When in paradise, leave no mark behind

Lookout point on the island of Tenerife

The world is full of amazing beauty and unique places. When traveling, I often ponder how easy it is nowadays to travel. My mind is filled with gratitude as I think how effortless it is to see and experience wondrous places compared to the traveling in former times. Modern-day explorers do not have to deal with the risks and challenges that travelers earlier had to conquer to see the wonders of the world with their own eyes. However, despite the simplicity and the ease of accessibility, it should still be important to remember to appreciate every travel destination with the same amount of respect.

Indifference in front of nature’s wonders amazes every time. Lookout points that fill up the memory cards and film rolls of the travelers are aimed to show the most marvelous and unique scenery but when looking down the scene is quite something else than beautiful. All sorts of trash, wrapping papers and bottles. And the more idyllic and peaceful the place is the more likely it is to find also massive amounts of toilet paper.

When I was traveling in Azores and whizzing by on a speedboat, trying to see an orca whale, I was wondering how unique and often highly fragile places and innocent creatures have been made attractions and objects for the desire to see and explore. For sure, in the name of personal experiences and research, this often protects the targets at the same time but quite certainly most of these would just prefer to be left alone. Sadness and a hint of shame rose to my mind as in the middle of the search an empty plastic bottle floated by on the Atlantic Ocean, modern-day bottle message, on the way to who knows where.

Waste bins at the beach, Tenerife.

Even in the areas that are saturated by tourism it would be paramount to remember to leave as small trace as possible of one’s visit. Photos are from the island of Tenerife where millions of travelers visit every year. As the tourism is a big source of income, it is also present all around the volcanic island. Every year thousands and again thousands of footsteps erode the volcanic rock and sand fields. In the middle of tourists, and even after the tourists have left, the waste bins stand alone fighting for the clean surroundings and color the beautiful landscapes.

Traces that we leave behind from our visits remain long time after we have left, sometimes even as permanent changes. Every trash on the ground and every stone picked up takes a small piece away from the uniqueness. Unique landscapes are easy to disappear.