Dreaming of Paris? So am I. Is London calling? Me too! Goa state mind? Definitely! Yearning for the mountains? Yes!
Before the world went into a lockdown frenzy, my friends and I were planning a trip to Sharm-El-Sheikh and Cairo. Unaware of what was awaiting us, we sat together on the couch wide-eyed and hopeful of all the things we would do and places we would see. Four months into the lockdown, Cairo sems like a distant dream.
I don’t know when we’ll be able to travel safely again but I know when I do, it won’t be the same. Conscious living is a new chapter in my life, I’m still adapting to the changes I need to make and I’m learning about how to extend these changes to travel.
Our travels leave a remarkable carbon footprint on the planet. In an ideal world, we would reduce our carbon footprint to zero, stop travelling altogether and stay at home. But for most people this is not an option.
So, what is the alternative? Not just sustainable travel but social impact travel.
Travel is the biggest source of income for many developing countries, but according to a 2013 WTO study, only $5 of every $100 spent by a traveller, remains in the destination country. This is where social impact travel comes in. It is a way to support local economies and make a positive impact on the host communities by opting for local services and homestays.
By opting to stay locally you can curate your own unique holiday and experience the culture instead of merely dipping your toe in the periphery of the full range of opportunities available to you. Is there a better way to travel and create a positive impact?
As Marcel Proust said ‘The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.’ This is the new lens we need to see our travels with. To seek meaningful conversations, understand different cultures and assimilate ourselves with the beauty of the knowledge different encounters bring us.
How Can You Travel With A Positive Impact?
- Locally sourced travel is all about discovering local restaurants, staying at boutique hotels, and shopping from local markets to contribute to the growth of the local economy.
- Opt to stay ecolodges or sustainable hotels so you be surrounded by greenery and have an infinitely more enriching holiday. As Emerson said ‘Nature wears the colours of the spirit’.
- Conservative travel is popular in wildlife rich areas; you can choose to travel with companies that contribute to safeguarding the ecosystem and work to protect the wildlife.
- You can combine your travels with volunteer activities by working with organizations that are trying to make a difference on the ground level.
I understand everyone’s busy trying to go about their lives to really research and find ways to travel sustainably but the good news is that there are tonnes of travel companies out there who are providing this service without you having to do all the groundwork. So the next time you’re booking a holiday, the least you can do is Google the companies that are trying to make a difference in the region you’re travelling to and become a part of a win-win situation!