My Camera, Chai & Car: our world



I just finished reading a rather remarkable book called “North Into Night” by Alvah Simon. Avah is a professional adventurer, and does the kind of stuff that tugs at the romantic part of my heart.

In this book, he talks about his year in the Arctic. He spent much of it alone with his cat, Halifax, and the rest of it with his wife, and Halifax.

Towards the end of the stay, a photographer popped up, and wanted to shoot the gyrfalcons. There was, he told Alvah, an asking price of 250,000 USD per egg. The offer was made by a Saudi Sheikh, who wanted such an egg for his breakfast. At some point, it seems that the photographer sneaked off with one of the eggs.

So, why do we travel? 

Why do we want to experience the world in which we live? What is it that draws us to the wild, if that is the kind of travel we like? What kind of travellers are we? Are we the kind that simply want to record what we see, for the trophy? Do we, on the other hand, take from nature? Or, do we give back to nature?

I am going to quote Alvah’s thoughts and writings, after he discovered that two of the eggs had been purloined.

On a larger scale – be it our need for precious metals, hydroelectric power, or marine resources – we will all face the same decisions, feel the same pressure to perform and produce. We will always be tempted to take a little more, push the land and it’s limits just a little bit harder. Do one or two birds matter? Will one more mineral mine matter, or a few more drilling platforms alter the delicate balance? No, not on their own. But, person by person, decision by decision, year by year, we will either nurture and protect this natural treasure for the future generations, or we will not and our world will be profoundly diminished.”

The act of travelling itself means that we take from the planet.

How can we give back, so that we are, at least neutral in our relationship with the planet?

The journeys can, must, and will continue. Its what we do, how we travel, and what level of sacred relationship we develop with the planet that will make all the difference in the end?

How do you travel?


  1. Hi from one Rajiv to another Rajiv . Believe you are from an Army background . Love to see you read my Book on short stories . It’s not a travel document : but 20 short stories : tragedy , comedy , wit & humour .

    1. What’s the title? Yes, my dad was in the Army, and I often wonder why I did not join. There is a tinge of regret that i live with

      1. Nope I didn’t!
        Made a savoury tomato mushroom onions mixture and had it with a small baked potato and goats cheese!

  2. I love nature and enjoyed traveling to see it. It is so true that each of us has an impact and it is important to think about that. I recently heard a talk, “365 Days, 18,000 Miles, 617 Species, Zero Petroleum” by Dorian Anderson at the Linnaean Society of NY . He traveled with a close to zero carbon footprint.
    I don’t feel so bad about not being able to drive all over to look at nature — I have narrowed my scope to what is nearby. Happiness and nature is right next to us.

  3. Gyrfalcons are beautiful raptors. Saudi sheiks are mostly an annoying case of arrogant excess. That Simon would consider snatching a gyrfalcon egg is an outrage.

    1. Oh… Simon did not consider snatching it. A photographer, in spring, came a visiting, and he snatched it. Alvah Simon recorded his fury at the incident, and then later wrote the lines I quoted

      1. Well, I can imagine your anger. I felt the same when I read it in the book. 250,000 USD, plus expenses, plus the loss of a beautiful bird, just because you have the power and money to indulge.

        It is just wrong in every way. So is the photographer who stole it

  4. My Dream is to travel to those places I want to see so that I can document with my camera this planet’s Beauty. My intention is to write a book showing this Beauty and how if mankind does not stop exploiting this earth, that Beauty will be destroyed. Mother has given me so much. I am giving back now by what I do at Petals but I do wish to do more. This sickness of exploiting Mother must stop or in the process all will be destroyed. I pray that does not happen.

    1. What is Petals?

      You should travel and document this world.

      I started my photography with black and white film. I still use the medium. Anyhow, before I left India for China, the sky used to be blue. Now, it is grey-blue

      I grew up in a town called Nainital, in the hills. It’s about 6,800 feet above sea level. The highest daytime temperature in the year used to be 25 degrees celsius, and we would get snow towards the end of November. Now, there is no snow, and they use ceiling fans and air-conditioners during the summer. this, is what we call progress, and it is sad

      1. Petals is my blog. (smile) Yes the climatic changes are sad and are a great detriment to the earth’s stability. I am not able to travel right now, Rajiv, because I care for special needs cats, some of them needing much care. Once they are leave this realm, I will have the time and space to travel. Until then, I have my blog. ❤

      2. Aaah! Petals Unfloding!
        What is a special needs cat? Physical needs, or something else?

        While walking this evening, I was listening to one of my favourite songs when I was a kid. It’s called “Happiness” by Ken Dodd. The lyrics and music are brilliant, and so relevant to simplicity, the environment, and the joy of living

      3. Special needs cats are those cats born with illnesses that have no cures. I take care of them, and my husband and I study Homeopathy to treat them in order to give them a quality of life as possible. Lots of Love, lots of hours, and lots of other natural treatments as well are employed.
        Yes, Rajiv, simplicity in Life is best. Joy of Living will not find you. You have to find it. Some days are easier then others, but when I do find Joy, I fall into Bliss and Sweet JOY. I too Love music yet at times Silence is what I yearn as well. Just to hear the birds singing again brings such Joy to me.
        May you have a great day! I have enjoyed this conversation! ❤

  5. To see the world is how we connect and try to understand the world we share. We become aware of similarities and learn to appreciate, and respect our differences. It is the people of the world that we connect with and we do it through exposure to their culture, language, food, music and customs .

      1. We can write about it, capture places in photos, create music, paint pictures. However, we have only the most basic knowledge of these places until we have lived there for some time. Even then it will be from our vantage point.

  6. Thought provoking. I think it’s human kinds instincts to go beyond. Unlike any other species on this planet though, we have the ability to use our minds to counteract instinct. I hope we do a better job. ITs scary how we use our planet. I’m all for population control as part of the equation.

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