(Backblog from 6th February)
Many moons ago back when I was a Year 4, I discovered the wonders of the rainforest and decided that one day I wanted to sleep in a hammock beneath the canopy of a jungle. Well here I am. And let me tell you how emotionally draining putting up a hammock is. Dreams do come true but sometimes dreams are no more than that: dreams. The reality here is dark, mosquito ridden and damp. But still, I’m actually about to spend a night in the jungle. A jungle where monkeys and orangutans live, a fact which I witnessed for myself this morning. Also a jungle where scorpions, centipedes and snakes live but I’m trying to ignore all of that. Reality very rarely lives up to expectations, but every-day-life is full of so many incredible turns and surprises. Maybe the hammocks and rainforest don’t quite live up to all the hopes and dreams, but – oh look – there’s a tree full of twenty proboscis monkeys. Yes, the proboscis monkey, a species unique to Borneo of which less than 1,000 are left in the wild (it’s ok, you can Google it, I didn’t know what the monkey looked like either until about 12 hours ago).
My advice from the jungle is just to take what you’re given. Try not to big things up too much but at the same time it’s ok to get excited about future plans. Go with the flow and be thankful for whatever you’re given. Disappointment happens, but don’t let disappointment ruin what could still be an amazing day. Don’t let the leeches and the mosquito bites dampen your overall experience.
The next morning… Despite fears of scorpions, snakes and crocodiles, the only creature found in a hammock last night was a grasshopper. Sleeping in a hammock, though rather claustrophobic, is actually incredibly comfortable. Aside from one late night waking when I had no idea where I was or what I was doing, I had a very pleasant night. My thoughts are with those who had leaking hammocks and so had pretty soggy sleeps. This night might not have been all that I had anticipated but it was still a wonderful experience.
Aside from my night in the jungle, I’ve seen otters, bearded pigs and lizards bigger than dogs. Living with a local family in a typical Malay village, I’ve been teaching the cup song to a 10 year old. He seems to find it all very funny regardless of the language barrier. Today I planted some trees and learnt the right way to eat with your hands. Even if this adventure isn’t always what I might have dreamt it to be, I’m having a simply incredible time. The thought of life in England seems a bit dull in comparison to this gap year thing.
I hope life with you is going well, whether it’s going better or worse than expected. Never stop dreaming but don’t fall into the trap of believing that life can be a dream all the time. Meanwhile, I’ll keep on travelling and exploring until I one day find that rainforest dream way back from Mrs Quintin’s class. Maybe next time I’ll try the Amazon rainforest. Any volunteers for a travelling companion?
I’ll keep you posted,