Mankind is not likely to salvage civilization unless he can evolve a system of good and evil which is independent of heaven and hell.
– George Orwell
Three months ago, I yearned for a vacation where I could eat, sleep and do little else. And the universe conspired to hand it to me on a glittering gold platter in the form of Phuket. Delayed gratification, but hey, that’s the way the universe works :) And why such an Orwellian quote to start describing a pristine beach? Read on.
Thailand, quite simply, breaks my heart. Its sparkling beaches, medieval ruins and soaring northern mountains whip up an image of paradise in my head. But its human trade (and zoos, even), elephant horror stories and tiger terror tales wrench my heart. It’s a classic case of people depending on tourists for a living, but in ways that blurs the line between right and wrong, good and evil.
It’s not just Thailand. It’s all over Asia. And the more I research travel in this area, the more cognizant I am about being a responsible tourist. Asia is home to 60% of humanity and a large rainforest swath (even amidst the chaotic cities, yes) which is home a ton of animal and plant species, and it really makes me wonder about the intractable problems of migrants, locals and tourists and their sources of income and leisure. It has no easy answer. At least not in my lifetime.
What I can do in my lifetime, though, is be an individual change maker; to educate myself about green and ethical travel, and preach to those who will listen to me. Travel is so personal that everyone grows into their own style, all I wish is that this vector runs as a common thread through every type of nomadic heart.
Methinks one can tell that Phuket made me a starry-eyed optimist for a day, eh? The quiet southern bays of Phuket did indeed provide a much needed rest from this ongoing storm in my head. Picture time!
Photo Courtesy: B