Today is the International Day of Forests. Since 2013, 21st March is a day where we celebrate forests and the great outdoors. It is a reminder of how important Forests are in our life (and especially for the future). And a good excuse to go outside and take a stroll in the woods.
I would like to take this chance to share several short stories about the forest, me and other things in between. I hope this gives you some inspiration to head outside and enjoy the outdoors (or brings to light some of your own memories).
I spent a month in Goa, India last year. I stayed in a lovely guesthouse slash restaurant owned by an Indian who was born in Tanzania. The restaurant was built next to a small forest. It grew into the restaurant. Every morning the music played, songs like chanting prayer, compete with the sound of birdsong. It was very peaceful. I came out from my room and would find Richard carrying incense around the restaurant.
One day I saw a small snake on the roof of the bathroom (funny that it didn’t freak me out), just a small reminder that the forest could enter my room. Another day while I was having a casual brunch time at the restaurant, a wild peacock flew in the garden.
I felt at home here. Originally I planned to stay for up to 10 days in Goa. I ended up staying for a month. I was very touched when I had to say goodbye to my little forest in Goa, India.
Trekking in Nepal is one of the activities that I have wanted to do for a long time. There was a moment in the morning at Annapurna Base Camp when the weather was clear for 10 minutes. The snow-topped peaks surrounded us on all sides. It was one of the best moments of life.
It was one of many moments during the trek that I will never forget; such as the rainforest full of leeches (ewww!), the sound of clanging bells of the donkeys, the Namaste-s, the uncountable waterfalls and on top of it people who I met during the hike.
Moments caught in time.
Rebecca and her boyfriend who always picked any garbage that they see along the journey. Oppa who had been travelling the world for more than 340 days. Juan Mi, a Spanish guy who was one of the sources of laughter during the trek.
Oh I also met a group of Korean trekkers. Everyone in the group was using 2 trekking poles. They were moving in rhythm, reminding me of millipedes.
We decided to go on safari in Sri Lanka. “You will see herds of elephants”, said the owner of my hotel. I smiled delightfully imagining the elephants in their natural habitat. Kaudulla National Park was the first place where I witnessed wild elephants.
With a jeep we enter the national park and took the muddy road through a forest. After driving for 15-20 minutes we arrived on the savannah. From a distance, we could see a herd of elephants across the river.
Our jeep moved slowly towards the herd, crossing the river and parking a safe distance from the elephants. The car’s engine stopped. We had a few minutes to observe the elephants. Three elephants emerged from the forest followed by a baby elephant. We saw more than 200 elephants that day.
I recently climbed Mulanje Massif. I almost didn’t go because I had the flu. I was coughing for 3-4 days before the climb. A small voice inside me said, “you’ve been staying at home Firsta trying to get better, but it’s not working. Maybe trekking through the tea plantations, forests and highlands will help.”
On the way to the basecamp we drove through a beautiful area of tea plantations. We started the climb by walking through the tea plantations. Mulanje looks like a stand-alone giant of stone. I wondered how we were going to climb it. Of course during the climb, I had a runny nose and constant cough. I remember that it was so difficult to breathe. I was thinking, “oh silly Firsta, you’re sick and you’re climbing?”
After an exhausting climb for half a day, we finally arrived at the hut where we would stay overnight. 30 meters from the hut there was a stream. The water was cold, but I took a dip, rinsed and swam. I bet it didn’t do any good for my cold.
The next day we climbed to one of the peaks on Mulanje. Then we trekked slowly back down to the base camp. Along the way I couldn’t resist the chance to swim in natural pools by the base of the hill. I swam, I felt cold, but was feeling so good. We had a pizza together after the climb in a restaurant in Mulanje area, and I realized that I wasn’t coughing anymore.
Feel free to check other stories by Travel Bloggers Indonesia members as below. If you have your forest stories, feel free to share yours in the comment box. I want to hear them. Happy International Day of Forests. The future is sustainable.
Albert Ghana: Suatu Pagi di Hutan Desa Benowo Purworejo
Atrasina Adlina: Bumi Semakin Kerontang, Hutan Sering Ditebang
Indri Juwono: Gemerisik Hutan Pinus Bandung
Liza Fathia: Hutan Wakaf
Mas Edy Masrur: Hutan Jati Sengsara Berbuah Cinta
Olive Bendon: Keluh Kesah Pepohonan
Parahita Satiti: Cerita Hutan dari Tiga Perempuan
Rey Maulana: Hutanku Dulu Hutanku Kini
Shabrina Koeswologito: Sustainable Travel: A Path Toward Sustainable Forestry
Titiw Akmar: Hutan Itu Berharga. Hutan Itu Indonesia.
Tracy Chong: World Forestry Day 2017: Why I Love Forest and You Should, too!
Yofangga Rayson: Pleidoi Si Penebang Hutan