Two years ago I realised I had an ethical dilemma on my hands.
After working in the travel industry for the last two decades and having my life so fortuitously enriched by all of the wonders of travel, I asked myself “what have I actually given back from all of the travel I have been lucky enough to experience?”
The frank answer was that while I could come up with some good stuff, for me, it simply wasn’t enough.
Today, travel is the biggest industry in the world. It’s never been more accessible and cheaper for the world to travel more often, to more places.
But while this is all fantastic, what negative impact does all this travelling have on the world?
So then I thought…
“What if we use the power of travel to positively change the world?”
What if we could positively change ‘your’ world, as the traveller; ‘their’ world in the places you go and ‘the world’ as the planet we all inhabit?
Wouldn’t we all stand to benefit if we did?
What started out two years ago as a #traveltochangetheworld hashtag and initiative on our travel industry sister site www.karryon.com.au (Australia’s #1 travel trade site) has now become its own entity.
The purpose of ‘Travel to change the world’ is to help, educate and inspire travellers to make informed travel choices and take action so that they can become ambassadors for the world and better humans.
To make the site easier to navigate, we’ve broken the site down into three fundamental pillars of ‘Social and Cultural’, ‘Environment’ and ‘Animal Welfare’, which we believe are the core issues we all face from the impact of travel.
Ultimately, we’re all human beings with the same basic needs and challenges in life.
All of us are searching to find more meaning in our precious, short time on this crazy, beautiful, mysterious planet we all share.
Once you start to break ‘Travel to change the world’ down as a concept, you’ll soon realise that there are so many simple things you can do to enrich the lives of others and enhance your personal experiences on your travels.
“My feeling about seeing the world is that it’s going to change you, just the very fact of being out there and meeting people from different cultures and different ways of life.”Ewan McGregor
Delving deeper and learning about the societies and rituals of the places you visit with a few words of the local language are easy wins for everyone.
How about being open and smiling at locals when you travel? (Sounds obvious – Amazing how many people aren’t). Take time to listen, chat and connect with people (They’ll also learn something about you and where you’re from).
Choosing responsible tour options and local products that benefit the community for the long term are all other simple ways we can all begin to help.
Congratulations, you’re already travelling to change the world.
Tourism is now recognised as the biggest industry in the world and is only set to continue to grow as travelling becomes cheaper and more accessible for all. But as our footprint expands, so does the risk of destroying the planet.
Becoming aware of and supporting the numerous trailblazers in travel who are already making a difference is the best way to begin to travel responsibly.
“It’s only one straw, Said 8 billion people.”Some smart person
For example, many airlines are already using Bio-fuels and offsetting their carbon usage with foundations in the destinations they operate, an increasing number of travel companies are going single-use plastic-free, and more and more transport is going electric.
There’s good news everywhere once you switch onto it.
It wasn’t long ago that riding captive elephants and taking selfies with drugged-up tigers were socially acceptable as bucket list experiences.
Thankfully, times are changing, but there’s still an awful lot to do around positive change for animal welfare.
Making responsible choices around any wildlife interaction is a hugely positive step to changing human behaviour.
Do your research before you go here first and with charities and ensure that the operators you choose are ethical and sustainable in the way they run their businesses.
Animal tourism can be a good thing and help provide an alternative income for communities and ex-poachers, as well as bring additional help and skills through volunteering projects and financial support for conservation projects.
But supporting performing animals, grabbing wildlife selfies or eating at places that showcase captive animals or worse – exotic animals on the menu are all trades that will only cease when tourists turn against them.
Use your best judgement, educate others and take a stand for good on your travels.
Congratulations! By reading this post and taking some of these insights on board, you’ve already made a difference.
Now you can easily create your own impact by sharing your new-found knowledge.
Share this link to a friend who you think would be interested or post it on your own social media.
By taking the next step and implementing these tips, you’ll be able to begin to reduce your carbon footprint and contribute to a kinder, cleaner environment for future generations.
Ultimately, it all comes down to staying curious, keeping yourself up-to-date and making yourself accountable for your actions on your travels.