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?