My journey to Borneo

My journey to Borneo was a coincidence, or simply unintentionally made. I did most of my journeys for a simple reason, to pursue my passion for capoeira and photography. Capoeira is Barizlian martial art and I have had such a deep connection and relationship with this since 2007. And Borneo is one of the largest island located in Indonesia, a beautiful tropical country in South East Asia with its unique cultural, human and biodiversity; I was born, raised, and live there (not in Borneo, but the other part of Indonesia called Java). I was convinced by a friend of mine to made a journey to Borneo because he told me that there would be a capoeira workshop for three days and a low fare ticket for domestic flight to East Borneo. Like an instant attraction, because I have never been there before and I wanted it so bad, I immediately searched for an online ticket and such a major disappointment when I found that the low fare ticket promo has ended due to the empty seats offered by the airline has been taken.

However, when a normal fare has been settled, I started to book a round-trip ticket to Balikpapan, East Borneo. Before flew to Borneo, I made a short land trip across Java around Yogyakarta (Central Java) to Surabaya (East Java) for several days, then I joined my friend in Surabaya for our flight to Balikpapan.

When we first arrived in Balikpapan, it was barely humid and extra heat for a not so big town, yet rich with oil and other mining substances. Then we decided to continue the journey by took a bus and amazed by the landscape we found during the trip. We were not only stunned by the dense rainforest that we have never seen previously in our homeland with its natural purity, but also the deforested land that indicated of the massive deforestation and exploitation that had happent and still goin on at that area. It was contradictive with the large scale of energy and mining resources contain in East Borneo, because by the dawn exactly the time we arrived at Samarinda from two hours exhausting journey, the power of electricity was started to decrease, or even a sudden out of electricity could possibly happen there. In addition, a pouring rain could bring an instant flash floods to the area because they had already lost more than a half area of their own land. What a major contrast we saw there. And sometimes, by the high rate of gasoline production, the area still struggling for their own supply.

Another highlight from our journey was when we went to a local street local food stall called ‘Warung Jenggo’. First of all, the taste was okay but the price was out of range, very insensible, compare to the taste and the size of portion. Later we found out that the place commonly visited by the owner of major employer with big scale business running by their hands. It was not fair for a young and unemployed traveler like us to have a dinner on that way! So we just giggled after had such experience.

The most memorable experience was when we decided to spend our last day to visit traditional Dayak Kenyah tribe conservation called ‘Desa Pampang (Pampang Village)’. The place is located 27 kilometers from Samarinda or 30 to 45 minutes approximately to reach by a vehicle. In fact, we needed almost 2 hours to reach the destination! It caused by our local friend missed the traffic sign along the way to Desa Pampang. However, I personally really enjoyed the time we spent during our trip and also the capoeira workshop held in Samarinda has brought a new spirit because of its freshness from our new friends that eager and curious to learn some new movements, musics and songs. By traveling, we are able to discover ourselves and getting known who we really are better with this way. To conclude, for me the most important thing about traveling is the journey, not the destination.


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