Travel permits us to transform ourselves over and over once again. We simply open our eyes and hearts and change takes place. When you take a trip with your eyes and your mind open, you understand that you are not the exact same person you were when you left home. I recognized a long time ago that travel had altered me. The surroundings, the experiences, individuals I satisfied, the locations I remained at all altered me; all for the much better.
This idea of being altered by travel stuck to me and in 2015 I chose to establish the idea even more. I started documenting the amusing things that took place while I took a trip. As an ecotourism advancement expert, I get to go to some really cool locations, frequently before they are found or ready for travelers. The outcomes can be funny, like the time I remained at a retirement community as the local hotel was not appropriate for travelers! Or the time I had the opportunity to deal with my understandings of what is enjoyable or makes up a real tourist destination when I was provided the opportunity to check out the Gomantong Cave in northeast Borneo with great deals of birds and bats.
Caverns like Gomantong are the home of countless little birds referred to as swiftlets. Their nests are made from saliva blended with plumes and other nest products and are extremely valued as active ingredients in the birds-nest soup. A nest can be worth over $500US per kg so it is essential to control collection so that over-harvesting does not happen. The Gomantong Cave has been explained by the World Wildlife Fund as one of the very best handled edible birds-nest collapse the world.
The Gomantong Cave is also a popular traveler destination. It is a special possibility to see how the bird’s nest market works and to observe the fragile environment of the cavern. I have always delighted in seeing brand-new bird types and I like bats, so it was not tough to persuade me to include a see to Gomantong Cave to my travel plan.
A stop at the visitor center described the complexities of nest harvesting and the dangers people take in climbing up the fragile-looking rattan ladders and ropes to the cavern’s greatest reaches. After a fast stop, we were off to see the Sumud Hitam or the Black Nest Cave. It is a big cavern, 30 meters large and 100 meters high, with raised boardwalks to make strolling simpler. I quickly recognized I ignored the obstacle in this experience. The brief walk to see the cavern would end up being among the longest strolls of my life.
I got in the cavern, gagging on the ammonia-fumes of bat guano penetrating the stagnant air and sensation my feet moving on the collected droppings of countless bats and birds. Using open-toe sport shoes might have been a great style option in the early morning, but produced precarious footing in the cavern. In the corner of my eye, I captured the flash of red on the ground. Closer assessment with a flashlight revealed the ground was alive with numerous cockroaches. I wanted I had not looked.
Saat, our guide from Borneo, mentioned there would be rats around who would consume the pests and snakes who would consume the rats. A healthy environment, but not precisely what I had expected when going into among Borneo’s latest ecotourism destinations. “It is intriguing but somewhat undesirable,” Saat stated as he tightened his t-shirt around his neck, “If you search for, keep your mouth closed.” Wise words I figured, knowing that the cavern is the home of numerous hectic swiftlets who flew back and forth in their day-to-day look for food.
When I got in the cavern, I had not relied on practically falling on my rear end in bat droppings and enough cockroaches to keep me in treatment for several years. Saat gallantly provided his hand to keep me upright; most likely figuring, rather correctly, that the journey would be interrupted if I dropped. We continued even more into the cavern to a sight that would have taken your breath away if you were not currently holding it.
The cavern’s walls sweep up over 100 meters (300 feet) with sunshine streaming in from openings at the top; it appeared like a scene from Raiders of the Lost Ark. Swiftlets darted backward and forward from their nests to the forest in their continuous look for food. Bats moved about in dark corners of the cavern.