I’m back! A lot has happened since the last time I blogged earlier this summer when I was in Belize for my professional placement. Since then I wrote and submitted my masters dissertation, thus completing my masters degree, moved out of Cambridge and began a journey traveling by foot and bicycle in Asia.
The title of my masters project ended up being “Understanding the socio-economic impacts of conservation: developing a monitoring strategy for integrated landscape management in Belize”. I was pleasantly surprised to receive a ‘Distinction’ for it, which has encouraged me to offer to share it with anyone who is interested in reading it. Just send me an email or post a comment here and I will send you a copy.
The journey I am on now has to do with exploring the interface between the environment, outdoor sports and adventure. I started in Nepal where I went to trek in the Himalayas with two friends, Valérie and Gerard, who have been traveling “into the green” to learn about the green side of our world and conservation efforts along the Silk Road for the past seven months. You can read their thoughtful writing about their experiences or simply be enchanted by their stunning photos on intothegreen.ch. Seeing images of terraced hillsides and massive erosion in the Himalayan foothills in my high school geography class is what helped me understand and want to be involved in ‘sustainable development’ so it was important for me to finally get a chance to see this part of the world. The picture to the left is from the plane on the way into Kathmandu.
We trekked for three weeks around the Annapurna range, an incredible place that currently supports a relatively low impact type of nature-based tourism. Unfortunately, the construction of a road along the trail threatens the future of this place as an outdoor lovers’ destination. Nepal must have some of the world’s most beautiful trails for hiking and rivers for rafting, and yet the government has so many roads and dams planned that their options for environmentally friendly tourism are gradually being lost. After failing to find a guiding company that would take me on a five day rafting trip highly recommended by a friend who had done it 10 years ago I finally found out that that experience does not exist anymore. The Kali Gandaki has since been dammed and only a three day rafting trip is now possible.
Maybe we need to start a list of Endangered Experiences…
Now I am in Thailand where I am bike touring with my friend Adam who is cycling from New Zealand back to Switzerland to raise awareness and money for melanoma research. Though he had a melanoma a few years ago, he loves the outdoors and hopes to inspire people to get outside – while being careful about the sun. Clearly it worked on me because here I am with my bicycle and no plans to go home anytime soon! His writing and photos that will make you quit your job and buy a bike too are at keeptheaspidistraflying.com.
Soon I hope to write more about nature based tourism, plastics pollution, sustainable sports and travel, wildlife highlights like Himalayan vultures and marine bioluminescence and more! Until then you can check out a few of my photos from biking and photos from Nepal on Flickr.