Tourism is one of the most fast-paced, socio-economic growth sectors of our time. Here’s a topline overview of why being a mindful traveler and human being is important, how to travel mindfully, and why practicing sustainability is the coolest thing you can do right now.
The amount of international travelers is expected to reach to 1.8 billion people by 2030, according to the United Nations. This represents an increase of approximately 6 million people from 2015. In fact, the United Nations World Tourism Organization (WTO) declared 2017 to be the year of Sustainable Travel, with the goal of bringing global awareness to travel and influencing action in order to make travel a force for good. Being mindful of this when we travel and explore will help contribute to positive change.
Mindful travel means:
- Supporting local communities by buying local &/or organic goods, engaging locals in work or job opportunities, or proving aid and resource through humanitarian work. Who doesn’t love small batch goods, things made with heart, and giving back?
- Eco- friendly practices (sustaining or helping to enhance natural and cultural heritage places and points of interest, water-conservation, innovative uses of energy and power). Don’t you wish you could have seen how pristine the world once was ages ago? Probably insane. Don’t mess it up for those down the line.
- Opting for accommodation or transportation that does not pollute or deplete earth’s natural resources (glamping or camping, sailing, bike riding etc.). I’d take a sailing yacht any day of the week over a car. Or a gorgeous tent posted up in nature over any popular hotel any day. No brainer!
- Traveling is one of the greatest joys we can do to experience and better understand our earth and humanity. Positive outcomes include economic stimulation and growth, business opportunities and the creation of jobs, and continual innovation to leverage new technologies for enhanced consumer experiences. There’s nothing better than truly understanding people through their culture, and it’s super cool to feel like you can contribute to that local development supporting the right guys on the ground.
A few tips on how to be a mindful traveler:
- Set your intention and identify your opportunity – Before kicking off your travels, think about what your goals are and what you wish to accomplish on your journey in order to make the trip more meaningful. This may be volunteering for a specific cause, such as working with kids, social cultural activities, agriculture, or animal safety.
- Share the love – When you visit a place that may be in need of certain things, consider what you can do to support by bringing a gift or making a donation. Be communicative with the host by asking what it is the need is exactly, so you can act wisely and make a valuable contribution.
- Keep an open mind – Often when we push ourselves out of our comfort zones we get, er, uncomfortable. This is also part of the joy in travel, and helps us grow as a person, being aware and accepting of others. Plus, it’s a two-way street and the cultural exchange of knowledge, services, and nuances can yield a fruitful outcome.
- Shop smart – There are plenty of products coming out that use eco-friendly materials and some that even donate product with your purchase. Choose these brands that not only satisfy your needs but help others too