Travelling Responsibly – How you can contribute?
Steve Martin once said, “Chaos in the midst of chaos isn’t funny, but chaos in the midst of order is.” True, our society cannot function if there are no rules and regulations imposed on the people. We need rules to make ordered chaos. And when you indulge in any recreational activity, you just cannot do what your heart tells you. With great fun comes great responsibility and while you go around and have the time of your life, we at Rural Odyssey believe in being responsible travelers.
So here are some rules or guidelines, you should always keep in mind while traveling. As we always believe in the three pillars of responsible tourism: Environment, economic and socio-cultural.
- Every place has its simplistic rules that it likes to follow. Learn them and try to imbibe them. For example, if at night they prefer using candles or creating bonfires, join them in their endeavors. Always switch off lights when you leave the room. I always make it a point not to use more water than necessary while bathing or washing clothes. Carrying lighter clothes will reduce your work. Practice the habit of re-using your towels or sheets. You are living in a home, not a hotel. These days, even hotels encourage re-using them.
- In wildlife parks, the animals are living in their habitats, just like you. Try not to disturb them. While going on treks and forests, walk on defined paths for humans so that they aren’t interrupted. Take in the scenery and do not make any noises. Do not throw used cigarettes around. They make cause an unwanted forest fire.
- The biggest problem we face even in our scattered metropolitan cities are the plastic bags and bottles. Have you seen plastic bottles floating in the Alleppey backwaters? Or people throwing packets of chips from their car windows? It is said that plastic takes around 500 years to decompose completely. Imagine destroying someone’s lives for so long. No one likes to boat while there are more plastic bottles floating than boats themselves. So do not throw them around, instead bring your ones and dispose of them later. You can also use paper bags or jute bags. Or simply, take them back home and dispose of them later as in such places they aren’t any ways to recycle such products.
- Keep in mind the way you dress. Dressing styles differ across the globe. Make sure you wear the right clothes as not to disturb the ones around you.
- Before leaving for your trip, read up about the culture, traditions, and history of the place. That gives you an added advantage of not being too alien to the place. Also, the locals will feel you are going the extra mile to learn about them, and they are satisfied to see someone showing the zeal to learn. Moreover, they also feel like doing an extra bit for you too.
- Respect the other locals’ privacy. While you are on vacation, they are living in their homes. Whenever you feel like clicking pictures, ask their permission for it. One should not treat the people like objects at travel destinations. Would you not have done the same thing had you been in an urban region? Other locals are not there to entertain you, so if they are hostile or unwilling to talk, to do not fret. Interact with the ones who are part of your travel program.
- You are traveling to get out of your comfort zone. Try not to carry any food or eatables from your home, instead, learn to love the local food. If you are usually sensitive, it is fine if you carry some food. If possible, also visit the sources of their food. Most of the times, those kind of excursions and their farms are absorbing!
- Introduce them to the world of technology. They are living in a small with limited knowledge of the outside world. Teaching them about new things every day will certainly broaden their horizons through this technological edge you give them.
- Buy their local souvenirs instead of going to gift shops. When you buy from local artisans, the money is directly going to them. But when you buy from big brand stores, the same/ similar product is expensive, and you are also not aware that much percentage of money is going to the artisan. Try to support them by buying from them directly.
- If you get to know about any particular organization from the place you visited that looks after the welfare of the people and the environment, join hands to support it.
Happy Traveling folks!