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conscious travel

Advice Outdoors Travel Planning

Conscious Travel: 8 Tips for a Sustainable Vacation

Regardless of our personal opinions, one thing remains an irrefutable fact: our planet is facing an ecological crisis. The environmental changes we witness everyday are increasingly serious and some of them are irreversible. Still, we can try to help the environment with small, but meaningful actions. One of them is sustainable travel. It’s an expanding territory that has grown alongside our own consciousness about the world that surrounds us and awareness of our intrinsically wasteful society. Sustainable travel, in its essence, means being aware of and try to minimize the impact tourism has on the environment and local communities. Here are eight ideas to help you make an informed decision when you go on vacation, keeping in mind you’ll be using your leisure time to contribute to sustainability.

E.R.I.E: Ecological, Responsible, Impactful, Ethical

Four simple words to guide you as a conscious traveler. Ecological is as simple as enjoying the environment in its natural form with activities such as camping. Being responsible just means you have to be aware of how your individual actions can impact local communities. “Impactful comes down to spending your pocket money on helping locals, as opposed to adhere to regular mass consumerism. Ethical refers to your moral duties to respect the environment, animals and communities,” explains Fiona Hill, a lifestyle blogger.

Keep It Local

It’s common knowledge that tourism makes up a huge part of many different economies. However, in order to ensure you are financially contributing to the local communities themselves, it is important to choose local products and activities. Avoid gift shops and their mass market production by choosing local keepsakes instead. A local business will most likely invest its profit back into their community, which is the opposite of what worldwide-known franchise chains do.

Avoid Over-tourism

Popular destinations such as Amsterdam, Venice, Barcelona and Paris might seem like a good vacation option. The history and aesthetics of those places are a no-brainer. However, they do tend to be overcrowded, punching a big hole in sustainability. There are so many other destinations that would benefit from your contribution to their underrated economy. Not to mention that it will be less stressful for you if you’re not constantly surrounded by massive crowds of tourists! “Why not choose the Portuguese islands of Azores or Madeira? Or perhaps explore the Greek paradise that is the Skyros Island? You’d be surprised with the range of alternatives available instead of your standard vacation destination,” says Silvia Olive, a travel blogger.

Alternative Accommodation

Avoid hotels! They are some of the greatest culprits in damaging the environment, with outrageous amounts of food waste, toiletry bottles thrown away without being fully used and AC units on full blast.

Choose hostels, locally owned hotels that don’t belong to international chains, or guest houses.

Say No to Cruise Ships!

Cruise ships are a big no-no in terms of sustainable travel. They are horrendous for the environment and don’t benefit local communities whatsoever when they dock. They pollute the oceans, damaging marine life and they don’t avoid plastic waste and fish consumption.

Pack Light

There are several benefits in packing lightly for your travels. If you choose carry-on luggage with only essentials, planes will carry less weight and consume less fuel. Also, with less luggage to transport, you can opt out of getting a cab from the airport to your chosen accommodation and use public transportation instead. Don’t pack wasteful items like plastic bags, containers or bottles!

No Clue Left Behind

Wherever you choose to travel, ensure you don’t remove objects from their original environment. Don’t litter! Reduce your waste by recycling and packing reusable items. You can always find local recycling points when on vacation.

Choose Mass Transportation

Take small steps to contribute to the reduction of carbon emissions. Choose shared services like Uber and local transport as opposed to taxis. You can also explore cities by walking or being part of bike share programs.

It’s becoming more and more important for us to be conscious about our decisions. We are all part of this planet and have our roles to play, small as they may be. Even when you’re having fun in your vacation, you can make small alterations that will help the environment, as well as creating new experiences for yourself.


Advice Giving Back Journal

Addressing The Privilege Of Travel

For many, seeing Instagram accounts full of gorgeous photos of exotic and distant places will always be just that – distant places. The colors, sounds, smells, experiences of physically being in those foreign worlds may be an experience only had by the people who can afford them. It is incredibly important to be aware of the privilege and honor it is to explore the world.

To be able to pick and choose most of the experiences we have is a privilege. To essentially see the best of a certain place without having to endure any of the “bad.” We curate trips to look idyllic, oftentimes without appreciating the realities of the destination as it exists before we get there and after we leave.

Let’s recognize the privilege of having the ability to take time away from work, to spend valuable time planning a vacation, and the overall financial impact traveling can have. Not only from a financial perspective is it important to recognize privilege, but also from a physical and mental perspective. If you are someone who does not have to worry about how to physically or mentally get yourself to and from a destination, this advantage may rarely be considered or appreciated.

My hope is that being aware of the ease and ability it takes to travel can help us to stay fully present and appreciative of our experiences – particularly with the hiccups that can happen. Delayed flights, lost luggage, too long or short of connections can be inconvenient experiences, absolutely.  However, if these experiences don’t completely drain your bank account, cause you to lose your job, or have any other damaging consequence, we can take solace in the fact that we get to do what some only dream of doing and seeing.

We know we may have opportunities and experiences others don’t have or won’t have. What can we do about it? Here are a few things to consider.

Be Real

Back to those amazing Instagram layouts with stunning color and beautifully dressed women with no one else in sight. I am drawn into these photos. I want to have that experience. I want to feel like I am in the perfect moment.

But how often are those pictures very carefully curated? My guess is that it takes a lot of work to make those photos look just right.

If you have time and resources to make these gorgeous shots – that’s fantastic! Keep at it! If not, know that photos are your memories of your experiences. It’s okay to be real in them.

When we are real in our pictures, we are real with the world around us. Perhaps some moments you may have a quiet moment in a stunning location. Capture it! And when you don’t, take in the chaos of the moment and all the imperfections that go along with it. When we acknowledge reality versus a created moment, we can share with others our genuine experiences.

Authenticity can help us to feel more connection. Not just to others but the places we see. And connection with others and the world around us is a vital part of understanding our privilege.

I am guilty of this. I want my Instagram to be impressive. I want to share with others my travels because they have shaped me and inspired me. And, I understand the incredible privilege I have in being able to do and see the world as I do. I believe the least we can do is be genuine and authentic when sharing our experiences.

Encourage Small Traveling

There is beauty and excitement in many parts of the world if we look for it. Yes, Cinque Terre, Cappadocia, Marrakech, Phuket Island are stunning gems in this world. And we can still fully appreciate the new distillery in central Wisconsin, the exposed brick buildings in northeast Minneapolis, or the big sky and plains in southern Oklahoma. Our adventures can include top name attractions, and they also don’t.

Travel and exploration does not have to be done on a large scale or thousands of miles away to count as vacation. There are cities or countries actively being torn apart by war, famine, or other crises. It is important to remember there is beauty there, too. 

Support Local Businesses or Causes

Doing some research to support local communities where you travel can be a great option. Markets where locals sell their produce or handmade crafts, or dining at restaurants that are not right in a city center can be ways to support individuals and families who may be impacted by tourism.

Depending upon your resources and time allotted, find local charities for causes you support in the areas you travel. This can be a long term travel goal for yourself! For example, if you are visiting an area that has been recently ravaged by a hurricane or other natural disaster, see where you can donate time or money for housing, food, or other necessities.

Recognizing our privilege can be uncomfortable. What is even more uncomfortable is not having privilege. Travel in itself pushes you out of your comfort zones. It can force us to feel uncomfortable, and this may be part of the reason why we love it. Personal growth is a fantastic side effect of travel. Now, let’s push ourselves further to be authentic and aware of the world around us while doing something we love.

Understanding and addressing the privilege of travel is something we should all aspire to do. Conscious travel and eco-travel ideas is something we’re incredibly passionate about… and we’d love if you’d check out our other posts on traveling consciously and mindfully here!

Advice Journal

Living & Traveling According To Your Core Values

It is not a surprise that travel, especially solo travel, can do wonders for self-esteem and provide a major confidence boost. We hear countless stories and endorsements of how empowering travel can be. What we may not also realize is that it can help to re-evaluate and emphasize our core values as well. When we know and practice our core values, this can also improve our self-esteem, confidence, and quality of life.

To first identify what our values are, I like to think that where we feel a strong passion, feel drawn to a certain area, action, or feeling time and time again, this is where we want to keep our focus. My guess is that if you are reading this, traveling is likely a strong passion for you – me too!

Within our passions, less obvious values (not actions or causes necessarily) may be hidden. Core values can include independence, success, wisdom, compassion, tolerance, and endless others. How we travel, where we travel, and why we travel can all be pathways to really understanding who we are.

We tend to utilize our values as guides to our decision making in everyday life. The things that are most important to us impact what kind of jobs we do, the kind of relationships we have, the way we interact with others, and our hobbies. Therefore, it’s not a stretch to assume we could be using our values to decide our travel plans.

If knowledge and wisdom are some of your strongest values, visit places that exercise your mind. If compassion and love some of your strongest values, find ways to give back when you travel or go with people who make you feel the most yourself. If spirituality is a value, find places and activities that allow you to feel connected to your beliefs. Allow yourself to notice what it is that is most exciting and rewarding for you, and follow it.

Ideally, we are finding ways to feel connected to our values in everyday life, not just while traveling. What makes considering your values unique in this scenario is that if travel is already something that inspires you, you may experience more an even more elevated level of growth, peace, contentment, and sense of wholeness. When we are doing this consistently, I believe we are less likely to feel anxious, intense levels of depression, less stress, and experience a higher quality of engagement and connection with others and the world around us.

Finding the most beautiful places to witness in person, meeting locals, engaging in their traditions, learning about their history, growing through adversity, and so many more opportunities can be exhilarating. When we are living in alignment with our values, it’s not hard to image that we are more likely to feel whole. And isn’t that what all this is about?

Giving Back Insider Tips Journal Travel Planning

What Exactly Is Slow Travel? A Deep Dive Into The History & Main Pillars Of Immersive Journeys

You might have read about it on our blog before, but you might be wondering – what exactly is this trendy slow travel everybody’s talking about? Is it a momentarily popular way to see the world, or is it here to stay? How can a person even travel slow to begin with?

We’re doing a deep dive on this philosophy of journeying today… and we hope you’ll join us! From defining slow travel’s meaning to understanding its history and its most important aspects, we’re here to discuss this important travel philosophy and how you can choose to adopt it in your own adventures.

What Exactly Is Slow Travel?

To define slow travel is a tricky thing. It’s been described as a philosophy, a lifestyle and an ideology – something that is hard to wrap up in a pretty bow, for sure. There are many facets of this travel methodology to unwrap, and we’ll be sure to explain its main functions later in this post!

Simply put, slow travel is centered around prolonged, in-depth experiences.

Slow travel is:

  • quality of travel, over quantity of bucket list items checked off a list
  • prioritizing extended time in one place
  • aiming to know and learn from locals
  • being mindful of the harmful effects of travel on the ecosystem

Slow Travel’s Beginnings

Slow travel was created thanks to the slow food movement stemming from the protests of fast food restaurants opening storefronts in historic Rome. With the danger of fast food chains opening beside the Spanish steps, the slow food movement began in order to promote local, traditional food made with love, produced with care and served with graciousness. This intentional appreciation of food (and food service) inspired many travelers to adopt the same philosophy in regards to how they travel.

Traveling with the idea of enjoying and lingering longer, impacting the environment less, focusing on community and rejecting the notion that travelers must do it all and see it all – this what slow travel embraces.

As the world becomes faster paced, the notion of slowing down to travel might seem contrived or old fashioned. But the truth is, slow travel teaches explorers the impact of their stay and gives them the rare opportunity to learn a new place with sincerity and deep interest. It’s not a new idea. Slow travelers can thank travelers like Theophile Gautier, who rejected using stagecoaches to see the world, for embracing the deep impact of moving slower through our journeys.

The Main Pillars Of Slow Travel

Should you choose to adopt this travel philosophy in your own travels, there are some important aspects of slow travel you should know. Here are some of (what we believe) are some of the main pillars of slow travel.

The Journey, Each Aspect Of It, Is Worth Savoring 

“It’s about the journey, not to the destination.” Now take this famously cliched quote and give it a slight twist.

For slow travelers, it’s about quality experiences over quantity of sights. Involving ourselves in every aspect of our travels, savoring each moment, immersing ourselves in experiences fully and wholeheartedly – this is slow travel.

Keep in mind, slow travel isn’t touting that you should skip tourist attractions. Instead, it’s about deciding to enjoy your sights and activities with an embracing attitude, but not bombarding your itinerary with them.

Embracing everything you experience abroad as an important aspect of your trip, including a languid and relaxing morning cappuccino at a local cafe to support the community or a long conversation with your neighbors. Taking the time to enjoy the simple things, not necessarily the popular destination points is a big perspective shift for most travelers – but its worth it.

Understanding and Connecting With Locals Is Key

Learning from locals is a key aspect of slow travel.It’s truly not as complicated as you might think! Some examples of supporting local culture are: taking the time to choose a hotel or BnB run by a local family, planning your dinners around family-run businesses instead of chain restaurants, shopping at local markets and buying handmaid items.

For the extrovert, taking the time to learn some basics of the language will open conversations with locals in a welcoming way. Gaining friendships and acquaintances through regularly visited restaurants and cafes is a great way to connect.

More importantly, taking the time to learn about and with locals about their culture is the number one aspect of slow travel we should all embrace. Some examples of how to do this are: reading or watching television series about the history of your destination or taking a cooking or handicraft lesson from local makers and artisans.

To know a place is to know its people.

Long Durations (If You Can Swing It) Give More Meaning To Our Travels

Extending our time in one place solely creates deeper relationships and memories. Slow travel’s first defining word – “slow” – means that (if you can swing it) keep your itinerary simple and long-term. For example: instead of doing a grand tour of Europe in a month, choosing to stay in one city or town for a few days or weeks at a time.

For those of us that can’t necessarily swing long term travel in our day’s off, remember – slow travel is about slowing down to enjoy the simple moments. Change your itinerary to serve more of the community and less about pictures and “must do” activities. Ask yourself what you can simply and slow down in your plans, and do it!

We hope you enjoyed learning more about slow travel! There truly is so much to unpack on this one and we’d love to spotlight this philosophy more on the blog.

Have you ever considered adopting slow travel in your adventures? If you have traveled slow, what were some of the biggest highlights and lessons learned from your trip?


The World Needs More Wanderers, And This Is Why…

We live in tumultuous times – there’s no denying it. Between political drama, international affairs, rollercoaster news cycles and everything else going on in the world, it can be hard to maneuver through daily life. When thinking about the future world and the idealized people who encompass it, I think it of one specific type or person – travelers. Yes, the world needs more wanderers… and this is why.

Travelers, specifically those who travel in the hopes to learn and grow come back to their home country with so much more than a new passport stamp. Their experiences bring about empathy, understanding and a more compassionate outlook towards those who differ than themselves.

Travel enlightens those that are privileged in ways they were absolutely ignorant about. Clean water, or the joy of a working bathroom, a much needed roof or heat… These obvious “necessities” are simply splendors in other parts of our world, and only those explorers to witness this firsthand can fully comprehend this fact. In a world where ignorance seems to be a continuing trend, education and understanding in combination with empathy and compassion is the remedy we desperately need. All of which come from experiences gathered through explorations and relationships made through travel near and far.

Experiences abroad allow wanderers to see the amazing similarities between all races, creeds, genders, religion and classes. The core motivation to see and celebrate all that unifies us is an amazing quality travelers possess. Shouldn’t we be proud of our diversity, yet innately know how our hearts beat as one? In a future world of kindness and open-hearted relationships between all people, it might take the experiences and stories told through travelers to open the public’s eyes.

Witnessing the graciousness of all people, even those who stand is absolute opposition of our own outlooks can unify a divisive world. Wanderers are the first and primary people who can tell the stories of a unified similarities between themselves and strangers along their journeys. Let’s celebrate that!

The world needs more wanderers because the world needs more curious, compassionate individuals encompassing it. Travelers are not perfect. They are not the sole remedy to our world’s issues. But those that explore with open minds, open hearts and a willingness to learn and grow from the people and places they experience might just be guiding our future into a better place. What do you think?