This interview was published on One Planet Rating
“Don’t limit yourself by sticking to mainstream destinations that you’ve already heard a ton about. Be a bit adventurous and venture into the relatively unknown lands. You will be surprised, in the best way. Trust me!”, says our latest featured travel blogger – Charlotte from Travel Rebel.
So read on if you’re looking to challenge yourself on you’re next trip. Charlotte, hailing from Belgium, shares her journey to sustainable travel, and tells us how she’s striving in her own little way to combat overtourism, and provides some handy tips for you’re next adventure.
Journey & interest in sustainable travel…
Well, I’ve always been a traveller. Even though I’ve done a fair bit of other stuff, such as dipping my foot in the corporate world and starting two companies, my life has always been punctuated with my travel adventures – these trips are like the exclamation points of each phase, you can say.
My very first overseas trip had a huge impact on me, so I’ve been bitten by the travel bug since then. And luckily, the more I travelled, the more my heart and mind opened up to the stark realities of the world and the disastrous impact of unethical tourism. Finally, I reached a point where I just could no longer ignore how we, with our travel, unknowingly aggravate so many problems… and that’s how Travel Rebel came about. With this medium, I hope to merge my two loves: travel and sustainability.
What is the platform, Travel Rebel, striving to achieve
Travel Rebel is, above all else, a quest to get more people to understand that exploration of the world and respect for the world are two sides of the same coin.
With this platform, I hope to change travel perspectives and nudge people in the direction of sustainability. I also want to push people to broaden their horizons, be brave and make the most of this wonderful life.
One issue I’m passionately trying to fight is
And, I could go on and on about this, because so many places I love are just falling deeper into this pit of overtourism with each passing day. Over the years, I’ve seen a lot of truly iconic and beautiful destinations lose their shine and rip at the edges because of disrespectful (or uninformed) tourists, appalling overcrowding, and extreme stress on available infrastructure and resources.
Just this summer, I visited in Florence, and as soon as we got there, I was taken aback by the sheer number of tourists and the resulting claustrophobia. Same is the case with Barcelona, where I’ve lived in the past, and also Bali, a destination very close to my heart. It’s extremely sad.
A favourite travel destination
Guatemala, most certainly. In 2012, I had the fortune of experiencing a very authentic homestay project there and I saw first-hand how community-owned enterprises can encourage responsible tourism. Our open and honest interactions with the locals really stood out and I learned so much from them. I cherish all the memories from that trip, especially all the sustainable travel tips I gathered.
The commitment to sustainable travel is all-encompassing. It becomes a mind set and, in time, affects all decisions. So it doesn’t really matter whether whether a trip is planned or impulsive — if you decide to go about it in a sustainable manner, you will notice yourself doing a lot of things differently (and, yes, that includes being open to more authentic local experiences). However, I will say this: if you want to minimize your footprint, it does help to pre-plan at times, because you can do some proper research about activities you want to partake in or lodgings you’re tilting towards.
3 tips for our readers to travel green
- Shop local. This includes eating local as well. This way, you’ll benefit the local economy and also open yourself up to more experiences.
- Don’t litter, please. This one is so important. Trash takes impossibly long to decompose and many places around the world don’t have the kind of garbage disposal facilities that we do in the West. Make an extra effort to take care of your trash responsibly.
- Conserve energy in any way that you can. Turn off the air conditioning and lights when leaving the room, take quick showers, don’t have your towels and sheets changed every day.
Really, there’s so much you can do!