With all the thigns going on in the world politically, from brexit and an unelected Prime Minister here in the UK to Trump causing havoc for many minority groups in the US it's easy to believe that the world... well that it's going to shit a bit. Sometimes it feels like thigns are just getting worse and yes for Muslims, Women, Trans people and other marginalised groups in the US it is getting worse (though hopefully not for long) but I wanted to bring a little bit of optimism into the world and talk about the Gates Letter.

This is something I had no idea existed but Bill and Melina gates write an open letter ever year to the world about how to make it a better place. This year they focused a lot on children, on child mortality, vaccinations and contraceptions. But the also focused on positivity, in seeing that the money people in richer countries are giving to those in the developing world is actually making a difference. Seeing that the world is getting better and to encourage people to keep trying to help to keep donating which stuck with me.

So the world is actually getting better, in a lot of ways, and that's what I wanted to talk about in this blog post because I want to end up living a life where I can help people but I lose hope sometimes and wonder if I ever actually am going to be able to achieve this. But reading about the world actually getting better just gives me more hope, and determination and that's something needed with the way politics is going in the western world at the moment.

This post is going to be talking about some of the statistics in that letter, the big ones that make you sit back and think "wow things are improving" but also to talk about optimism.

Gates' Letter: The World is Actually Getting Better

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

With all the thigns going on in the world politically, from brexit and an unelected Prime Minister here in the UK to Trump causing havoc for many minority groups in the US it's easy to believe that the world... well that it's going to shit a bit. Sometimes it feels like thigns are just getting worse and yes for Muslims, Women, Trans people and other marginalised groups in the US it is getting worse (though hopefully not for long) but I wanted to bring a little bit of optimism into the world and talk about the Gates Letter.

This is something I had no idea existed but Bill and Melina gates write an open letter ever year to the world about how to make it a better place. This year they focused a lot on children, on child mortality, vaccinations and contraceptions. But the also focused on positivity, in seeing that the money people in richer countries are giving to those in the developing world is actually making a difference. Seeing that the world is getting better and to encourage people to keep trying to help to keep donating which stuck with me.

So the world is actually getting better, in a lot of ways, and that's what I wanted to talk about in this blog post because I want to end up living a life where I can help people but I lose hope sometimes and wonder if I ever actually am going to be able to achieve this. But reading about the world actually getting better just gives me more hope, and determination and that's something needed with the way politics is going in the western world at the moment.

This post is going to be talking about some of the statistics in that letter, the big ones that make you sit back and think "wow things are improving" but also to talk about optimism.

So we're finally in a new country with blogging! I feel like I have been blogging about Thailand for a while now but it's finally time to move onto Cambodia, ok this post also includes some of Thailand because I didn't go straight from Chiang Mai I flew into Bangkok stayed a night there then crossed the border to Cambodia but still... a new country!
So I spent just over twelve hours in Bangkok and spent most of the day there in bed and meeting my new tour group, I went to one seven eleven and a restaurant so it's safe to say I didn't experience Bangkok so not much will be said about that. I do want to go back, no matter how many people who tell me they hate it I loved the look of all the skyscrapers and would love to just wander around for a few days doing street photography there.

But after meeting my new tour group it was a very early start to catch a bus to the Thai Cambodia border... oh I didn't miss the hecticness of 'yolo' tours. On the way we filled out forms for our visas, saw some monks going about their daily business of asking for food, visited the very pretty Cambodian embassy and spend a lot of hours in a minibus.

Then came the border cross... now I thought that the India to Nepal cross was horrible and this was worse, though for a completely different reason. When crossing the border we were being wolf whistled at, and grabed by homeless kids who would cry at us and not let go, then there was a huge queue on the cambodian side to get our passports stamped and I was really worried that I'd never see my bag again at several points that day.

Then we got onto a "government" bus that took us to the dogiest bus station I have ever seen with barely any people in, just a few weird older men, and I've since heard that this is a place where lots of tourists get scammed. But I was on an organised tour and so we just went there to catch our next bus.
Still I didn't like any of that experience, I would have been so scared if I'd been alone or just with friends and it just all felt really dodgy to be quite honest but it was an experience and I was ok! So that's all that matters.


Then a few more hours driving and we were finally in Siem Reap! Let the exploring begin. I don't feel like I took much of Siem Reap in but I did like it, this day was a little bit of a blur I will be honest.
But one we'd arrived at our hotel we got picked up by tuk tuks and drove through the red streets of Siem Reap (a lovely drive) to our place for dinner for the night. Here we got a tour from some local people of the area we were in and met the cutest cows I have ever met, not that I've met very many cows.
The dinner I had was one of the nicest I had in my whole two months of travelling, they had a few different dishes and had made loads of veggie dishes, I ate so much rice and so many beans I was just so full and so happy and really looking forward to Angkor Wat the next day (which is coming in the next post don't you worry).
But the fun didn't start there, oh no it was a very long and very lovely day. We went out to explore the night markets and see where the best clubs were for the next day. I bought a new t shirt that I wore basically every other day for the rest of my trip and saw just how much the Cambodians like eating insects and spiders (they really do they're everywhere).
It was a very eventful first day in Cambodia and a very long one so it was then a relatively early night ready to be up for Angkor Wat the next day. Which as I said is coming up in the next post so stay tuned next week for that.
This part of my travels was part of a Cambodia and vietnam trip by G Adventures (which I highly recommend) and you an view here.

Hope you enjoy your weekend!
Thanks for reading!

Hello Cambodia: Border Crossing,Home Cooked Food, and Night Markets

Saturday, 18 February 2017 Krong Siem Reap, Cambodia

So we're finally in a new country with blogging! I feel like I have been blogging about Thailand for a while now but it's finally time to move onto Cambodia, ok this post also includes some of Thailand because I didn't go straight from Chiang Mai I flew into Bangkok stayed a night there then crossed the border to Cambodia but still... a new country!
So I spent just over twelve hours in Bangkok and spent most of the day there in bed and meeting my new tour group, I went to one seven eleven and a restaurant so it's safe to say I didn't experience Bangkok so not much will be said about that. I do want to go back, no matter how many people who tell me they hate it I loved the look of all the skyscrapers and would love to just wander around for a few days doing street photography there.

But after meeting my new tour group it was a very early start to catch a bus to the Thai Cambodia border... oh I didn't miss the hecticness of 'yolo' tours. On the way we filled out forms for our visas, saw some monks going about their daily business of asking for food, visited the very pretty Cambodian embassy and spend a lot of hours in a minibus.

Then came the border cross... now I thought that the India to Nepal cross was horrible and this was worse, though for a completely different reason. When crossing the border we were being wolf whistled at, and grabed by homeless kids who would cry at us and not let go, then there was a huge queue on the cambodian side to get our passports stamped and I was really worried that I'd never see my bag again at several points that day.

Then we got onto a "government" bus that took us to the dogiest bus station I have ever seen with barely any people in, just a few weird older men, and I've since heard that this is a place where lots of tourists get scammed. But I was on an organised tour and so we just went there to catch our next bus.
Still I didn't like any of that experience, I would have been so scared if I'd been alone or just with friends and it just all felt really dodgy to be quite honest but it was an experience and I was ok! So that's all that matters.


Then a few more hours driving and we were finally in Siem Reap! Let the exploring begin. I don't feel like I took much of Siem Reap in but I did like it, this day was a little bit of a blur I will be honest.
But one we'd arrived at our hotel we got picked up by tuk tuks and drove through the red streets of Siem Reap (a lovely drive) to our place for dinner for the night. Here we got a tour from some local people of the area we were in and met the cutest cows I have ever met, not that I've met very many cows.
The dinner I had was one of the nicest I had in my whole two months of travelling, they had a few different dishes and had made loads of veggie dishes, I ate so much rice and so many beans I was just so full and so happy and really looking forward to Angkor Wat the next day (which is coming in the next post don't you worry).
But the fun didn't start there, oh no it was a very long and very lovely day. We went out to explore the night markets and see where the best clubs were for the next day. I bought a new t shirt that I wore basically every other day for the rest of my trip and saw just how much the Cambodians like eating insects and spiders (they really do they're everywhere).
It was a very eventful first day in Cambodia and a very long one so it was then a relatively early night ready to be up for Angkor Wat the next day. Which as I said is coming up in the next post so stay tuned next week for that.
This part of my travels was part of a Cambodia and vietnam trip by G Adventures (which I highly recommend) and you an view here.

Hope you enjoy your weekend!
Thanks for reading!
Guess who's ill again? That's right it's me, well I've been ill for 6 months with my stomach but now I have more things wrong with me to add to that which is wonderful. I'm spending the day in bed yet again and I really just wish I could get on with my work and stop feeling guilty and pathetic even though there's no way I should be going into uni today. Ok that's my moaning done I'm moving onto the rest of this post which I promise will be a positive one.

These photos took me three different tries to get, it was my first time taking photos properly in public and I was a little bit scared. I always take photos on my own but usually find empty fields, alleyways or paths and move behind my camera when people walk past but this time I took photos in front of people. I've taken photos in Paris but those were in places that no one really no one really noticed I was there and I had a friend with me, so I don't count those so much.

 Jacket - Old  (Similar, similar)
Top - Old (similar)
Trousers - Vintage (similar)

Triumphs

Tuesday, 14 February 2017 Nottingham, UK

Guess who's ill again? That's right it's me, well I've been ill for 6 months with my stomach but now I have more things wrong with me to add to that which is wonderful. I'm spending the day in bed yet again and I really just wish I could get on with my work and stop feeling guilty and pathetic even though there's no way I should be going into uni today. Ok that's my moaning done I'm moving onto the rest of this post which I promise will be a positive one.

These photos took me three different tries to get, it was my first time taking photos properly in public and I was a little bit scared. I always take photos on my own but usually find empty fields, alleyways or paths and move behind my camera when people walk past but this time I took photos in front of people. I've taken photos in Paris but those were in places that no one really no one really noticed I was there and I had a friend with me, so I don't count those so much.

 Jacket - Old  (Similar, similar)
Top - Old (similar)
Trousers - Vintage (similar)

You guys probably don't know my blog schedule, but this post is late and though I don't have a reason other than I have an assignment due and did that and then went out Thursday night instead of edting a video Thursday was a really interesting day. And I am going to tell you about it because I just realised how bizarre it was and need to share (Then I will get on with talking about Chiang Mai a bit).

Thursday started off as a normal day, I got up and went into uni an hour and a half early to try and get some of my coding assignment done, went to my lectures, all pretty standard. Then it snowed a little bit which was cool but also not because I decided that wet look leggings were a good idea and they were too thin for the freaking cold.

And then the weirdness started,

 I got a lift back into the city from uni and the car in frint if us had an animal sticking out of the window, but it wasn't a dog or even a cat or, slightly weirder, a goat. No... it was a racoon.I live in the Uk. We don't have racoons.But here one was having a look round sitcking it's head out of someone's car window??? Just? It was amazing I loved it but I was very confused, I have a very bad picture here.

Got back home, while in uni had persuaded people to come out with me. I was being really lazy and so I decided to get Vodka from the Student Union shop instead of walking to Tesco to get my usual drink of choice, disaronno. Mistake. The last time I had Vodka, four months ago,  I wasn't very well. Plus vodka makes me forget.
My friends were late and so we only had an hour to get our pre-drink on before we went. I was finding my vodka cranberry hard to drink and so decided to drink what was left of the disaronno bottle I had left. Good choice. Then I decided to have a few tequila shots. Bad Choice. Then we got to the club and I still felt quite sober, plus my friends owed me money for tickets, so they bought me two jager bombs each, I had six jager bombs in total. Very Bad choice.

Now you probably think you know where this story is going but no I didn't vomit, I kept it in. But long story short my mate got punched in the face... twice, (and we don't know why) so we left the club to go eat and I somehow managed to split my lip open and make my new septum piercing bleed. A lot. And I didn't even remember how I split my lip until about an hour ago, all I remembered was a lot of blood and then eating chips. But I didn't get into a fight or do anything exciting or reckless, no,  I walked face first into a glass door. My friend still doesn't remember this. I also

More could of happened but I'll be honest I really don't remember a lot of my night. Moral of the story, Izzy shouldn't drink Vodka. And also don't mix four different types of spirits together. This hangover is actually death.

But anyway away from me being a bad influence and complete pillock and onto a lot more of a relaxing time in Chiang Mai.

Chiang Mai II: Let's Chill

Saturday, 11 February 2017 Chiang Mai, Mueang Chiang Mai District, Chiang Mai, Thailand

You guys probably don't know my blog schedule, but this post is late and though I don't have a reason other than I have an assignment due and did that and then went out Thursday night instead of edting a video Thursday was a really interesting day. And I am going to tell you about it because I just realised how bizarre it was and need to share (Then I will get on with talking about Chiang Mai a bit).

Thursday started off as a normal day, I got up and went into uni an hour and a half early to try and get some of my coding assignment done, went to my lectures, all pretty standard. Then it snowed a little bit which was cool but also not because I decided that wet look leggings were a good idea and they were too thin for the freaking cold.

And then the weirdness started,

 I got a lift back into the city from uni and the car in frint if us had an animal sticking out of the window, but it wasn't a dog or even a cat or, slightly weirder, a goat. No... it was a racoon.I live in the Uk. We don't have racoons.But here one was having a look round sitcking it's head out of someone's car window??? Just? It was amazing I loved it but I was very confused, I have a very bad picture here.

Got back home, while in uni had persuaded people to come out with me. I was being really lazy and so I decided to get Vodka from the Student Union shop instead of walking to Tesco to get my usual drink of choice, disaronno. Mistake. The last time I had Vodka, four months ago,  I wasn't very well. Plus vodka makes me forget.
My friends were late and so we only had an hour to get our pre-drink on before we went. I was finding my vodka cranberry hard to drink and so decided to drink what was left of the disaronno bottle I had left. Good choice. Then I decided to have a few tequila shots. Bad Choice. Then we got to the club and I still felt quite sober, plus my friends owed me money for tickets, so they bought me two jager bombs each, I had six jager bombs in total. Very Bad choice.

Now you probably think you know where this story is going but no I didn't vomit, I kept it in. But long story short my mate got punched in the face... twice, (and we don't know why) so we left the club to go eat and I somehow managed to split my lip open and make my new septum piercing bleed. A lot. And I didn't even remember how I split my lip until about an hour ago, all I remembered was a lot of blood and then eating chips. But I didn't get into a fight or do anything exciting or reckless, no,  I walked face first into a glass door. My friend still doesn't remember this. I also

More could of happened but I'll be honest I really don't remember a lot of my night. Moral of the story, Izzy shouldn't drink Vodka. And also don't mix four different types of spirits together. This hangover is actually death.

But anyway away from me being a bad influence and complete pillock and onto a lot more of a relaxing time in Chiang Mai.

I wasn't going to use these photos in a post, I'll be honest. Though I love this look and have worn it on a few nights out I just didn't feel like I looked like myself.
I took these photos days after redying my hair and I wasn't used to it yet (though my hair is not about fourteen different colours ranging from red to blue) and my expressions were off and my body shape and size also looks off in this set of photos. I mean I don't have a problem with looking bigger because my body shape and size doesn't define my worth but it still just all doesn't quite feel like me.

But that's partly why I'm posting it, I mean it still is me and I did go to a lot of effort to take these photos so damn it I will use them!

Seriously though you know you're in trouble when you're cold even before you take your coat, scarf and hat off to start taking photos. Another very good plan of mine to be out taking photos of outfits not designed for zero degrees.
And I talked in my last outfit post about how difficult I find January and it seems that everyone else does too, but February is already off to a good start, I'm getting myself motivated to do more and exciting things are happening (some I do have to keep a secret).

I'm finding things to do in my area, I've been out taking photos for the first time in my new city (I've been here like four months but shhh), we have our house sorted for next year, I'm getting into the rhythm of friendships and sort of getting into the rhythm of work... or just not doing it.
But things are getting better considering the mess that was November before I went back home and January when I've been back in uni.
 Shirt - Cow Vintage
Trousers and Boots - Charity Shop
I also feel like I'm in a good place with this blog, I'm starting to get into my niche (As cliche as that sound) and writing posts I've wanted to for a very long time, like my last one, I'm working with other bloggers and have found groups I like, It's all clicking into place.
Now I just need my immune system to do some work so I can stop getting ill. It's not all bad though being ill today means I get an excuse to spend all day in bed editing and watching films and sending ugly snapchats to my friends.
So things are looking up and I'm very happy about that though I might think differently when I get my maths exam results back. But seriously I am looking forward to the rest of this month, this year and I hope that you guys have a fulfilling February too.

Also as I've started blogging about ethical fashion more now is there any posts yuo guys would like to see from me? Or on other things like cruelty-free makeup, vegan food, conscious travel, or even photography? Let me know, I have so many ideas but it'd be nice to write things you guys want to read.
Thanks for reading!

Improvement

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

I wasn't going to use these photos in a post, I'll be honest. Though I love this look and have worn it on a few nights out I just didn't feel like I looked like myself.
I took these photos days after redying my hair and I wasn't used to it yet (though my hair is not about fourteen different colours ranging from red to blue) and my expressions were off and my body shape and size also looks off in this set of photos. I mean I don't have a problem with looking bigger because my body shape and size doesn't define my worth but it still just all doesn't quite feel like me.

But that's partly why I'm posting it, I mean it still is me and I did go to a lot of effort to take these photos so damn it I will use them!

Seriously though you know you're in trouble when you're cold even before you take your coat, scarf and hat off to start taking photos. Another very good plan of mine to be out taking photos of outfits not designed for zero degrees.
And I talked in my last outfit post about how difficult I find January and it seems that everyone else does too, but February is already off to a good start, I'm getting myself motivated to do more and exciting things are happening (some I do have to keep a secret).

I'm finding things to do in my area, I've been out taking photos for the first time in my new city (I've been here like four months but shhh), we have our house sorted for next year, I'm getting into the rhythm of friendships and sort of getting into the rhythm of work... or just not doing it.
But things are getting better considering the mess that was November before I went back home and January when I've been back in uni.
 Shirt - Cow Vintage
Trousers and Boots - Charity Shop
I also feel like I'm in a good place with this blog, I'm starting to get into my niche (As cliche as that sound) and writing posts I've wanted to for a very long time, like my last one, I'm working with other bloggers and have found groups I like, It's all clicking into place.
Now I just need my immune system to do some work so I can stop getting ill. It's not all bad though being ill today means I get an excuse to spend all day in bed editing and watching films and sending ugly snapchats to my friends.
So things are looking up and I'm very happy about that though I might think differently when I get my maths exam results back. But seriously I am looking forward to the rest of this month, this year and I hope that you guys have a fulfilling February too.

Also as I've started blogging about ethical fashion more now is there any posts yuo guys would like to see from me? Or on other things like cruelty-free makeup, vegan food, conscious travel, or even photography? Let me know, I have so many ideas but it'd be nice to write things you guys want to read.
Thanks for reading!
Before I visited Thailand I have to say I didn't know all that much about the treatment of elephants and though I'd heard that elephant rides were wrong and knew about the exploitation of elephants to some extent I had no idea how badly the Asian Elephant is treated.

While volunteering at Elephant Nature Park I learnt a lot about Asian elephants, about their treatment (especially in Thailand) and this post has been a long time coming because there are still many people who don't quite realise just how badly elephants are treated in order for you to be able to ride them.

Most of the photos I've used here are mine of the rescued Elephants at Elephant Nature park, if they're not I will state underneath.
So Elephants in Thailand have virtually no rights, they're viewed as livestock despite the fact that they're incredibly intelligent animals with the capacity to feel complex emotions and experience grief, anxiety, and depression. This is the case across many parts of South East Asia and on my travels I saw elephants mistreated across India, Nepal, and Thailand. It's a sad fact and what you see on the outside as a tourist isn't even the worst part of their mistreatment.

Because of their status, by law, they can't be rescued even if they're being mistreated, so organisations trying to help elephants can usually only afford to buy old and injured ones from their mahouts.
Photo courtesy of Eclectic Trekker
Breaking an Elephants Spirit
If you search this on youtube you can find videos on just how incredibly disgusting this process is, but I don't want to share anything too graphic on my blog so if you want to see those you'll have to search yourself.


Elephants have very close family ties and are incredibly loyal, most babies are looked after by their mother, a nanny and their siblings and have no reason to listen to humans or to obey the commands needed for them to be able to be ridden. So they have their spirits broken.

Baby elephants, starting around the age of three, are taken from their mothers. They are then kept either in tiny cages or contraptions with their legs and trunk tied up. Here they are kept from days to weeks on end while being beaten with bull hooks, shouted at, having their limbs stretched, and starved of food and water. This treatment continues until this baby's spirit is broken and they are ready to obey humans.

At this stage a baby can walk past its mother and not even recognise her anymore, and that's what it's for, to break any family ties and to make sure that the elephant will listen to human commands. After their torture they're assigned a mahout, someone who wasn't part of the beatings, and the elephant will see this human as its saviour. This mahout now has control over the elephant and the elephant is ready to be trained to go into practices such as elephant rides, circuses, painting, or illegal logging.
Elephants in Amber Fort, Jaipur - India
The Life of a working elephant
The torture doesn't stop when the spirit breaking is over. For the rest of its life this elephant will be forced to work in horrible conditions often not given enough food, water, or rest and spending most of it's day while not working chained up and isolated.

These elephant's mahouts usually carry bull hooks around, a tool the elephant is learnt to be terrified of and if the elephants misbehave this bull-hook is used to beat them. The sharp tool is often used to target the soft skin of an elephants ear or the top of their head. A lot of the elephants I saw at elephant nature park had scars from bull hooks and one elephant even had a hole in here ear which her mahout at the park had put a flower into.

Some places like to be more subtle and hie the cruelty from tourists so will instead use a pin to push into the soft sensitive skin of an elephants ears.

Elephants that are being ridden usually have benches on their backs to make it more comfortable for human riders. These are not taken off during their resting periods and are incredibly heavy, leading to serious deformations. One elephant at the park had such a serious back deformation she struggled to use her back legs.

And it's not just riding elephant's lives who are grim, almost all working elephants endure lives of torture and end up anxious, depressed and terrified of humans. Many of the elephants at ENP had been sold on by their mahouts because they had been injured so badly working they were no longer of use. And for almost elephants that's the only way they stop working, by getting injured or being to old to work.

So how can you help?
Mainly it's by not supporting places that are exploiting elephants and causing them harm and instead supporting organisations trying to protect the species.

Places to avoid supporting:
- Anywhere you can ride elephants, especially if they have  a bench on their back
- Anywhere you see the mahouts with sharp objects/bull-hooks
- Anywhere elephants are doing anything unnatural, like playing football, painting or performing tricks

There are still ways to see these beautiful creatures without supporting animal cruelty. Organisations like ENP allow you to do things like feed, bathe and just go and watch elephants up close in an environment where they're trying to do the best they can for elephants many of whom have had a lifetime of torture. So donate to organisations like these, visit them and help to ensure a better future for the Asian elephant.
Also educate your friends! If you have friends travelling to South East Asia let them know how bad elephant rides really are and encourage them to find other ways to see them.

Laws have changed in recent years, it is now illegal to use Elephants for logging and hopefully laws will change to try and stop their mistreatment all together.

So I hope maybe you learned something today. It wasn't the most positive article in the world but it baffled me how many tourists I saw riding elephants and how many people I thought knew better with pictures of them riding them. My time in Thailand taught me so much (not just about Elephants) and so I thought I would give something back by writing this post.

Have an amazing weekend.
Thanks for reading!

Why Shouldn't I Ride Elephants?

Friday, 3 February 2017

Before I visited Thailand I have to say I didn't know all that much about the treatment of elephants and though I'd heard that elephant rides were wrong and knew about the exploitation of elephants to some extent I had no idea how badly the Asian Elephant is treated.

While volunteering at Elephant Nature Park I learnt a lot about Asian elephants, about their treatment (especially in Thailand) and this post has been a long time coming because there are still many people who don't quite realise just how badly elephants are treated in order for you to be able to ride them.

Most of the photos I've used here are mine of the rescued Elephants at Elephant Nature park, if they're not I will state underneath.
So Elephants in Thailand have virtually no rights, they're viewed as livestock despite the fact that they're incredibly intelligent animals with the capacity to feel complex emotions and experience grief, anxiety, and depression. This is the case across many parts of South East Asia and on my travels I saw elephants mistreated across India, Nepal, and Thailand. It's a sad fact and what you see on the outside as a tourist isn't even the worst part of their mistreatment.

Because of their status, by law, they can't be rescued even if they're being mistreated, so organisations trying to help elephants can usually only afford to buy old and injured ones from their mahouts.
Photo courtesy of Eclectic Trekker
Breaking an Elephants Spirit
If you search this on youtube you can find videos on just how incredibly disgusting this process is, but I don't want to share anything too graphic on my blog so if you want to see those you'll have to search yourself.


Elephants have very close family ties and are incredibly loyal, most babies are looked after by their mother, a nanny and their siblings and have no reason to listen to humans or to obey the commands needed for them to be able to be ridden. So they have their spirits broken.

Baby elephants, starting around the age of three, are taken from their mothers. They are then kept either in tiny cages or contraptions with their legs and trunk tied up. Here they are kept from days to weeks on end while being beaten with bull hooks, shouted at, having their limbs stretched, and starved of food and water. This treatment continues until this baby's spirit is broken and they are ready to obey humans.

At this stage a baby can walk past its mother and not even recognise her anymore, and that's what it's for, to break any family ties and to make sure that the elephant will listen to human commands. After their torture they're assigned a mahout, someone who wasn't part of the beatings, and the elephant will see this human as its saviour. This mahout now has control over the elephant and the elephant is ready to be trained to go into practices such as elephant rides, circuses, painting, or illegal logging.
Elephants in Amber Fort, Jaipur - India
The Life of a working elephant
The torture doesn't stop when the spirit breaking is over. For the rest of its life this elephant will be forced to work in horrible conditions often not given enough food, water, or rest and spending most of it's day while not working chained up and isolated.

These elephant's mahouts usually carry bull hooks around, a tool the elephant is learnt to be terrified of and if the elephants misbehave this bull-hook is used to beat them. The sharp tool is often used to target the soft skin of an elephants ear or the top of their head. A lot of the elephants I saw at elephant nature park had scars from bull hooks and one elephant even had a hole in here ear which her mahout at the park had put a flower into.

Some places like to be more subtle and hie the cruelty from tourists so will instead use a pin to push into the soft sensitive skin of an elephants ears.

Elephants that are being ridden usually have benches on their backs to make it more comfortable for human riders. These are not taken off during their resting periods and are incredibly heavy, leading to serious deformations. One elephant at the park had such a serious back deformation she struggled to use her back legs.

And it's not just riding elephant's lives who are grim, almost all working elephants endure lives of torture and end up anxious, depressed and terrified of humans. Many of the elephants at ENP had been sold on by their mahouts because they had been injured so badly working they were no longer of use. And for almost elephants that's the only way they stop working, by getting injured or being to old to work.

So how can you help?
Mainly it's by not supporting places that are exploiting elephants and causing them harm and instead supporting organisations trying to protect the species.

Places to avoid supporting:
- Anywhere you can ride elephants, especially if they have  a bench on their back
- Anywhere you see the mahouts with sharp objects/bull-hooks
- Anywhere elephants are doing anything unnatural, like playing football, painting or performing tricks

There are still ways to see these beautiful creatures without supporting animal cruelty. Organisations like ENP allow you to do things like feed, bathe and just go and watch elephants up close in an environment where they're trying to do the best they can for elephants many of whom have had a lifetime of torture. So donate to organisations like these, visit them and help to ensure a better future for the Asian elephant.
Also educate your friends! If you have friends travelling to South East Asia let them know how bad elephant rides really are and encourage them to find other ways to see them.

Laws have changed in recent years, it is now illegal to use Elephants for logging and hopefully laws will change to try and stop their mistreatment all together.

So I hope maybe you learned something today. It wasn't the most positive article in the world but it baffled me how many tourists I saw riding elephants and how many people I thought knew better with pictures of them riding them. My time in Thailand taught me so much (not just about Elephants) and so I thought I would give something back by writing this post.

Have an amazing weekend.
Thanks for reading!

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