THE BALANCE OF FACTS
THE BALANCE OF FACTS
THE BALANCE OF FACTS
THE BALANCE OF FACTS
The Dreamtime, or the Dreaming, portrays the Aboriginal beliefs in spiritual existence. According to the tribes that first settled down in the continent, the Dreaming's roots date all the way back to the very begging of the creation of the world. The meaning and ideology of the term is generally not so well-understood by non-indigenous people as it is referred to as part of the culture of one of the early nations, which differs from modern perceptions.
The Spirits were the creators of everything. They made the land and the seas, the rocks and the plants, the sky and the earth. They were the higher power and the Australian Aborigines spent their lifetimes honoring this power, which guided their path and shaped their way of thinking. Not only creators of everything, which could be seen as well as felt, the Spirits also gave the Aborigines the Dreaming.
The time when everything started existing according to the initial Australians, was called the Dreaming. This is the foundation of the continent's culture. The origin of the Dreaming goes way back - 65 000 years back in time to be exact. The Ancestors of the nation shaped the land, forming some parts of it as sacred. The Aborigines were very careful and overprotective of those places, strongly believing in their significance.
The Australian Aborigines are known to have believed that the world didn't have any shape and was therefore empty. Darkness dominated, and life was simply asleep, but this changed when the creation began happening. After the Dreaming and the influence of the Spirits, objects began taking shapes and came to be. They created the four elements: water, earth, air and fire, as well as all the planets, the Sun and the Moon. The Dreaming therefore is a continuous process, which never ended. It is a small cosmos on its own, unifying the past, present and the future into one.
The Australian Aborigines' home riches so many vivid areas of the continent, including Fraser Island, Tasmania, Palm Island, Groote Eylandt and Mornington Island. The Aborigines had very strong believes in relation to the powers of the land, claiming that they never owned it - it rather owned them. The only reason they were able to call it their home is because they were looking after it and the land was taking care of the people in return.
Equally important to the Dreaming was the tribes' understandings of the disappearance of the Spirits. There came a time, when the creators of everything vanished from sight. Some of them were thought to have started living in sacred places, which is why the Aborigines perceived their homeland to be so sacred. The ancestors of today's Australians used to believe that the creators started living in rocks, in water holes and some went up to the sky to guide the people from above and keep them safe. Others transformed completely, taking the forms of the rain, the lightnings and the thunderstorms so they could be part of peoples' life.
Among the hundred's different Aboriginal languages, there isn't a word to describe 'time', because to them this simply doesn't exist. Dreaming and Dreamtime are used to replace it and summarize the ideologies of the Aborigines about everything they knew, everything they could see, feel and experience. This is why the Dreaming has such a vivid, and overwhelming meaning and has survived the obstacles of time. For the past couple thousand years, the Dreaming has built a rich cultural heritage that can identify a whole nation.
Read more about the Land, its connection to people and the way it has been perceived from different generations in the very first print issue of ORIGIN. The Land Issue covers varied topics, most of which remain related to cultural aspects of the land and its importance.
A lot of people travel to explore places and learn about them which is the message that ORIGIN wants to spread. With traveling, however, comes certain responsibilities that we should all be aware of. Elephants riding has become a popular way to explore locations by land. People have been doing this as part of their trips, mostly to places such as Thailand, Nepal, Cambodia and other parts of Asia. It is a common thing to see in certain places in Africa as well. We investigated the activity to explain why it is wrong and riding elephants should be banned everywhere.
Our first print issue studies culture and traveling represented through the land. We explored various location around the globe and learned what makes the land so valuable, which nations cherish it and how it helps us establish an identity. Traveling is important to us but traveling responsibly and making an impact is what we feel proud to stand behind. This is why riding elephants as a way of amusement should be reconsidered.
Let’s talk about the details. Elephants are very caring and extremely intelligent animals. It is a well-known fact that they never forget anything. When kept in captivity instead of spending their life in the wild, elephants die younger. Unlike in other species, this is common for the gentle giants and is often a result for stress.
Many African cultures respect elephants, believing they symbolize strength, loyalty and power. However, power can be a very tender concept. Elephant used as a tourism tool suffer from great pain daily. Elephants can be hurt very severely from the weight of carrying people and a trainer on their backs. The reason for this is the design of their spines. They have sharp protrusions, extending upwards from their spine instead of having round spinal disks. The protrusions and the tissue that serves to protect them can be harmed easily from weight pressure. Once a damage to their spine has been made, there is no going back and sometimes the harm can be irreversible. While this can’t be physically seen, the harm that the chairs can do to the elephants’ skin is. It is often the case that the chairs and the weight on their back can damage the animal’s skin and cause pain to their body. The chair, called Howdah, that gets attached to their backs, rubs on their skin and can cause blisters, which can sometimes get infected.
The training that elephants are required to go through when in captivity sometimes adopts a traditional Thai ‘phajaan’ or ‘crush’ technique. Explaining the technique would compare it to the animals’ spirits constantly and continuously being broken by the means of torture and social isolation. This is done in order to tame them. Elephants are wild animals, this is their nature as they are born in such conditions. Making them safe and obedient around people requires them to go through such training. As horrible as it sounds, in some places young elephants are taken away from their mothers to be abused with nails, bull hooks and bamboo sticks to make them obey rules, given by people. The animals often lack sleep and are starved to become submissive.
Actions from such nature are cruel and harmful as the technique is used to crash the animals’ spirit. Once wild and free, elephants become a source of tourism and entertainment. Nobody, who cared about sustainable tourism should ever ride an elephant.
In a sense, elephants have a human soul. They socialise and feel everything – pain, happiness, grief, sadness etc. They spend their life building families and finding friends. The largest land animals are a gift from nature and it is our responsibility to take special care of them and make sure they live according to their nature. Many animals, who are kept in captivity, are forced to live in isolation and carry heavy loads all day long, which is a wrong way to treat them. Their strength and power shouldn’t be abused but treated gently and celebrated by people. Elephants require minimal care to stay happy and healthy, which comes from giving them freedom to behave naturally and socialise. It is our responsibility to be culturally aware while traveling and make sure to spread awareness about the problem.
You can read the rest of the article as published in the LAND issue.
HOW TO TRAVEL ON A BUDGET
We put together some ideas to help you plan your next trip on a budget. Check out our suggestions about what you can do to connect to the local culture and save some money while you’re at it
Words and artwork: Emily Georgieva
Photography: Ryan Christodoulou
20 January 2019
Travelling has become more affordable in the recent decades. Planes fly off to different destinations each day and there are many places, especially in the more economically stable countries, where people have the financial stability and the mentality to travel more often. Visiting exotic places or even planning short city breaks has shifted the travelling culture altogether.
There are plenty of ways to travel and not have to spend a fortune to afford a summer getaway to a tropical island or a month visit exploring another continent. We put together some suggestions to help you plan your next trip without having to use the majority of your savings to do so.
Before you book your tickets
Take into consideration the location of the accommodation you’re staying at. Sometimes travelling is expensive mainly because most of your budget is wasted on transportation. Keep in mind that sometimes booking a direct flight or bus ride may not be the best option and if you are not tight on time, make sure to explore all your options to get around.
Be flexible with your tickets
Being flexible with your tickets allows you to have more of a say about the price of your ticket. Typically flying midweek is cheaper because the demand is not that high. Consider the time you have and see whether you can afford booking a flight with a layover or not. Also, booking flight seats next to one another is more expensive so avoid this when possible, especially for shorter flights if you and your travel buddies won’t mind it.
Type of accommodation
As the travelling culture shifted, so did the way the hospitality sector works. Now nomads have more options than ever to choose a place they want to stay at. No matter your budget, you can stay at a hotel or hire a private villa, go couch surfing or stay in homely Airbnb. The opportunities offer you the flexibility to be in charge of how to spend your money better. Our recommendation is to check the reviews of the accommodation you’re interested in first. Consider its distance to the places you actually want to visit and see if it has a kitchen you can use. Cooking on your own is cheaper, healthier and sometimes tastier.
Part of the whole experience is to take in as much of the local culture as you can. This involves the food. Instead of playing it safe and keep eating in the same restaurants you’re used to. Try new things, support the independent businesses and shop from the local street markets. Those guys' fresh, homegrown food and the family-owned independent businesses tend to prepare tasty dishes with fresh, locally sourced ingredients.
If you can avoid public transportation, do it. Walking around new places means you get to experience their atmosphere, hear the languages that the locals speak and connect with what the destination has to offer. The best way to explore a place is to stand right in the middle of it and participate in what the locals find important. Walking also means that you will most likely stumble across places that you couldn’t have known you wanted to see because they were not on your map or aren’t a popular tourist attraction. After all, the salt pans of Maras in Peru have existed since the Incan times but only became a tourist attraction in the recent years. How about that?
We typically encourage our nomadic readers to go beyond the way tourists travel and to get to know more about the local culture, custom and way of living. However, sightseeing is part of establishing a connection to a new place and becoming more familiar with its history. Most destinations have attractions that are free such as art galleries and museums. In London for example, you can visit Tate Modern, the National Gallery and the British Museum without entry fees.
Stay away from the crowded touristy places. The centre of the big cities and places where there is more to see, are usually more expensive areas to stay at. Try to stick around locations that are positioned more outside the city centre instead. Talk to the locals as they know all the best places to visit, where it is good to eat and basically how to feel at home there.
Have a credit/debit strategy
If you have a budget in advance, you will find it easier to stick to it because you know how much money you need to save until the end of the trip. Some people like to bring more than one card with them, other set up their bank account for physical transactions so that they would have to go to the bank to physically withdraw money and be more organized with their spending. Find what works for you and stick to that strategy. If you are going to use ATMs often, maybe it’s worth considering using Charles Schwab card. The benefit is that it doesn’t charge you with any foreign ATM fees. On top of this, at the end of the month it deposits back into your account the sum of money that the ATM’s charged you as extra fees.