I was fortunate enough to join our voyage to Papua New Guinea a few weeks back and my mind is still reeling from the extraordinary experiences I shared with our passengers in this wonderful country.
One of the more satisfying aspects of the trip for me personally was watching how everyone threw themselves into the expedition with such enthusiasm and bravado, no matter what age they were. Each time we snorkelled, without fail one of the oldest ladies on board would be the first one in the water and the last one out. She would then wade slowly on to the beach with a beaming smile from ear to ear, completely enthralled by the vast array of fish and coral on display. In contrast, one of our youngest passengers was a 16-year-old girl who was a complete hit everywhere we landed. Most of the places we had visited had never seen white children and they were completely enthralled by her blonde hair. She embraced the attention, grabbed the hands of the local children and was treated like royalty while being shown the villages we visited, always returning to the ship with more additions to her long list of new pen pals.
Being constantly inspired on board by people's willingness to explore and discover made me reflect on what it was we seek on journeys such as these. Meeting the overwhelmingly friendly people of PNG and learning more about their lives help put our own lives in perspective. But, there is more to it than that. In all of us there is a primal need to be at one with nature, a craving for wilderness that needs to be satisfied. At the same time there is a need to take time out from our normal every day lives, to feed our curiosity and learn about the unknown.
Visiting wild, untouched places like Papua New Guinea give us the chance to quite literally get back to nature, to turn our faces towards it and let it wash over us. With the world in such disarray, perhaps now, more than ever, it's time to pack your bags and refresh your soul in a way that only the world's wild places can.
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