World trekkers invite Bruneians to 5th journey

National 2 minutes, 24 seconds

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

BRUNEI’S global trekkers are inviting expressions of interest to participate in their fifth road expedition in 2014 to mark Brunei’s 30th year of independence.

The journey is estimated to be six weeks long beginning March 2014, with destinations and routes to be decided.

Norhayati Abu Bakar, who first gained local fame when she scaled Kilimanjaro with a team of four other women in 2000, spoke to The Brunei Times about her plans for an ambitious four-wheel drive adventure.

“We will use the Jambo Dua, waiting for us in Austria now. We’ve outfitted a Toyota Hilux for sleeping and we tested it in East Europe from April to September,” says Norhayati.

This new adventure will bid farewell to her veteran four-wheel drive Toyota Landcruiser, dubbed Jambo.

The steadfast vehicle served her well during a two-year trip celebrating Brunei Darussalam’s silver jubilee with her husband, Harun Kurt Eichbauer.

That journey almost rounded the globe, with visits spanning Europe, South Europe/Africa, the Americas and Australia before ending at Malaysia and Brunei, making Norhayati a national icon in rugged adventuring.

Next year’s trip is planned on a larger scale, though, as the couple will not travel alone. They propose to lead a contingent of hardy adventurers through a suggested three-leg tour of the world that would test their endurance in cold, hot and altitude extremes.

Depending on the number of participants, the contingent would travel in a staggered convoy led by the couple, taking them first on journey from the permafrosts of Trans-Siberian Russia to Western Europe.

A second leg begins on the western coast of Africa, moving south through the burning Sahara Desert and passing through Durban aiming for an experience of the Nelson Mandela legacy, ending in the southernmost Cape Town to visit the Malay community.

The third and final leg would see participants roughing it on the roads on the South American continent, eventually climbing the heights of Peru under the duress of high altitude.

Each leg is estimated to take six weeks, with a three-week rest period in between to transport vehicles over sea. Participants would also then have the option of following individual legs. The entire duration of Norhayati’s grand ambition is 26 weeks.

“The possibilities are all open for discussion. The extent of the journey will also rely on support and resources we manage to secure,” said Norhayati.

“We would welcome all types of participants, and depending on suitability, we could also visit places of Malay or Muslim significance, taking Brunei’s people and knowledge there. A doctor or engineer on the team would also be able to take a direct Bruneian contribution not just to the team but in community service to the places we visit,” she added.

Participants should be able, healthy, fit and should own a four-wheel vehicle. Interested parties should contact Norhayati at jambobrunei@yahoo.com.

The Brunei Times