TRAVEL ADVISORY FOR COVID-19: Please be cautious and conscientious while traveling. For U.S. residents and visitors, you can visit the State Dept's travel advisory website as well as the CDC destination recommendation website for up to date information on the ongoing pandemic. Stay safe and please get vaccinated if it is a possibility for you so we can all make it through this together.
It’s been a minute since I posted here. I had dozens of ideas for posts about how to start a blog, DIY projects to do during lockdowns, and other COVID related posts all lined up for everyone. The fact is, I just didn’t have the heart to blog about travel last year.
Thankfully I am living in a place blessed enough to have widespread vaccination now, a
nd it looks like borde rs are opening up worldwide. We still have a long way to go until global herd immunity, and I encourage you to help the vaccination effort wherever you happen to be. This was written before the Omicron variant began cropping up, and borders look like they are closing again.
On the other hand, I feel great joy these days. This summer I got to see my family for the first time in 18 months. It was a simple long weekend in Florida but it did wonders for my mental health and made me excited to travel again. My siblings, cousins, and friends are all planning trips together and daydreaming about our next journeys together. I am extremely lucky to have all of my close family still with me. I still am in disbelief that we all made it through this pandemic.
It feels right to start writing again now. Everyone seems to have a hopeful outlook, and people are approaching life with renewed vigor and gratitude.
Going forward I want to try a different approach to blogging. An approach that is more focused on the reader, rather than the writer. An approach focused on the impact of our travels on the destinations in addition to the usual focus on the traveler.
I think we can all stand to be kinder and more empathetic to each other and the planet. Conscious travel is the future in my opinion.
I’m also going to inevitably stumble through trying to write about travel from a decolonized perspective as much as possible. This is a learning process for me (especially as a settler American white woman) but I hope to show us all ways to travel more conscientiously and treat hosts as more than just colorful backdrops to our vacays. There have been many amazing activists and writers working on this I would love to share with you, so check out a few here:
Do you have any more recommendations? Would love to add more to this list!
My own personal writing and conscious travel guidelines as of today are as follows:
- Be grateful for the opportunity to travel and extend that gratitude to all I encounter
- Leave the destinations better than I found them
- Support locals (especially women and queer folk) as much as possible rather than large corporations
- Reduce my carbon footprint while traveling
- Treat locals as people rather than objects and “curiosities”. Always ask for consent before photographing.
- Do not financially support exploitative practices for animals
- Try to rent accommodations from locals and indigenous business
- Do not support businesses with an oversized environmental impact (all inclusives, cruises)
- Acknowledging difficult history and sensitivities of host cultures
- Challenging my own white savior complex and my own need to assuage my guilt
- Acknowledging my own ignorance rather than assuming authority over cultures not my own
- Taking more time to learn to communicate respectfully in destinations
- Always keep an open mind to host cultures! Being a respectful visitor and guest rather than a “discoverer” or “explorer”
- Supporting ancestral practices such as language revival, crafts, and ceremony while respecting that not all of these efforts exist to entertain me or are for my eyes as an outsider
My travels have been infinitely richer when I’ve approached them as a lucky guest rather than an expert “explorer”. There are so many kind people around the world that love to share stories, food, and roofs. Treating them with a guest mindset and experiencing their hospitality is so much more rewarding than treating them as servants in the customer service style culture so common in the global North.
Any more suggestions? Please feel free to leave a comment with your thoughts.