As Life Happens, Take Time To Live

I have been wearing many hats throughout the 30-something years of my life. A career path that may seem random to many. from the grand plan of architecture to deep blue sea of Raja Ampat. Let me share with you about that one sharp turn that led me to where I am today.

Professionally trained as an architect, I spent merely 7 years serving Architecture as a career. There is always something about architecture that entices me. The noble idea of designing space and to create a place for society to flourish, and the creative conception of dreams, are the two reasons why I value Architecture, as an idea, highly. Towards the last few years, I shifted towards Urban Design, an idea even grander. Urban Design emerged as collaborative effort between professions, and unlike Architecture that design & plan mainly the private (or privately-owned) domain; Urban Design boldly claims public domain as its main focus.

During the mere 7 years of my career in the built environment, I learned the many hidden layers behind the glossy images. The unseen hands that pull the invisible strings that could drastically reduce a well-thought design into a loss/profit calculation. The backhand deals and compromises, an effort to keep pushing the little bit of good ideas that’s left after the client decide everything is else is too costly (in other word, non-profitable). I learned, as an Architect, I need to suck it up big time before hopefully, maybe, I will get that one client who shares exactly the same grand vision with you. I grew bitter and cynical towards life in general.

At about the same time, life brought me to the wonders of scuba diving. It didn’t take long until it transformed me from a skeptical employee into a hopeful life-learner. Why you might ask?

There are two essential components that could prompt life-changing transformation, traveling and meeting people. It sounds like a sentence from a PADI brochure, but take it from me, it’s true!

Travel let’s you explore YOUR own landscape of thoughts. Those mount of values and deep trench of prejudices you might have unconsciously towards people, customs, cultures that are foreign to you. When you are letting yourself to be vulnerable, to be open to new experiences and meeting new people, your mind will be receiving signals that will trigger and maybe challenge your conception of the world. Bring it back to your daily life; you will see things from different perspectives.

Here is a quick example. Scuba dive destinations, the most precious ones, are usually in remote areas. Think about it, the more distant and foreign it is to human intervention, the most pristine and pure the environment would be. Simple logic. And yet, you will still find rich culture and customs, by the local residents. A brief interaction perhaps could lead to realization, when you compare your lifestyle back home to these humble guardians of earth. What you have to endure and accept daily, commute to work, spending 9-to-5 behind your desk, commuting back home, and everything else in between, represents different values of well-being. It makes you think about your quality of life, about what it means to really live your life. It made me think about my quality of life, about what I get out of life.

In December 2011 MSV Amira took me in as a crew for two 11-days-liveaboard cruises. Unfortunately these photos don’t really do justice to the overall; the people, the diving, the boat, the industry, the ever beautiful land and water of magnificent Raja Ampat, Indonesia.

It took me a while to gather courage to resign from my corporate job to become Scuba Dive Instructor. I received some resentment from most people, but it was one of the best decisions I have made in life. It’s not for everyone, sure. To me it’s simply freeing myself from the unhappiness I experienced in my cubicle. It’s not about following my passion; it’s about experiencing life.

Keep reading my stories here Puri Lestari or @TheBookProject to find out how I got myself from scuba diving and into the crafty world of writing. Right now, life happens and I cannot let it pass without being fully present.


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