Welcome to Teja on the Horizon’s sustainable travel hub. This part of the website is where you can find resources and website articles directly related to sustainable travel.
Sustainable travel is referred to with many different words: responsible travel, conscious travel, and most recently, regenerative travel. I use all of these terms, but I consider them specific versions of sustainable travel.
Sustainable really boils down to doing something in a way that you can do the thing indefinitely. When it refers to human activities, including travel, it means balancing between material (economic), social, and planetary impacts, positive and negative, so that future generations have the means to provide for themselves.
So when I say ‘responsible travel’, I would be talking about the discipline of the traveller. ‘Conscious travel’ would refer to the inner state of the traveller. And the reason why ‘regenerative travel’ is the trending version today is due to the urgent need to restore ecosystems around the world.
Here I share the resources I really use, as well as the experience of a lifetime on the journey.
Getting Started on Sustainable Travel
This article series is meant for people who are at the very beginning of the sustainability journey, when you have an interest – but not much else. I do not focus on sustainability things to do, but rather on habits related to mindset change, i.e. to the sustainable mindset which will be able to appreciate the to-do list. Click on the images to go to the article.
In this article, I start with two very small asks; one is mental, and the other practical. If you can get started on these two things, it makes the biggest difference to your change journey.
In this article, I give you three travel habits that are the most fundamental to a sustainable mindset. Not only that, they also tend to make your travel more interesting!
In this article, I go a bit deeper and introduce you to the transformative value of insight. A return to sustainability is a choice, and this article explains what that choice really is.
What It’s Like on the Sustainability Journey
Sustainability is a way of living. So it’s not something that you do once, and you’re done. Something that works for some people, may not work for another, because we don’t all live in the same place and we don’t all have the same life. This article series share a frank account of my own attempts to apply sustainability habits to travel (spoiler: I made mistakes). They are separated by country because I tried new things in different trips (this means you can also sort of use them as a country-specific sustainable travel guide). Click on the title for the series, or search for ‘Travel Sustainably’.
My Sustainable Travel Planning Resources
There is a belief that sustainable travel is more difficult. I do not agree with this. Sustainable travel, in itself, is not difficult. However, most of us travel in a world that is not sustainable. So if you want to travel more sustainably, it feels more difficult because it isn’t the norm. One day, maybe all of travel will be sustainable, and you wouldn’t need to make extra effort for it. But since that day is not today, here are some resources that I personally use to help me when I plan. I don’t necessarily use them all the time, or even often, but I try.
My Volunteering Experiences
There are basically two kinds of volunteering that people mean when they say ‘volunteering travel’. One is unpaid, and the other one involves you paying to volunteer. The one I’m talking about is the second one, and exclusively related to conservation (because that is my personal area of interest).
The first one is often associated with ethical issues, for example, depressing local employment, or perpetuating the narrative that an unqualified foreigner is preferable to a qualified local. The latter, when managed by a proper scientific organisation, does not have these issues because the whole premise usually revolves around demonstrating the economic value of conservation vs exploitation. Click title for articles related to volunteering.
Sustainable at Home
It’s easier to be sustainable while travelling, when your home life is generally sustainable. After all, for most of us, we spend more time at home than on the road. Habits developed during the larger portion of time will tend to persist when we travel.
This is actually the part I’ve done for the longest. But ironically, it’s the hardest for me to share; because I’ve been doing this for so long, I don’t remember how I changed which habit when. However, with the new millennium, new solutions and ways of living are coming up, which will enable even further habit changes. I will pay more attention this time, and will gradually write about this on the website.
This is a circular living habit that I started doing about 10 years ago (in fact, I used to unilaterally offset my parents’ emissions, using their credit card, of course). I did this when I recognised that global warming is being driven by the runaway train of the economy, and it wouldn’t change into a more sustainable one fast enough without a little help.
In 2020 I wrote a dedicated series to provide my knowledge base which led to this decision, and tried to answer the FAQs and concerns that people tend to have. The series also contains a simplified guide that walks you through how to actually do carbon offsetting the credible way. The last article will provide a running update of my own energy carbon footprint, and how it changes depending on the decisions I made that year.
Carbon Offsetting: What, Why, and How
Ultimately, you can’t make a sustainable world if you change alone. So, like with any social change, even if you can’t do much it matters when you can bring others along with you. I’ll admit that I’m not particularly good at this; but if you are, I hope that I’ve inspired you instead.
Go to my Interviews page to hear more about my sustainability philosophy.
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