(Written 21st January, week one of no wifi)
One week into this epic adventure and I’m feeling as though I might have been misled just a little bit. Here in Borneo we’ve got the immense jungle, the breathtaking beaches and even the Mosquitos. But one thing is missing: the sun. When I set off for three months in Asia I was expecting unbearable heat but I’m already at the point where I’ve worn all my warm ‘just in case clothes’ and sun cream is a distant memory. Whilst the Philippines experiences a typhoon, Borneo is very much feeling the effects with heavy downpours and storms throughout the days and nights. Frequently unable to work towards our project target of re-routing the village’s water pipe, we’re managing to keep ourselves busy with cooking, making bracelets and movie nights with the locals. Hopefully the rain will clear up soon, in the meantime we are all having to take extra care when crossing the flooded volleyball court after a couple of semi-drowning incidents.
What we lack in sunshine, Team Borneo make up for in friendship. Most of our time is spent together, with our communal naps in the longhouse, daily book club and late night games of “Who am I?” (it turns out that we’re not too hot on geography here at Camp Tinangol). It’s often said that it is the people you are with that shape your experiences; I feel so incredibly lucky to have such amazing people shaping my gap year adventures.
I may only be one week into my three month adventure here but I’ve already made so many memories for life. Borneo is bliss. Choosing to go on a gap year was definitely not the easy decision for me and then I went and made everything even harder by travelling across the globe to a country I’d never been to with people I’d never met. Nevertheless, already I’m feeling that it was worth every worry and second thought. Even with the torrential rain and minute-long thunderclaps I’m just so happy. So here’s a little piece of advice that I’ve learnt over my 18 short years: never stop yourself from doing something because it seems too challenging. More often than not, the more difficult choice is the one that will bring you more joy. So go out and live. Meanwhile, I’m just going to sit here reading in the long house with the rest of Team Borneo and the heavily pregnant cat while I wait for the sun to come back. I’ll let you know when I get a tan.
I’ll keep you posted,