NATURE BOY. Model and TV host Marshall Sastra takes his love for his country to the extreme
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Marshall Sastra has more than enough titles to go with: interior designer, model, TV host and even a divorced man. But if he has to choose one that defines him the most, it would have to be “traveler.”
Although Sastra studied interior design in college, his career followed a completely different path when he became a model. Nowadays, though, he’s mostly seen on TV, hosting “My Trip My Adventure” with other daredevil celebrities such as Dion Wiyoko, Nadine Chandrawinata and David John Schaap.
As one of the hosts on the travel and adventure documentary series, Sastra has to regularly explore some of the most remote and sometimes dangerous corners—and there are a lot of them—of Indonesia.
Pretty impressive for a guy who has a fear of heights!
DA MAN: So, have you always loved traveling, or is it something you developed after joining “My Trip My Adventure”?
Marshall Sastra: I’ve been an avid traveler for the last two years, since the beginning of 2014, I think. It started with diving. Indonesia is a maritime country; it’s surrounded by oceans, and the marine life is just incredible. That’s how I fell in love with traveling and Indonesia. And on “My Trip” I get to explore it even further; I can visit waterfalls and islands I didn’t even know about, so it made me love Indonesia even more.
DA MAN: What’s your favorite place, then?
Marshall Sastra: Well, I love every place in Indonesia. It’s nature, after all. I mean, if I go diving in one spot, and then I dive again in the same spot two days later, I will get a different kind of experience. Because nature is always changing, it’s never the same. But if I really have to pick one, it would be Komodo Island, because it has equally beautiful stretches of sea and land.
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DA MAN: Has there ever been a trip that changed your life?
Marshall Sastra: I was really scared of heights. I can do every extreme water sport, but somehow I used to feel scared when I was in the air. But in “My Trip” I found a way to conquer my fear. If you’re afraid of snakes, then you have to hold a snake. If you’re afraid of heights, you have to spend a lot of time in high places. I’m okay with heights now. I also conquer my other fears the same way.
DA MAN: So what happened actually then?
Marshall Sastra: I was officially initiated as the show’s host in Manado, where I had to rappel down an 85-meter waterfall. I didn’t have the basics and the water was hitting me so hard, so I failed. I have this principle I learned from diving: If you’re about to do an extreme sport, but you’re not sure about it, better to not do it all. Otherwise, it will endanger yourself and your rescuer, because you will either overcome your panic or you collapse. That’s my mindset and I always apply it each time I’m about to try a new extreme sport. I have to know the tools I’m going to use first, how to use them, how to rescue myself, etc. At that time in Manado, I didn’t have the chance to learn the basics first.
I was bullied on social media. I mean, I know each person has different levels of education and experience, so some people could accept my reasoning, some couldn’t. And I felt challenged. I called the creative team, I told them I wanted a “revenge” episode. So they made me rappel down the Tukad Bangkung Bridge in Bali, which is 100 meters high. To be honest, I still felt anxious at the time. But I told myself that, no matter what, I had to rappel down, because you have to expose yourself to heights to conquer a fear of heights. So I got my revenge. I succeeded.
“I always say, ‘If you want to know what paradise is like before you die, Indonesia is the place for you.'”
DA MAN: What was the craziest thing that has ever happened to you while traveling?
Marshall Sastra: One time I went paragliding in Padang. I was with another “My Trip” host, and we were supposed to do tandem paragliding with two instructors. So my tandem partner and I were ready to go, we reached the edge, and then the wind died down all of a sudden. But we already jumped! In the end, we plunged into a ravine, our feet got stuck in trees and all. After making sure I didn’t have any broken bones, I cried out to my cameraman and told him to keep filming because it was such a raw moment. The cameraman was, like, “Dude, I thought you were dead!”
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DA MAN: Tell us about the tattoo on the back of your hand!
Marshall Sastra: This is the Indonesian archipelago, and the writing says, “Dari hati untuk ibu pertiwi” (from the heart to the motherland). When I travel, I realize how beautiful Indonesia is, and that we need to take care of it. And I promise myself to keep exploring it no matter what. Also, I always say, “If you want to know what paradise is like before you die, Indonesia is the place for you.”
DA MAN: Any tips for beginner explorers?
Marshall Sastra: Not really. If you want to start exploring, then just go for it. Of course, if you want to explore extreme places, you just have to remember that you are the only person who knows your limits. So, prepare all the equipment and browse the Internet first because you don’t want to miss anything. It’s better to bring more with you.