The world is getting smaller. Traveling to the most remote places on the globe has become commonplace. But it has come with a price. A price many of us didn’t realize until we put the world on pause.
Last Christmas, I traveled to a lonely Island in Indonesia. Far away from significant tourism, pretty much as remote as you can get. A 25 hours flight to Jakarta, Indonesia, another 4 hours flight to a more substantial Island, and then a 15 hours boat trip to Banda Islands, somewhere between Papua New Guinea and East Timor.
I had thoughts of scuba diving with sharks, sea turtles, and stingrays in a remote, intact, untouched place not spoiled by tourism. Somewhere beautiful and plentiful, where life is authentic. The locals survive by fishing, farming, and serving the daily catch to the few tourists that visit.
And it was as expected. A beautiful, absolutely gorgeous archipelago of small volcanic islands, blue waters, dream beaches, an abundance of fish, and coral reefs that you could access and snorkel right from the beach. Amazing, one of the best places I have ever visited.
I met a German couple that had been traveling for seven months, hiking in the wild forests of Papua New Guinea and Borneo. Seeking adventure, but more importantly, exploring the wilderness, places without tourism, places where the world has stood still.
We talked about how the world has changed over the years. How beautiful places, dream islands like Bali, Thailand, and the Philippines are full of hotels, bars, restaurants, and clubs. And how tourism has driven the commercialization of these once pristine locations, and the negative side of rampant tourism. Excess garbage on the beaches and in the oceans, overcrowded villages, traffic jams, dying or damaged coral reefs, and reduced fish populations.
Globalization has made it too easy for everyone to travel, and social media has opened us to places we never knew existed. With this new reality, we discussed what we, as travelers, could do to make a change. Of course, we came up with the obvious; don’t dump trash on beaches and in the water, care about the sea life, don’t damage the coral reef, but even if everyone did that, would it be enough? Or are there too many people traveling now?
We’ve all learned a valuable lesson in the past few months. The unthinkable can and will happen, and the world came to an abrupt stand-still. None of us ever thought this would happen, but it did. All over the globe, people have suffered from the loss of jobs and lives. Yet in the midst of one of the most tragic events in modern history, something amazing has happened—something unexpected, something extraordinary. Nature has fought back. Wildlife has returned, air pollution has decreased, and corruption of the beaches and water is reducing. With travel at a pause, nature has been allowed to heal. If only for a few months.
The world existed 10 Million years before humans, and I am convinced that Mother Earth will exist long after the last human is gone. The question is, will humans learn to live with nature instead of against it? Will we work to conserve this beautiful planet for our children, grandchildren, and the following generations?
With so many people traveling, maybe our plan won’t be enough. But we’ve learned over the past few months that mother nature is resilient. So perhaps if we take the time to do just one thing extra, it will make a difference. Pick up that extra piece of garbage, recycle it or, ride a bike instead of jumping in your car. Camp a few times locally instead of flying to a new destination every vacation. Then, just maybe, we can make a difference.
I am blessed to work in the RV industry for almost 20 years. At Truma, we care about the world we share. Camping and a passion for nature belong together. For this reason, Truma thinks long-term and acts sustainably. RVing or camping is probably one of the most environmentally friendly vacations you can take.
We are all together in this, let’s all do our part and hope for the best. Everyone, please stay safe!
President & CEO Truma North America