‘Walking traveller’ from UK thrilled with Brunei experience
BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN
BRUNEI’S safe roads, pristine jungles and friendly citizens helped create an enjoyable experience for a walking traveller to the country.
The Tourism Development Department officially welcomed David Atthowe, who calls himself the “Nomadic Lion”, during a press conference at the Ministry of Industry and Primary Resource’s building yesterday.
Atthowe, a UK national, who has spent a total of 10 days in the country as of yesterday, plans to walk a total of 2,500 km from Sabah, all the way to the southern tip of Sarawak, walking through Brunei.
The 25-year-old started from Tawau in Sabah for his “Walking Borneo” project, on August 22. Earlier this year, the Norfolk native walked from Tanjung Piai in Johor to Wang Kelian in Perlis for his first Nomadic Lion project, “Walking Malaysia”.
Atthowe, who has spent the last six years living a nomadic lifestyle around Southeast Asia, said on his Nomadic Lion website that he started the Nomadic Lion project after realising that he could either waste his time to fight the change or simply let go and embrace it.
A schedule posted on the website showed that the Atthowe entered Brunei via the Temburong district on October 24, and was there until October 30, where he crossed Limbang and entered Brunei again on November 1.
Sharing his experience in Brunei with the media, Atthowe said that Brunei is really blessed to still have a lot of its jungle.
The self-proclaimed “nature lover” said that the forest in Temburong is “really healthy” and that he enjoyed Bukit Patoi and the Ulu Temburong National Park while he was in the district.
In the Brunei-Muara district, he found the Agrotechnology Park to be a “really nice” place. However, he was very enthused describing the mangroves found in Brunei. “The mangroves here are fantastic, really old mangrove trees and really big roots.”
He said that the mangroves found in Brunei “are one of the best” he has seen.
He said that Brunei has a massive potential to attract European tourists, as many would love to see the “maintained” forests.
Atthowe agreed with Mariani Hj Sabtu, the Acting Director of the Tourism Development Department, that Brunei has the right to claim itself as the Green Heart of Borneo.
Atthowe said that he has enjoyed his time in Brunei so far, adding that both the nature and the people have been incredible. “The people have been phenomenal, I’ve had so much help and support here, even people who don’t know me have been really helpful and friendly.”
Atthowe, who has walked over 1,200km to reach Brunei, said that Brunei is the “most blessed area in Borneo to walk in”.
He said that Brunei is a very “easy” and “safe” country to walk in. He praised Brunei for its “really good pavements” and “lovely gaps” by the side of the road where cars are not allowed to be driven.
Atthowe will be in the country until November 13, when he will do a 30km walk from Seria to the border of Sarawak.
Mariani welcomed Atthowe and invited him to explore Brunei’s rainforest, where there are “a lot of very unique flora and fauna”.
The Nomadic Lion has currently reached the halfway point of his “Walking Borneo” project, and in a comment of his journey so far, he said that there is a lot of crossover between Brunei, Sabah and Sarawak.
“There are a lot of similarities but there are also differences,” he said, adding that this was the interesting part of his journey.
Responding to a question on how to encourage more youths to be aware of the need to look after the environment, Atthowe said youths to forge a connection with nature to understand it better.
“People who grow up in kampungs, know where chickens and eggs comes from,” said Atthowe giving an example.
He compared that a child raised in the city and told that the forest is a scary place will of course feel disconnected from nature.
“Education and experience (is important), so take children to the forests, so they get to learn (about the forest) themselves.”
He told the audience that he has another project lined up after this current one. “My big dream, my big vision is Walking Asia,” said the Nomadic Lion.
According to Atthowe, the “Walking Asia” project is slated to start in January 2016.
He is planning to walk through 19 countries for the five-year project, where he said a different charity will be featured each year.
“The concept of the walk is the biggest participatory walk ever in the history of Asia.”
The Brunei Times