When you travel there are two types of big things. A big thing is something that you mention and people exclaim. Big things are what influence you or others and get a reaction. An example of a big thing would be Venice. Just tell someone you've been to Venice and they'll be all ears. Another would be the coliseum in Rome or the Sistine Chapel. Sometimes big things don't exist before you find them. Dubrovnik is a big thing to me because it's such a magical city but I didn't think it was a big thing until I went there. It's also one of those big things that doesn't get a reaction because nobody knows about it. So there are two types of big things, those that exist before you travel and those you discover on the way. Some of them will only be big things to you. You can talk about them until you're blue in the face all you get back are yawns. This is unfortunate but a fact of traveling. Let me tell you about the Amazon. Before I came here I thought it was important because ever since I was a kid people have been preaching the “We can't chop down the rain forest” religion. Yes, I thought it was important but it didn't really have to do with me. After a while we just become callused and don't hear the message anymore. In a way the Amazon is sort of a medium thing. Yes, it gets reactions but most people don't know what to think. Out of the two big thing categories the Amazon fits in the second because to me it was just a check box on a list of things I wanted to see before I die. Now things have changed. The Amazon is a big thing, maybe a really big thing. I'm sure when I get back home and tell people they will yawn and wonder when I'll talk about something interesting and you may already be doing that now.
If you know me you will know that I don't get too excited about much but I'm excited about the Amazon. I've just spent the last three days in the Amazon without Internet, heat or electricity and I can tell you that more people need to experience this. It's about the size of the whole eastern half of the United States so it's very large. You can drive for days, maybe weeks and not get through it. Why is this important? The Amazon isn't just a forest, it's what's keeping this planet alive. The Amazon is the ying to our yang, the day to our night. Without it the balance of this planet will spin and we will never recover. Not once did anyone down here try to convince me of this or do the “Let's save our planet
“ speech. They didn't have to. Coming here changes you. Coming here has changed me. Nowhere have I ever been to a place that felt more alive. Everywhere you look there is life from the smallest bugs to the monkeys to the Quichua people. The Amazon is alive, the Amazon is what's allowing us to breathe, the Amazon is our lifeblood and these people are the stewards of it. They are selflessly saving our lives or at least prolonging them and we go on unknowingly killing it tree by tree. We dump pollutants in to the water and air, over consume natural resources and neglect the only place in the Universe we have to live and the Amazon tries to balance our actions. The sad truth is though it's loosing. It's loosing because we're killing it. After being here I'm having a really hard time coming up with any justification for this. I'm having a really hard time trying to figure out the benefit to what we're doing. None of it adds up. We need the Amazon like we need the Sun. Would we find a way to push the earth away from the sun if someone paid us? It just doesn't make sense. I love the Amazon. I'd love to spend a month here and just live like the locals. I've had very few spiritual experiences in my life (ok none) but this comes close. To live in a wooden hut with a thatched roof with no windows whatsoever and be so close to the birds and land animals and insects making noise while you sleep is amazing. To hear the rain pattering on the wooden deck while you sleep in total darkness is amazing. The Amazon is amazing. I will never forget this place nor will I forget the Quichuas.