For the last couple of weeks William and I have been in a bit of a funk. Some things have been weighing heavy on our minds, the darker aspects of travelling that no one likes to talk about. We cannot continue posting our journey without being honest about where we at in our heads and our hearts.
To reach this point we have had to do lots of reflection on our beliefs and sometimes this can be incredibly uncomfortable. The main emotion we are both feeling at present is guilt. It weighs heavy on our chests and sometimes causes us to not enjoy moments of our journey as much as we should or would like to.
Always our priority is our children, their future. Isn’t it the same for most parents? We care deeply about building the best future possible for them. This means that we in turn care deeply about the state of our planet.
Before we left the UK we were trying to live as waste free as possible. We have carried this ethos with us as we travel by using metal straws, our own cups and cutlery. But sadly it’s not enough. We have no choice but to buy plastic bottles of water and snacks wrapped in plastic. Everything in Asia is wrapped in plastic 3 times over. And it makes us sick to the stomach with hypocrisy every time we consume this single use plastic.
We walk along the streets that are littered in plastic, watching stray dogs and cows scavenge amongst it for food, whilst drinking from plastic bottles; HYPOCRITES.
We sit on beaches littered in plastics, spend a couple of hours picking up what we can. Then sit next to our pile of old plastic drinking from plastic bottles; HYPOCRITES.
We swim in oceans next to floating plastic, then go back and drink from our plastic bottles of water; HYPOCRITES.
We take our washing to launderettes and watch as the dirty chemical water washes away into open drains full of plastic, then swag from our plastic bottles of water; HYPOCRITES.
The problem isn’t for the people that live here to solve. Yes, their governments need to build the infrastructure such as safe drinking water, proper sewage systems and waste disposal.
But the uncomfortable truth is that the fault begins and ends with the consumerist culture of our privileged western lifestyles.
We greedily gobble up everything these countries have to offer us. We ship stuff half way around the world spilling oil into the oceans and massacring whale populations so we can buy, buy, buy. We then send the waste from all of these products back into Asia where it is dumped, out of sight, out of mind.
Except there is no out of sight. And after witnessing rivers running black with oil and plastic, oceans choking on it, and beaches covered in waste, it is never out of our minds.
We wrestle daily with 2 halves of our conscience. The first tells us we need to do all we can to save the planet. The second tells us to stop worrying and just enjoy the adventure.
The fifty other people in the restaurant haven’t spent 10 minutes trying to explain that they don’t want a straw and are happily sipping on their drinks and enjoying their starters, why are we bothering?
By the time our street stall smoothies are poured into our metal cups, 10 more are sold in single use plastic. It’s disheartening to say the least. Sometimes we loathe the fact that we care so deeply, it can easily sour the mood of a day out.
We want to give the girls the adventure of a lifetime, we want them to experience the wonders of this world. However witnessing what we have, we realise how important it is that we protect this planet for their future.
This seems like an impossible task at present, travelling the way we are.
We don’t even want to think about our carbon footprint from all the flights we’ve taken; HYPOCRITES.
One thing that is apparent is that us westerners do not realise how easy life is. When we complain about healthcare, housing, schooling, policing. We really have no idea, and absolutely no right to moan from our places of privilege. A privilege gifted to us just by being born in a more economically developed country.
Travel has opened our eyes to our inherent privilege.
Even making these eco-friendly changes comes from a place of privilege. Those in poverty cannot afford the choice of an eco-lifestyle.
So moving forward, we have lots of big decisions to make regarding our lives, beliefs and what we truly stand for.
We still want to enjoy life, live in the moment and give our girls the most amazing memories. But at what cost?
We don’t have the answers yet. After seeing the effects of the fast fashion industry first hand, when we visited a slum in New Delhi, we will now only buy second hand clothing or from small ethical brands. We’re looking at reducing our flights and we’ll keep doing the beach clean ups, using our reusable straws, bags and cups. The small stuff has to count for something right?
In terms of our future as a full time travel family, who knows. We just take each new day as it comes. We continue to share our journey, because it’s fun. But also because we hope to open peoples eyes in the same way ours have been.
The world is a big beautiful place, but it is also very sick. It is up to all of us to cure this sickness before it is too late.