Your home is someone else’s destination
With Regenerative Travel (RT) the new wellness buzzword, we need to remember that RT is not only about the destination. It’s about what we do at home and the choices we make to get where we are going too. After all, whatever we do at home, whether it’s an awareness of recycling, practicing sensible consumer choices or how we treat our neighbors – we take these choices with us on our travels.
For RT to be sustainable, it must be more than just a focus on what we do for the one or two weeks while we are away. RT includes our actions at home, our choices of travel and how we conduct ourselves at our destination. Consider too that our home is somebody else’s destination, so if we want to practice making the planet a better place, it must start with where we spend time the most.
We also have to consider the impact of our decisions as a whole. It’s great to go to a resort that has a sustainable awareness program, reduces plastic use and is conscious of food waste, but if we fly with a budget airline that dumps its consumer waste into a landfill at each destination, have we really made a difference?
We may want to buy something to remember our trip by but purchasing cheap plastic or mass-produced souvenirs at our destination simply perpetuates the creation of those, the use of local natural resources and increases in landfills both at our destination and at home.
And finally, how we treat people has a lasting impression. We will leave the effects of the judgements, disrespect, and entitlement we might have at home, wherever we are going. Just as the effects of treating people with kindness, generosity and respect will leave a positive lasting impression.
So before you travel, consider:
- Plan and interact with the companies you will using. Start asking questions that will help you understand what impact your journey will have on the environment. E.g. ask airlines and train companies what they do with their waste at the destination. Understand the ethics a company has on how their staff are being treated etc. If you care about these things, the companies you are considering will have to care too, if they want your business.
- No matter what the reason for your trip, open yourself to learning something that you can bring back to make your home a better place. The world has become a tourist destination, so if everybody takes a positive learning home with them, then the whole world will benefit.
- Be aware of your actions, choices, and the influence you have on your environment. E.g. what you buy to bring back, will influence a local market. Buy plastic and more plastic is produced. Buy cheap processed food and more cultivated land needs to be created to produce what you want. But supporting local artists and creators and you are supporting the local economy and community in a sustainable way.
- Be aware of your responsibility in the respect, use and nurturing of our natural resources, wherever you are and whatever you do. Act on the principle of leaving only footprints and taking only memories.
- Be aware of the waste you take and might leave, especially food and discarded items and packaging. But also, be aware of the emotional waste you might leave behind. If you treat people with disrespect, take them for granted or are judgemental or their culture or choices, you leave a negative impact in the minds of locals. Just as kindness, respect and generosity is like planting a seed that will eventually grow and give fruits to you and others.
- Allow yourself to be affected by the place you are traveling to. It is in the meeting points and margins, that we see the greatest diversity, find the highest resilience and where the potential for positive change is found.
- Practice spontaneity and your way of being creative. Spontaneity is found in people who are comfortable with the unknown. Rather than trying to control everything, allow space for curiosity, creativity, and adventure. It is in this wild abandon that spontaneous acts of kindness are found, moments of lasting joy and meetings that touch the soul. And true creativity is not only about connection with your environment, but ultimately about being in service to people and the planet.