The 24th of October, I entered a country isolated from the international arena, for over 50 years. A place some call Myanmar. Others Burma. I immersed myself into this culture, almost as they say “going native”, touching the essence of presence, humanity and life itself.


After 2 months of exploration, I found myself in the isolated Mergui Archipelago, off the coast of Southern Myanmar, conducting an environmental assessment on Pila Kyun and its adjacent islands. This developed into a calling to support Mokan International LTD. in their initial steps to transform the islands into an ecotourism destination, while working with the community in the protection and conservation of the natural and cultural heritage of the island. For 3 months, I visited national parks, eco hotels and community-based initiatives to gather inspiration and knowledge. Gunter Pauli, founder and author of The Blue Economy, and his work especially inspired me with the Indonesian government creating micro enterprises to sustain and create sustainable and resilient island communities.


I am now in the finishing stages of a proposal to Mokan Int. for how to use tourism as a catalyser for socio-economic and environmental development, on Pila Kyun and the Mergui Archipelago.


Professionally, what are the most important things you have learned, as a result of carrying out this project?

During my time in Myanmar I have seen the vital importance of integration. The integration of all stakeholders in development. The integration of new technology and old wisdom. The integration of local and global needs. Of challenges, opportunities and values. The integration of systems thinking in all levels of decision-making. And most of all the integration yourself into this world.


What are the most important things that you have learned, about yourself, as a result of carrying out this project?

All we have is this very moment. Right now. I find it easy to forget to be present and at times I spend whole days either in the past or in the future not realizing the importance of what I choose to do, feel and see at this very moment. We are always faced with choosing an option from an endless stream of choices, memories, emotions, judgements and concepts that are part of you. This year, I have learned to become more consciousness about those choices, of the paths I choose to walk and how that in turn effects the people I love and care about, my community. I have yet to understand the full power of a coherent action with your mind, body and soul but I feel as if I have taken a step in the right direction.


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