I think there is a reason that explorers have explored almost every square inch of this planet. That almost anywhere anybody tries to go someone has been there before. I am not referring to the many groups of incredible people who have been roaming the planet for centuries. But to the "Western" people, the ones who are considered more "civilized". There is a feeling that envelops someone when one first realizes one is seeing something that no Western eye has ever seen, stepping on ground where no Western foot has ever stepped before, venturing into a place that is completely unknown to the Western world. It is a feeling that I wish everybody had the opportunity to feel. It is a sensation unparalleled to any I have ever felt. I can imagine it would be similar to sitting on a cloud while watching a ballet performed and listening to a symphony. Or like being taken to a magical mermaid city on the back of a dolphin, or soaring.
It is a truly wonderful feeling until you realize that your sole reason for going there was because it was one place untouched by the Western world, one place that is still pure and uncorrupt. One place that has managed to keep all its traditions, culture and charm. It is one of the last places like that on earth, and when it hits home that you are the one who is unintentionally representing everything you wish would never happen anywhere and you are laying a path for others to follow, you know that this society will remain forever changed. But change is inevitable. If anyone were to be giving these people their first impression of the Western world I would want it to be someone like me. Someone who loves and respects them so much and holds them in such high regard, because I know that all Westerners are not like me and there will be people who will go there and abuse and exploit them.
But all I can do is hope that with my kindness and love I have touched them some way, and they will not be resentful when they learn of the horrible things that we have done to the earth that they hold so dear.
On her experience in a remote region of western China.
At the age of 18 Ali accompanied Richard D. Fisher, explorer and photographer, into a remote region of western China near Hotan on the China/Tibet border, seeking the world's deepest canyon. This was the first expedition of Western people into this region. Ali took the point-and-shoot camera given to her by her grandfather and documented her experiences there. The camera was malfunctioning, unbeknownst to Ali, and many of her photographs were lost due to underexposure.