Where to Go: Inspiration Borneo

Muddy Waters: Borneo

[singlepic=950,200,,,right]My curiosity with Borneo started around the year 2000 when I was living in San Francisco. I had just moved to the west coast and I was up late one night watching television. I came across the Eco-Challenge, an adventure race that featured a variety of crazy and dangerous sports including hiking, mountain biking, kayaking through rapids, horseback riding, caving, and abseiling. It could take teams anywhere between 3 and 6 days to complete and it was in a place called Borneo. I had never heard of it before, but it sounded and looked completely exotic – this sheltered mid-westerner was hooked.

I watched utterly amazed at what these people were going through. They raced 24 hours a day living off of cliff bars and fighting off hallucinations due to dehydration and lack of sleep. Not to mention racing with foot-rot and leeches crawling all over their bodies. These were the toughest people that I had ever seen in my life…and I wanted to be one of them. I was in awe of them and the dangerous, lush, jungle landscape that surrounded them. I got out the map that night and looked up Borneo – it took me quite some time to find it as I had never really heard of it before – but when I did, I knew that it would be someplace that I would visit one day.

[singlepic=949,200,,,left]After watching Eco-challenge, I started getting interested in adventure racing – wondering if I was tough enough to really do what those people did. My next few vacations I took were adventure vacations to test out my ability in the various activities as well as testing out my ability to ‘rough it’. After sleeping in the Australian rain forest in a hammock scared to death of every noise and bump in the night, I realized that I probably wasn’t cut out for the adventure racing life, but the experience kicked off my interest in travel to exotic places and smaller scale adventures. I wanted to go explore, I wanted adventure, and I wanted to push myself. Shortly after I got hooked on Eco-Challenge, the first Survivor aired on television, also shot on an island in Borneo.

My friends and I would watch Survivor every week religiously. I loved the mental game that came along with Survivor, getting people to do what you wanted – persuasion mixed with athletic activity. I was so in love with the concept of Survivor that I actually applied for the 2nd season of Survivor. I was still on a quest to be considered ‘tough’. I obviously never made it on the show, but I’ve been a fan ever since.

When I decided to do my around the world trip, I got out a world map, laid it on my floor, and immediately knew that I had to stop in Borneo…there was never a question in my mind. It was my ’spiritual travel birthplace ‘ – and I had to take this opportunity to see it.

Fun Fact: Borneo is the world’s third largest island and contains three countries – Malaysia, Indonesia and Brunei.

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