Tag Archives: responsible travel

Wide Oyster Magazine Interviews Mandip Singh Soin

Netherlands’ based international travel magazine Wide Oyster recently interviewed Mandip Singh Soin about his journey, his passion for exploration and his concern for the planet. Given below is the republished version. The original article is available here.

For Love and For the Planet: Reisheld Mandip Singh Soin
By Marco Baneveld

There are more and more voices that traveling is bad for the environment. We believe that traveling in the right way makes the world a better place. In the words of David Attenborough : “No one will protect what they don’t care about; and no one will care about what they have never experienced.”

WideOyster highlights travel heroes who are committed to the world. In this edition Mandip Singh Soin, explorer and environmentalist.

When I met Mandip in a bus in Salta, en route to the Juramento River (for those who raft: a number 5), we immediately got talking. An incredibly nice man, full of puns and easily recognizable by his colorful turbans. I knew a lot that I was laughing with a fairly remarkable person. But I would soon find out.

Over the past four decades, Mandip Singh Soin, an Indian Sikh, has climbed, skied, jumped parachute and immersed himself in a thousand other adventures on all seven continents. “My wanderlust started early,” he recalls. “I was 15, climbed into the Himalayas and was overwhelmed by adventure and nature.” He turned his passion into his work.

His company Ibex Expeditions was born in 1979. Ibex organizes tailor-made adventures and has received many international awards over the years. Just like Mandip itself, by the way. This year the company is celebrating its 40th anniversary.

His experiences all over the world made him more and more involved in protecting the nature that he loves so much. And with success.

Mandip is the only Indian who has received the NESS Award from the Royal Geographical Society, UK . He also received the prestigious Tenzing Norgay Adventure Award from the hands of the President of India. He is the founder of the Ecotourism Society of India and a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, UK and the Explorers Club, USA . He is a man to be reckoned with. Big time.

In 2015, he was awarded the Citation of Merit by the Explorers Club for his work on mountaineering on six continents. Other recipients of this award include Jeff Bezos, John Hemming, Gilbert M. Grosvenor, Lord Robert ST Chorley, Nigel N. Winser, Naomi Uemura and Robert D. Ballard.

We were allowed to ask him some questions about how traveling can do the world well and how it can help preserve our beautiful planet for future generations.

 

Mandip, why are you traveling?

“For all the amazing and different landscapes, the bewildering architectural styles and the fantastic types of people living in this world. The peculiarities and eccentricities of people and cultures around the world. It makes this planet a very interesting place to travel. ”

What did it bring you?

“A better understanding of people, myself and also a better understanding of how the planet ticks.”

How does travel define you as a person?

“There are two types of journeys: the inner journey and the outer journey. Traveling opens windows in the mind. It has taught me to be empathetic and at the same time it has made me realize that I have to contribute to a better world.

Do you think there is a ‘good’ way of traveling and a ‘bad’ way of traveling?

“The right way is to understand and open up to cultures and people you visit. But your choice of travel also counts: choose sustainable hotels, lodges and tour operators, which also respect the locals and give them back to the community where the journey goes. Also try to donate something to support nature and culture, such as the WWF or local non-profit organizations for the environment, cultures or education. There is so much to do, so little money and every drop counts. Bad tourism does nothing of the above and only goes for itself and the cheapest, without having to worry about the impact of tourism. Bad tourism is not about attracting you to what your impact is and just taking it. ”

You are committed to the environment. Can you explain that?

“Well, first we set a good example with Ibex. Just to feel good about it and to care for the environment. For example, we do not make campfires with wood from the environment during our Himalayan expeditions. There is not much firewood there and what there is is primarily meant for the local communities, we think. Nowadays we burn less and less on open fire because of the CO2 and we use solar energy to cook, shower and light to reduce our impact.

We soon started making recommendations to other tour operators. Now we do this in India on a national level through the Ecotourism Society of India. There is so much to do. ”

Why are it the more adventurous journeys that contribute to nature conservation?

“If tourism is the arrow, adventure travel is the arrowhead. These trips like to go to areas where normal tourism does not dare yet. They are often unexplored areas. Tourism then brings jobs, money and the exchange of knowledge. Adventurous travel organizations are often a pioneer in the field of nature protection. Because nature is the playground that people love so much. You don’t want to ruin that. In the words of David Attenborough : “No one will protect what they don’t care about; and no one will care about what they have never experienced. ”

However, there is a side note. Because this type of travel can also be done irresponsibly and it will be damaged more than it does well. So we have to keep making wise decisions. ”

What would your advice be for people who are concerned about the impact of travel?

“Be more aware where you are going and how you are traveling. Respect cultures and people. Pay attention to which travel agency you are traveling with and consciously choose sustainable accommodation. See if you can possibly compensate the CO2 for your flights. Traveling can be a powerful tool to protect this planet and create a better understanding between people. It is ultimately your choices that make the difference. ”

 

With Mandip to the heart of India

There is probably no better way to discover India than with Mandip Singh Soin. For the 40th anniversary of their company, Mandip and his wife Anita lead an expedition to the heart of India, in the footsteps of Captain James Forsyth, an explorer who served in the Indian army at the end of the 19th century. The journey takes you to the forests of Satpura in the state of Madhya Pradesh. You stay in luxury camps and colonial lodges and immerse yourself in art, culture, nature, wildlife and recipes from the kitchen of the Nawab family. A great walking experience through the Satpura Tiger Reserve. You also visit Bhopal, Mandu and Maheshwar where you stay in the Ahilya Fort, the private palace of the former Holkar dynasty.

Read more about this journey here. 

Ladakh: A Photographic Journey to “Little Tibet”

Flying into Leh, the former capital of the Himalayan kingdom of Ladakh, feels more like landing on the moon than landing in India. Its harsh, mountainous terrain is starkly beautiful and very dry, due to its high altitude and cold desert climate. Dotted with stupas and whitewashed houses, the Old Town is dominated by a dagger of steep rocky ridge topped by an imposing Tibetan-style palace and fort.


Our special anniversary edition journey to Ladakh this September will be led by Himraj Soin, an adventure travel journalist who is an avid skier and climber;
studied at Colorado College. He is a National Geographic Student Expedition leader
and photographer and his expeditions have taken him to Tibet, Mongolia, Bhutan,Borneo, Madagascar, Peru, Morocco, Namibia, Argentina, Chile, and Antarctica, and more.

Following a theme of a responsible eco adventure, walking in the footsteps of the  this photo adventure journey will take you to all Buddhist monasteries, trek through breathtaking passes. You will discuss Buddhist traditions, learn about renewable energy projects with conservationists, visit outfits promoting sustainable development and walk along hillsides dotted with chortens and monasteries with exquisite Himalayan vistas.

The journey will take place this September. Send in your queries to ibex@ibexexpeditions.com!
.

Antarctica Matters: Scientists Discover Graveyard of Continents Beneath Ice

Antarctica has been called the least understood continent of Earth. Recently, data from a discontinued European satellite reveals that the ice sheet beneath eastern Antarctica is a graveyard of continental remnants. The research, led by Jörg Ebbing, a geophysicist at Kiel University in Germany, reported their discovery earlier this month in Scientific Reports.  They created 3-D maps of the southernmost continent’s tectonic underworld and found that the ice has been concealing wreckage of an ancient supercontinent’s spectacular destruction. The pieces may have been assembled a billion years ago, when the supercontinent Rodinia was built, or as recently as 500 million years ago, when another supercontinent, Gondwana, came together. Either way, what has been found beneath Antarctica is part of what’s left after Gondwana’s dissolution, around 160 million years ago.

Why is this important to know? Because knowing the rock that sits beneath the largest ice sheet in the world will help understand global warming, as subglacial geology influences how ice shifts as the climate changes.

Source: The New York Times

We are leading a journey to Antarctica in March 2019. Send us an email at ibex@ibexexpeditions.com to find out more about this epic voyage. 

Sri Lanka – The Pearl of the Indian Ocean

A tear-drop shaped island, Sri Lanka, the resplendent land, southeast of the Indian Subcontinent, is one seeped in history dating back to at least 125,000 years. Formerly known as Ceylon, this land is a centre of religion and culture, encompassing Buddhism, Hinduism, Christianity and Islam. Its geographic location and deep harbours made it an important location of the Silk Route.

With a 103 rivers, several estuaries and lagoons, Sri Lanka’s dense mangrove system spanning over 7000 hectares plays a vital role in buffering tsunami-like waves. Sri Lanka is one of the 25 biodiversity hotspots in the world, with the highest biodiversity density in Asia.

Stilt fishing is one of the most interesting traditional fishing methods of Sri Lanka, with records indicating it began just after World War II. This method was a common practice till the tsunami hit pristine island in 2004. This graceful skill, almost like a dance on a pole, is now seen during dawn and dusk in the southern coastal towns of Sri Lanka.

One of our memorable journeys to Sri Lanka was with the team of Nicobar. We organised an itinerary to some of our favourite locations, and they created a beautiful journal of their experience. Have a look at the online version here. 

Email us at ibex@ibexexpeditions.com to visit Sri Lanka.

Antarctica Matters

20141206-0A9A3584David Merron

In 1959, world governments came together to sign the Antarctic Treaty, to ensure that Antarctica was used only for peaceful and scientific research purposes. In 1991, they proposed a 50-year agreement, declaring the great white continent as a natural reserve, banning mining and drilling activity for mineral resources. Although Antarctica remains unexploited, we can see the effects of climate change through retreating glaciers and rising temperatures in the region.

After a successful launch in the International Year of Sustainable Tourism in March 2017, Ibex Expeditions has pledged to promote Antarctica as a destination, where the journey has a purpose–to create a movement of building awareness around protecting such pristine spaces. Join us for our next voyage to the last true wilderness on Earth.

Details here: http://www.ibexexpeditions.com/place/antarctica/