My favorite spot I’ve ever traveled to (so far). ~ Waylon Lewis

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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.

Maya Tulum was that kind of place.

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.

You know.

 

 

~

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Waylon Lewis

Waylon Lewis, founder of Elephant Journal & host of Walk the Talk Show with Waylon Lewis, is a 1st generation American Buddhist “Dharma Brat.” Voted #1 in U.S. on twitter for #green two years running, Changemaker & Eco Ambassador by Treehugger, Green Hero by Discovery’s Planet Green, Best (!) Shameless Self-Promoter at Westword’s Web Awards, Prominent Buddhist by Shambhala Sun, & 100 Most Influential People in Health & Fitness 2011 by “Greatist”, Waylon is a mediocre climber, lazy yogi, 365-day bicycle commuter & best friend to Redford (his rescue hound). His aim: to bring the good news re: “the mindful life” beyond the choir & to all those who didn’t know they gave a care. elephantjournal.com | His first book, Things I would like to do with You, touches on modern relationships from a Buddhist point of view. His dream of 9 years, the Elephant “Ecosystem” will find a way to pay 1,000s of writers a month, helping reverse the tide of low-quality, unpaid writing & reading for free online.

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Nikki Weigel Jun 1, 2018 3:51pm

This is why I like to connect to people and learn. I don’t want to do harm. I want to appreciate. I want to leave a place better than I found it. I don’t want to map out all the Starbucks on my way. I want to understand what each place is about, when I can, before I go. Thank you. This is beautiful. As is your heart. I’m glad you’ve been able to travel.

Eva Es Jun 1, 2018 8:24am

In today's world where quite a few people travel anywhere they want and hopping on planes has become easy and less expensive, we need messages like these. Thank you.