I learned a lot from this trip.
Not only the trip itself, but from the planning until the end.
Planning was started back in May 2008, with the help of Kong Yen & Agatha for the air ticket booking.
Then until Oct 2008, when the booking for the hostel was opened, initially me and Weihan thought of booking the Mt Kinabalu hostel, and would form a DIY trip
Because of the room availability, end up Weihan & Agatha were forced to split from our group (else we'd have a group of 18)
However, Weihan and I soon found out that it's a good idea to find an agent to take care of the group's itinerary.
We spent some time during a dinner, and we found the agent - Borneo Eco Tour.
Physically, I started some weekend brisk walk in FRIM since... late April 08?
Personally, and definitely, I thought it wasn't enough.
The so called training only became more frequent in the last two months.
A month before the trip was when my cash reserve went -ve.
Spent almost RM600 for the trip's final payment
Spent RM300+ for a new rucksack (end up didn't really use, wtf)
And other misc stuff
This was the hardest part.
For about half of the group members were people that I didn't know or not so close.
So, I relied on email.
I emailed + talked a lot with the agent to finalise the itinerary - actually not much to finalise, just that we were discussing about which route to take, its pros and cons, and the hostel selection + the cost.
By the way, Gmail is a good email system - it's easy to organise
Then, spreading the information to the group members was sort of a headache - if there are info update, means more emails to send?
The situation was avoided by using Google Documents. I created an online spreadsheet, my updates will be auto-republished and people can view it online anytime (what's more, you can export it, print it at ease)
Lastly, I used the SMS services, part of my PennyTel account service, to send sms to all the people.
It was easier and it's free (because I paid for monthly subscription of the call + SMS)
Outcome + Conclusion
This one is the matter most - if it's planned and if it still failed, means the organiser has got problem
I can sort of make some conclusion:
1) Outsourcing is good, I let the agent take charge from end to end, and the group didn't really have to worry much about transportation etc
2) With help from Sarah (the secretary & active group photographer & motivator) & Kuan Yew (helped a lot in group purchase and info sharing) the trip was run even better than I thought
3) A "trip closure"gathering was held at Chun Hung's house. Really appreciate his offer for the space and, his mum's cooking was really GREAT. The dinner was really good.
4) Thanks to Kong Yen for his map to Chun Hung's house. It was clear and concise :)
5) Following tools really helped me a lot:
Gmail - help you to organise email, in the way you want as well
Google Documents - you can share your document with your friends, update & republish whenever you want, and you can even let others to collaborate
Picasa - Organise the photo at ease, tune the photo at ease
Adobe Lightroom - Organise the photo at ease, tune the photo at ease (with better result)
Facebook - photo sharing, viewing, comment
I'm glad that this project had come to an end, and most importantly, I thought it ended quite well ;)
I learned a lot from this trip.