Situated on the equator, Borneo is the third largest island in the world and is divided into 3 countries: Malaysia and Brunei lie to the north and Indonesia to the south.
With it’s rich ecology, I came to Borneo to sit in nature and simply ‘be’. It is rainy season and there are few tourists around, however this didn’t stop my travel companion and I from renting a motorbike and exploring the NW region of Sarawak.
Once equipped with our rain poncho we ventured to see the endangered Borneo Orangutan at Semengoh where we saw these amazing primates feeding in their wild surroundings; took a long boat to the incredible Bako National Park where we slept in nature with the pulsating calls and thrashing of the Proboscis Monkeys, Long-tailed Macaques and hum of insects; had the traditions of the Iban, Bidayuh, Penan and other indigenous tribes of Borneo brought to life at the Sarawak Cultural Village.
Walking among the ancient rainforests of Bako, I couldn’t help but reflect on this story from a Native American Elder that reminds me to live with awareness in the richness of the present.
The trees ahead and the bushes beside you are not lost.
Wherever you are is called Here,
and you must treat it as a powerful stranger,
must ask permission to know it and be known.
The forest breathes. Listen. It answers,
I have made this place around you,
if you leave it you may come back again, saying Here.
No two trees are the same to Raven.
No two branches are the same to Wren.
If what a tree or a bush does is lost on you,
You are surely lost. Stand still.
The forest knows where you are.
You must let it find you.
An old Native American elder story rendered into modern English by David Wagoner.
The people of Sarawak are extraordinarily warm and engaging and their beaming smiles and eager waves “hello!” will not soon be forgotten. Thanks Dani for sharing the journey to this special place with me.