Walking with Lion

It was a hazy afternoon when I met David Atthowe in person.  He has been dubbing himself as
"Nomadic Lion".  The greatest achievement that he has achieved is traveling the Peninsular Malaysia by feet with his travel partner, Yusep from West Java, Indonesia.  His story has gotten me intrigued.

Courtesy of Nomadic Lion FB

How it all begun

I first heard about his story when I randomly browsed the internet on a boring Monday, waiting client to reply back my emails.  I came across this poskod article.  I couldn't believe myself when reading it.  There is actually a person (in this case, 2) that travels by their feet from one land to another.  I think it is pretty insane.  Then I found out about their website and read their blog post that signifies, "hey, they actually did it!"  One post lead to another, I came across some social media pages that they have.  They listed down everything from their facebook, email and so on. Out of all social media they have included, I was curious to test their LINE account.  So, I typed their ID "Nomadic Lion"poof, I saw their avatar which shows a picture of David and Yusep with a mountain background somewhere.  I was a bit reluctant to chat them, because I did not want to appear like a creep.  But anyway, I wrote a moderately lengthy chat bubble just to say... Hi my name is Ayu, I read your stories... blah blah blah... just to introduce myself and showed a support, because I find what they are doing are quite progressive even though a little insane, in a good way.

I thought that they did not note my chat but few minutes later, I have got a message. It was David who wrote to me. He is such a friendly guy.  We exchange more and more conversation, and it turned out that we share one connection in common, who is Farhan the manager of Rumah Titi. Rumah Titi is an awesome homestay located in Titiwangsa area.  I have been here several times to perform my poetry and David who is an avid traveller has been familiar with their friendly service.  So, the conversation goes and then at one Sunday we decided to catch up.

I was at the entrance of Bukit Bintang monorail station.  That is when a tall figure shadowed me from behind.  It was David!  We finally met.  He is just being himself in a white t-shirt and a bandana.  We sat down for an hour at Tous Les Jours whilst chatting about so many things.  He likes to watch people crossing the road at the Bukit Bintang triangle and observing their behavior. I told him that this is actually my favorite spot (We sat in front of the gian window of the cafe), I once sat here whilst writing and had moments passed right before my eyes.

What makes me amaze from him is his down-to-earth personality.  I mean, he is the one who had been featured in the television and newspaper, but yet, he asked me questions and engaged me in a very different interesting discussion.

"What is your happiest moment?"

My happiest moment would be when I am with someone that I like, probably spending times with a crush, or during my performance, the one from last week in Rumah Titi. David's happiest moment when he first went into the jungle, touching big trees and felt all the surroundings.

"What is your biggest dream?"

My dream would be being able to live by writing and raising family of my own somewhere in a peaceful place.   I want to write to contribute society or establish something useful to the community by my writing.  I want to make a change.  David's biggest dream is to live in a house by a mountain!

"What is your biggest fear?"

My biggest fear would be unexpected death.  It is not a slow and steady death, like lying in your bed, weakened by cancer.  But it is ran over by a truck or a bullet to my head.  Or even worse, imagining those things happened to my family and loved ones.  David's biggest fear is not being able to content himself.

I asked him what drive him to walk the peninsular Malaysia by feet.  "I would like to hear it in person"

He is inspired by Mahatma Gandhi and many of his achievements, one of them is the Salt March. The Britain did not allow anyone to produce salt yet, Gandhi along with the followers marched to the sea to produce salt.  The number of followers kept growing and growing as he walked across the country.  The reason David and Yusep are doing this walk is to raise awareness of the nature and the harmony of living with others and nature.  He also mentioned that Vinova Bhave is one of his inspiration as well.  He was the successor of Gandhi.  David mentioned that after the Borneo Project, he will walk Papua and India.  He is thrilled for the upcoming visit to India.  I understand his excitement since it is the birthland of his inspiration.  He is concerned by the farmer's suicide that has been going on India, therefore he would like to help and raise awareness to gain the farmer's right such a noble act.

"Why Lion?"

The answer is pretty much simple but deep.  David is influenced by Rastafari Movement, and is a Rastafarian.  The lion is an important symbol.  He told the story of a King who used to have 10 lions walked beside him.  Also, the definition of Lion is strong-hearted.  I can see it from David. He has a strong-will and courage, or else he would not be traveling far away from home and walk the miles all across Malaysia — It shows!  I told him if his spirit animal is a Lion, then my spirit animal is an eagle.  Something about flying makes me obsessed.  I am so happy when I am at the airport waiting for boarding and being inside an airplane.  Although, I still have a fear of flying but that is the beauty of it.  It is scary but exciting.  Another thing about eagle, that they move by their ownselves.  They do not need command, they just fly.  Although, like many aviators or birds, they surely have a pack. Then David told me a strange thing, that upon the journey (of walking the Malaysian Peninsular) there was always an eagle following them.  I believe it is nature's eyes!

I had a great afternoon with David.  We walked around the Maju/TAR area, where it is actually a place that I go everyday because it is located around my gym.  But it is also a place which I am never getting tired of.  David is one of most remarkable people that I have met in my life. One of my friend, who is also my role model, Putri (Minangsari) told me that we meet people for a reason in your lifetime.  We might not know whether it is for another 5 or 10 years. It will mean something.  The words might be simple but honest.  It has been almost a year since I have attended TEDxUbud 2013 and I still remember the words very clear.  I believe that I meet David for a reason too.

As I am writing this, I am also reading of what I write here and notice that there are lot of things in common between him and I.  For example, we like to observe people and get lost in the moment.  We are free-spirited. We like to travel and are away from our homes — not necessarily homesick all the time.  But I also notice there are differences between him and I.  If you notice all of my biggest  my fear, dreams, and happy moments — they are quite aggressive. Whereas, David's ones are pretty much simple and honest things in life like touching trees, having your house at silent mountain and being not able to content.  I am happy to meet him because he reminds me of the humblest and honest things in life.

Nevermind of the shaky picture,
I just realise how tall David is and how short I am!
And David if you are reading this, I would like to say thank you and hope to meet you again, maybe plus Pesuy as well.  I really hope the best for your adventure.  You are one of few people that has been given pure good conscience by Him.  I just hope there are more people like you in the world.  Hopefully, if I am able too, I would like to join your walk to make a difference! 

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