In response to the disrespectful treatment of Yellowstone National Park.
Mindful travel. How can we model this behavior, teach our children not only how to respect and preserve our world but cherish it and nurture it in every aspect. This task is made complex by a world where everyone is bumping elbows, vying for our attention. Trying to dazzle us with their antics and be the next viral wonder.
Attention spans seem more narrow, simplicity lost to screen time.
Don’t misunderstand, I love technology and what it has done for me. Running my business from the palm of my hand is incredible and has opened up doors I never knew existed. I love my phone and you can’t have it back. What I do crave is a balance between connectivity and nature’s simple wonder. A sunrise and the smell of morning; the sounds of a stream with cool water streaming between my toes. These things don’t need to be qualified by likes or shares, they need a soul to rest in and call home. They need a mind to take root in and thrive.
Mindful travel. A fierce consciousness of our surroundings: the land, the history, the people, the unequivocal value in all things. We recognize the problem but a shift in action needs to be made. Social media and technology are here to stay, this is our new norm. Now is the time to quit reminiscing about the past and stop pointing fingers at our devices. We can’t continue to pine for the days when we just knew better. When kids didn’t destroy protected lands to get the next best shot. It is time to actively begin to model respect, demand elevated behavior and hold everyone accountable. We can no longer assume others will do the right thing and we can no longer feel stunned when they don’t. Each one of us has a responsibility to bear the burden of teaching conscious behavior and calling out those that cross the line. Stop these poor choices and incorrect behavior. Stand in their way.
The most recent entitled group that recklessly acted without any regard to their surroundings in Yellowstone should be held to the letter of the law. I am just as outraged as everyone else. How is it possible that we have come to this? How could anyone think this is acceptable? The extreme disconnection that allows a person to think that a selfie is worth potential and irreversible destruction is frightening. This is ignorance to an extreme encouraged by social media and fueled by self glorification. Instant gratification on steroids.
What if everyone that day would have stood in their way. Prevented their escapade across the fragile ecosystem. The outcome may not have been any different but at least there would have been a resounding NO. Stop. The events and images burned into so many minds that speaking up and out is nothing to be afraid of. That holding others accountable is the right and only thing to do.
Mindful travel. The time is now and we must teach it, model it. Doing the right thing can no longer be assumed as instinctual, but it can be taught and modeled. The job is daunting and will be endless. Technology has a fierce and easy grip on our minds, making us indifferent. Making us lazy. We want to be dazzled in the comfort of our living rooms, spoon fed action and adventure. Finding a balance, learning when to look up from our screens will only get harder but the alternative is not acceptable. My kids deserve a broader understanding, to know the big picture and to feel deeper. The world is vast and hard and full of mystery. The world is amazing to see on a screen and we are lucky to have the knowledge at our finger tips, but it is essential to feel this world with our own hands.
We need to make the world a wonder again.
Author’s note: Although the damage in Yellowstone has been done and a pathetic apology has been issued, I encourage everyone to reach out to the sponsors of High on Life SundayFundayz, the group responsible and whose ridiculous slogan is If You Can You Should, to demand they respond appropriately by holding these four men accountable for their decisions and for glorifying this behavior.
Andi Brown, Once in a Lifetime Travel
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