Samboja Lestari

Giving a helping hand to some friends in Borneo

Those who know me well often groan when I subject them to my frequent ramblings about orangutans. As I’ve remarked on this blog before, I’ve long had a fascination with the human like tendencies of these great apes. Back in October 2019, I embarked on a two-week volunteering experience in Borneo. It was an action-packed trip, so brace yourself, this post is a long one….

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A rustic retreat

Research and relaxation in Bali

Back in October I jetted off yet again to South East Asia for a month-long combined holiday, volunteering and business trip across Indonesia and Singapore. Little did I know with the coronavirus raging across the world, this was to be my last overseas trip for some time to come. Here’s a recap of the first part of my trip as I visited the volcanic island of Bali…

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Rewilding Dundreggan

Joining Trees for Life on a conservation week in Scotland

The state of Earth’s forests has been of growing concern to me over the past few years. As the planet warms from the impacts of climate change, forests are our greatest natural weapon to counter rising carbon emissions and help us adapt to more volatile temperatures. Not to mention, they are home to over half of the earth’s biodiversity and wildlife. While the causes and rate of deforestation across the Amazon…

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Big Sur

A heavenly drive along the Pacific Coast Highway

The final destination on our road-trip was further up the Californian coast in the serene region of Big Sur. The Pacific Coast Highway was closed due to a major landslide in 2017 which buried part of the road, so the satnav suggested we stick to Highway 101 North for 100 miles which I wasn’t particularly excited about. After a brief visual inspection on Google maps,…

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Gaslamps and glitz

Exploring coastal cities in southern California

We set off from Stovepipe Wells early, bound for San Diego at the very southern tip of California near the Mexican border. We anticipated taking the same spectacular hillside road that originally brought us to Death Valley from Bakersfield, but instead the navigation system took us through the heart of the sister Panamint Valley. For 50 miles we drove without seeing the faintest sight of…

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Turning the tide

Success in my fight against single use plastics

We’ve been inundated this year about the impact of plastic pollution to the environment. Whether it’s images of sea creatures trapped in throwaway plastic containers or once pristine beaches now overcome with mountains of waste, it’s hard not to feel a sense of anger at the devastation that our wasteful society is inflicting on the natural world. As I’ve become aware of the plastics crisis…

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A fruitful endeavour

Building an irrigation system for some freshly potted plants

With spring in full bloom, this was the year I’d try my hand at gardening. What started off as a Sunday stroll through a garden centre ended up being quite a sizeable project. Over the course of this summer I’ve been busy planting my own fruit and vegetables, and – in part due to my own laziness – building a solar powered irrigation system to…

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Pastures new

Embarking on a new career opportunity

Yesterday I concluded my 7-year career at US investment bank J.P. Morgan. Since joining as an intern in the summer 2011, my experience with the bank has fundamentally built the platform for my future career. Looking back, I’ve grown in more ways than I realise. But this year I promised myself to find my passion and look hard for a new challenge. My time at…

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Into the furnace

Deserted in Death Valley

We started our descent from the Sierra Nevada mountains in desperate need of fuel. A combination of our Mustang’s thirsty engine and the constant hilly terrain meant we were achieving truly horrendous fuel economy. We’d almost run the tank dry but luckily found a fuel station just in time. Reaching Death Valley involved a long ‘U’ route around the Sierra Nevada mountains, as the Tioga…

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Sierra Nevada

Trekking through Yosemite

I was immediately thrown into the deep-end as we departed SF airport. The early afternoon traffic was pilling up on Highway 101 as we slowly made our way south east through the Bay Area. Driving on the wrong side of the road wasn’t the challenge; I last drove in Iceland a few weeks prior which was also on the left side. The challenge on the…

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