how to sleep on a beach on an uninhabited tropical island alone

Step 1: go to an uninhabited island of the coast to borneo for a day trip

Step 2: go hiking around the island with your new found german friends

Step 3: climb down a steep ledge to get to a secluded beach

Step 4: swim in the ocean and look back at the beach. see it’s potential.

Step 5: when your new buddies suggest it’s time to hike back to catch the last boat, tell them you’re going to stay and spend the night and they can too

Step 6: do not be dissuaded to go through with your plan even when the giant german men look at you like you’ve just told them you see dead people and hike back up the cliff looking back down at you every few minutes expecting you to scurry up after them

Step 7: lay out your towel and sarong, spray yourself with insect repellant, and take in the sunset with every inch of your soul

Step 8: read your book with the light from your cellphone, and when your cellphone dies, look up at the stars and let the feeling of being truly alone in nature sink in. feel the beauty, and feel the fear. and feel that fear transform into the calmest, most peaceful sensation, physically, mentally, and emotionally you have ever felt in your entire life. let the new sense of self and world understanding wash over you

Step 9: curl up, and fall sound asleep to the lullaby of the sounds of the jungle

Step 10: wake up with the light of the first morning sun

Step 11: sit on your towel, watch the sun rise, and look to your right. 20 feet away you’ll see a giant monitor lizard, just chillin. as he looks at you, look back at him, have a moment, and as he scurries away into the jungle, silently thank him for sharing his home for the night.

Step 12: go for a long morning swim in the ocean, climb up the cliff, stopping at the top to say goodbye to your little beach home, and then make your way back to the other side of the island to catch the first morning boat back.

Step 13: when you return to the city of Kota Kinabalu on the main island of Borneo, smoke a cigarette and go get yourself an egg mcmuffin because life is about balance.







Maybe, I understood religion today.
Or, at least, the feeling of faith.
The sense of something bigger than myself overtook my mind
and my body
and my heart.
The connection I felt to nature, this planet, reached someplace new.
I think I felt what people feel when they are at their church or their mosque or their temple.
I can only describe what I felt as real faith.
But I’m worshipping the ground beneath me, I’m worshipping the jungle around me, and I’m worshipping the existence of this beautiful creature swinging above me.

Orangutans share 96% percent of our DNA.
4% of data separates us from another species.

How can so much be done and believed because of words other humans wrote?
It never felt right to me to hear human words in a human language and except them as holy, or sacred, or divine.
Swimming in the ocean feels holy.
Having the skies open up and pour down rain feels sacred.
Being in the presence of a wild, beautiful animal feels divine.
Alone, we are not special.
We are special through our connection to the world around us.

I might not believe in one creator, in one supreme being, in one high and almighty.
But if there is a god, maybe she is an orangutan.

borneo, may 2016