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Eco tours: when all you can say is “nice”

May 7, 2009

Listening and reading to stories told about exotic trips to ancient forests, or treks to view rare wildlife brings out a variety of adjectives often unheard of or long forgotten: fantastical, awestruck, fabulouso, amazing, gobsmacked.

Seldom does the word ” nice” come from the mouths of venturers.  Eco tourism offers travellers a window into a country’s soul, a chance to see descendants of centuries past, survivors of wars, famines, rains, even urban sprawl.  It’s only natural for people to want to explore the Eco treasures; something that doesn’t need a new coat of paint, or neon lights to enhance it’s features. Something that makes the traveller speak poetry in response to its beauty.

After reading about the travels of blogger Heather Dugan’s beautifully written journey to the Marieta islands, I started comparing my travel experiences to hers. Straining to find the words to describe how I felt about my Eco adventures, all I could come up with was “nice”. Because I couldn’t manage anything more, it wasn’t worth writing about until now.

When dealing with nature there has to be a certain kind of forgiveness and understanding. Nature has her own working style: delayed droughts, prolonged rains, flooding and unusual migrations. Expect the unexpected and be prepared to use fewer adjectives than normal.

Sharing the experience

On a recent trip to Brunei and Malaysia, part of my plan was to see nature at its best in Brunei–famous for oil and its ecology. Some of the oldest rain forests around, monitor lizards, crocodiles and a certain type of monkey.

Boat trips and tours up the Brunei river to the mangroves are pretty easy to find. I opted for an expensive guided tour because I wanted to learn about the wildlife. After spending several hours on the river, looking at mangroves, muddy brown water, and small pin shaped monkey’s perched high in treetops, “nice” was the first and last word that came to mind.

by Cate

by Cate

Although I wasn’t disappointed, I was waiting for something to happen. Waiting for a crocodile to fly out of the water, for a monkey to jump into the boat, for a tree to collapse and crash on the roof; for something.

Nothing did, the most action that day was the boat ride, and meeting other people in the boats.

by Cate

by Cate

A chance to share notes, compare what you have and haven’t seen. True some people were busy clicking cameras and using all those adjectives I wanted to use, but I was prepared to wait. For something to happen.

An apologetic guide sensed my feeling and gave me tales of rough weather and temperamental wildlife. Nature doesn’t need apologising, she is the way she is.

Don’t quit on nature

Sometimes nature will put on a show in the most unusual spots. Then the wait is over, the spectacular is small, perhaps minute. Often these kinds of shows go unnoticed except for someone who is desperate to speak poetry.

by Cate

by Cate

And “nice” is exchanged for “enchanting beauty”.

Someday I would like to have a descriptive experience where ecology puts on a performance of a lifetime. For now I am prepared to wait. Timing is everything.

I recommend reading Heather’s journey to the Marieta’s in her blog “Footsteps” just click on the link.

Caffeinated Traveller

  1. May 8, 2009 12:45 am

    You’re an engaging writer because you write so honestly, Cate. There are, indeed, times that the hopes don’t measure up to the measured event, but there’s always something to learn just by being there at all (which you know times a thousand!). ~Love the mangroves photo!!

    • May 10, 2009 3:29 am

      Thanks for the lovely compliment Heather.

  2. Erica Johansson permalink
    May 10, 2009 12:00 pm

    “When dealing with nature there has to be a certain kind of forgiveness and understanding.”

    I couldn’t have explained this better myself. When traveling, I find it useless to complain about the weather or sudden changes in weather. As you write, better to expect the unexpected. I think that is partly what makes a trip exciting. You’ll never know where nature will take you.

  3. May 11, 2009 1:53 pm

    Adventure into the rainforest or simply the jungle is an enjoying experience. I do my hiking every weekend in my neighbourhood and I see new things everytime I go. Your last picture on the broken leaves really show us that even an ordinary thing can be so beautiful if we can slow down to have a look.

  4. May 12, 2009 2:05 am

    Erica – Well said!

    rainfield -lucky you to have somewhere exciting so close. I agree about slowing down and appreciating the smaller things. These seem to go unnoticed and often get trampled underfoot. But it’s all part of nature.

  5. June 2, 2009 12:59 am

    Great post! Just wanted to let you know you have a new subscriber- me!

  6. June 25, 2009 7:42 pm

    wow! your posts are so beautiful! I’m with Kris Belucci: you’ve got a new subscriber!!!

    • June 25, 2009 8:43 pm

      Thanks and who is Kris Belucci??

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