Air travel is without a doubt the most environmentally damaging part of travel. Passenger planes on average produce 244 pounds of carbon dioxide every mile. So, easiest way to make a difference? Limit your air travel as much as makes sense. Travel overland or by boat. Take a bus, or a tuk-tuk, or a camel, or a dug-out canoe, or your own 2 feet. Not only will you contribute less CO2, but you will definitely see more of the area you’re traveling through, and might even get a great story out of it!
If you’re feeling really ambitious, try crossing Central America in one of these!
I get that cutting out airplanes altogether is pretty improbable for a lot of trips because of the time they save over other methods of transportation and the comfort they afford, but even just switching one leg of your trip to a different mode of travel will cut down on the amount of CO2 your trip produces.
I am an environmentalist. There. I said it. I’m a dirty, no-good, rotten, tree-hugging environmentalist. Ok, well actually I do shower, I try to put more positive vibes into the universe than negative, and I’m alive and not a zombie so I’m not sure how I could actually be rotten, but you get the point. I love the earth and everything living on it, even humans.
I’m also a traveler. I live for going to new places, meeting new people, see new sites, doing new things.
Hang on, you might say. How can you claim to be an environmentalist when your other passion contributes to the destruction of the environment?
The easy answer? People are full of contradictions. The true answer? It’s still that people are full of contradictions…and also that I try to minimize the harm I do by traveling and hope that I can share with others I meet on the road or through this blog that they can travel in a more sustainable way as well without sacrificing comfort, time or money.
I realize that I haven’t been doing a very good job of balancing talk of environmental travel with budget travel on this blog so far. It is important to note that I do not think the 2 are mutually exclusive — you can have both! Stay tuned for posts on how you can have your cake and eat it too…
I call this one!
Today was a good day. I went to my niece and nephew’s “Grandparents’ Day” at school with my awesome sister-in-law and baby nephew and learned what the older two have been up to. Afterwards, we went back to their house and goofed around for a while. As I was hanging on the couch with the older kiddos (the baby and my sis-in-law were taking a much needed nap), I had an epiphany. This is why I have to travel long term.
You might be saying, hold on a second…why did hanging out with some of your fav people on the planet make you realize you have to travel more, thus leaving them??? Sounds counterintuitive, I know, but just hear me out. I realized that coming back to them after being gone just makes those normal moments even sweeter.
Also, I want to be the best me I can possibly be for my niece and nephews…traveling makes me the best version of myself. It makes me more compassionate, more patient, more spontaneous, less stressed, more self-confident, and more stable (which sounds crazy, i know, being more stable by pursuing a lifestyle that is anything but). I want to be someone that my wonderful niece and 3 lovely nephews can always look up to and count on. They are the most important people in my life and even if I didn’t think I owed it to myself to follow my dreams, I owe it to them to show by example that they can follow their dreams.
So, to wrap this up, I found it. I found my inspiration for why I should take this trip even though sometimes I second-guess myself and think this whole idea of mine is bat-shit crazy.
🙂 I feel very calm and content for the first time in days.
Lately, I’ve misplaced my motivation for trip preparation. Blame it on my artistic soul. I’ve always found it difficult to work on anything when I’m not inspired, especially on projects that I am passionate about. I rationalize it by saying that I only want to give those special projects my best and I can’t do that if I’m not inspired. In reality, I think it’s part laziness and part lack of confidence in my ability to make whatever it is I’m working on as good as I see it in my head…hopefully the desire to plan my travel will return soon…
A friend of mine from Australia sent me a link via facebook today regarding fried green tomatoes. He and his girlfriend are what one may consider foodies…when I worked with them in Honduras, they made a point of photographing every one of our delicious “family dinners” and experimenting with the local dishes when at all possible. They have promised me the use of their guest room when I visit in a few months and I cannot wait to fix them dinner as thanks. In light of this latest link, I believe I know what I’ll be serving…something foreign (to them) that will tickle their tastebuds….green tomatoes fried in buttermilk and cornmeal served with ranch dressing or a bun with pimiento cheese…maybe cornbread and collard greens to go with it….or pork barbeque and slaw. I know, I know, these meals are such cliches…but they are cliches for a reason. 🙂 One of the things I most look forward to is sharing my customs with others and learning the customs of others in return.
I love my southern roots and I can’t wait to serve them a piping hot dish of fried green tomatoes
Any budget traveler worth his or her salt will, at some point, stay in a hostel. If you’ve never experienced one before, it may be shocking to you. It can be a bit like summer camp…rowdy, chaotic, and some will undoubtedly have a problem with personal hygiene…having said that, I’ve always loved summer camp so it doesn’t really bother me, especially since you can easily get around the more distasteful sides of hostels.
- First of all, if you get to a hostel and have a bad feeling about the place, leave. I know, I know, not ground breaking, but you’d be surprised how often people ignore this obvious solution. Maybe it’s not convenient to find another hostel, maybe you met people that are staying there, maybe you’ve prepaid (not recommended) and are loathe to lose your deposit. Whatever, if you get there and something is giving you the heeby-jeebies, just leave.
- Bring earplugs. I suggest investing in a few pair of quality earplugs. The cheap ones make my ears hurt (I’ve got narrow ear canals), a condition that causes headaches, and unsurprisingly, make it hard to sleep. Earplugs are a great way to get the quiet of a private room (if not the privacy) without the cost.
- A top bunk. I pretty much always pick a top bunk for several reasons. Fans tend to be placed higher up so better airflow. Also, I like to pull my belongings up on the bunk with me, particularly if the storage provided looks a little dicey. The only time I go with a lower bunk is if there are no top bunks (duh) or if there are no fans and it is extremely hot (hot air rises, another duh).
- Ask the manager of the hostel if you can be put in the most empty hostel room. The worst they can do is say no. This is not a step I usually take, but if you are a very light sleeper and don’t want to pay for a private room, you might want to try it.
- If you have room in your pack, you might want to consider investing in a sleep sack. You may get cold easily and want an extra layer, or maybe you just want an extra layer between you and that questionable cot. Regardless, there are sleep sacks out there that weigh very little and roll up into a tiny ball.
- You definitely want to invest in your own washcloth and towel. On the off chance the hostel does provide these, I still wouldn’t use them. It skeeves me out even more than using the sheets provided. I recommend spending a little more for a lightweight quick-dry version of your basic towel and washcloth…especially useful in very humid places that make fabrics prone to mildewing.
Ok, that’s it for now! I’ll add to this list as I think of things! Stay strong and travel on!
Well, I think my parents might actually be accepting that this is the right direction for my life…They passed through town yesterday and we talked about possibly meeting up in Europe for a visit. Maybe reading this blog has allowed them to see how passionate I am about this life path. Or maybe it had nothing to do with the blog lol. Either way, I hope my positive experience can inspire others who want to make the leap but are worried of how their family and friends will react. Remember, in the end, you are really the only one holding yourself back.