Some trips you can’t sum up with just words. The memories, inside jokes, feelings and connections can’t be properly described. Some trips leave such a lasting impact and impression on a person that a sound, smell or image will bring back a rush of memories and plaster a smile onto their face.
My most recent trip was filled with enough love, adventure, connections, BASE jumping and laughter to sustain a person for a life time. But every positive has its negative and this time both ends of the spectrum culminated into one of the most memorable trips I have taken.
After completing all of the travel details we were set for a month long adventure traveling throughout Malaysia for 3 weeks, visiting 3 different cities and participating in the exceptionally organized Malaysia BASE tour arranged by Garry Cunningham. Following the Malaysia excursion we would move on to Thailand for one final week making the trip an even month long.
On September 9th the adventure started. The first 14hr flight didn’t depart from LAX until almost midnight but just because I had a full additional day that I had labeled a “travel day” didn’t mean that my master procrastinator mentality (when it comes to packing for trips)wasn’t a factor. In typical Clair fashion the morning of the 9th I was no where near prepared for my trip. Running around packing, putting check marks on my list of things not to forget (these lists are curtail for people like me who pack last minute). To add to the rush of the day I also had a 3 hr long appointment scheduled to finish one of my arm tattoos with the incredibly talented Alex Edge. With not a minute to spare my tattoo was completed and wrapped with they typical clear plastic wrap, the bags were thrown in the car and we were off to LAX.
One flight to china, a flight to KL Malaysia and one final flight to Sabah Malaysia and we had made it to our first destination. around 30 hrs after we left our home in San Diego. A medium sized city with awesome vegan food and an amazing circular building that was just waiting for us to jump. 14 of jumps off this awesome structure over the course of 3 days the first event went off with very little trouble. A few minor incidents and damage to the building by a few jumpers but everyone walked away. With the conclusion of the first event the entire group of jumpers was invited on a white water rafting trip. An adventure outside of what most of us are used to the majority of us accepted and joined the adventure. Our boat, obviously being the most adventurous, got the go ahead by our guides to body surf a section of the rapids. They were ridiculously fun and we wanted to do it again. The guide in our boat said we could do the next set if we wanted to. So naturally we took that as a sign that it was safe for us to go down outside of the boat. The rapids were HUGE and the water was not exactly shallow, but there were massive rocks. As all of us descended the rapids, swallowing mass amounts of water, choking, getting dunked, pulled under, bashed around and smashed into the rocks, each one of us immediately knew we had made a huge mistake. After what felt like 10 minutes and what was realistically about 2 minutes we finally made it to a flat section of the water where we all quickly swam back to the boat, hauled ourselves in and did a quick head count to make sure our entire group was still with us. We were all a little more pale and for some reason our tour guides were laughing at us. When we asked them why they were laughing they said “you just set record! most people to ever go down body rapids” we asked what the previous record was and they said “zero… there was no record, even US navy came on a tour and wouldn’t go down them with out the boat”. All of our stomachs sank and we realized that unlike the united states there is no real requirement for safety there for there was no expectation that they would want to keep us safe. However after realizing we all survived and set a record we all smiled huge and laughed nervously… We also stayed in the boat for the rest of the tour!
After an exhausting day that totaled 18 hours of adventure we made it back to our hotel and promptly crashed out, dreading our early flight in the morning to our next destination.
At 10AM we arrived at the second building location in the beautiful and small town of Sibu Sarawak Malaysia. Alex and I arrived a day prior to everyone else with the thought in mind that we would have the ability to catch up on some work and have a rest day, but with the worst internet in a city I have ever experienced the work was pretty much a wash, we instead slept most of the day and throughout the entire night.
The jumping began a day later and with a growing number of spectators we all quickly realized that this was unlike any other BASE event we had been to. We had celebrity status with the locals rushing us for photos as soon as we landed and with each photo taken 10 more people would line up. After the firs day apparently word got around because there were an exponential amount more people. Everyone in Malaysia was so nice but the group mentality and desire for pictures took over and at one point I had a kid grabbing my hair, a girl standing on my canopy and another person trying to pull me in the opposite direction. Security had to escort me back to the packing area before I got mobbed any more.
After Sibu it was on to KL. With our hotel right next to the tower we had the pleasure of looking at the beautiful structure from our room which just amped us up even more for the event. The KL tower being just over 900ft tall from the jumping platform was quite a sight. Towering over everything else it welcomed us jumpers with opened arms, and after the safety briefing it was time to charge again!!
So many jumps and so many jumpers. There were a total of 108 BASE jumpers who made it to the KL Tower from 20 countries. Australia, Austria, Belarus, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Japan, Kuwait, Luxembourg, Malaysia, New Zealand, Norway, Romania, Russia, Spain, Switzerland, United Kingdom and United States. Of the 108 jumpers there were 10 female jumpers.
Jumping at the KL tower took place over 4 days and 3 nights. One of the days just so happened to be my Birthday, so in celebration of my 26th years on this wonderful planet my Boyfriend Alex and another friend Jeff decided the best way to wish me a happy birthday was to grab me by my ankles and wrists and throw me off the tower! It was one of my favorite jumps of the trip and one that I will remember for the rest of my existence!!
After the KL event concluded myself and several other jumpers made our way over to Tonsai Thailand to continue the shenanigans for another week before returning home. Cliff jumps landing on a spectacular beach was a great way to end our trip but unfortunately the adventure continued when myself and Alex got food poisoning during our travels home. Taking full advantage of the barf bags on the plane the entire 30 hr journey home, China didn’t want to let us on the plane for our final 14 hr long flight back to LAX. Obviously being suspicious that we had ebola as we threw up in the corner of the terminal. They asked where we have traveled recently and if we had a fever. But my charm in between puking apparently eased their minds and they allowed us to board! I have never been so happy to be home after that travel experience. What an adventure it was for sure!!
Thank you to everyone who was a part of this incredibly awesome trip! You all make this life so much more special!