The simple exitement of stepping off a train or a plane in a new place and walking into the unknown, taking in new and unfamiliar sights, sounds and smells. Meeting new people and seeing how someone on the other side of the globe lives and thinks. Immersing ourselves in strange cultures, trying out different foods and exploring amazing cities, architecture and ancient monuments. There’s so much to love about travelling.
But for us there’s one thing that stands out.
In the midst of unlikely beauty
We are more than anything motivated to travel by our shared love and passion for the natural world and the magnificent beauty of our planet. We grew up with the documentaries of people like Sir David Attenborough, Carl Sagan and others, whose brilliance in communicating the observations of natural science has transformed our understanding of our world. They showed us that it is full of beautiful landscapes, breathtaking views and amazing creatures of all shapes and sizes. And that all of this is out there, within our reach, to be experienced and cherished.
Earth is a wonderful place, with strange and magnificent habitats teaming with numerous life forms. As well as human culture more diverse and unexpected at times than one would think possible. The fact that all of this exists on a small planet that is essentially a microscopic speck of dust, floating in the immense blackness of space, is mind boggling. In the midst of all this unlikely beauty, we find ourselves, born by sheer luck into the only species on earth, perhaps anywhere, with the ability to take it all in, marvel at it’s beauty, and contemplate its existence and our own.
Top: Okavango Delta, Botswana / Xingping, China
Bottom: Volcanoes NP, Rwanda / Laguna Colorado, Bolivia / Boys in the Amazon, Ecuador
(Click images to enlarge)
It seems to me that the natural world is the greatest source of excitement; the greatest source of visual beauty; the greatest source of intellectual interest. It is the greatest source of so much in life that makes life worth living.
Ark of life
We believe one needs no better reason for travelling the world than simply a desire to see and experience it, and a desire to gain more knowledge about it than any book or documentary can provide. It is, however, obvious to most people by now that we are not taking very good care of this planet. In fact, we are slowly destroying it. If there is anything that can change the behaviour of human kind in the ways that are necessary to stop us from doing so, it is true, first-hand knowledge of what exactly we are in the midst of loosing. To protect this planet and all that’s on it, we first need to care about it, and to care about it we need to experience it.
In the same way, nothing fosters true intercultural understanding more than seeing for oneself how different people live and think, and discovering that we are truly, and not in any mystical way but factually, one. One species on the tree of life, sharing one planet. We are not specially chosen, and the universe is not created for us. In fact, 99,9 percent of it is by all accounts totally inhospitable and would kill us in an instant should we go there. We’re only lucky to have this ark of life we call Earth – a pale blue dot in a vast sea of blackness. To try to experience as much of it as we can, while we can, seems to us to be essential. And a great privilege.
Top: Sao Paulo, Brazil / Galapagos Islands / Tokyo, Japan
Bottom: Paranal Observatory, Chile / Angkor, Cambodia
The Pale Blue Dot
We have chosen to call this blog Around The Pale Blue Dot, as a tribute to the great Carl Sagan whose lifelong contribution as a science communicator is unparalleled. When the spacecraft Voyager left our solar system in 1990, Sagan suggested it be turned back towards Earth to take a picture of our planet from the distance of 6 billion kilometers. He called the image it produced The Pale Blue Dot.
This is a more recent image from the spacecraft Cassini, showing Earth as it looks from behind Saturn, with the sun on the other side.
«It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we’ve ever known.»
Carl Sagan, Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space