With your life revolving around the whole idea about going green and your excitement to see the world, there can be an ethical debate inside your head on how to travel sustainably. You gotta catch that flight to chase sunsets from around the world for sure but you care about the planet and you do not want to leave your filthy carbon foot prints wherever you go. Here are some things you can do to travel better and also care for the nature:
Get a bicycle rather than a car while going on city tours:
When you are going to a land far far away, you cannot always chose what vehicles you use for going around the city. But if you identify as a traveller and not a tourist, you always crave for authenticity and what better way to explore a city than a bicycle? Its handy, it helps you shed some extra holiday pounds from all the yummy food you just had for breakfast and lunch, you can stop by anywhere you want to take some photos, talk to locals, park your bike in the corner of a local café, use your bicycle as a prop for photos and soak into the environment of the place.
Shop local, eat local:
Sustainability is not just caring for the environment but also caring for the local and indigenous people. You can buy that fancy Gucci purse from just about anywhere in the world but you can only buy the hand crafted tribal pottery by local Moroccan artisans at the little roadside shop in morocco where they have been passing the fine craft for generations and generations, you can buy that hand-loomed rug or that particular tribal print fabric the best at its own place of origin, your taste buds will always remember the food you had from that local market in the middle of turkey and you will also have that feeling of giving back to the local needy businesses around the world while also exploring new things.
Take hiking trail marvels instead of going on fancy tour of man-made monuments:
It’s cheap and beautiful. You will always remember going on a 4 hour hike or a 4 day trek into the woods or the mountains to see the view from that little village up until you are old. Going to a posh and clean museum can be rewarding and inspiring as you see things made by famous artists but there’s more to art and beauty than the art that has been validated by millions of people and bought at auctions at a big price. Art and cultures are meant to be lived and reflected upon. No sunset is the same and no sunrise radiates the same amount of inspiration and motivation for the day.
Learn how to say ‘Hello’ and ‘Thank you’ in as much languages as you can:
The whole world agrees that there is no other stronger feeling than the feeling of gratitude. Learn to be grateful in as much languages as possible, it helps you to connect to many different people, learn how different people feel when they express gratitude in their own respective languages. Saying ‘Hello’ or ‘Thank you’ has a different feeling than saying ‘Namaste’ or ‘Dhanyabaad’ or maybe even saying ‘Bonjour’ or ‘Merci’. Learn to live in small moments of gratitude and share it with as many people as possible.
Always prefer using bio degradable stuff to non-biodegradable stuff:
This is a cliché and why it is said a million times is exactly why it is so important. When you go have meal in rural villages of Nepal, you get served in leaf plates locally called ‘Tapari’ and when you go down south to India, you are served local dishes in banana leaf. Avoid eating burgers in your go-to Mc.Donalds but go have some local food served in more sustainable ways, opt to not use plastic straws and carry your own metal straw. Use straw hats, bags and maybe buy some straw mats. Carry your own backpack while shopping and avoid buying water bottled in single use plastic containers.
Little actions and decisions that make greater impacts:
We should never cease to realize that little actions and decisions we make in our travels help in healing of the planet and ask ourselves, “ Is my convenience worth at the expense of planetary sustainability?” make little habits of bringing back your waste with you if you do not see a dustbin and not throwing it here and there. You could also live in small eco-hotels and hostels whenever you have a choice. This way you can also soak in the authentic culture of the place and help local businesses. When you stay in big hotels, you are feeding the high corporate society and everything is usually overpriced while when you stay in small eco-hostels, you are helping a middle class family make a living out of it, send their children to school and aiding to their happy and full stomachs at the end of the day.
Share your stories to the world
We live in the world of social media where maybe you sharing a story about you having the best local chai in the foothills of Himalayas from an old woman who has a little chai shop can be a turning point in her livelihood. So always use your privileges to help people who are in need. Take pictures and tell stories, maybe you aren’t rich enough to help but your storytelling can reach out to someone who has resources and humanity at the same time. Maybe you shouldn’t undermine your ability to make a difference.