You may know Junanto Herdiawan as the Flying Traveler on Instagram, where he shares epic photographs of himself levitating in recognizable and not-so-recognizable places around the world. But his globetrotting lifestyle is all part of his work as the chief economist at Bank Indonesia in Indonesia’s second largest city, Surabaya. He’s a prime example of the idea that there’s always a way to combine your interests (economics + travel!) to build a life that feels right for you. Traveling for his job gives him the opportunity to write about and photograph his journeys to share with friends and followers around the world. (He’s even written a few books, including one about his experience working in Tokyo during the 2011 earthquake in Japan.) We caught him between leaps to ask how he started out and where he’s headed next.
Do you mostly travel for work or for fun?
I travel for fun and for work. At least twice a year, I travel with my family. And I go on business trips to many places. Each time I travel, I write about my experiences in my blog or journal and take pictures to share with friends. Writing is about sharing, and it keeps our brains active and sharp.
How did you get started? Did you always know what you wanted to do for a job?
Since I was a kid, I’ve dreamed of traveling around the world, so I found a job that makes it possible to travel. I like economics, so I got a degree in economics, and being at a company that has many branches worldwide gives me opportunities to see the world.
What inspired your flying photos?
The first time I did a flying photo was in 2012. I got inspired by an advertorial about an art exhibition in Tokyo. It was of a woman–I later learned her name is Natsumi Hayashi–posing in a levitation style (floating). I met her in June 2012 after listening to a presentation she gave and had a short talk with her. Then I started to take levitation photos each time I visited a unique place, and people started calling me Flying Traveler.
Where do you want to travel next?
Turkey, Russia, and some North African countries.
What’s most important to you for living a good life?
Break your boundaries. Flying pictures symbolize my passion for breaking boundaries. Sometimes we take everything for granted, so we lose our sensitivity. Gravitation is something that traps us, but by making levitation photos I break out of it, showing that we can do anything, we can be anything as long as we have commitment and confidence. Break your boundaries. Perseverance is the key.