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Sustainable Travel: Is It Possible?

train in malaga

Reducing your carbon footprint is something that we all need to try to achieve. But this becomes increasingly difficult when tourism is added to the equation. Traveling can be harmful to the environment without us even realizing it. In addition to increased CO2 emissions from aircraft travel, many holiday resorts and hotels are built on natural areas that have become negatively impacted by the tourism industry.

It’s safe to say that most tourists aren’t exactly eco-friendly when it comes to enjoying a holiday abroad and most of the time it’s not their fault. Many people aren’t aware of their impact on the environment, but there are ways you can reduce the effect that mass tourism has on the planet.boracay beach crowds

What is Sustainable Travel?

Sustainable travel focuses on discovering ways to maintain tourism long-term without causing additional harm to the planet. When you start researching sustainable travel and learn more about it, you’ll soon realize that it doesn’t concentrate on any one particular thing. In fact, it looks at three.

These three things are often referred to as the “three pillars of sustainable travel,” i.e. ecological, economic and social. When you closer at these three pillars, you’ll see that they focus on the following:

  • Conserving the Natural Environment
  • Supporting Local Businesses
  • Supporting Cultural Projects

So, now that we know a little more about sustainable travel, let’s reflect on the things you can do to travel sustainably:

Recycling bins

Protect the Natural Environment

When you’re traveling, never leave any rubbish behind when hiking up a mountain or sunbathing on the beach. Litter is a huge problem for many countries, so try to reduce your impact on the natural environment by taking all of your rubbish with you when you leave.

Another great way to help protect the natural environment is by using less plastic. Instead of buying a new bottle of water every time you run out, take a flask and fill it up with water. You can buy a flask with a water filter to be on the safe side and so some research to see if the local tap water is safe to drink.

Support Local Businesses

You can help support local people and their businesses by buying food and groceries etc. from them rather than shopping at huge supermarkets. Local producers often sell their goods at market stalls, so take a look around and try to eat locally grown food as much as possible. This is also a great way to cut back on travel costs while you’re abroad since locally sourced food tends to be cheaper.seattle pike place market veggies

Stay in Eco-Friendly Accommodation

Look for sustainable accommodation options that use things like energy-efficient lighting and recycled furniture etc. Camping is another excellent option that can help you to travel more sustainably, make sure you don’t disturb your surroundings and take everything you brought with you.

Amsterdam is already ahead of the curve and leading the way towards more sustainable travel with clean air and cycling being a way of life for the locals. Eco-friendly hotels are huge in the country with many luxury and affordable hotels using things like organic towels and recycled furniture. Sustainable accommodation doesn’t end there either. Over 60% of household waste is recycled or reused, which makes Amsterdam one of the most sustainable and environmentally-friendly countries in the world.LKF hotel Hong Kong towels

Use Alternative Means of Transport

Flying is one of the most convenient and accessible means of transport. But there’s still plenty of other ways you can help reduce your carbon footprint while you’re still on the ground. Taking public transportation is recommended because it saves fuel and helps to reduce the number of cars and vehicles on the roads.

You can also travel more sustainably by cycling or walking when possible. Again, Amsterdam is a huge advocate for cycling, and you’re likely to find more cyclists on the roads than drivers. But the rest of the world is still playing catch up, so if you can walk or cycle instead of taking a taxi or private car, you’ll be doing the planet a massive favor.germany dani & jessAs you can see, sustainable travel IS possible. You just need to know how and then be willing to go out and do it. Although it might feel like you can’t do much to help the environment on your own, even the smallest action can make a difference. So, the next time you’re traveling to foreign countries and experiencing new cultures, ask yourself if you can be more sustainable somehow and then follow suit!

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The Story Of The Yellow Envelope (+ Book Giveaway!)

cuba the yellow envelope

I’ve loved reading travel blogs ever since starting my own journey in 2010, when I also started my own travel blog. Before that, I didn’t even know they existed. But when I started Globetrottergirls, I started reaching out to other bloggers, and other bloggers started reaching out to me. Back then, there weren’t that many, and there weren’t many that I really loved. I mainly followed people who were also traveling through South America, a few blogging couples and several solo female travelers.

Over the next couple of years, it seemed like the travel blogosphere exploded. All of a sudden, all these blogs appeared – for a while, it seemed like every single day a new blog was launched! The quality of these blogs, however, varied greatly. I found less and less that I enjoyed reading, but there were a few exceptions.

One of those was a blog called ‘So Many Places’, in which Kim detailed the story of her and her husband Brian selling everything they owned to travel the world. Her way of writing and sharing her rawest emotions made me feel as if I was right there with them – part of their journey.

I was excitedly reading about her dream to travel the world, the announcement of their plan to their family and friends, how they put their house on the market, her fear of quitting her job, and their tearful farewell from Portland.

  Months later, the couple were finally on their one-way flight to South America, and I was following along as they made their way south towards Argentina. As they were getting closer to Argentina, where I was at the time, I really wanted to meet them and we made plans to meet up once they’d get to Buenos Aires. We had been in touch through email and I was excited to hear how their journey had been so far – a journey Kim had dreamed up and prepared for years.

It was when we met up in Buenos Aires that Kim told me the story of The Yellow Envelope, an envelope filled with money which was given to her and Brian as a farewell gift by their friends Michele and Glenn before they set off on their indefinite journey. The money was what they called the ‘Kim and Brian Do Good Fund’. The couple were supposed to give the money away on their travels in whatever way they wanted – to people, kids, animals or the environment, either all at once or spread out along the way. With the envelope, the couple had been given three rules: 1) Don’t overthink it 2) Share your experiences 3) Don’t feel pressured to give it all away.

‘Oh my god, this makes such a great story for a book’, I said. ‘Kim, I really hope that a book will come out of this.’

Fast forward four years and I found myself in Ecuador, where Kim and Brian started their journey back in 2012. I am looking at the cover of ‘The Yellow Envelope’ on my Kindle screen, about to start to read the book which had come out of Kim’s journey.

Kim had indeed made it happen – not only had she written the book, but she also managed to get a book deal. And today, The Yellow Envelope: One Gift, Three Rules, and A Life-Changing Journey Around the World is finally being launched and is available in book shops around the country!

BUY THE YELLOW ENVELOPE ON AMAZON

It was only fitting that I delved into the story in Ecuador, where their journey had begun. Having read so much of Kim’s writing over the years I had no doubt that I would enjoy the book, but only a few chapters in, I was surprised when I noticed that this book was so much more than the stories of how they spent the yellow envelope money along the way.

It is Kim’s personal story, her struggles of becoming the person she wanted to be, of her questioning her relationship, unsure if she wanted to be married anymore, her soul-searching. It’s a story about the roadblocks Kim and Brian had to overcome on their trip, not only on their physical journey, which turned out to be much more challenging than they had assumed, but also how both of them change and grow with every country they visit.

The Yellow Envelope is, of course, part of the journey everywhere they went, and some of the stories of how they spend the money as they traverse the globe are extremely touching.

I couldn’t put the book down. I was completely mesmerized by Kim’s deeply emotional and honest storytelling, beautifully capturing the journey within herself as well as the places they were visiting.I don’t want to give away too much, but their trip takes them from South America to India, to Vietnam, Nepal, Mexico and Indonesia. Each country holds its very own set of challenges for them, each country has them meet someone who is in need of the money the Yellow Envelope holds.

If you love travel, are curious to read somebody else’s journey to self-discovery and the account of a venturesome backpacking trip around the world, with random acts of kindness sprinkled in, you will enjoy The Yellow Envelope as much as I did.

BUY THE YELLOW ENVELOPE ON AMAZON

Giveaway!

Since I loved this book so much, I want to gift one of you a copy. I have not been asked to write about it nor have I been given a copy of the book for a giveaway – I bought it on Amazon because I want one of my loyal readers to have the chance to read this book which I truly enjoyed reading.

You can simply enter via the Rafflecopter box below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Yellow Envelope Book Tour

Kim is going on a DIY Book Tour around the U.S. to promote The Yellow Envelope! If you are lucky, you can enjoy a live reading from the book – find out if Kim is stopping in a town near you HERE.

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