Stumble Into Indonesia's Unseen Places
Submitted by viravira on 9 December 2015 • Blog
There was one thing we did differently on this TravelNBlog: we did it in Makassar, South Sulawesi, whereas before it was always in Java Island (Jakarta, Bandung, Semarang, and then Jakarta again). It may not seem major to you, but it really matters to us because through this workshop we aim to boost the travel blogging scene in Indonesia, and hence promote Indonesia tourism with better archiving.
Most of us have been to Makassar only for short visits – except Wira, who had never been outside of Makassar’s airport before. We don’t know many people in the city – except Mumun because that’s where her family rooted, but no friends, really. So it was quite a gamble for us trying to sell the workshop there. Thank God for social media, we got hooked up with two of Makassar key bloggers, Ipul Gassing and Anchu, who kindly offered us help with the workshop – from venue recommendation to spreading the words via online communities.
Workshop & Blog Talk
The main event of TravelNBlog 5 was held in DiLo Makassar, located in the business district on Jalan Sam Ratulangi 68. Occupying the meeting room, our 13 participants filled up the space perfectly.
At first most of them were quiet and shy. As the first speaker, it crossed my mind that maybe I should force some jokes to break the ice or something – but I didn’t. Turns out, the 30-minute Q&A session didn’t even seem enough to hold all the curiosity! A lot of questions were thrown at the speakers for the whole 2 days, from the very technical to question about motivation. This episode of TravelNBlog may have the least number of participants compared to the previous ones, but it was not at all the quietest one. Even Lily, a seasoned blogger from Malaysia who surprised us by signing up for the workshop, asked some questions as well as shared her experiences with the group. We really like this kind of activeness!
As usual, the sessions included topics about why travel blogging, how to write engaging travel stories, how to take good photos – including what apps that help and how to not offend the locals, how to manage your blog and ways to monetize it, and last but not least, how to construct a blog technically that’s pleasant to read.
For Blog Tallk session, we had Ipul as a guest speaker. The main topic was about blogging locally, meaning a travel blog doesn’t always mean you have to always travel and write, but it can also provide information about your own towns for other travelers to read. Like most Makassar bloggers, Ipul blogs just about anything that he felt needed telling, though he travels a lot for his work, and has a lot of information about his beloved hometown that he became our guide for the history tour.
History Tour – Visiting the Forts of Makassar
On the first day of workshop, we ended the day with the tour to Benteng Somba Opu and Fort Rotterdam. Benteng Somba Opu is in a sad condition, not being maintained well. The fort itself has gone, leaving only a stripe of brick wall among vast and unexplored land. The irony built up as Ipul told us how great Makassar used to be before being torn apart by the Dutch and the people themselves.
Fort Rotterdam is in much much better condition. Commercial outlets have settled around the fort, and the fact that it is so close to the beach helps herding tourists and even locals in there. The gardens are well-maintained, though the museum display could use a bit of upgrade. Eventhough it’s popular, there were a few of the participants, who were Makassar locals, that had never been there before. So happy that TravelNBlog is playing a part in people getting to know more of their history.
On the tour, we held a twitting competition. Twitting is a microblog that can be used as a tool that bloggers often use as their notebook. The tweets can then be one of their references when writing a blogpost, at the same time sharing information to others real time. The tour then became a topic on an overnight blogging practice, which then we discussed the day after one by one. Part of the discussion shifted to the topic of website layout, which was totally fine, too.
Will There Be A Next TravelNBlog?
We haven’t planned a next TravelNBlog, to be honest. Actually, we consider this one to be the last, since each of us needs to concentrate on our each time-consuming projects. It was mostly fun on D-days, but seriously, preparation really took up our time and energy.
Having said that, we are open to many possibilities. There might be another workshop, there might be another form of exchanging blogging experience. Meanwhile, let us take a break and enjoy the jolly end of the year.
Meanwhile, we are holding a blog competition for anyone – not just the workshop participants. The theme is “Jelajah Sulsel” or Exploring South Sulawesi, the article must be published on your own blog at the latest on Dec 19, 2015, 11.59 pm. Language: Indonesian or English.
Terms & conditions:
Prizes info, check the blog competition info here.