Now maybe this is just me being selfish, but my argument for more environmentally sustainable practices is that I still haven’t seen all of the world and I’d like to have a chance before I die. Every few months, an article will come across my computer via Twitter or Facebook telling me about another stunning place that’s been destroyed by cruise ships or horrible tourists. And I refuse to apologize for the fact that I get pissed off for two reasons: 1) who in the heck do you think you are to destroy a habitat/endangered species/UNESCO site/opportunity just to get a selfie? and 2) I haven’t been there yet and I don’t want my chance to see [insert city/beach/historic site/animal here] ruined by some tour bus’s inability to be respectful.
Inspired by this Conde Nast article, I have drafted my five ways to not screw over my chances of seeing the world:
one. pack smart. I’m a big fan of the less is more approach to packing. But packing smarter is also important. Bring along a reusable water bottle or a tote bag for carrying your goodies. Heck bring four reusable bags: one can carry your muddy shoes, another can carry your snacks, and the last two can separate your dirty clothes from your souvenirs.
two. go somewhere new. Sure, we all want to visit Venice or see Machu Picchu before we die, but there’s also so many undiscovered places worth a trip. Challenge yourself to go somewhere you haven’t seen all over Instagram.
three. travel smart. Airplanes are pretty dang bad for the environment. Driving isn’t the greatest. Public transportation is your friend. Get your FitBit steps in to see those little alleyways and hidden gems. Avoid cruise ships and big tour buses that dump a ton of tourists at once in places that just can’t handle that chaos. Do as my father suggests and ride a bike. The journey should be just as environmentally friendly as the destination.
four. respect the land. Travelling takes you somewhere that is not yours. Respect it. Girl Scouts are taught to leave their campsites better than they find them; why can’t you employ this one on your trip? Pick up trash while you’re hiking. Stay on designated paths. Leave nature in nature. It’s pretty simple.
five. respect the people. Just as much as travel takes you somewhere that is not yours, it takes you somewhere that is someone else’s. Respect indigenous people and their customs. Trampling over religious sites or pushing out locals for your vacation is not sustainable and its just rude. Buy locally. Eat locally. Talk to the locals.
I will now step off my soapbox and continue my Google Maps adventures. Heck, maybe I’ll plot my next trip. Got any tips?