Finishing my studies at University has been the first big change for me over the past few months. University has been the best four years of my life and now that’s finishing. The University lifestyle does not stop as easy as it starts put it that way. That time has been fun and rewarding and relaxed, inclusive of all of those late night study stresses. It is now that I have come to truly be appreciative of it all… Off course when it has finished. However, I know that the friends, the memories, the experiences, the knowledge, that is all coming along with me in life. So it is all going to be ok.
Moving on from University I was planning a gap year. A year of of travelling with my partner Jon. We would go from South America to the US, Canada, through China and Russia, down to Spain and Portugal. I was saving, planning and preparing for this adventure, telling a few people about it. However, a couple weeks out from my final examinations at the end of last year, I received a call from my internship host company offering me a full-time position in the Media Industry. It was a great opportunity, that essentially fell into my lap. I had to take it, right? This was something that I knew I wanted. But did I want it yet? The answer was that I really I wasn’t sure… But what I did know, was that I was handed an opportunity, a great one and so I took it. So far it has proven to be a fantastic decision. A year or two of full-time work will only help me save and plan for an even better journey. I’m cutting back, saving up and eventually, hoping to take off with Jon on a beautiful adventure abroad.
So with these changes shaking me up a little, I booked a graduation trip to Borneo straight after my University exams finished back in November last year. The goal of this trip was to see the Orangutans in the wild. With dwindling numbers, it was important for me to see them in their natural environment. And that I did!! They are such gorgeous animals, so intelligent and strong. I could have watched them all day if I were able to. But the reality was I was visiting the Orangutans natural environment, at the Sepilok reserve in Eastern Borneo. Humans were only allowed into the park for fundraising purposes for four hours a day, which looking back I am grateful for, as this kept the reserve strictly educational and preserved the rights of the animals to be safe in their natural environment. You couldn’t touch them, you couldn’t feed them, you couldn’t even get close enough for a damn selfie, and that is the way it should be.
The second item on the agenda for Borneo was hiking Mt Kinabalu. With very little research and planning, we walked into a storm of high quotes and ridiculously over the top deals to climb this mountain. The lowest we could get it down to for the 2-day hike was around $600 each. Not being avid climbers, we passed this opportunity on and decided instead to spend our money on a beach hut on the South China Sea. We booked a beautiful treehouse villa for 5 nights on Manukan Island. We saw the vast mountain in the distance and instead spent our time sleeping on the beach, swimming, drinking, playing cards and eating. We found some serenity on our private beach which was needed after a busy few days in Singapore and finishing University exams a few days earlier.
To close our trip, we decided to splash some cash on a tour to see the famous Proboscis Monkey. Included in this trip was seeing the Fireflies on an evening boat trip which also sounded intriguing. We talked South Korean politics with a lovely couple we met and also debriefed about the recent success of Trump in the US election. We talked about how when we flew out of Australia, Hilary was winning and upon landing in Changi Airport, we found out it was quite the opposite. Anyway, politics aside, we definitely heard the Proboscis monkey and saw their obscure noses and long tails which achieved another goal of the trip! I didn’t manage any pictures unfortunately, but do yourself a favour and google them! The fireflies were also magical specs in the balmy evening sky. I really recommend this tour on a stay in Borneo, it was an unexpected highlight getting the two in one.
Lastly, I have to point out its not always peachy… I had my whinges of course as I do in any backpacking trip, with swollen feet from the heat, too much rubbish and pollution in the ocean, not the best food I have had travelling, and being scared to death by a little rainbow snake and geckos. But that is travel. That is adventure and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I ticked off seeing two of the most amazing monkeys in the world in their natural environments and I got to relax on the South China Sea with my Best Friend Jon. It was a beautiful trip.