03.06.2018 – Cameron Highlands day 2

Today we went on a tour including more tea fields and a hike in the Mossy Forest!

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Successful selfie. Yay!  (Neither of us are very experienced in the art of selfies, but we are getting better at remembering to take photos with us in them more often. Solely for the sake of our families seeing our faces. Haha.)

There are lots of little things to see among the bushes…

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Here is Jennifer among the tea…

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I know it’s been said a lot and I’m posting a lot of photos, but the fields are JUST. SO. BEAUTIFUL.  And no amount of photos can quite capture the real atmosphere and views. (although a wide-angle lens would be cool.)

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We drove a bit down the road and got to watch some farmers at work harvesting tea leaves.

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There isn’t a “season” for tea – it is harvested every time new little leaves grow.  The lighter green you see is from the young leaves ready to be harvested.  (If left untrimmed, these bushes will turn into large trees!)

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I waved, and he waved back. 🙂

Our guide, Satya, shared with us that the farmers who work at the tea fields and their families are cared for very well.  That’s something important to me, so it made me much happier to visit the fields and drink the tea!

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The drive was a lot of fun, because we were in a Land Rover driving on very narrow, winding, bumpy roads.  The road was really only wide enough for one vehicle, but there were of course people driving both directions, so we’d just have to squeeze by each other.

After we walked around and soaked in the views of the fields of tea, we went on a hike in the Mossy Forest.  We reached a Cloud Forest – something we learned about in Singapore!  What’s cool about cloud forests is that all over the world, the wildlife is almost identical.  Because of the specific conditions of a cloud forest, you’ll find many of the same plants and creatures on different continents!

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The park is on the border between the two states Pahang and Perak.

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Can you see the pitcher plants growing on that tree??

Satya (our guide) was a ton of fun to spend time with and is a professional photographer who has traveled all over Asia to photograph wildlife – specifically focusing on Malaysian wildlife.  He also is a nature conservationist and loves educating people on the importance of protecting wildlife. He not only had an incredible wealth of knowledge about the areas we visited, but he had beautiful photographs to accompany the things he was teaching us.  It was awesome!

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Something I have overall been learning on this trip is how to approach someplace as an explorer and not just a passerby; how to not take for granted the environment I’m in.  I am looking forward to bringing that mindset back with me and seeing Portland and my hometown in a new way.

I love all the little details in nature…

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(moss hanging from a tree branch)

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Those berries are half the size of a pinhead!

At the peak (2000m or about 6,500ft), the view was stunning.  Once again, a view in a completely new climate looked and felt so familiar to home.

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So something I knew going into this trip was that it would give me a better idea of what I want to “do with my life.”  I know it sounds cliche, and very “Millennial,” but I think it’s a common thought because it really does change you.  Americans push college on kids right out of high school, but many other cultures encourage kids to travel when they graduate – especially Europeans and Aussies.  There are a lot of white tourists, but a large majority of them have been from England or Australia or Germany, just to name a few.  I honestly think traveling is an incredible approach to the beginning of adulthood if you have the ability to do so, and if you’re young and want to invest money and time in traveling you shouldn’t feel like you’re being irresponsible.  Some people may grow up feeling pressure to get a career or get married or have children and that doing something like traveling is only getting in the way… Don’t listen to that.  One of THE MOST common thing people regret at the end of their life is not having traveled more.  That, along with my already innate desire to travel, is what really motivated me to go on this trip.

Anyway…… There has been some usual growth you’d expect – I’ve become much more confident doing things by myself, being assertive, speaking up, asking for things, standing my ground, etc; I’ve gained more perspective as I’ve been exposed to more cultures, I’ve learned a lot about the things that are American versus the things that are universal, etc.  But something that hit me today is a career idea – something I never really have had before: the job of the people who have guided me on such amazing adventures and taught me so much!  Being a guide (more specifically a nature guide) encompasses the 4 things I desire in a long-term job: 1) teaching, 2) research, 3) not sitting or standing in one place all day, and 4) being in the outdoors.  Engaging with people on a smaller scale and helping the environment are pretty high on the list, too – also fits the bill.  I’m giddy!

Now, this isn’t me “declaring my major,” but it is me openly sharing something I’m processing that excites me about my future.  Thinking about my future and doing much in the way of planning (even if it’s planning out the next six hours, let alone years) can stress me out A LOT, so this experience is very encouraging.  I have had lots of little lessons learned and things realized throughout the trip, but I could feel something more concrete coming.  I knew before I left that it would happen at some point.  And, today, it did. 🙂


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