When Javanese author Regent Candranegara (pseudonym Purwalelana) set off on a journey in the beginning of the 1860’s he had a clear mission: it was time to provide Javanese readers with a book about contemporary society rather than with historical legends about heroic kings in battle. This, according to the nobleman, had to be done by traversing the island of Java and reporting about places and people encountered on the road. The resulting travel account The Travels of Purwalelana’ (‘Lampah Lampahipun Purwalelana’), would be considered the first example of a new genre: the travelogue. Whereas Candranegara’s literary predecessors wrote in poetry and in the third person, this book was written in prose and in first-person perspective. This paper focuses on the characteristics of the new travelogue genre as well as the ambiguous relationship between writer Candranegara and his alter egocharacter Purwalelana. The narrator’s observations often deviate from biographical facts known about the author. One wonders, for example, why Purwalelana presents himself as a complete outsider while visiting familiar places like the palace of his father-in-law Prince Mangkunegara IV and the Islamic boarding school where he studied as a boy. What exactly made this eyewitness account of Candranegara’s alter ego Purwalelana stand out in the modern Javanese literary realm? Why does Candranegara opt for ‘documentary fiction’ avant la lettre instead of ‘telling the truth’? What is behind this mysterious veil of pseudonym use and shaping of reality?