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.
ONE DAY LONDON
Planning on visiting one of the busiest metropolitan capital cities on Earth? Make sure you have your bucket list and timing right for the unforgettable experience of one day in London
Words: Aleksandra Georgieva
Photograohy: Lea Fabienne
09 January 2019
London is one of the metropolitan capitals in the world that everyone has heard of and many have had the chance to visit. Yet, if you are from those, who plan a trip there in the future, we might interest you in a guide to the productive way of exploring the British capital within the time frame of one day.
One of the biggest cities in the United Kingdom, London is bursting with life - the streets are always lit up, bursting with traffic, cyclists, locals and visitors, all of whom represent diversity. London does not fit in a certain criteria because it is not just one thing. It is international, multi-cultural, poverty and privilege, tradition and innovation, ancient and new. The city is never silent or empty, there is always something happening, a venue where people celebrate the artistic, fashion or music scene, there is never stillness - only motion.
If you have never visited before, you should definitely plan your route as the crowds may get you frustrated and slow you down. There is much to be seen and done, so you should prepare to grab every opportunity to embrace the clashes of culture and city life. For those of you, who are not early birds and need that vital caffeine boost, London is your playground. The coffee shops are not just plenty - the majority of them actually specialise in quality coffee sourced directly from farmers and extracted in a way that gives you a delicious cup of properly filtered coffee in most places you go. The baristas are skilled and knowledgeable, and the venues are full.
We recommend you take your coffee out for a chance to explore the city in the early hours of the morning when the population is already on the go towards work and the tourists slowly start to fill up all the main streets and squares. Hyde Park - the largest and most famous one in entire London wakes up under the first rays of sunlight as locals are already walking their dogs, students have grouped together, and suit-up people are seen cycling to the office. This will be your window-opportunity to visiting some of those famous landmarks you have had on your bucket list since you could possibly remember. NOMADSofORIGIN recommends you take a stroll through the city centre in the morning before the crowds have grown drastically.
The morning is the perfect time for walking up onto London Bridge and past the Southwark Cathedral. Nearby you will find Borough Market, which will probably give you a sense of deja vu as you have likely seen it on the Big screen in major film productions such as Harry Potter. Past the riverbank is the Tower Bridge, which leads to the Westminster, where you will find the Houses of parliament, the South Bank arts complex, At Paul's Cathedral and Tate Modern.
If you take the Westminster Bridge over the Thames, Big Ben will rise on your left close enough for a great picture that would skip the discomfort of having the crowds of tourists in the close-up shot. Take a right turn past 10 Downing Street and you will reach the famous Trafalgar Square, where Nelson’s Column overtakes the centre. The National Gallery is just a-few-minutes-walk to the north of the square, while the west side will take you straight towards the Buckingham Palace. To the northeast is the Covent Garden - filled with shopping alleys, restaurants and street entertainers that amuse the crowds with varied skills from magical tricks to musical performances, jewellery handcrafting and pavement painting.
Lunch would depend on your personal preferences, yet you will have a rich choice between elegant restaurants and take-away food venues that burst with options between traditional international cuisine. The afternoon would be the perfect place for visiting the exhibitions of famous venues such as the Science Museum, the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Natural History Museum, the London Transport Museum and of course one of the world's best - The British Museum. Only minutes away from Covent Garden it is free to enter and hosts some of the largest and mostly varied exhibitions of different times throughout the global history.
As the evening rolls around, you will find many people heading towards the West End - the land of theatres in London, where you can witness world-class plays and shows, worth every penny. Make sure to check for tickets in advance as bookings happen fast from the most famous plays like Les Misérables to the tiniest performances, advertised all over venues, underground stations and posts all over the British capital and nearby cities.
If you had not managed to find tickets for the plays you like, alternatively you could enjoy a walk you already took, only so much more peaceful than you may remember it. When down falls, take a walk back past the river Thames and you will find the London Eye lit up in red, blue and white as the colourful glow cuts through the darkness of the night. It is one of the most romantic views in the city and definitely worth the visit when the crowds have become limited and you have the comfort of the calm evening on your side.
Your next stop will be Soho - the heart of evening fun where visitors are spoiled of choice when it comes to cocktails. If you are not afraid of heights, head over to The Shard - one of the most iconic modern buildings in London that offers a bird-eye view of the centre of the British capital. Floor-to-ceiling windows reveal the golden lights of the city at night as the traffic fills up Tower Bridge and the clash between modern and vintage architecture stands out right before your eyes. Seating is rare to find, but the atmosphere is definitely worth the visit.