reducing your food expenses. Instead of eating out in restaurants 3 meals a day, you can always include some cheaper alternatives, such as getting instant or microwaveable food – or you can even whip something up on your own if your accommodation allows you to. This is why Padma recommends booking an Airbnb that provides a kitchen, or hotels that provide microwaves.

Why does Padma love traveling so much? “I just like seeing new places,” she said. Going traveling has also made her a lot more confident than she was before. She revealed that she used to be really shy. But after starting to travel more on her own, she realized that she was capable of many things that she thought she couldn’t do. She’s learned a lot and met so many new people, whom she still stays in touch with to this day. So many cherished relationships have come out of her travel experiences, and she feels like she has her own family here in Japan.

Padma is always anticipating her next trip. Her mind keeps going, “Where should I go next?” Whenever she has the chance, she would most definitely be out and about exploring new places. Who knows where she’ll be wandering off to…

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