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.
THE TRAILBLAZING GLIDER PILOT WHOSE ADVENTURES TAKE HER SKY HIGH
If gliding the skies solo isn't enough of an inspiration to pursue your dreams, Julia Steinle is also incredibly talented at photographing the stunning views she witnesses on her adventures. From exceeding as a pilot in a field dominated by men to turning her passion into a skill, Julia is the definition of a trailblazer and role model. In our conversation with her we learn about her intoroduction to the sport, her advice to other dreamers, her favourite planes to pilot and her bucket list destinations to fly over
Words: Aleksandra Georgieva
Photography: Julia Steinle
Have you ever dreamt of flying; of experiencing the pure joy that comes with the sensation of complete freedom and gaining control when you simply just let go? Trailblazing her path in the skies, Julia Steinle has been an inspiration to our editorial team for the past several years as we stumbled upon her adventure on social media and haven't been able to take our eyes off her journey since! If you have ever done any kind of soul-searching, you need not look further for someone to inspire you to conquer your doubts and to follow your dreams. Julia truly embodies a balance of doing what she loves while paving the way for others to follow.
Julia fell in love with gliding at the age of 14 when she was first introduced to sport. To this day she keeps evolving at capturing stunning photographs while gracing the skies with style and sharing her experiences with her followers. From collecting memories of the incredible views over the Apls and South Africa to sharing insights of her life around gliders and planes, Julia combines her love for flying with her passion for photography in the most awe-inspiring way. Not only is she a skilled pilot in a field dominated by men, but her positive energy and love for flying comes as a breath of fresh air in our search for trailblazers, who break down boundaries and follow their dreams.
From gaining insights on the people she looks up to to, to learning more about the stunning places she's glided over, we caught up with Julia to ask her about her journey as a pilot and a photographer. We learn more about what inspires her and what advice she has to give about following your wanderlust.
‘‘There is nothing quite like the feeling of being thousands of feet above the ground, with nothing but the sound of the wind rushing past you. No engine. Just carried by the sheer power of nature.’’
Julia Steinle, trailblazing pilot & photographer for NOMADSofORIGIN Magazine
NOMADSofORIGIN: What sparked your passion for piloting?
Julia: My passion for piloting was sparked by a combination of two things. Creativity and the hunger for Adventure. Firstly, I have always been fascinated by the idea of being up in the sky since my dad took me on my first flights as a little girl. Additionally, I grew up with a passion for photography and would look for unique views to capture, which made me even more interested in aviation. Finally, when I was 14, I took the opportunity to try gliding and fell in love with the sport. Now, 9 years later I find myself fulfilling a childhood dream, roaming the sky in a plane with and without a propeller.
NOMADSofORIGIN: What are some of the best places you have flown over?
Julia: Many people still believe that with a glider you mainly stay near the airfield. But the opposite is the case, glider pilots can stay up to more than 10hours and over 1000km in one flight. I have been fortunate enough to fly over many incredible places, but some of my favorite flights include the Alps with a lowpass over the highest mountain of Europe: the Mont Blanc. The Spanish Guaderrama, and the South African ridges and desert and even Israel. Each location offers a unique and breathtaking view from the sky, gaining new perspectives about the togetherness of mankind and nature.
NOMADSofORIGIN: How do you stay passionate about piloting and how is it different when it's a career as opposed to just a hobby?
Julia: To stay passionate about piloting, I try to constantly challenge myself and learn new things. When flying is your career, it can be easy to get caught up in the routine of it all, so I try to mix things up by taking on different photographic challenges and motives or flying to new destinations. The main difference between piloting as a career or on competitions and as a hobby is that the routes can be decided freely rather than following a given course. To me this aspect is crucial for the feeling of freedom.
In the recent years gliding became to a profession next to my full-time job and now I sometimes feel pressured to perform at a high level consistently regarding flights and my content. However, I still approach flying with the same enthusiasm and love for the sport that I did when I was still a student pilot.
NOMADSofORIGIN: You are a true trailblazer in your field and your lead inspires so many others to follow their passion. What advice would you give others, especially women, who are considering going into piloting?
Julia: This credo is what I followed ever since I joined the aviation world: Work hard, be confident, and never give up on your dreams. It’s worth it in the end. My advice to others, especially women, who are considering going into piloting is to not let anyone tell you that you can't do it. Piloting is a male-dominated field, which is only changing slowly. If you are passionate about flying, then pursue it with everything you have. Like-minded people and supportive friends will join the journey in the long run.
NOMADSofORIGIN: The closest thing that comes to freedom is probably flying, but the way you do it, solo and piloting gliders, is even more incredible and impressive. What is your favourite thing about being up in the sky?
Julia: My favorite thing about being up in the sky is the sense of freedom and peace that comes with it. There is nothing quite like the feeling of being thousands of feet above the ground, with nothing but the sound of the wind rushing past you. No engine. Just carried by the sheer power of nature.
Additionally, flying solo in a glider is an incredibly empowering experience. Every second you must analyze the situation and decide about speed, heading, tactics etc. This requires a lot of skill and focus, and there is a great sense of accomplishment that comes with mastering the art of gliding.
NOMADSofORIGIN: Who are your heroes and people you most look up to?
Julia: My heroes are the pilots who have paved the way for me in both, the field of aviation and my career. Especially my grand-father had a big impact on me as well as my flight instructor Thomas Gemmel.
To name a few iconic glider pilots of our time I look up to my fellow aviators and mentors like Frerk Frommholz, Klaus Ohlmann, Yves Gerster who are breaking down barriers and proving that truly the only limit is your imagination. Not to forget about the aesthetic and artistic scene, where I draw inspiration from photographers and designers.
NOMADSofORIGIN: What is it like to be a woman in the field of piloting, which appears to be male dominated?
Julia: Being a woman in the field of piloting can be challenging at times, as it is still male-dominated. I have equally encountered obstacles because of my gender as I have been supported. However, I have found that most of my male colleagues are supportive and welcoming. I do hear from my community that there is still work to be done to encourage more women to pursue careers in aviation, but I am hopeful that the sport is moving in the right direction.
NOMADSofORIGIN: You have piloted different types of planes and gliders. Which models are your favourite to fly?
Julia: My favorite planes to fly are gliders, as they offer a unique and thrilling flying experience. Those who followed my journey know about the love that went into restoring and flying my former Ls4. For bigger “AIRdventures” I now like to choose a Sailplanes with an engine to ensure maximum flexibility.
Next to gliding I can also recommend flying smaller planes with engine, such as Micro lights as they are more maneuverable and allow for more hands-on flying in terrain that otherwise would stay hidden for a glider pilot.
NOMADSofORIGIN: What destinations on your bucket list are you most excited to visit and fly over?
Julia: Trying to find new perspectives I would like to explore unique destinations on my bucket list that I am excited to visit and fly over. Most glider pilots are dreaming about flying in the Namibian Desert, Australia or New Zealand. Some of the top locations on my personal bucket list include Japan, the Philippines, Patagonia, and the Norwegian fjords. Each location offers its own set of challenges and rewards, and I can't wait to explore them all from the sky.
Follow @juliet.sierra on social media.
NOMADSofORIGIN x Julia Steinle
This interview appears in NOMADSofORIGIN Magazine print #06 The Trailblazers Issue