Could you go technology free?
The thought of a technology free trekking tour might be intimidating to some people. Sharing experiences online has become second nature to most of us and it has many benefits; the rise of social media has made it easier for our company to connect and spread awareness to people who care about our cause. The reason we encourage our trekkers to ‘unplug’ from their digital lives is that trekking through the jungle should be a peaceful, rejuvenating experience.
We love to teach trekkers about the culture of local communities and the delicate ecosystem that has been under threat from palm oil farming. Everything we teach is intrinsic to our purpose. We encourage photography on our treks and while all forms of technology are allowed, if you want to go tech free, we know you will find it rewarding. The following is a trekkers perspective of their experience with Orangutan Trekking Tours, and how unplugging made it an unforgettable experience.
Image: Trekkers enjoying relaxing on a klotok, Tanjung Puting National Park
My Technology Free Trekking Tour in Borneo
It’s morning and as the sun peeks through the trees you can hear the sounds of tree frogs and cuckoo birds in the distance. For a moment you panic; your alarm didn’t go off. You glance at your phone and a black screen stares back at you. It’s been off since you started your trekking tour.
The water of Borneo’s Kumai River gently rocks under your bed aboard the klotok. The day before, as you met your trekking guide at the airport, you made the decision to unplug and take a technology free holiday.
From the deck of the klotok, the forest on either side of the river bank is untamed, undiscovered and wild. Thoughts of logging on and checking in online are far from your mind. You take a deep breath and prepare yourself for the day of trekking ahead of you. This is day two of your time with Orangutan Trekking Tours and your schedule includes hiking to a local primary school, through the jungle toward a bird watching post and boarding the klotok to head toward Camp Leakey.
As the klotok travels down the river all you hear are forest sounds and the low hum of the engine…
The memories of peak hour traffic and beeping horns in the city flow away with the sounds of the river. Your trekking guide is a local who has lived in this forest his entire life. He has never needed electronic navigation devices and steers the klotok with ease through the trees as you spot the orangutans who have come to the river edge to drink.
Your guide shares stories about his upbringing and culture while you learn what it means to be part of this ecotourism experience. There is no trace of the people who took this trek before you and once again the area feels unchartered by the modern world. He explains how Borneo has been affected by palm oil clearing and how he and his friends work to preserve the jungle.
Image: A klotok travelling through Tanjung Puting National Park
You will never forget the first time you spotted an orangutan in the wild, swinging through the trees. It is not the same as seeing them in captivity with tourists faces planted against the glass and cameras flashing. The cultural experience continues as you travel down the river and trek through the Borneo forests. You visit more orangutan sanctuaries and form a bond with the endangered apes. As you travel your group is conscious not to leave any trace you have been there.
During your visit to a local village you can see that these people thrive and survive without technology. The local’s way of life is explained to you as you meet them – they treasure the food that they grow for survival, there is no department store for them to shop at and if they were to lose their land, they would be lost.
As amazed as you are by the experience, you don’t feel the need to tweet about it…
At night, you join the nocturnal trek, where your guide points out various insects and night dwelling species. As amazed as you are by the experience, you don’t feel the need to tweet about it. It’s enough to appreciate the moment and the knowledge of your guide. The next day, on the way back from Camp Leakey, wild proboscis monkeys can be seen in the trees as they watch you with curiosity. As you complete the last leg of your trek, you are feeling relaxed and disconnected from the outside world. Part of you wishes that you could stay this way. You look back on the once dark and mysterious rainforest and think about the magic and life that it holds.