When I was eleven, I was ecstatic to go on my first plane ride because I was headed to the west coast with my family. Although fearful of the plane ride itself, I found solace in knowing I would soon be in the ocean; an ocean I had only seen on television and in books. My favorite week of the year was “Shark Week” on the Discovery Channel because it was an entire week’s worth of programming focused on my favorite animal, the shark. But television and books could not have prepared me for the feeling of the ocean breeze on my very own cheek. When I finally reached the beach and the cold water hit my toes, I was hooked. The sounds and smells were nothing like I had imagined. They were so much stronger. In my mind every ocean was warm, but now, ankle deep in the Pacific Ocean, I was brutally confronted with the facts; it was unbelievably chilly. My ocean fantasy continued to conform to reality when I noticed the filth. It was not all clear, blue water as typically portrayed on television or photographed for magazines. It was murky, stinky, and the beach was cluttered with debris, from both the ocean and the land inhabitants. This was real life. My opinion shifted from this glorious notion of the ocean to its truth. It’s not always perfect and blue but it’s amazing just the same. Without that first visit, I’m not sure what direction my life would have gone.
And that’s what makes travel so important to conservation. You can’t appreciate a city, a mountain, or an ocean without first being in its presence. Photos can only do so much. You need to touch the earth, smell the air, see the sights, and live in the culture of a particular area, even if it’s only for a short period of time. It may not always be pretty, but it’s real and it’s raw. Go Eclectic World wants to encourage travel to every end of the earth with the hope that a new-found appreciation will elicit a call to action to save it. It’s easy to re-tell the memories of seeing a stingray swimming gracefully above a coral reef in the open ocean or a mother black bear and her three cubs crossing the mountains in Yellowstone National Park. But if you are like me, you want those same scenarios to be available so that our future generations can experience the awe and turn them into their own memories. However, it won’t happen without your support. It’s as simple as recycling, reusing, and walking as often as possible. Just the smallest adjustments can make a huge impact and might just ensure that the vacation spot you are planning to visit will still be there in the future.