Holidays: needed, taken, appreciated. Returned.
My first decent holiday since 2010 when I spent 2 weeks, post LIANZA, in NZ and tramped the Routeburn. I’ve just spent a little over 3 weeks in Borneo, or more precisely in the northern Malaysian part as the island of Borneo is split between Malaysia and Indonesia. I travelled there with a mate on a 22 day trip with Intrepid. Intrepid trips are for small groups, usually up to a dozen with a guide/admin person. This trip was a combination of two trips and there were 8 of us on the first half and 12 on the second (including 4 from the first). Will perhaps speak more of the trip on a future post but I’ve at least uploaded all my photos and am slowly adding descriptions.
For most of the trip, I kept waking in Sydney time (around 7) which alas is around 4am Borneo time. Now that I’m back I’m going to bed around 1.30am Sydney time (10.30pm Borneo) which is really hurting when I have to get up at 7am (10am Borneo). I’m hoping this will resolve itself sooner rather than later.
Pre-trip, I was exhausted. Now, I seem to have topped up my reserves. I’m enjoying being back at work and think I have some balance once again. I have a clearer idea of what I’m doing and why; a better sense of my direction.
Despite a plan to stay offline for the trip, I did check in occasionally. Alas this meant that early on in the trip I saw an email from a bookseller in the UK relating to my Malazan obsession. He’d previously sold me book 2 (Deadhouse Gates) of the Subterranean Press limited edition for GBP270 (around AUD$420) thereby giving me the rights to books 3-10 of the same number as they’re released (approx every six months with book 3 currently on pre-order). The good news was that he’d found book 1 (Gardens of the Moon) of the same number on ebay, the bad news was that the asking price was USD$800. I don’t recall seeing the SubPress edition of Gardens on ebay at all ie it rarely appears for sale and for the same number as the edition of book 2 I have was a rather large stroke of luck.
I left it for a few days and realised that I didn’t really have a lot of choice, though the price was high, I needed it to complete my eventual set. The downside is that I didn’t have great net access in Borneo and was mostly reliant on wifi access in the occasional hotel/hostel. I had a few failed attempts at creating an ebay account and finally succeeded a week or so later. Then spent a week (with jungle treks in the middle), negotiating with the seller. The good news is that they were willing to drop their price to USD$650. That’s still on the expensive end but a little more comfortable than the initial price. Books 3-10 will cost me around USD$150ish each. Even better, the book was waiting for me when I returned home and now sits beside Book 2 on the shelf.
Oh, almost forgot, I’ve grown a beard. First time in a decade or so that I’ve had hair on my face…I think 1996 was the last year I had any sort of facial hair. Borneo is a very hot and humid country…so humid that trying to shave while sweating was a little icky. This also meant that my glasses tended to fog up so I stopped wearing them for three weeks too. In addition, not all places I stayed had available powerpoints. So I decided to let it go and see how it turned out. I’m liking it. All the bits that were bright ginger last time I now grey. The other noticeable change is that last time was still in my shy days and it could be argued that I was hiding behind my beard. These days, it seems to suit, and my sense of me is not lost.