Imagine crystal blue waters, white sandy beaches and a warm, glowing sun. You are picturing Fiji and that’s where I decided to spent one month of my life scuba diving, surveying coral reefs and giving back to the local communities.
For me, travelling is about exploring nature as well as protecting the environment. As Fiji is halfway across the world – which means using lots of fuel to get there – I thought it was only fitting to give back to the environment through what I love doing best: scuba diving. Being so passionate about our planet, I wanted to give back to Mother Nature.
I arrived on a remote island which would soon become my home along with twenty other people who had the same aspirations as me. Our scuba diving expeditions were not just for fun – we monitored marine wildlife, surveyed coral reefs to make sure they were healthy as well as educating the local villagers on our findings. Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) were created to prevent fishing in certain parts of the reef to ensure that specific species could thrive and reproduce without the danger of humans. Not only were we experiencing the ocean’s magnificent home, we were learning about the local communities and the way in which they live.
This experience not only taught me about how important it is to conserve our planet but how fulfilling an experience like this is for yourself. Living a life with no stable internet connection, questionable hot showers and electricity off at 11pm every night really is a challenge…at first. But then you come to realise that life is so much more than updating your Facebook status. Swimming with bull sharks and surveying the most beautiful coral reefs makes you forget social media in a heartbeat!
Becoming an ecotourist
If everyone spent one month doing some sort of conservation travel anywhere in the world I think we would all have a completely different perspective on life. So instead of booking your two-week holiday to a beach resort – think about challenging yourself. Yes, it can get tough but the rewards completely outweigh that. Don’t be a mainstream traveller – be an ecotourist!
Check out Rural Lifestyle in Northern Thailand