Welcome back everyone, happy Sunday! If you haven’t already, pour yourself a cup of coffee, or tea, or matcha, or whatever get’s you jiving. Sit down and enjoy your morning read. Today I am talking about the different ways we can travel whilst reducing our carbon footprint. This will act as an introduction to the topics I would like to cover more in depth with time.
Let me know your thoughts in the comments, hit the like button and subscribe to join the community. Lot’s of Love, Elle 🙂
With most of us having been in lock down these past three months, people are itching to be out exploring again. Some people say there is going to be a ‘travel boom’ coming soon, some are excited for when they can start planning their big trips abroad, most are looking forward to when they can go on holiday again.
Sorry to be a party-pooper, but I think now is actually the perfect time for us to rethink our travel and make it more responsible. We really should be focusing on how to move forward and not go back to ‘normal’.
Although I love the travel community, we are not good for the environment. Which is pretty ironic, we love the world, so we explore to see as much as possible, sadly by doing so we are damaging it. Sounds like a toxic relationship to me. Can we change that? Let’s start by thinking of ways we can explore whilst creating a lower carbon footprint.
At the top of my list is one of the two golden means of travel. Golden, because the carbon footprint from your transportation will be zero.
There is possibly no way to grow more connected with a country than to travel it on foot. It may not be the most glamorous but I reckon it is the most rewarding.
All over the globe there are laid-out thru hikes, just waiting for you to discover them. Fancy the challenge of hiking all the way along the states west coast, from the Mexican border to the Canadian. Did you know, in 2012 the Wales became the first country in the world to open up a hiking route that follows the entire length of it’s coast. Camino de Santiago, in Spain, has been leading people on pilgrimages ever since the 8th Century.
With all this time we have spent indoors, wouldn’t it be wonderful to really connect with nature this way? It may be much more work than our usual travelling but it is also an experience worth so much more. Just be sure to follow the Leave no Trace guidelines.
2. Cycle Touring
With little to no carbon footprint, this is the second of the two golden means of travel. Whilst I would love to cycle the world, I don’t think it is something I will be achieving anytime soon, considering I can barely cycle up the hill to my Grandmas house.
Maybe it isn’t necessary to cycle the whole world though. You could plan a cycling trip across the Netherlands, or Australia, or along the coast of Portugal. There are so many countries that are perfectly laid out for pedalling, providing you with everything you need for an incredible adventure.
My Dad has always urged me to give cycle touring a go. He has been on countless bike holidays and is an expert on the subject. So instead of me, a girl with no experience, trying to sell it to you. I asked him to tell me about why he loves it. Here is what he said:
“On a bicycle, one can really appreciate travelling through a landscape, properly in it and not separated from it. When you are inside of a vehicle and have a screen between you and the outside, one doesn’t travel so fully through the place.”
Technically the people who will be driving you, are making those trips anyway, so your footprint is little to nothing.. I suppose.
Hitchhiking isn’t the first method you will think of when you decide how to get around. Things have definitely changed since the days when my Grandparents hitched from the north to the south to the France.
I have never done this myself however it is on my bucket list. You do have to be smart about it of course, do some research and travel safely. There are some countries where it is more common and accepted than others.
This is what my sister has to say about why she likes hitchhiking- “It forces you to trust people and have real human connections rather than superficial ones”
In 2021, I would definitely like to give hitch hiking a go. So stay tuned until then!
4. Sailing/Van Life/Canal Boat
I am grouping these ones together because none of them are the most sustainable way to travel. However all of them can be made more eco-friendly with certain measures, such as installing your own renewable energy, using solar showers, good insulation.
Additionally, if you are looking to buy one of these homes, think about a conversion or up-cycling instead of a brand new model. There is endless information out there about converting vans into homes and if you don’t feel up for the job, I’m sure you kind find a willing soul to be hired for the job.
With these methods of travelling, if you make them your home, there is the added benefit that you will be forced to practise minimalism to some extent. Seen as you have less space to keep belongings you are likely to consume less, which is better for the planet.
5. Fly economy + Offset
A lot of you might not be convinced by the above options. We are in a world where flying is both cheap and accessible and for most people, the only way they can afford a holiday.
Although the above options are the most ideal, they are also a privilege. Not everyone is planning to travel full time. Some people work insanely hard all year and look forward to their one holiday a year. I don’t think they should feel bad for flying for that holiday.
There are things you can do to make flying a bit better. For example, flying economy is more carbon efficient and leaves a lower footprint per traveller. You can also offset your emissions. Don’t just tick the box when you book your ticket, there are websites and charities built just for this purpose, go direct to them. You could also do some actions yourself, you could plant a certain amount of trees for each flight you take.
If you are some one that normally flies more than once a year, look at how you can cut down. Perhaps start taking more domestic holidays. Or save up your holiday days to take one long holiday.
So to conclude..
There are definitely measures we could all be taking, whether you are travelling once a year or all the year. Quarantine has proved to us all that in a time of crisis we really can change our routines. Travelling is not a necessity so if we are going to do it, let’s do it responsibly.
Elle’s top tips:
Ladies- find a reusable sanitary product that works for you. You got all sorts to choose from now days. It’s a wonderful way to save money, free up more space in your packpack and reduce your environmental impact.
Stick to the trail! When you are hiking, don’t go stomping on any farmers crops or natural wildlife areas by straying from the marked path.
When doing anything out doors, practice the Leave no Trace principles.
Stay away from cruise ships. Cruises are one of the least environmental ways to travel. From sewage in the ocean, to fuel, to the amount of energy it takes to create a comfortable, five star experience in just about any corner of the earth they wish, they are definitely not worth the footprint you will rack up.
Thank you for reading!
Which of the above sounds the most appealing to you? Have you travelled by any of these methods? Let me know in the comments below!
Have you read about my time at the Extinction Rebellion protests? Check them out at the link below!
Extinction Rebellion – The April Protests: Part One
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