Ary "Buy" Shandra: Leaving On An Iron Steed

Words by Jacqueline Elizabeth

Jakarta with its hustle bustle – draining our life right out, making us feel as if we are rapidly aging. There is a need for escape. For Buy and nine of his friends, this escape was a motorcycle-ride tour from Jakarta to Mount Bromo, East Java. The trip took 10 days, but the memories are a lifetime.

On October 2014, ten Badokers – a name for those who take the humble approach for touring – took their motorcycles up on the road for a journey. These iron steeds are their sanctuary. It is what makes them smile. With only some clothes for change, mats to sleep on, and a little money, they wrapped their gears in a mentality of the steel. Touring is not about being reckless, but rather the learning of patience and control of desires.

And once they hit the road, it was like making love. With their iron steeds, they overlaid the black carpet that is the North Coast Road – or Jalur Pantura as they call it. The sky was their roof, adorned with the sun, and the moon together with the stars. There was no need for hotels. For them, hotels were comfort zones that would only slow them down, blocking them away from adventure.

The itinerary was spontaneous, all in the hands of the road. “We cannot always plan for every little detail in our lives. No amount of planning can predict, control, or prevent unexpected mishaps. Sometimes you just have to see where the road takes you and what views it may unravel. Learn to embrace the chaos,” Buy said.

And it was true. Every detour, every road bend brought them to encounters with friends or brothers that would keep them company or even lend a hand, expecting nothing in return, except for friendship and fraternity – leaving us wondering of what really matters. Hands were shook and hugs were passed, alongside with the utterance of “saudara selamanya” (read: brothers forever) that is almost ritualistic to fellow Badokers. Drinks were poured, symbolizing welcome. As it ran through the throat, it warmed to the body also the heart.

The kilometres passed embedded the understanding that the road is a perfect place for the heart, the soul, and the mind. As hyperbolic as it may sounds, it was what they truly felt. The feeling of accomplishment through every hurdle – beating out the cold of the night that pierces through the jacket and into the bone, the stinging ray of sunlight, the heavy layer of a desert fog, the burning touch the muffler exhaust, the thousand potholes, or the wrestling emotions within themselves – it were moments of growth. With each kilometre they learn how to survive, and how to fight for life.

Once they reached the top of Mount Bromo, all they did was marvel in the grandiosity of Indonesian earth. Indonesia is breathtakingly beautiful. This is a realization that came through only because they have gone through a process – they have seen the ugly, so now they can appreciate the beautiful. It was also nature’s gentle reminder of that human is small, very small. We are just a grain in this great sand of a universe, and thus we must be humble.

The road is where we can find the true character of a person, when they are stripped off their belongings and daily life. From there we can experience to understand the meaning of friendship, fraternity, and the beauty of the world.

From a group of people who just wanted to escape the fast-paced life of the metropolitan, they gained the wisdom for a lifetime.

Ary Buy Shandra is a motorcycle enthusiast and currently works for Lowe Design. He can be found hanging out at CCC MOTORSAIKEL, a motorcycle workshop located in Lenteng Agung, South Jakarta. You can browse through their works on