How to Stay Sane in the Midst of Traffic Chaos


People say that life is all about balance, but hey Jakartans, how do you manage to stay sane living in the midst of city’s traffic chaos?

Throughout 2016 I didn’t experience the Jakarta’s crazy traffic during rush hours. I found peace in waking up and going to my working table next to my bedroom. This year, I’ve been trying something different by working part time for a digital agency located around Kuningan area, the area that I usually avoid most of the time. That means I have to go to Kuningan three times a week during rush hours and make peace with traffic.

It wasn’t easy at the beginning. Driving a car was out of the options because I didn’t want to get stuck in the traffic and release my anger to other people. I would be one of those people who kept angry but didn’t give a solution to make the city a better place for living. So I decided to commute to work by using on-demand transportation providers. I used car in the morning and motorbike in the evening, because the night traffic congestion was worse.

Then again, I found a problem.

Being a passenger didn’t mean stress couldn’t hit you and spending 1-2 hours or more on the street sitting while doing nothing was quite stressful, especially those in motorbike, because you had to deal with pollution and fluctuating weather too. Not to mention the long-suffering commuters who had to face late running train services. No wonder people do unpleasant things and become more ignorant of other people.

I know that we can’t change the traffic and our behavior in a blink on an eye but I believe we can feel better if we surround ourselves with good things during bad times, and that, my friends, will keep us sane.

Instead of opening our social media accounts and grumbling about the traffic, why don’t we fill our smartphone with great audio files? Podcast or audiobook, you decide. I am sure there are times when we feel bored of listening those same songs over and over again on the radio.

These are some of my favorite podcasts to listen to:

Art for your ear – The Jealous Curator

This podcast consists of conversations between The Jealous Curator and her artist/creative friends. She asks a lot of great questions and it feels like listening to two great friends talking about their passions. How awesome is that?

The Penguin Podcast

Notable Penguin authors appeared on this podcast: Malcolm Gladwell, Jennifer Saunders, and more. Listen to these authors talking about given themes. It’s wonderful.

Ted Radio Hour 

Just like its videos, Ted Radio Hour provides us very educational stories about interesting Ted speakers.

On Being

This podcast takes up the big questions of meaning through interviews with creatives, scientists, theologians, and teachers. You may already know some of them: Paulo Coelho, Sarah Kay, and more.


Otherwise, if you are a reader like me, you may want to start collecting audiobooks. It is a lovely treat to listen to an author read his or her own work, you know?

Do you have any other suggestions to cope with the busy traffic? I would love to hear one!


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