“Where’s Borneo?” That was a question we heard a thousand times before they left on a big summer adventure. It seemed as though everyone had heard of Borneo, but no one knew exactly where Borneo was located or why a family with two children would want to go spend a summer backpacking around Borneo. Although Borneo might not be on the “normal” travel itinerary, it did provide an adventure seeking family from Tennessee a summer vacation we will never forget.
Borneo is the third largest island in the world and the largest island of Asia. It is the home to orangutans and head hunters, and has some of the best dive sites in the world. Borneo is a destination for those seeking adventure. Our family definitely found adventure as we traveled across Borneo on a budget. My husband, Steve, and I were not novices to hard traveling. We spent years traveling across Southeast Asia and Africa before having children. But, traveling with two reluctant children ages 9 and 13 was a new experience for all of us.
On our journey, we discovered that Borneo was a unique place that challenged us in ways we never imagined. It was not a relaxing month at the beach. It was hard traveling that required us to all work together as a family. It was a place where we spent our days and nights playing card games and talking about life. It was a place where we learned the real meaning of being poor and hungry and, where we experienced bedbugs and leeches. It was a place where we learned about the Muslim culture. It was a place where we learned the fear of almost losing a child. It was a place where we learned that a long trek through the jungle led to the most amazing waterfall they had ever seen and, where we learned to trust and depend on the kindness of strangers to keep us safe and to welcome us into their homes. It was a place where we learned that they could sleep just about anywhere, and where they learned to “just go with it”!
Learn more about our journey across Borneo in the new book titled, We’re Doing WHAT for Summer Vacation? written by Cindy Davis and her daughter, Ali Rollason (www.summervacationbook4kids.com). It is a quirky nonfiction story of our adventure told from the eye’s of Ali, a typical 9-year old American girl. This story is great for young readers who want to experience other cultures through the eyes of this little traveler and her family. Ali tells of her adventures living in a tree house, experiencing bedbugs, learning about Muslim culture, eating strange food, white-water rafting, trekking in the jungle, seeing orangutans, experiencing leeches, staying with the locals in their homes, finding real skulls from headhunters, discovering an island of lost children, and scuba diving with turtles bigger than she was! Ali says, “This trip has made me understand how people live on the other side of the world, and it has helped me learn so much about the Muslim culture. This trip also made me want to help the poor people in the world. Not many people have really seen how poor people live in other countries.”
Cindy Davis holds a Ph.D. in social work and is a university professor. She has written extensively in academic journals and has published academic books. She is the co-author of the new children’s book, We’re Doing WHAT for Summer Vacation?