Travel Spotlight: Amalla Vesta the Swanky Traveler
I first met Vesta when we were both speaking at a social media panel session during AWE 2013 (Asian Women Empowerment Conference) in Kuala Lumpur. Although we did not manage to spend a lot of time getting to know each other, I did find out that she is one of Indonesias’ known social media personalities with 230,000 Twitter followers under the username @LiburanLokal. The account is used to promote local tourism and until now it has grown very much due to the commitment put in by Vesta. I’ve also noticed how stylish she is in most of her travel photos and it’s no wonder she is known as a fashion traveler with a chic sense of style. This month I posed her question on how she promoted local traveling in Indonesia and dug deeper into her fashion style.
On Local Travels
Could you tell us a bit about how you’ve used social media namely Twitter to promote local tourism?
I created @LiburanLokal in 2010 with the reason of “too many beautiful but unknown places in Indonesia” and “young generation of Indonesian is spending holiday abroad rather than in their own country”. I’d like to promote Indonesian Tourism to the Indonesians, without having to always rely on government movement, I can just do it independently in social media. My account attracted many people easily and it now has 230k followers (and still growing). I hope by doing this small contribution to my country, I can spread ‘virus’ to travel within Indonesia. I also created @SwankyTraveler in 2010, as my way to share my tips abroad and also my love for fashion.
Have you ever done road trips to different parts of the country? How was it compared to other types of transportation?
The road trips I had were only in Java island and a small part of Flores island. If there are flights, I prefer to fly than to be in a car for hours or days. It’s just not my kind of traveling. However, many parts in Indonesia are quite hard to reach by air, knowing not all cities in this country have its own airport.
Is there a specific place in Indonesia that you wouldn’t mind going back to over and over again?
West Flores and Bali. West Flores because it’s just too pretty to get bored and Bali because it’s very easy to reach from Jakarta. Oh, I am more of a beach person than mountain.
What’s the most underrated place that people tend to overlook when visiting Indonesia?
Weh Island in Aceh, Belitung island in Sumatera and maybe Maluku.
What is the best way to see Indonesia?
Fly then drive or take a boat. Indonesia is an archipelago country so we always need boats or ships to reach one island to the other although it will take you there longer that a flight would.
On Fashion and travel
How much time does it take for you to pack for your travel adventure?
Few hours or until one day. It depends on how distracted I am during the packing time.
What are your favourite must have items when traveling?
Fashion statements such as shawl, chunky necklace, sunglasses, cute bags. Gadgets such as phone charger and all my smart phones.
Have you regretted some of the things you wore during traveling?
I hardly regret things I brought during the trip. If there were any, it’s may lead to “excess baggage hence expensive cost”. Yup, I am one who carries lots of things in my luggage! That’s my weakness as a traveler, I can’t travel light.
In your opinion why should one travel fashionably?
For me, being fashionable during the trip is fun. It makes me happier and more confident. And I also love to be photographed, so I am making sure what I wear is nice enough to the scene. I’m the person who eats at Michelin-starred restaurant or a fine dining restaurant in the destination I visited. Of course I need a proper outfit to do so. But it may never be the case for other travelers as people have different opinion and priority. The most important thing is to be comfortable all the time whenever you travel.
Is there any specific brands that you love and why?
I love TULISAN bags because its’ design and patterns are very unique and the quality of the product is great too. TULISAN is an Indonesian brand based in Jakarta. For outfit, I love Batik Loetjoe (an Indonesian owned brand) for its’ colourful and funky batik style and I’m also a fan of Cotton Ink (another Indonesian product) for its’ comfy yet stylish shirts. For footwear, I love Palladium for its cool and comfortable-to-wear boots. For packing gears, I love Flight 001, a US brand that is very handy and useful for me to pack my outfit. They sell “space pack” which you can use to put clean garment and dirty laundry on the back. And with this space pack, my luggage becomes very organize especially when I need to find my outfit I don’t have to rummage my luggage, just open one space pack to find it.
What is the common perception of travelers that you have heard off when it comes to fashion?
They tend to look unfashionable with their loose shirt, cargo pant, flip flop or dirty sneakers and giant backpack. Nothing’s wrong with it though as long as they feel comfortable with what they wear. Again, as I mentioned earlier, being fashionable during the trip is just an optional thing for many travelers though it’s important for me. We just have different priority.
What are your tips for people who travel abroad with backpacks or luggage-bags?
I don’t know how to give tips to those who travel with backpacks because I never carry one. For those who bring luggage bags like me, my tips would be: (1) A great quality luggage is an important investment for travelers (2) Always buy a luggage with 4 wheels (3) If you go to the store and want to buy a bigger luggage, try to lift the luggage with one finger. If you can do it easily then it’s worth to buy. Buying a lightweight luggage helps you to reduce the chance of paying excess baggage. (4) Have 3 sizes of luggage; cabin size, medium size and big size.
Amalla Vesta Widaranti is an independent travel consultant and freelance travel writer at the SwankyTraveler website. Traveling for her is like buying an experience. Goods might be broken but experiences stay forever. Her love for both local travel and fashion is the reason why she is passionate about sharing it with the world.