My aunt just came back from the jungle. Literally. Like, totally. Like, can’t make this up– okay I’ll stop.
Email in its original form, typos grammar mistakes and all. I can just imagine anyone texting while watching TV with a message like this:
HIHI, I am back from the jungle in North Bonero (Sabah). This 8 days we stayted with the forest rangers and walked through the trail. This is not open for tourists yet so we are the first group. (they used to just open for scientists, nature group, international Raleigh volunteer for some parts of the jungle). It called Imbak Canyon in the heart of Sabah.
each day we walked around 5-6 hours and overnight at a very basic camp. back to the nature and basic with no facilities. we took bath in the river, slept in a open tent with only the sound of insects and leeches. kayake down to the river, got lost in a jungle and walked from 10 hours until it got dark and arrived a camp found out no fuel for the generator (no electricity)…
Previously she volunteered for 3 months in Puerto Rico living in similar hut conditions, collecting sea turtle eggs, teaching local children English, living off yams, corn, and rice, getting attacked by leeches (right on her belly button!), having a fellow traveler pee next to the bunk beds, jumping down waterfalls… She also ventured straight up north during the huge snowstorm of 2007 to picturesque walkways of icy trees in New York and a blackout in our Toronto home.
I couldn’t even decide on a place to go for grad trip. I have to consider:
1. I want the best bang for my buck
2. Who do I go with?
3. What do I want out of it?
My aunt had all those solved. She went with her boyfriend/life partner (? She just doesn’t want to get married). He paid for everything. Because he’s white and he works in Hong Kong… figures. (Why don’t foreigners get paid higher in North America?! Why do Caucasians – dammit, I’ll be politically incorrect – whites get paid higher everywhere?? They’re not that much better!! They can’t speak complex Asian languages!! Lai ji mm ji or gong meh ah, bak yun? Meanwhile, many Asians are multilingual. China’s gonna own your ass, America. You’re going bankrupt and all without healthcare. Even Canada’s gonna own your ass!! We’re “boring like mashed potatoes“, we got healthcare and fucking poutine! Even our potato dishes own your ass!! I digress…). Then she went to England country side to visit the “in-laws” and experience strange western mom customs (de-core-d strawberries stored in a glass jar for her 40 y/o children to eat from?) The point of her travels is because she detests commercialism, materialism, etc., so she/they wanted to find a suitable city to call home. Basically, she got the who, what, and how covered, and where and when are unlimited because she doesn’t need to work. What a life.
If I wasn’t so mightily afraid of tiny critters crawling on me (just thinking of it makes me hunch my shoulders to protect my neck. I need a scarf now!!) I may have decided on a nature oriented journey. I don’t mind sleeping on rocks and in tropical forests; just give me a second layer of skin that completely covers all crevices on my body. So basically, I want to operate like this car (via; which I think has two letters missing from its name – you can tell when you see how the hood opens).
Right now, I have a tentative plan for a Euro trip. I have a friend in the UK, and we can visit Scotland, France, and if budget allows, Portugal and Spain. This is before all budget concerns, time limits, and any planning. So it’s not really a plan, but a dream. Although The Great Financer has approved of such a project, budget still needs approval. If it works, date of departure will be June 11th and must return by June 25th. That’s all I know for now.
Oh yes, I am graduating on June 28th (typing this from the computer lab at 1am…). Then will be going for a few days to New York with The Great Authority and Financer of all things. So I’ll be going somewhere for sure. Except I have visioned my grad trip would involve backpacking and sleeping at train stations. I would if I weren’t a 5’2 sedentary klutz with no means of self defence.
Some people asked why I’m not going to Europe with le BF. “Oh, it’ll be so romantic!” Right now, that’s a pretty repulsive idea. I don’t want all the memories in my life, especially all travels, to involve him. Is that cruel?
PS. Any recommendations for must-go places in Europe? Cheap airlines, hostels, discounts?
Note: I’ve been to France & Italy as a 12 year old so I don’ need to see the Eiffel Tower or Leaning tower of Pisa, etc. I am willing to sacrifice photo ops for an authentic European experience! I speak a basic, basic level of French.