Reading books by the beach can be fun!

Exploring Andamans- Part 0

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This is part of a series, where I take my little son with me on my travels to help him understand responsible and sustainable tourism, so that he grows up to be a responsible citizen who can help inspire others to also understand the importance of respecting nature and nurturing it. In this series, we explore the Andaman Islands as part of #ResponsibleTravelForKids series.

Summer Holidays-The 90’s– Back when I was in school, it was that time when I used to sit at home and watch Prime Sports for its live cricket feed of the ending New Zealand season from 3 am to 10 am, the matches in Sharjah from 11 am to 7 pm, and the beginning of the Carribean Cricket season from 7 pm to late night. Whenever possible, I used to find my sleep in between, because the privilege of watching cricket live and very clearly (as DD’s coverage back then in the early 90’s was poor), was too much to resist. I did this from 1994 to 1996, where the English county season also got added to the mix with Shaun Pollock taking a hat trick on debut.  I was completely addicted to watching Cricket on TV. Those were my luxuries. My world was the little room in our house in Adyar in Chennai, adorned on the 4 walls with posters of cricketers, pulled and cut out from the Sportstar Magazines.

It changed from 1997. On February 18th 1997, my school’s travel/nature club announced that they were having a nature camp trek in the summer holidays in Himachal Pradesh for about a little over 2 weeks in the Bara Bangal range, and it was priced at Rs 3800. My parents felt, I am better off going away on travelling rather than gorging on cricket in front of the television. I was also interested, since it involved going to New Delhi after 7 years. I used to previously live in New Delhi, and it felt like a trip back home, and I knew I had a love affair with staring out of the train windows looking at the scenery changing slowly. On that trip in May, I realised how important practical knowledge of first aid is since I injured myself when I fell off a mountain. I also realised that you need to respect nature and understood the importance of responsible travel where you dont throw plastic wrappers into the wild and dont play loud music in the woods. It got me interested about travel, and about the importance of maintaining our environment around us. That was the clear focus, as the cricket clearly went to the background. I still would borrow transistors from the camp’s cooks to listen to bits of hindi commentary of the on going Independence Cup back then. But Nathan Astle, Saeed Anwar, Sachin Tendulkar and Sanath Jayasuriya remained figments of imagination when the transistor would boom to life, as my primary points of interest were the tall trees and the flowing Uhl river, in the lap of nature, disconnected for most parts from the world.

Cut back to 2016

I was with my son on a beach in Goa for New Year. My 4 year old son was happy staying inside the air-conditioned place, and was asking for POGO channel to entertain himself. He would not feel like walking on the beaches, and stayed away from the sun, and would shy away from enjoying nature or even observing it. I decided that I needed to take him to a place which was cut away from telephone networks, television, air-conditioning and the usual things he would find at home. A place that would shake his senses up about what his definition of the world was. After a bit of search and deciding between Lakshadweep and Andamans, I decided on the latter based on the costs of flying to and staying there. After a couple of friends reccomended a place, I looked up the Flying Elephants resort tucked away in the woods of arguably the most beautiful, but under-rated beach of Kalapathar

It’s often the easier path taken, when you take a 5 year old to a world of luxury and holidays. Watching cartoons on TV, staying in air con rooms all day guzzling the hotel’s wifi. There is a whole generation at risk that could just miss the beauty of nature because as parents we choose the easier path. I decided to take my son to parts of India to mingle socially with people on holiday, and understand responsible travel. 

We had an early morning flight from Chennai which strangely got pre-poned from 8:30 am to 6:30 am. I had chosen the 8:30 am flight purely because it becomes very tough to wake a 5 year old at 4 am to get him ready for such an early flight. There was no way I could cancel the air plane due to very limited flights between Chennai and Port Blair. We chose Go-Air and Jet Airways for our flights which ideally be flights landing in Port Blair before noon and leaving Port Blair as the last flight out in the afternoon. That works best if you plan to head over to the islands of Neil and Havelock right after/before your flights.

Flying across the Indian Ocean
Flying across the Indian Ocean

We chose to spend a day in Port-Blair and just go walking around, since our tickets to Havelock Island (Kalapathar Beach) were for the next morning. More on that coming up in the subsequent posts.

Monsoon Weather in Port Blair
Monsoon Weather in Port Blair

Do stay tuned to the upcoming parts all through July. If you have a young kid, you should come back for more on how you can entertain a kid and teach them early lessons on sustainable and responsible travel. Here are the themes I agreed upon for Nandu to be learnt

When you go into the forest, you are going into the homes of animals. We should respect them and peacefully-co exist without harming or driving them away. Be a traveller and not a tourist who thinks he/she is the ‘privileged one’.

 

Re-fill your water in a water bottle, and do not buy plastic bottled water. Helps any place do away with the problem of waste and helps kid develop immunity by drinking water the way the locals of a place drink it.

 

 Throw plastic out of the sea, when you see it, and collect them and put them in a dust bin

 

Nature can be the best way to entertain yourself. Observe the trees and plants around and ask questions on why things are the way they are

 

Go stay with the locals who cook for you, or who run shops to get an idea of their lives. It helps you appreciate what they have in their world, and what you have in your world.

 

Develop patience, by sitting a full day out at the beach, and knowing that the mind can be entertained by just reading a book by the sea, making castles,playing in the sea and just resting on the sand.

Here’s a sneak preview on what to expect in 3 images in the next few parts!

Nandu enjoying with glee abandon at Kalapathar Beach in Havelock Island.
Nandu enjoying with glee abandon at Kalapathar Beach in Havelock Island.

 

Paradise at Flying Elephant Resort in Kalapathar-Havelock Islands
Paradise at Flying Elephant Resort in Kalapathar-Havelock Islands

 

 

Reading books by the beach can be fun!
Reading books by the beach can be fun!

Check out the next part

 

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42 thoughts on “Exploring Andamans- Part 0”

  1. I’m very happy to see you’re teaching your kid the fundamentals of environmental-friendly travelling! With all those big All-Inclusive resorts out there, a lot of people tend to forget that travelling is so much more than a hotel room and a buffet, and just throw their stuff all around the area ’cause they think it’ll be cleaned up afterwards .. Kudos!

  2. I admire you for having the mind to instill the importance of responsible traveling with your child. I mean, many people don’t really think about these things. I’ve seen parents traveling with their kids and sometimes it’s all about traveling “to be seen,” if you know what I mean. But with you, do you your best to teach your kid that traveling isn’t just about visiting a place, it’s about learning and respecting others culture and appreciating nature. That, to me, is amazing.

  3. Well Done! Sometimes (always lol) our children need to be switched off of technology and switched onto nature! One day your son will be so grateful you took the time to do this for him and I hope you had a great time. Thanks for sharing such a great post

    1. Thank you Tahnee! I hope to give him a lot of good memories and bring up a responsible world citizen who can in turn pass the energies in making planet earth a better place to live in.

  4. I really appreciate your attempt to make your son appreciate nature.With the ongoing process of technological innovations and inventions these days its very difficult for kids to enjoy nature and the simple things in life.I see young kids always hooked on technology these days .Keep taking him on trips like these and encourage others to do the same.It really helps them understand that these exists a world outside technology

  5. It is really commendable that you are making extra effort to ensure that your son stays connected with nature. This is indeed the need of the hour for children today. Most of the time, kids are riveted to the TV or smart phone and hardly get outdoors. The kids need to start appreciating nature,only than can they understand its importance and help in conserving this beautiful world.

  6. Some really nice and simple responsible tourism tips there that any of us can follow. I live in India and have been planning to visit Andaman from a long time but it hasn’t happened yet. But now after reading your post, I am feeling to plan it right away!

  7. I truly admire those parents like you who really help their kids assimilate the beauty of responsible tourism in their own little mind. This is something that every parent should do, to let their kids experience the beauty of nature and help them understand about the importance of our mother earth. This is truly so touching and i love reading an article like this. Thank you so much for sharing this with us.

  8. I am totally with you on this. I was wary of traveling with my first one and did not venture out until he was one. With my daughter, we got her traveling from 6 months on ! They have been to Andaman and totally enjoyed the laid back life. In fact Havelock is my favorite island there. We rented a bike and explored the entire island. Your tips are great and I will use them to re-iterate responsible travels

    1. Thank you Swati. I think kids have this connection with nature, which just needs more oppurtunities for them to interact with nature and the simplicity of life. Thanks for your feedback.

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