In this downtime, lounging at one’s sofa for hours simply to think about what the future holds, might no longer be a luxury. The COVID-19 global pandemic and all the measures entailed gave us an unprecedented moment in which we are charged to retreat from the mundane and explore the metaphysical realm, in hopes that we find clarity in our life purpose and our social role to this world.
As I was pensive, lost in thoughts about the social role and what kind of contribution I could give to make this world a better place, an aspiration that wasn’t supposed to be there, emerged. A longing desire to travel again, to explore the globe, be wondered by nature and be amazed by cultural diversity. Visualising how beautiful the adventurous trip would be, was already enthralling, it lifted my spirit and gave me a sense of hope.
Even though travelling at this period sounds too absurd, I bet that many avid travellers have the same longing. And yet, if I am not alone, if everyone in this globe harbours the same aspiration and intends to manifest the goal as soon as the air traffic resumes to normal, I believe that there is a chance for us to experience, not only the good old times of travelling but also the unpleasant holiday situation of being cramped in a horde, swimming in the midst of plastic waste and breathing the air powdered with pollution. As my contemplation had shifted to the horrifying picture of over-tourism, I couldn’t help but wonder, would post COVID-19 global pandemic be the time when eco-travel is desperately needed?
The lockdown has given nature a time to recuperate. It is conspicuous that halting the operation of the transportation and manufacturing industry had brought back the clear sky and clean air. When we spend our limited-time outdoor due to the curfew, it feels eerie yet delightful to hear crickets chirping and birds chanting while frolicking among us. This has been our normalcy in the past few months. However, if we are allowed to travel again both domestically and globally, do we really want to taint the Earth the same way we did prior to the global pandemic?
That said, this lockdown is the right time to reflect on our roles in this world. As we are talking about travelling, becoming more responsible in the way we travel could be one of the answers. And should you ask how? below are a few tips to start with:
Trains, as a medium of transportation domestically and globally, are considered to produce lower gas emissions to the environment. That’s why travelling by train could be a practical and eco-friendly option for us to explore the world. However, if the destination of your trip has no train connection and thus, leave you with no option other than flying, consider to invest in the low carbon flights. Ever since the UN declared that lowering carbon emission is part of the global development agenda, many airline companies started to offer low carbon flight for passengers who want to compensate for their carbon footprint due to flying. If you feel adventurous and have more time to spend on travelling, then sailing like Gretta Thunberg, could also be a bold option to take.
As mentioned on Responsible Travel, over-tourism and its heavy impact to the environment and local residents is sometimes, simply a case of numbers or a situation where we find ourselves cramped in the midst of a horde and have no option than waiting in a long queue to get into a famous landmark. In these cases, we can take the responsibility, as eco-travellers wanna be, by planning our trip to visit the famous landmark in spring or fall, when there are fewer people going on holiday. Meanwhile, during the high seasons, we can choose to visit non-mainstream places and have an authentic travel experience like the locals.
We are so used to travel for sole excitement that brings benefit to our well-being. But, the global pandemic has reminded us that the world is greatly interconnected and how beautiful it is to overcome the adversities in togetherness as one international community. If one enjoys the interconnection deeply, consider making the lives of others happier when travelling because the action will accumulate our own happiness. That’s said, when we pack for our travelling gears, also pack a few items, such as food, chocolates or pre-loved clothes that we can donate to a local charity in the country of our travelling destination. Otherwise, this charity is a good platform to channel our donation when travelling.
With all the given presumptions, it is safe to say that, eco-travelling will more likely to persist as a trend if not becoming more relevant than ever.
The 1 People’s Team