I wanted to go to Malaysia for one reason alone - to fulfill my jungle book phantasy. I wanted to see orangutans, snakes hanging from trees and lush green.

A new trip, a new country, and a whole new set of expectations. We build up places in our minds and sometimes we have them all figured out before ever setting a foot in. Perception can be deceiving and sometimes the worst thing we can do to an otherwise perfect trip is to stuff it with expectations

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We all have these days when life is just a bit…meh. For me, that is usually when I am not traveling. When I’m just a regular girl who goes to an office every day, has to deal with tax payments, and does not get called back by the boy she likes.

Today is one of those days and the only things that I think may help are wine and cuddle with a kitten. In lieu of a real kitten, I like to look at cute baby animals online. Even better I realized yesterday while editing photos from my Intrepid Borneo trip if I have actually seen said baby animals live and up close in person before. It somehow put things in perspective, because how lucky am I that I got to experience that? So in case you need a pick-me-up too while doing your taxes or waiting for a boy to call, here you go…

WARNING: You will start oohing and aahing and may annoy those around you. If that happens just share the love and this link. A pygmy elephant and kitten for everyone!

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When I go on holiday I try to see something good in each person I meet and in each place I visit. But honestly, sometimes it is just damn hard and doesn’t work whatsoever.

Before I even get to Semporna I already know that it isn’t going to be an exciting place where I want to spend any more time than it takes to board a boat to Sipadan and luckily that whole process only takes about 10 minutes: from the van onto the pier and into a boat. For me, that is plenty and I sigh in relief when we leave the harbor. I know that I don’t need to see more and that there is, unfortunately, no redemption possible for this town, no way to make it somehow more palatable.

Tioman Island in the South Chinese Sea is quite a trip from Kuala Lumpur, but worth while the effort once you step off the boat and into Japamala Resort.

Shark! Shark! The guy sounds genuinely excited though considering he works here and probably sees sharks every day his excitement has nothing on mine when I look into the water. A shoal of baby black tip reef shark is swimming just below and while they are little and I am not even in the water, they take my breath away.

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I was never really daring, but I was never really afraid of things either. Maybe a bit apprehensive to sleep in my own bed after watching too many Spartacus movies with my dad, but not really afraid. I was a child with a happy, undisturbed upbringing and there was never anything to really fear. My biggest thrills were thus harmless compared to any real adventures or misfortunes others might have: riding the highest rollercoaster at our annual town fair.

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