The whole off-the-grid adventure was the most fly-by-the-seat-of-our-pants thing we’ve done on this trip. That’s because we found literally NO information in guidebooks or on the Internet about how to navigate these towns and rivers. We don’t think we’re the first, but very few tourists have done it. That was part of the whole allure of the scheme, definitely. I’m sure we felt a small degree of the same nervous excitement felt by the first European explorers to set foot in the new world. The Amazon is one of the very few places left that still is largely unknown and undiscovered by outsiders. But it got me thinking…what happens now that we have written online for the whole world to read about how to do this? Did we ruin one of the few off-the-grid adventures left in Bolivia by making it more accessible? What is this urge to explore everywhere and see everything? Is it universally human or is it uniquely western? I recently read that many other countries in the world have national parks and preserved wild-lands that are totally inaccessible to people (in Barbara Kingsolver’s Small Wonder). They preserve because they know it’s important, and they don’t place equal importance on people being able to get there to photograph everything. In the U.S., of course, our national parks are all mostly accessible in an average non-4WD car. I understand the importance of human appreciation for conservation, but I wish we could still leave some natural places totally devoid of human contact.
I guess these are my real questions: Do we have to conquer everything? What will happen once there is nothing left undiscovered or undescribed? And do we ruin the unwritten-about places by writing about them?