Squeezing the most out of life | An Aussie and a Colombian living life with a wandering spirit. Eight years together & over 60 countries up our sleeves, we're sharing the love |

Borneo celebrations – nature style

A few years ago I took a solo trip to Borneo – my main mission being to climb Mt Kinabalu, appreciate the orangutans, and get muddy in the jungle. This is the final installment of that journey as I re-share my emails home. Kris

Last night we went to the coolest Malay bar and stayed up late to make the most of my birthday countdown. We hunted down the only place that serves red wine in the city and I nearly cried at my first sip. Thank god for chilled Australian Shiraz! If an injured gal can’t be a jungle adventurer she may as well be a party plonker on her birthday I say.

We spent the day travelling early by bus to the coast then a 40 minute boat ride to Bako National Park. In my drugged up painkiller state I was blissfully able to hobble through nature all day.

Fortuitously I saw a rather large and very hairy wild boar. And being the Chinese year of the piglet that I am, I chose to take that as a wonderful start to my 37th year. Didn’t Confuscious say… “The lady that sees wild boar on her birthday may achieve greatness and not encounter any bores in her personal life?” Sounds good to me anyway.

Probiscus monkeys and macaus joined us for lunch. Monitor Lizards languished around our feet amongst the ocean side mangroves; backed by the distant blue mountains on the horizon – the entire environment was sublime.

My animal fetish will continue tomorrow after a night of gorging on more Asian food and precious vino as I’ve found out that there is another Orangutan Sanctuary in this part of Borneo. I just can’t get enough of my vegetarian mates, so I’m heading off at 8am to soak all their cheekiness in once again.

As it turned out, after I banged my knee on the trek, the group got ATTACKED by wasps. Those that where allergic (which also would have been me) spent the night vomiting from the severe bites – soaked and cold in the basic jungle accommodation. I think I got a good deal really. They also waited to see bats that never flew out of the cave at sunset due to the horrendously heavy rain. Plus bats are ikky. I’m not really disappointed at all how everything worked out because my main aim was to see the orangutans and climb Mt Kinabalu.

The other injury bonus being that I have met so many more people on my couple of days travelling solo. People have come up and chatted to me more; maybe the bandaged knee made them feel comfortable that I couldn’t run away.

But the Borneo journey has come to an end, back to reality but all the wiser for this adventure.

On reflection I have learned a few important things from this beautiful country:
Things in the jungle when soaked with water are slippery.
I need chilli withdrawal therapy.
Adventure is addictive.
I’m ready to retire and just keep booking flights to obscure places.
Trekking shoes will never look hot on the dance floor.
People are mostly kind and altruistic in this world.
Eating frogs is just plain weird. Making handbags out of them is even odder.
The spirit of small children is something we should all try and recapture in our selves.
Old people have so much to teach us even if they have no teeth and look a little scary.

And as one lovely girl said to me yesterday as I held a Hornbill bird on my arm – we should all try and be like ducks. Calm on the surface but paddling hard below the water.

Remember life is short. Book a holiday!

Kris

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