Beware the Random Impulse
So, I’m standing in a looooooong line at my Starbucks one day–Summer of ’06–waiting for my then-usual venti 5-shot Americano. This being the very Dark still-a-full-year-before-the-iPhone-was-released Ages, and not having been, personally, of the I’m-a-Blackberry-Toting-Douchebag persuasion, my time-passing options were limited. Should I converse with a fellow, proximate human (nah…they were all checking their Blackberrys), stare blankly into space, or be a good little consumer and read the various advertising placards lining the path to the counter? Dutifully, I followed the latter course. At that time, SBUX had a program called Black Apron Exclusives, and in June of 2006 they featured a coffee from “Kopi Kampung, Sulawesi, Indonesia.” I admit freely that I only vaguely knew where Indonesia could be found, and had no idea what a “Sulawesi” was. [Hint: it’s the HUUUUGE, tentacled island in the middle of the map below]
I don’t know what came over me at that moment, but I was unreasonably angry at my own ignorance and simultaneously excited by my spontaneous, random, and irrevocably chosen remedy thereto. I wrote down the name, went home, searched the internet for “Cycling Sulawesi,” and immediately shot off an email to some guy named Rich–who was listed prominently on the circa 1994-style website. Turns out that Rich was the gregarious and knowledgeable proprietor of Cycling Sulawesi and most excited to learn of my interest in cycling through the heart of some place I’d never heard of.
Within a week, I had scheduled the time off work, purchased tickets to Manado, arranged SCUBA classes to get my PADI rating (Bunaken anyone?), and had a full 21-day journey standing before me.
And so it came to pass, shortly before Ramadan in the Fall of 2006, that the Transglobalist travelled to the island of Sulawesi, in the heart of the world’s most populous Muslim country, for 2 weeks of cycling, scuba diving, and the surgical removal of his own geographic ignorance.
Perhaps because of the spontaneity, I remain in some ways more proud of my trip to Indonesia than any other.