An Indonesian odyssey with heart

An Indonesian odyssey with heart

An Indonesian odyssey with heart

Updated 3 September 2014, 17:12 AEST

A young Australian is making the trip of a lifetime, travelling across Indonesia on a motorbike as he raises money for a cause that’s close to his heart.

Sam took ten hours to ride from Bukit Lawang to Lake Toba (Photo supplied: Samuel Bashfield)

Sam Bashfield is on his way from Aceh in Sumatera Island to the Indonesian capital, Jakarta, all on the back of a motor bike. But his 3,000 km journey is for a good cause. He hopes to raise $A3000 for the Heart Foundation of Victoria.

"My grandfather, Bill Bashfield, who was also an avid traveller, passed away from a heart attack a year ago,” Sam says. “In his memory I would like to raise the money for the foundation, which will assist those living with cardiovascular disease.”

Sam has had a long relationship with Indonesia. He’s a former president of the Victorian chapter of the Australia Indonesia Youth Association and for many years he’s been visiting the country from his home in Melbourne to practise the language.

But it was his dream to explore Indonesia in a different way.

River crossing in Bukit Lawang (Photo supplied: Samuel Bashfield)

After finishing a semester studying in South Korea on a Hamer Scholarship from the Victorian government, he decided to hit the streets of Sumatera Island, Indonesia.

But before he could set off for Jakarta he had to select the motorcycle that would be his only companion for the journey, a second-hand bike purchased from locals in Banda Aceh.

"I took a $A500 Suzuki around the block, then a $A750 Yamaha which was much better. I decided to spend the extra cash rather than regret it later," he says.

As part of his preparation Sam took the bike for a comprehensive service. It cost $A12, and that covered the oil change, mechanical testing, brake adjustment, and a new seat cover.

Sam's bike with traditional Batak houses in the background (Photo supplied: Samuel Bashfield)

His first stop was Meulaboh, around 250 kilometres from Banda Aceh.

"I was very interested to see this coastline as it was the scene of the tragic Tsunami ... the town of Meulaboh was 'ground zero' for the Tsunami, the hardest hit in Indonesia," he says.

These rocky and treacherous roads along the coast have proved an adventure in themselves, but the highlight of his journey so far has been the people he's met along the way. At one point he shared the road with a couple who were carrying a baby on their bike, followed by their extended family. When they stopped to rest, they asked Sam to join them for a meal.

"The family were so very kind, and when they cut their cake, they gave me a piece," he says. "They were amazing people, but this cake was infested with small red ants. They must have known because the ants were everywhere, but no one seemed to mind. I ate my piece along with probably 40 live red ants and politely refused a second piece."

That night Sam met another group of generous locals to dine with.

"I met a bunch of Indonesian road construction contractors, and together with them we cooked fish on coals. It was a huge feast and I slept very full and happy," he says.

Sam plans to raise $3,000 for the Heart Foundation of Victoria (Photo supplied: Samuel Bashfield)

Sam is hoping to complete his journey by the end of September. You can follow his progress on his blog.