Fresh back from their very first successful and exhilarating adventure, we talk with Sue Parish and Sheldon Reed from Bootcamp Sumatra about their amazing journey …
> What is Bootcamp Sumatra?
Bootcamp Sumatra is about fitness, fun and adventure. It’s about getting out of your comfort zone and not just dreaming it, but doing it! It’s a specialised (awesome) program for those looking for something different – a new experience – and is a fun way to enhance your fitness while enjoying another culture and lifestyle.
It’s impossible to capture the emotion and excitement of our Sumatran journey in so few words. What was only one week seemed to hold the experiences of months.
Days were packed full to the brim with adventure, and yet we merged with our jungle setting – really bonding with the raw elements of life, so easily forgotten. ‘Absolute serenity’.
After years of travelling to Sumatra and knowing first hand the joy of blending her family life with those in the jungle, Sue’s passion for developing understanding and empathy between cultures combined with Sheldon’s fitness and business know-how resulted in what one of our participants stated as “an absolute life changing experience”… an experience of personal achievement, self discovery and connecting people.
> Wow! Sounds amazing! What were some of the stand-out moments?
All events took on such varied meaning to each of the participants. We all walked away with such treasured memories. All of us agree that the elephant trek was mind blowing! The sheer magnificence of these creatures was really moving. To interact with them in a true, almost untouched jungle setting was a real sensory overload!
Seeing the riverside jungle on the back of an elephant took us all to a new place of understanding and acceptance of the diversities of nature. We were so impressed with their handlers and the assistance provided – especially when we participated in the elephant bath time! Have you ever washed an elephant? It’s so much fun!
The elephants were so incredibly capable of traversing steep terrain; we were left wondering how such a big animal could be so nimble. We soon started to really appreciate their amazing strength as they marched against the current of a fast flowing river.
Of course, seeing the orangutans was also a stand-out moment. We had an on foot jungle trek to a unique and exclusive feeding platform, and seeing them make the descent from the canopy to feed on the fruits provided was just something out of this world. We were all reminded of how complacent we can be about appreciating the wonders of Mother Nature and her creatures.
One of the participants, Michael, had the birthday of a lifetime as we hiked up a volcano. It was an effort for the whole team, but the rewards were spectacular – as you could well imagine. Throughout the hike, as with every event, we really bonded together, and reaching the summit was the pinnacle of our group’s achievement. We were so proud … we had all come so far in such a few short days.
> How is the fitness element incorporated into the adventure program?
The bootcampers rose with the sun and had either a strength or cardio fitness training session, which was a great way to start the day. Team games and water sports were an integral part of our program. Each participant connected irrelevant of age, gender or place of origin.
Although challenging, the sessions were designed with various options, so everyone could participate at a level that suited their own fitness. No-one overdid it, but there was no time for slackening off either! We really focused on the fun and benefits of fitness, and joining with the locals proved, at times, to be hilarious!
> Were there any cultural barriers between your team and the locals?
No way! Our Sumatran outdoor support team ‘Bumi Outdoors’ were so accepting and caring. They assisted us with every activity and welcomed us into their lives, homes and hearts. We lived, breathed and ate the local way.
Our guides were always there supporting us, especially during the elephant river trek, tubing, the bat cave, waterfalls and volcano climb. We all let go of our differences and embraced each other as friends.
Above all, we had so much fun together! The people of Sumatra are so selfless, and we learned so much from them.
> Is that the driving force behind your school support and community assistance programs?
Absolutely! We aim to set up ongoing relationships between Sumatran schools and local teachers and students here in Australia – bringing people together from diverse cultural backgrounds. We will also be running experiences to allow Australian teachers to learn first hand what life is really like in remote Indonesian communities.
For every group we take to Sumatra, we contribute to the local community by providing assistance to local projects and donating resources to the local school to assist their education programs.
> Sounds great! When will you be running your next bootcamp trip?
Well, our next exciting Bootcamp Sumatra experience is departing Sydney and Brisbane on July 11th. Places are booking fast, so if you are interested in having the trip of a lifetime, the easiest way to secure your place is to check out www.bootcampsumatra.com for all the details and then download an application form.
There you will also find details of other great programs for you to experience:
*Discover Yourself in Sumatra – women’s journey of self empowerment and discovery, Departing 4th July.
*Schoolies with a Difference – the best schoolies experience ever!
*Teachers in Sumatra – amazing language and cultural experiences.
*Corporate Events in Sumatra – the ultimate team building experience.
Alternatively, you may wish to organise your own custom-made trip. Get out of your comfort zone. Don’t Just Dream it – Do it!
We look forward to seeing you there!
> Thanks for your time.
For more information, you can contact Susan Parish: 0429 428 563 or Sheldon Reed: 0407 435 366.
or visit: www.bootcampsumatra.com