Vaccinated. HTH Travel Insurance in my wallet. Passport and flight e-ticket in the side pocket of my carry on.
Stack of course readings? Check.
Mosquito repellent? Enough for a family of 6.
Camera & Binoculars? Check.
Some Steven Hawking for the plane ride? Always.
Highly unfashionable hiking hat? On my head.
Mom’s and dad’s approval? …Let’s just say it could’ve been worse.
Personal mental calm? Well, I can’t seem to fit it in my luggage and it has assumed the form of an adrenaline filled child within a 20 yr old girl’s body…
The thrill and anxiety of traveling alone to an unfamiliar land of which the only knowledge I have is the spiritual magnificence and sublime beauty depicted (perhaps inaccurately?) in Eat, Pray, Love, has officially reached its climax. Leave it to my parents to finally strike up the anxious pessimism I had successfully repressed as the date of departure loomed closer and packing ensued. With love comes worry but, I’ve managed to remind them for the umpteenth time that I will be accompanied by advisers who have spent more than 10 years doing research in Indonesia, and of my possession of a modern age communication device and it’s ability to call worry-ridden parents… *sigh* They are the light of my life…
This is hands down the most thrilling venture I have ever embarked on thus far and I cannot put into words how alive it makes me feel! I’ve done some reading and I’ve learned that the Indonesian economy is booming, largely due to exports of raw materials like coal and palm oil, however, resource development has put a tremendous amount of pressure on the environment as exploitation of the countryside and destruction of its forests continue. The culture is rich and highly diverse, with 700+ languages and hundreds of cultures within the archipelago and yet, Indonesians pride themselves in their national slogan, Bhinneka Tunggal Ika, Unity in Diversity. This program will allow me to explore sustainability as practiced in several Indonesian islands, appreciate the issues facing primate conservation efforts, and actually be able to apply the same methodological techniques that researchers use throughout the program! I cannot wait to indulge wholeheartedly in all of this!
I will be heading to the airport in a few hours as my flight takes off at 1:45 AM, and though I do hope I will be able to update this blog while abroad, I am aware of the limited wi-fi in most areas we will be staying. If that is the case, I will keep written accounts and post them when I get back- in 20 days.
…And at 36,000 ft above sea level, I’ll have 19 hours to ponder..