When traveling it can sometimes be easy to lose site of certain morals and values that you practice at home simply because you are in new surroundings and most likely on vacation. It is easy to travel with the feeling of less consequences and being careless, because we are feeling carefree. It is only human nature and after all, it is our moment to vacate our lives. But while still feeling carefree we must remember to respect the environments and cultures that we are so fortunate to be able to experience along our journeys. That way not only are we making positive contributions to the communities we are visiting but we are preserving the beauty for future generations to enjoy.
One way you can do this is next time you travel is, “Pack for A Purpose”. So there is an abundant list of things that you can do to be a sustainable traveler including things you can do before you leave, while you are there and even when you get back. One thing that I find very useful and simple is the way in which you choose to pack. Here are a few tips for you:
1. when packing toiletries, things like shampoo, toothpaste, etc. use green products. In many countries there is not a developed sewage system and these things going down the drain can wreck havoc and their water supply.
2. When also packing toiletries and other packaged items, eliminate the packaging. This allows you to recycle the packaging while still at home and not adding to the waste in the country you are traveling to and it saves space in your pack! Also, many countries may not have recycling programs for these items.
3. If you are traveling to a country where it is not okay to drink the water consider investing in a water filter for your water bottle or even iodine tablets. REI and other outdoor retailers have many options when it comes to water filtration systems. This way you are reducing your plastic bottle waste and you are also saving money along the way.
4. If you are traveling somewhere and you might be staying with a host family or people in the local community consider bringing small gifts such to show appreciation for their hospitality. You may also want to bring them things that represent where you come from. This is a beautiful way to create cultural exchange and to show them a place they may never get to travel too. For example, I stayed with a host family while I was in Islas Amantani (a small island in Lake Titicaca) I brought the family a small picture book of Colorado. Of course in doing this you want to remain respectful of their needs and do your best to not portray yourself as being “better” in any kind of way.
5. Lastly, I wanted to share a really awesome way that you can “Pack for A Purpose”, hence the title of this post. There is a company, Pack For A Purpose (http://packforapurpose.org/), that proposes when you pack use the extra space in your bag to bring much needed supplies for the communities that you are traveling to. Their branding says “Small Space. Little Effort. Big Impact.” Simply put, this is a very easy way to create huge impacts in peoples lives by not doing a whole lot on your part. On their website you can pick your destination and they will have a list of partners that they work with that have developed lists of supplies that these communities are in need of, pretty awesome work!
So next time you grab your pack to head out on another journey I challenge you to “Pack For A Purpose”!