It’s called trotting with responsibility. Before you go chomping on your frequent flier miles with your bamboo toothbrush neatly packed in and your e-tickets glimmering on the smartphone, looking for extraordinary experiences, revise the list of ways in which you can move around as a responsible traveller.
PACK IT IN
Keep sustainability and your responsibility as a traveller in mind as you pack up for your trip. Swimwear made using recycled fishing nets, sneakers shaped using defunct PET bottles, and a large cotton or jute bag for those shopping excursions come in handy while on the move.
Carry convertibles that you can mix and match without adding to the washing churn. While most of the places we visit are accessible by plane, begin by offsetting your carbon footprint. Post the big C, forward-thinking homestays and resorts have emerged that make way for participatory activities in planting and watering saplings and maintaining organic patches of fruits and vegetables.
MAKE A CHOICE
Try and choose locations that bring in a slice of slow travel, with transformative experiences bereft of luxury prices. Investing in local experiences is rewarding for both us and the environment. Begin by eating local delicacies (in home kitchens) with fresh, seasonal ingredients—it supports the economy of the area you are in. Decoder? Think local black fowl as opposed to New Zealand rack of lamb, locally available obscure but tasty vegetables in kher sangri and karonda, than basil vinegar.
Carry the same ethical leisure responsibility forward when you spend beyond the food on the region-specific beauty care products made using food waste like fruit stones, peels, and leaves distilled into essential oils and extracts. Or shop for handcrafted specials, wooden toys and home knits, bags made of pineapple husk, sugarcane waste, corn starch… rather than expensive global brands. Remember, haggling might have been a championed art when we were growing up in small towns. Today, your bargaining could mean `50 less from your pocket but lesser food on the table for the vendor’s family. Be kind.
Small changes make a big difference. You can toot around the area exploring other destinations on day trips in an electric vehicle, or go on biking tours, or skateboarding. As educated individuals, we really ought to think twice before leaping onto elephants, mules, and camels for a joyride and for that Gram pic. Health experts recommend a Hepatitis A jab if you love travelling all across, to safeguard yourself against water-borne infections. Optionally, pack in a steri-pen to sterilise the water rather than buying endless mineral water bottles and contributing to waste. It helps you to be a plastic vigilante too and cut down on single-use items.
Shilpi Madan for Sunday Standard