“How far will I need to travel to breathe clean air tonight"
Travelling this planet in search of it`s best moments sometimes leads to common sense revelations. There is no denying the energy, architecture, culture and culinary delights of the global urban pulse in Bangkok, Hong Kong, Vancouver, Panama City, New York or Delhi but there`s more than a little disappointment at the state of air quality in most large cities. Recent studies of the WHO are highlighting the cancer causing probability of the exciting urban lives that many of us live! It`s a sad story. But it doesn`t have to be our endgame.
So, travel, as it often does, causes this one to reflect on the best that Gaia has to offer for those interested in good health as part of that "good vibe' package that inspires the travel quest. Maybe, just maybe, the journey can "inspire new eyes and thinking" about environmental possibilities? Maybe the best of clean air is just around the corner if you keep moving, and possibly that realization and appreciation could invigorate urban planning?
That kind of idealism is hopeful but until the global politic can drag it`s sorry ass into a common sense environmental revelation (possibly by COP 30?!), then I will search for those moments of clear air, sunshine, sea life and landscape to "die for" that still can be found if you keep moving through this grand adventure on the 3rd brick from the sun. I won`t ignore the problem but I will explore the possibilities. Travelling for truth and loving every moment of it! I`m just a greedy idealist with a waundering heart.
My search takes me to the Hawaian Islands. I once read an educated opinion that the "northwest corner" of Maui had the cleanest air on earth (due to remote location of these Islands) so I had to take my son there and teach him how to really breathe. It was special and I`ve since discovered the beauty and clean air of the similiarly remote Kauai. Hike the Waimea Canyon and take a breath of the breathless views and then wander through the timeless shoreline of Mahalepu Beach. This is nature on fire, the life soul of our best!
Time stops and nature thrives on Kauai, but the best of Hawaian air is probably on the Big Island at Mauna Kea. At 13,000 feet this celestial air has to be as good as it gets. You also get to view a Sagan starshow after the sun goes down. This must be the very best the planet has to offer! Our lungs will likely cry for more.
Then my search for a true breath of life takes me to Vanua Levu, Fiji which is the (that`s me) the poor man`s alternative to Tahiti. Here tropical rainforests scream with life; warm seas are filled with a coral-reef; and kind, generous local people know how to enjoy a good laugh. Bula baby in another land of smiles. Maybe it`s the air? Now don`t get me wrong, there is pollution in Fiji if you hang out in Nadi which is another burdened deveoping City but if you make your way to the other islands things start to come clean and fantastic. The air quality isn`t measured as readily here as back home (Canada) but the evidence is clear on the outter Islands.
From Savusavu, on Vanua Levu, we hire a ride to Netawa Bay and the 2 of us with a private Captain-Guide in a small boat head into the beautiful and tranquil Bay. He anchors our boat and the show soon begins. A couple of pods of spinner dolphins (at least 30-40) begins to swim around our boat, jumping and spinning and dancing like the carefree souls that they need to be. What a show as we inhale the great air that inspires such a natural phenomena. This is about as far from civilization a you need to be these days to encounter this air but there are so many other good reasons to be here. Do Fiji if you can? The land of smiles and brilliant air that takes your breath away.
Next up is Tofino, British Columbia where the lichens (which can indicate very clean air) grow wild in the Pacific Rim National Park which offers major league hiking in a Canadian Rain Forest. Down the road a virtual icon for surfing beaches, Long Beach, draws sweet tasting breeze over it`s reliable rolling surf. Apparently surfing is as good for your lungs as your soul in Tofino. Sweet breathing meditation and action so close to home!
This search for very breathable air is just heating up and I can`t cover all the possibilities without more time and money. I could try to make a difference like this lady so that I can be part of a solution that moves this world ever so steadily into a breathable direction. I can move to the air but if we don`t make some noise and demand the best it`ll find us eventually as we`re discovering in some parts of polluted Canada. So for now I hope to continue the "air tour" with stops in Iceland, South Africa, Patagonia, Tahiti, New Zealand and anywhere else that I discover fits the mould. It`s a breathful of possibilities in a slow moving environmental activism? We need to deserve the best outcome but I`ll hit the road and breathe the best till then.