Mindful Tourism: when we travel we can cause harm, or sustain goodness.
I work a lot. You may, too.
I travel rarely, historically—working all the time and being broke mostly didn’t allow for travel (or relationships, often, but that’s another story). But the last five years, or so, Elephant has been big and stable and puny and independent, but bigger. You know. So I could travel a lot, all the time really, as long as I have my office (laptop, cell phone, bike, coffee) available to me.
So I’ve traveled more, but still not nearly as much as I’d like. I’m 43, and until the last few years, I’d really never been anywhere.
And when I travel, I’m not doing too much tourism, or yoga retreats, or getaways. I’m mostly just living everyday life, much like the local citizens–working 9 to 5 (or thereabouts). And I’ve noticed that the tourists—throwing money around, often keeping to their programs/safe hotels/tour buses—are not benefiting our world half as much as they could.
Tourism is often an engine for careless waste, destruction, and arrogance.
Tourism is, sometimes, a vehicle for supporting local crafts, local traditions, for listening and learning.
It employed locals—long-term, investing in them. It worked with locals for tours and sourced food locally. It respected its environment, unlike many hotels and developments. I want to go back.
And, more importantly, I want to tour this world as a listener, not a colonialist. As a learner, not a destroyer. As a supporter, not a arroganter.
When we travel we can cause harm, or we can sustain goodness.