Koh Tao – Photographic Journey

Posted: October 28, 2012 in Change, Mindfulness, Photography, Travels
Tags: , ,

[music: XX – The XX]– 10 hour XX intro!

At the end of July, I spent a week diving on Koh Tao (turtle island) with the very professional diving school Scuba Junction (which I highly recommend if you are planning a visit).

There are only two reasons to spend time on Koh Tao: exceptional Scuba Diving or early-twenties partying. As this island is exclusively devoted to tourism, the locals and imported immigrant workers have adapted to the touristic environment of party goers, luxury resort divers, and an occasional ‘normal’ scuba divers. Aside from diving, there is little that could entice me back to this island; it had a mini-beachside Disney feel to it, there were too many tourists, and the locals were not genuinely welcoming – to the point of being exploitative (i.e.  the very real motorbike scam).

During my stay, I did have the chance to speak with some very interesting Westerners, travellers. One gave me his copy of The Snow Leopard. Over diner one night, another asked me, “We all need money, but what does one really need it for?”

“Food, shelter and health. The rest of what we need, money can’t buy.” he replied. “I use money to buy myself freedom from the things the rest of the world covets.”

Since we spoke, I have been giving this idea a lot of thought; what I have come up with is not terribly original, but it’s not the originality of the thought but how one puts it into practice that I have found to be interesting. [Generalization warning] The world is increasingly being driven my a notion that we need stuff, iPads, smartphones, designer clothes, 64 megapixel cameras, a 64″ 3D flatscreen TV in every room (24″ in the WC), you get the idea. We spend time thinking about these items and then once acquired, we move on to the next target.

So I have made a few decisions: (1)  Get rid of everything I do not use. (2) Buy to replace, not to add. (3) Favour manual over electric. (4) Reduce my physical possession footprint. (5) Favour local over multinational (the human drive for profits and improvement on a human scale is admirable). (6) Focus on what I can achieve with what I have, rather than buying into the belief that something new will make my ambitions effortless.

This post was originally going to be a simple photographic journey, so here are my Koh Tao photos (Lightroom Koh Tao preset):

  1. Rick says:

    Such thoughtful words even as nice or nicer then the pics….

  2. Hook says:

    My only quibble is my usual one; that we crave 64″ TV’s now, but before that it was Hupmobiles and catapults and mammoth tusks. A large segment of humanity has ALWAYS craved stuff. Having done my obligatory carping, I find myself seriously thinking about your resolutions. I have a terrible habit of never throwing anything away, and, frankly, that’s not a good thing. Hmmm.

    • Just George says:

      For the greatest part of human history (and prehistory), >95% of the population ‘craved’ items necessary for survival, not ‘Survivor’… household debt, Mad Men advertising, and conspicuous consumption are modern phenomenon.

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