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.
IN SEARCH OF ADRENALINE
Bolivia has it all when it comes to adrenaline. From high to lows, this country is paradise for the adrenaline junkies and we explored all of the things you can do there that can make you heart start racing wildly
Words: Emily Georgieva
Photography: Roberto Nickson, Sonnie Hiles, Eberhard Grossagasteiger
20 February 2019
Bolivia seems to be designed for the lovers of speed, heights, dares and depths. No matter what your heart desires, you can find it there. The diverse terrain provides landscape conditions that can challenge even the bravest ones among us.
Some of the territory is covered in jungles and lowlands, ideal conditions to explore the nature wonders or, even better, let nature provoke you. If you are not afraid of heights, you can zip-line over the jungle of the Amazon near Rurrenabaque. A beautiful scenery will unravel in front of you as you fly over the land of adventures. With the jungle underneath you and just the air around you, you'll feel like there is nothing in the world that can scare you off. The zip-lines positioned 350 m above the ground are open to everyone who want to give it a go. But be prepared for an experience that can feel as fast as the speed of sound is. You will be flying over the jungle as the speed of this adventure can reach up to almost 90 km an hour.
Then there is the Vertical Route. It is located close to La Paz, which is approximately two hours away from The Tibetan Bridge. The bridge itself is quite a construction. It is 30 meters long and it is made from three thin wires, which are the only thing keeping it steady in the air. If you are not a fan of bridges, there are plenty of cliffs that you can free jump from to experience some adventures in the sky.
There are other ways we can recommend if you want to get the blood pumping in your veins and you will surely need it for our next suggestion. The Conodoriri Massif has an impressive total of 13 iced-capped peaks. The Royal Range of the Andes has so many frozen snow trails. You can go ice climbing there if you have the right equipment and are trained for the mission. Now, climbing the mountain peaks is one thing, but making your way up towards picks, climbing frozen snow is something else and an experience you won't be able to get from many more places.
Climbing glaciers and waterfalls is an unbelievable mountainous opportunity, but sometimes bringing the city to the adventure is what scares people more as nature can be easy to feel in harmony with. You can rap jump in La Paz from a building. Standing face down from what can be 50 meters above solid ground is not for everybody, but those who do it, end up enjoying it quite a lot. Imagine standing on top of a building and falling face down towards the sidewalks and streets awaiting you at the bottom... Don't worry, if you forget to stop, a skilful team of trained people will pull the strings of your equipment to keep you safe and sound. The rush of adrenaline when rap jumping cannot be put into words.
From up in the mountains, the land can look very far away, but there is so much more to explore on the ground if you want to feel adrenaline. Paddling over the salt flats is one suggestion. Salar de Uyuni is the world's largest salt flat is very visually appealing. It is a cactus land and you can spend days track walking there, exploring the land and enjoying the scenery. Once a lake, it dried up entirely, leaving traces and bright-white rock formations from prehistoric times. It is rare, because of its structure and unique ecosystem, but it is not the only place with an interesting terrain.
There are plenty of rock formations, salt hotels and active volcanoes around Bolivia. It is known to hold another record as it is referred to as being the world's driest dessert. In some of the lagoons you can even see exotic pink flamingos feeling at home. But if you want to explore what extreme means when you are steadily stood on the ground, you should check out doing sandboarding in the Lomas de Arena Regional Park. It is the sand-boarding capital of South America and there is no wonder why. Some of the sand dunes are 12-meter-high and are no help if you are trying to learn to sand-board, standing up and sitting down as you ride along. Around you, the tropical scenery will satisfy your sense of wonder as there will be a lot of wildlife and beautiful birds to see.
Another thing that you can take a friend to so that they can come along for the ride is rapids. In Bolivia, you can ride rapids that can vary from level I to level IV. Coroico River is very generous for this activity. Sometimes riding the rapist can last up to 38km in distance. The waters in Bolivia have a lot of surprises hidden in their depths. Pulling a catfish twice a human size from the from the possessions of the Amazon River is not something that hasn't happened.
Bolivia is very well-known for the Death Road, which you can cycle. It is a truly mesmerizing experience and very breath taking in many senses of the word. You can walk the Route starting from the peaks of La Cumbre Pass, all the way up to Yolosa. A lot of people visit the country for this reason only. The panorama that the deadly road reveals because of its high position is to die for! It is considered to be the world's most Dangerous Road and surely does its reputation justice.
This beautiful South American country combines the mental with the physical. They blend together much like people become one with nature as they take up on those challenges. And what a better way to feel alive is there, than to feel a little rush of adrenaline while facing your fears and overcoming them?! There is no doubt in our minds that Bolivia is the place to be for this to happen.