Hotels seemed to be becoming a feature of my world record attempt journey around Borneo. Not that I planned it that way; this was how things were materialising for me.
As the chauffer drove into Balikpapan, I was notified by phone that I had a hotel room waiting for me. Again! I told my pre-arranged host I’d not be staying, and understandably, they were disappointed. I felt bad, but I had been placed in the hotel for a very good reason. And at 9:45 that night, it all became clear why.
Friends of a friend had heard of my arrival in Balikpapan and had become determined to have me make a voluntary appearance at the top private school in the city. I heard how amazing they thought I was, how incredible my activities are to them, and how their students would be arching over backwards to have me visit in person. Listening to all this was, I admit, rather charming, although I’m not sure that’s an accurate description of me at all! I was told that the school had recently been inviting big names to show the students what forms success can take in adult life. And they wanted me as their next appearance. I was flattered.
Having showered in my clean and spacious room and feeling fresh once again, I met the couple from the school in the lobby. The wife was a teacher there and I was wanted at the office at 9 o’clock in the morning. At a coffee table, we set to planning a presentation. Normally I need between 6 and 8 weeks to plan one of my storytelling appearances. That way, it gets done properly, there’s time to handle problems that occur, and the school staff have time to build my appearance into their educational messages.
But this time, both the school and I had less than 11 hours to get all the detailed planning right. I had none of my notes at hand because it’s all digitized and I need to print the documents. The school had just about no props I usually use. I was so tired I was irritated and there were days when my overtiredness was so extreme, I felt electrified with energy, strangely enough. And now I had to awake early once again, this time to perform in front of a rolling video camera to over 100 school children who were hungry for motivation and encouragement.
I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry, I was so exhausted. So I sighed a great, long sigh to give me the energy to see the next day’s planning through to a satisfactory conclusion. Just before midnight, we’d assembled a last-minute stage performance and shortly afterwards I climbed the hotel stairs – with difficulty, to my awaiting bed.