CHRISTMAS: TIS’ THE SEASON FOR FESTIVITIES OF GIVING
Christmas time for me always evokes childhood memories of cosy family time, where my Dad would cook an Indian style Christmas dinner, we’d have extended family around, watch Christmas movies together (including the Christmas special of Eastenders and Corrie) and open our very modest presents, which we treasured like well earnt medals. This was a time when Christmas wasn’t commercial and the world hadn’t gone Christmas consumer crazy and where the focus was all about the family and spending special time together.
‘ To celebrate the heart of Christmas is to forget ourselves
in the service of others’.
Henry C. Link
Over the past few years, Dr C and I have opted to spend Christmas abroad aiming to give something back to the wider global community in terms of raising awareness of animal exploitation from the tourist industry, supporting social and educational projects, working with community incentives to provide self-sufficient environments for remote villages and promoting sustainable tourist blueprints. You can read all about some of these in my post about six things that have had an impact on my travel.
This year we will be spending Christmas in the small town of Hua Hin, located a two hour drive from Bangkok. As well as getting in a few days of R&R, our main goal will be to help out and learn about the sustainability and conservation projects undertaken by the Evason Six Senses Hua Hin.
The Evason is actually a six senses spa resort, which plays a big part in combining sustainability with the hospitality industry. The Evason holds policies including; after use reduction, waste management, energy use minimalisation, sustainable purchasing programs and carbon emission reduction at the core of its vision.
The resort combines organic gardening using permaculture principals and an on site recycling programme. Apart from batteries and electronic waste everything else is appropriately disposed or recycled. Aluminium cans are used to grow different organic vegetables and animals are reared on wet waste from the kitchens. The Evason’s ethos has led to a minute amount of waste ending up in the municipal landfill and the resort has served as an educational hub to train the local community.
The Evason is also very passionate about its social responsibility and I’ll be involved with visiting children from a hill tribe orphanage who have received schooling and taught how to grow vegetables, fruit and raise hens for eggs. With the help of The Evason they have now managed to build sustainable farm producing eggs with a vegetable plantation.
Instead of buying presents for each other Dr C and I have decided to purchase writing materials, colouring books and pencils for the children to draw and decorate their classrooms with artwork.
There are many sustainability activities that we will be undertaking during our ten day Christmas break and hopefully I’ll be able to tell you all about it in a post I plan to write in January.
The trip wouldn’t be the same if I didn’t incorporate my love for animal welfare and conservation. On Christmas day Dr C and I will spend the day at Hutsadin. Most of you know that I have a huge love for elephants and in the past, volunteered at an Orphangae in Sri Lanka.
Well this Christmas Dr C and I will be completing some Mahout training and having one on one time with a group of elephants. Hutsadin is a non profit organisation who have managed to rescue six elephants from logging, rides, shows and general ill treatment. Their aim is to allow the elephants to live a free and painless life. Thailand unfortunately is still a country where in 2018, these beautiful creatures are still exploited for the tourist industry.
During my time at Hutsadin, I hope to immerse myself into what it entails to gain the trust of these gentle giants and highlight the importance of carefully sourcing experiences involving animals.
Christmas 2018, will be a truly magical one. In the spirit of Christmas, Its definitely going to be the season for giving! I am so excited ad grateful that I have the opportunity to help make a small difference in the travel community, for our future generations to enjoy.
So guys, thanks for reading and do let me know below what the festive season means to you and how you intend to spend it.
Merry Christmas one and all