SUSTAINABILITY – ECO-FRIENDLY – TRAVEL
Do those 3 words go together?
REGENERATIVE TRAVEL - It’s the latest buzz word in the world of travel, much to the dismay of some travel writers and experts around the globe.
They prefer RECIPROCITY travel,
which they feel is more “in tune” with the environment. Translation: travel is an exchange, not a commodity; to travel consciously; dedicated to lessening your environment footprint, creating a positive social impact on the destinations you visit.
Lighthouse overlooking the gulf islands
I had the pleasure of attending the
first-ever ‘Retravel Live!’ moderated by BrucePoon Tip (CEO/Founder of G Adventures) in discussion with a panel of expert
special guests: ElizabethBecker (author, “Overbooked”), JulietKinsman (sustainability editor, Conde Nast Traveller, UK) and GeorgeStone (editor in chief, National Geographic Traveler US) on how after this
forced slow down in the travel industry, we all can travel better.
What does “better” mean? Well, it means something different to
everyone, but to this group … it was all about turning your travel into more
meaningful, purposeful and sustainable for the local
communities/villages/cities/regions/countries, you travel to. And how best you can achieve that.
Some musings for consideration:
They’re seeing the direct relationship in the sheer numbers of people travelling, to the breakdown and havoc on our environment. Where some’ll choose Amenities over Destination. That Commoditization is a dangerous place to be for our world. The only way to change that, is to pull back. Low Traffic / High Spend – which could make travel become very elitist … and that’s not the intention. Fewer trips, lasting longer. They believe for change to occur and stick, the Country governments need to step in, aspire to the same and mandate it. More education provided, about what a better quality of travel can look like.
Now that doesn’t mean you have to start
backpacking (although that’s cool for those who
enjoy it), eating berries (also cool … especially in smoothies) or making a bed
out of cedar bows (only a truly gifted human being can do that … not me) … and
no guilt about enjoying a hot, beach/sun holiday either … even those can be enhanced
and deeper-meaning by supporting the local arts and conservation areas
where you travel to … the local eateries … purchase directly from locals and
learn a few words or gestures of etiquette in the local language/culture. Make education
a part of your holiday … your soul will thank you for it. Give back to those who make it possible for
you to be in their communities.
As a young child, I loved to explore …
outside the confines of a gated yard; into the woods and beyond
the campgrounds our parents took us to; jumping in rivers, lakes and oceans;
to my cousins’ farms and fields rather than staying in the city; road
trips across Canada, the US and Mexico to biking (peddle and motor),
hiking, scuba diving, sailing, horseback riding and white-water rafting around
the world as an adult … I was drawn to the outdoors, nature, meeting people and
discovering off the beaten path; visiting local charities.
I’ve also come to love some of the comforts good services can provide …
Ngorongoro Crater Lodge - Tanzania, Africa
So what can we do, to become “better” travellers? Here are some suggestions:
1. Be more Conscientious in our travel
When it’s your time to travel, support the people and suppliers/tour operators in the industry, who speak to sustainable, eco-friendly and small groups. Ask me, I know, work and support some of those people.
As mentioned above, buy from the local artisans, eat at the local restaurants, visit the local conservations/preserves. Use the local transportation whether that be buses, taxis, ferries. Learn about their heritage, culture, language and even visit a local school. Leave your money in the hands of the communities, who’ve opened up their hearts and country’s gifts to you.
Peru Sacred Valley Womens Weaving Co-op
Pick a place anywhere in the world that has touched your heart, that you remember fondly; your own community; somewhere you WANT to go to … find out who needs some help … maybe it’s the Sherpas in Tibet who no longer are guiding due to COVID … the Elephant orphanage in Africa that only exists because of funding from tourism … you’re local food bank because even though we may know where our next meal is coming from, there are many who don’t.
Mountains of Nepal
While we still don’t know when/where the future of travel will land …we all miss the smells, sights and sounds of place that transport us elsewhere ...
Let’s start looking for the real meaning of our and their stories … stop … think … discuss … have those conversations with your family and neighbours next time you’re sitting around the firepit … what do I want the world to look like in 5 years from now.