Minji Noh and Sung Eun Choi from LXX tell us about their experience of the Senior residential in Borneo.
‘After a long day travelling we arrived in Borneo exhausted but excited. At the Adventure Centre we prepared for the trek. Our expedition would include three nights in the jungle and four days of trekking in the mountains. This meant we had to carry rucksacks containing all our basic needs for the journey, food (including 6 oversized jars of peanut butter), utensils and essential supplies, such as toiletries, pots and pans. We had to plan our meals and work as a team to ensure we had everything we needed. A much more difficult task than it sounds!
The first day of our trek began with a climb of 70°. This was really hard, especially as we had the full amount of food to carry. After four hours of continued physical hardship, we arrived at our first base camp, ready to replenish our energy levels. Everyone was so eager to eat. After careful planning and rationing of the food for the meals ahead, it was decided that we would eat 6 crackers and half a tablespoon of canned tuna each for lunch (which, in hindsight, probably wasn’t enough). It was here, we learnt the basic lessons of setting up our hammocks, collecting firewood, starting a fire and cooking our meals, all of which we would repeat and improve every night at our basecamps.
The other days trekking in the mountains of Borneo followed a similar pattern; getting up at 5:30am then walking four arduous hours in the early morning, setting up our camp and then preparing our meals. We maintained high hygiene standards by showering under waterfalls and in rivers using biodegradable soap to prevent environmental damage. The evenings were diverse and filled with laughter as we sat around the campfire reflecting on our day. We listened to our eccentric native jungle guide Hanri (dubbed Mr Jungle Legend) who told us Sabah folklore and stories about the campsites we were sleeping in. On the last night we managed to cook a 3 course meal! Basic, but in the jungle when you have done everything yourself, very tasty. We learnt to make fire using only bamboo and coconut and then toasted marshmallows on it. Very satisfying.
The hike on the last day felt like the easiest trek ever as we mainly walked on flat land along the road with no food to weigh us down. Dropping our bags, we then headed off down river on boats for the final leg of our adventure. We ended with a refreshing swim in the mountain water.
The last night we all gathered to reflect on an amazing trip. Through the hardship and discomfort of camping and hiking up and down steep hills, we learnt teamwork, resilience, survival skills and most importantly earned a deeper sense of friendship with each other.’