The first question I get from almost everyone is “Borneo, where is that”? Borneo is the 3rd largest island in the world it is located between the Indonesian archipelago and the Philippines. It is one of only two places in the world where Orangutans still live in the dense jungles along with thousands of other species that have been inhabiting these forests for up to 10 million years. Borneo is legendary for its headhunting tribes and for being one of the wildest places on Earth. Because of my love of the natural world this was my chosen destination. 4 Weeks traveling alone on the other side of the planet as far away from home as I could be.
A mere 27 hours worth of straight travel out of Phoenix and I arrived in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia. I only have the first night of the adventure planned with a place to stay and after that I will have to see what each day brings and where I will end up in this amazing and diverse place.
This is a video to get a visual overview of the Borneo experience.
As long as I could remember I have had a fascination with Orangutans. Those strange-looking gentle creatures I had seen in movies in my youth. It was simple, they made me laugh and that was good enough to create a life long obsession with them until I got the courage to venture into their earthly realms. The jungles of Borneo. I didn’t think too much about it. I had the funds for the trip up front so one night while on the internet I searched for flights and purchased a round trip ticket with one click and very little thought. I have plenty of travel experiences just not on the other side of the planet 8000 miles from home or at the very least my very loose version of home. I have found that little to no preparation is the way to go. One day you get up pack as little as you possibly can and set off on the journey. No need to plan for more than the first night of any adventure. I have let the road lead the way many times in the past and it has never failed to show the way. Even traveling in darkness you have faith that the road is beneath you. Looking back I wanted to create a journey that I would feel inclined to kiss the ground when I returned. As well as do something that would force change in my routine life. I could never know the chain of events that would unfold in my life upon return.
The friendly non-fearing traveler has certain advantages while attempting his journey. You see more, taste more and feel more than the tourist who travels with a group. You don’t have to deal with other people’s inconveniences and discomforts or timelines. You can give yourself room to grow and change your perspective to fit the circumstances encountered in the best and worst of traveling times. I couldn’t even imagine what I was about to see or experience because Borneo is one of the wildest places on the planet. Finding out that almost everything in the natural world is dangerous or poisonous was exciting to me. Coming from a world of comforts and family pleasures that were wearing me out without even knowing it was becoming less and less appealing.. A midlife crisis was the only adventure coming my way in bubble world. Leaving the sterile American dream is the most tempting thing to do when life is no longer challenging or rewarding. The unknown was about to become the known for me.
I do not have aversions to any form of travel. Boat, train, plane, bus it doesn’t matter to me. I sit comfortably and enjoy the ride. Always something new to see. A vista up ahead is where you will find me. The real me. The curious one who is constantly attempting to lift his spirits up. To leave the past behind. Not by running from it but by exploring the new landscape of possibilities. When on the journey the past is no longer with you. There is no need to tell your story. There is only where you have directly come from and the next destination. Beyond that there is silence with yourself and the other travelers. It’s rare to have to listen to others troubles while on the road. Sure things happen. Good things and not so good things. But they are problems you are dealing with in the present moment that always get resolved in usually less than a days time. Quite a bit of travel involves sitting and waiting. This is what you have to become really good at or you will be forced to retreat back home where sitting isn’t a nerve-racking experience and boredom is nothing more than a friendly gesture to yourself. It would be kind of funny to take a trip somewhere and write about sitting at home. Adding all the excitement of morning news and daily worries spicing up your life with mowing the grass and meeting your neighbors who you have lived next to for twenty years for the first time everyday.