The other side of travelling – our trip to Pacasmayo in Northern Peru

Travelling for most of us means to get to spend our precious time at an incredible location. Maybe exotic, sometimes serene, most of the time just beautiful and right out of a travel catalogue.

Travelling off the grid doesn’t always lead you to picturesque places

But the truth is, when you’re travelling to many different countries, and especially to places that are not very touristy, you might end up somewhere less picturesque and more eye-opening.

The beach close to our place resembled a Mad Max movie set

We flew to Lima and drove for 10 hours up north along the coast of Peru. Our trip led us through bizarre desert landscapes without a soul around but also through a couple of busy cities, which stayed in my memory mainly due to the amount of garbage in the streets.

Why this pollution?

A sad picture and the question, whether these are just default characteristics of poorer countries, where everyone is concerned with feeding themselves over protecting the environment, or if there’s a different reason for this pollution.

When we arrived after a long, crazy drive we were happy to fall into our bed and noticed in the morning that our rented apartment was in prime beach location overlooking the ocean.

After taking a walk to the point though, we saw that also the beach was heavily polluted with garbage, and surfers had to climb over a combination of old bras, CDs, questionable bones and plastic bags in order to reach the waterfront. No swimming or tanning here. What a shame.

This topic kept me busy all week.

Was there something that could be done here? The city put up signs everywhere telling people to keep the beaches clean but nothing remotely was happening in reality.

A broken-off broom, plastic bags, CDs, pieces of clothing and lots of bones

Were there any plans to clean up the beaches, maybe with the help of school kids or activist groups? It made me quite sad to see this part of the country, which is way less touristy than the mountainous areas, much more polluted than any other part I’ve visited in Peru.

Does anyone share the same experience?

I’ve actually just read an article about a new sport called “plogging”, an environmentally conscious fitness trend, where people pick up rubbish while jogging. The trend comes from Sweden and the word itself is a combination of “jogging” and “plocka upp”, which is Swedish for “pick up”.

Apparently it’s already a craze on instagram. So there’s an idea. Next time instead of feeling guilty for being at a destination polluted with litter and just walking past it, I could incorporate cleaning up into my daily workout routine.

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