Biologist and travel content creator Neel never thought travel would lead him to where he is today. Neel takes a look at some of his travel photos, and shares his favourite travel memories with us...
Biologist and travel content creator Neel Wanders, AKA Flunking Monkey never thought his journey with travel would lead him to where he is today. We’ve teamed up with CEWE to take a look at some of Neel’s favourite travel photos as he remembers and shares some of his best travel memories with us. From the diverse landscapes of South East Asia to the national parks of Sri Lanka, we talk all things wildlife conservation, eco-friendly travel, the power of travel and the importance of remembering travel through photographs…
After working full time to put myself through university and then going straight into a graduate job, I knew I needed a break. I also knew I wanted to see the world. So I packed up a bag and jumped on a one way flight to South East Asia.
I started in Vietnam, before heading through the ancient sites of Cambodia, the blue waters of the Philippines, tea fields in Malaysia, skyscrapers in Singapore and the islands of Indonesia.
While I was in northern Thailand, I volunteered at the Elephant Nature Park which works towards rehabilitating and rescuing elephants from the abusive tourism industry. This was my first taste but definitely not the last of the affects travellers were having on animals and wildlife around the world. I spent my week with like-minded individuals helping care for the elephants and the lands of the sanctuary. There were early morning rises and late-night laughs that really brought everyone together.
Another stand-out memory is when I was on a boat trip through Indonesia where I contemplated my return to London. I remember feeling a sense of fulfilment in seeing the beauty of the planet and the urge to experience more of it. Unfortunately, during my trip to South East Asia, I had also seen first-hand the affects pollution was having on these remote regions. I saw blocks of floating plastic amongst other waste contaminating our oceans.
During my travels in South East Asia, I wrote an online blog and shared my adventures on social media, building up an online audience. When I returned home, I realised I had carved out a new career, one that embodied my urge to see the world. I was soon partnering with tourism boards and agencies who took me around the world.
However, it wasn’t until I went to Sri Lanka that I realised something was missing from the content I was producing. I was once again in a country where I witnessed how the behaviours of the tourism community and lack of environmental education was affecting the natural beauty and biodiversity of these areas. I remember walking along railroad tracks surrounded by forestry and would find rubbish littered amongst the plants.
However, I also experienced the local people and organisations in Sri Lanka really advocating for nature, as I immersed myself in the Uduwalawe National Park and Sea Turtle programs working to conserve and restores species and their environments.
I realised there, I had a duty as a creator, especially one with an educational background in environment and conservation. I wanted to get people thinking about the affects their travel has: how capturing and sharing these beautiful destinations through photography and social media could have so much more meaning if it lead to positive impacts.
As humans we have this innate need to explore and travel. Photographs are an amazing way for us to memorialize our adventures, not for only ourselves but to share with others. They can reignite positive emotions and remind us of the beauty of the world and why we need to protect it.
26 year old Neel is a biologist from London who started his travel blog as a personal log back in 2016. Since then, this has developed into a full time career and Neel is now a travel content creator. His background in biology gave him an insight into scientific factors surrounding environmentalism, conservation and sustainability. Neel’s goal is to change the perception of what modern travel means, allowing people to have positive impacts to the areas they travel to without detriment to their experience.
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