Off to Borneo

For the first time in 15 years, I’m leaving. I’ll be gone for over two weeks. I don’t think I’ll be thinking about work. I’m going to be immersed in a different world–a beautiful and endangered land where orangutans and others are suffering and dying as their habitat is destroyed.

The focal point of the trip will be the orangutan sanctuary at Camp Leakey, located inside Tanjung Puting National Park (which itself is under threat.) I’m bringing antibiotics and syringes for the orangutans at the sanctuary. And I’m bringing a laptop for Dr. Birute Galdikas, who has been studying the orangutans since 1971 and is now fighting to save them.

May I bear witness for these denizens of the rainforest upon my return.

The car is sold!

Quick progress update:  Just wanted all my blog readers to know that I am now officially car-free!

My 2002 Toyota Prius with 45,000 miles has now been sold.

The car sold for $9,400 to a young actuary.   I am a little nostalgic for it.   My Toyota was a good car, but it couldn’t transcend its genre.  It was generating greenhouse gases and other pollutants, just like any other car.

My next decision is how to donate the money from the car.  I’m still trying to learn about the rainforest crisis in Borneo.  What is the best way to go?  Here are the organizations I am researching:

The World Land Trust (land acquisition)

The World Land Trust just acquired 220 acres of land in Malaysia.  I’m hoping to speak with them tomorrow about their next steps.

The Rainforest Action Network (RAN)

RAN is putting pressure on US agribusinesses to stop purchasing products like palm oil from producers that are destroying the rainforest.


The WWF has been the primary moving force behind the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil, which is producing palm oil that is grown without damaging the rainforest.

Over the next few weeks, I will get touch with these organizations to decide where I should donate the money from the car (and other money as well).



My Dad and the Orangutans

On a day in June 2000, a doctor performed a biopsy on my father that showed he had mucosal melanoma, a rare and fatal cancer.  The next morning, as I was standing in the shower, a shock wave of emotion and loss hit me.  In that moment, I realized that my family would never be the same again.  My father’s illness and impending death became a grim shadow in my life.
My life with the shadow was divided into two parts.  In my normal life, I continued running my business and taking care of my rescue pug, Tristin.  In my shadow life, I poured over medical research, corresponded with doctors, and reviewed all available clinical trials, trying to find a cure for my dad.
Finding a balance between my normal life and the shadow life was challenging.  Of course, nothing was more important that helping my father.  But what was the likelihood that–even if I devoted my every waking moment to keeping him alive–I could anything to save him?  Thus I alternated between guilt and despair, until his death in February 2004.