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Johannes Holmberg

UI developer & designer

The towering jungle was majestic, so tall that the top of it was cut off, wrapped in a thin layer of mist. I wondered what kind of things could be hiding in it. Beasts? Treasures? Monsters?

For a short time I felt like Jim Hawkins out of Treasure Island. Or maybe like Charlie Pace from the TV-show “Lost”. I shook the thoughts off my head and we took a walk along the main road in the village to hunt down a sleeping place for the night. Some of my questions were immediately answered when I happened to look up a tree above me, and saw hundreds of flying foxes hanging upside-down from its branches. I’ve never seen them before but they look like bats on steroids. Around five times as big. After some trial and error we managed to get a roof over our heads. But that was basically just what the accommodation provided.

A dark and stuffy place, two bare bed bunks, no furniture to speak of, an ill-chosen lime green color covered the walls, a loose plastic mat was supposed to make out for the floor, fractures everywhere, spider webs decorating the corners, a door of such rotten tree it could easily be bended open, a sink, a toilet and a cold shower. That was it.

At the middle of one wall hanged a crooked painting of some utopian looking house placed in a beautiful floral garden. What was that supposed to be? Was it meant to make up for the otherwise horrendously arranged room? Nevertheless, it was a place to stay for the night.

The next morning we rented bicycles to explore the island further. We set off in a random direction and after a while found ourselves on a narrow sloping trail made out of pebbles. Slanting on the mountainside, it was too slippery for the bikes to go on so we led them through this pathway. We were on some kind of plateau, had the jungle on our left, and the ocean below us on the right. We were clearly at the end of the road and neither people nor vehicles could be seen. The mist from last night had subsided and the complete beauty of the jungle forest, stretching towards the sky, was now ours to take in.

Further down the road we spot a last accessible beach before the rocks made it impossible to continue. On our way down we were greeted by a gang of passing monkeys. They were walking on the net of twisted powerlines hanging next to the trail, and funny thing was that earlier we’d seen some squirrels using the same kind of preference for transportation. My friend framed it very well when announcing it to be the “Highway of the Jungle”.

We got down to the sheltered beach and I took a slow walk along the coastline. It felt like the place had totally been left out from reality. As when it had been made, someone had failed to put evidence of maintenance there. Framed between a set of protective cliffs and the forest cutting its edge, the place just ‘was’. For a moment there was nothing available to prove the existence of mankind. Not a piece of glass, not a crippled aluminum can, no traces of footprints, not even random debris was to be found in the sand. In the background there was just the towering, impenetrable jungle. From down here, it looked so mighty and thick as if it could swallow you whole. Like if you entered its green gates, you’d never find your way back to sunlight and civilization.

Lost in thought for a minute, I averted my eyes and turned them back to the ocean, where a passing freighter once again declared the continuation of the outside world. In the water there was a system of perfectly squared rocks, sticking up a couple of inches from the surface. Just as they’d been put there for some imponderable reason. A quick downpour of rain started. I sat down and had to laugh. It was one of those moments.

On our way back we had to carefully make way for a couple of toads, some smaller monitor lizards, and other creatures that couldn’t as effectively make use of the hanging “Highway of the Jungle”.

It’s fascinating actually how being close with nature is changing my way of thinking. Putting myself on the brink of all I’ve previously known, is throwing light on all sorts of different feelings and behavior. Sometimes I wonder what’s so important to strive for. Important enough to sacrifice health and well-being for some purpose undefined. Sometimes it feels like just “being in motion” has become the false sense of security-motive regarded as something holy. Being busy seems to be the prime weapon against reason. So long as we keep pushing, it doesn’t matter to what end. Never thinking about the consequences. Not thinking about what the own inner voice is telling. Not giving thought to that I may act as my own destroyer if I keep pushing without reason.