“Mudik” has a special place in Indonesian people’s heart. Every year the number of “mudik-ers” is increasing significantly though national economy seemingly weakens. It is always fascinating to know and see that this phenomenon again and again occurs yearly. Despite of the fact that the number of “mudik” travelers who get accident grows in a quantity from time to time. However, it does not stop them having a homecoming. Etymologically, “mudik" comes from the word “udik”, which means hometown. The word “mudik” refers to an Indonesian term for the activity where migrants or migrant workers return to their hometown or village during major holidays, especial “lebaran” (Eid Fitri holidays).
Most of migrant workers make a living in some big cities like Jakarta, Bandung, Surabaya and other big cities, especially in Java island. They, along with their family or a single fighter, either just stay or have lived there for years. They are originally from different cities, provinces, or even from another island like Kalimantan, Sumatera, Sulawesi and so on. When lebaran holiday comes, they are ready to face “a big adventure”. Some of them drive their own cars, others get on public transportation such train, plane, ship or bus or other public transportation, while the others ride motorcycles to return their hometown. For them, going for mudik is an obligation under any circumstances.
Annually more than ten millions of urban people have a homecoming, in order to meet and gather with their old friends, neighbors, or relatives, either their parents, parents-in-law or big family. “Mudik” has always heart-rending stories to tell. No matter what their social status is; doctors, company employees, managers, house maids, construction laborers, factory workers, pedicab drivers, beggars, people of the city slums. They are willing to go into crowded train stations, harbors and bus terminals to go packing, waiting hours even days queueing in front of a few ticket booths just to get a ticket home. Not to mention, they don’t mind paying extra for the ticket or being stuck in traffic as long as they can have “mudik”. To make it worse, they have to deal with crime such as pickpockets, snatchers or the danger during their long way home.
It is also a common sight to see a big city like Jakarta which is usually found in traffic jam anywhere. It is like moving ten million people from one place to another. Then all of sudden Jakarta appears so quiet, no traffic jam at all. If you are in Jakarta, you can go anywhere freely without having to deal with traffic jam. It is a great moment to enjoy fresh air in Jakarta and go around the city.
Beside a chance to reunite with big family, mudik travelers have many reasons why they will do anything at all cost, just to go back home. Like old people say “no place like home”. There is always a longing to see a birthplace, to feel the atmosphere of hometown, the warmth of old friends’ smiles, to recall the childhood moment and to have a home feeling together with beloved family that you will never find in big cities when you feel strange and alone among other million people.
In short, regardles of the problem, mudik is not having a picnic but it is about a journey which lead you to a victory over you, yourself. Have a nice journey!