Experiencing wild animals can be such a fabulous highlight of your travel experience. However, wild animals used in entertainment may be experiencing unseen cruelty or abuse. How would you know? How could you help?
“His screams stuck in my head,” recalls Sangduen ‘Lek’ Chailert, of an occasion she saw an injured elephant being forced to work. “I looked in his eyes and I couldn’t believe how much they expressed his anger. I had to make a promise to him. And that promise was that I would speak out for and provide a home for these elephants”.
Did I expect to be able to climb Mt Kinabalu to watch the sun rise? Never. Was I planning on joining orangutans for breakfast? Probably not. But then these experiences and more were typical of my unexpected highlights in Borneo.
I chose Borneo for my next Intrepid trip because I loved the thought of seeing amazing wildlife, staying in traditional villages and I was prepared to give the mountain climb a go, but what I didn’t anticipate was just how much of a buzz I would get from exploring this fascinating land.
After five years of sprints, squats and step curls – give or take a few weeks on travels when there hasn’t been a group cycle class to jump in on – a fellow fitness enthusiast recently asked me “Why do you exercise?”
Honestly, I had never contemplated this question before. In five whole years I had not thought about why I put my body through rigorous lobster-face inducing workouts. As we were lying in our dormitory on an adventure through Western Australia, I had to really contemplate my answer. Was it because I loved the freedom of wearing crazy neon vest tops and printed leggings? Was it the weight loss? Was it because of the endorphins? Was it because I suddenly had a whole new group of friends who were all as mad about exercise as me? Or was it the competition with myself?
If you love trying new things, then you’ll definitely want to get your teeth into hormigas culonas. This literally translates to ‘ants with a large arse’ but don’t let that put you off!
To try this special snack you will have to go to South America and arrive in Colombia, a country famous for its rare fauna and flora, and maybe its ants.
The term ‘trip of a lifetime’ gets bandied about a lot these days, possibly too freely, but for Lee Bethune travelling to the Galapagos Islands lived up to the expectations that comes with such an assured claim…
“Over 1000km west of the mainland of Ecuador, I thought there would have to be something special and there was… it was the Galapagos Islands.
When an endearing child with big wide eyes implores you to buy the shell necklace her mother made; when a friendly man in a funky bar wants you to join in the local ‘tradition’ of knocking back a shot of snake wine; or when the market stalls have an abundance of very attractive tortoise shell bracelets, hair combs and spectacle frames for sale…what do you do?
Getting up close and mixing it with the locals is one of the best things about travel. And you feel even more fortunate if you’ve been able to capture those precious encounters on camera and commit to the memory card!
The first month of the 2015 Intrepid Photography Competition has kicked off with the theme ‘Local faces’ and tell us if you don’t think these inspiring shots from our finalists have tapped into the real spirit of travel and humanity.