In October of 2012 on our honeymoon, my wife and I visited the people of Pulau Palue, a small island in the archipelago of Indonesia. The greatest luxury some of these people have is a pair of flip flops. There is no fresh water source on their island other than via the condensation that accumulates in the bamboo rods they drive into the earth... they siphon this condensation off into buckets one drip at a time. Their village is 1,200 feet above sea level and many of them make the steep trek up and down the mountain to the ocean daily to fish for their meals. The striking thing is that these people appear to be as happy or perhaps even happier than any others I have come across anywhere else. Their smiles were bright and full of sincerity and gratitude. We brought the children some pencils, erasers, magic markers, etc. and they were jumping for joy like it was christmas morning. There is a lot to be learned through travel. One sad realization that comes to light is the fact that we here in America complain. Remember, complaining is a choice. So, the next time you have the thought that you have it tough... let that thought drift away somewhere else. Smile and enjoy life. To paraphrase Victor Frankl, choosing your attitude is the only true freedom you have in this life. The world will be a better place if we all choose well.
This is the steep hike they make every day.
After I took my first photo of this lady she was terribly concerned with the condition of her hair when I showed her the photo. She then spent a few minutes combing her hair before she allowed me to take more photos.
And here she is again.
To see more images from Pulau Palue click here.