The now and future travel word is Sustainable. The term conjures up images of “green” travel, and old, old concept. Far more than “hang up your towel”, Sustainable Travel reaches to the very heart of the places you visit, and can ensure you leave a positive impact. Sustainable Travel creates a travel framework to make the world a better place through Commerce, Community, Conservation and Culture.
Sustainable Travel IS customized “luxury” travel, because true insider, authentic local experiences are what the modern traveler is seeking, ones that will be transformational in their impact on the traveler, while helping them to feel great about their travels.
Who is Theresa?
- Trained as a lawyer, my adult life led me to be a community advocate, youth volunteer, an educator as I accompanied my military officer husband along with our 4 children across the U.S and Europe for 30 years.
- My passions include outdoor activities – running, hiking, winter sports, and I recently took up road biking, reading. I am a culture junkie- a passionate learner of art, history and culture. I love food and wine, and working out. Travel is of course a major passion, and combining all my other loves and travel is the happiest intersection of all!
- When I lived in Europe, I saw firsthand the destruction mass tourism and uncontrolled “off-the-beaten-path” travel was doing to the world’s great sites and natural beauty. More, I saw tourists being herded around either by guides in large groups or by guidebooks, led or written by people from their own countries. I saw the money that was being spent by tourists never positively impacting the places they went in a sustainable way. I knew that if I could talk to a traveler open to wanting the authenticity of a true local experience, and get to know at least 3 personal things about him or her, I could open hidden doors normally bypassed by the hordes in mass tourism. I know not only would that traveler have a deep connection to the destination, but his or her life would be changed, and they could be assured of creating a positive impact on the place visited and its people.
- I hold certifications in Sustainable Travel, Luxury Travel, and destinations across the globe. I am a member of The Adventure Travel Trade Association, and Virtuoso Adventure, Family, Wellness communities.
Changing the World through Sustainable Travel
The world can be made a better place by forming bonds of stability in communities and our environment. The way this is achieved is through 4 main strands:
The way to help communities remain viable and protect their ways of life is through creating money-generating enterprises by and for the local people. This is arguably the strongest piece, so local people must be stakeholders and protectors of the products they offer, whether that is in a cottage industry or as landholders for conservation.
The community has to be involved in the tourism that is generated by people being interested in where they are. The culturally curious or the nature seeker can have the most immersive experiences when offered and staffed by the local community, from accommodations, to tours, to food, crafts and lessons.
How land, resources and wildlife can be protected and affected least by tourism is a key component to the sustainability of the project and its impact on the region. Here is where green concepts and Leave No trace elements come into play. If tourism is coming to the area because of its natural beauty, it is important to maintain that for future generations.
By preserving culture and ways of life, we keep what is special about a destination. For the traveler, experiencing local ways of life is one of the most immersive opportunities we have.
The company the espouse the “4Cs” as described here is Wilderness Safaris, which began 35 years ago by guides who wanted to conserve the natural riches they found guiding clients on wildlife-viewing expeditions in Africa. Their guests, by traveling with them and in their very special camps and lodges, contribute to leading conservation initiatives all over Africa, and to community involvement and the culture preservation it takes in successful conservation efforts. No sense of adventure or level of comfort is compromised. Contact me to experience this special way to #TravelForGood.
How To Travel Well – and Travel for Good
The concept of “Luxury Travel” today is in the pursuit of not only authentic, but TRANSFORMATIONAL experiences. And many travelers also want to know that in some way, the leave behind some good as well.
Q: Is Volunteering the way to do good in your travels?
A: There is no easy answer to that one.
For instance, volunteering in orphanages for a day or two – or even a short-term stint is actually MORE harmful to the children, according to ethical orphanages and their supporting organizations. Separation anxiety and disorders are more prevalent in those situations. There is now a conscious move away from this type of tourism.
Q: What about working with my hands?
A: Again, this is not an easy answer. It is best, for impact and the sustainability of the project beyond the time help is being given through volunteer efforts, that the community is vested in the project and in a strategic plan to take it over at a certain point. The provider of the voluntourism experience has to be carefully vetted, no matter how good the project sounds.
Q: How to know the best project to be involved in if volunteering is your absolute must?
A: Ask a Travel Advisor, like me, who is well-versed and certified in Sustainable Tourism, and who specifically vets and knows the people who develop these opportunities.
What other great ways can I contribute to make the world a better place through my travels?
One of the best ways to make a positive contribution to the place you visit is through responsible travel. Being a good guest and open to the local way of life is essential for transformational travel.
Another way I highly recommend is through who you pick to provide your experiences and accommodations, and the way you invest your money in those. At Enlightened Journeys Travel, we partner with local family-owned suppliers where the funds you would spend in your travels go to empower the local people. We seek out comfortable, even luxurious accommodations that are staffed by locals, that pay rent to the community for the property it is built upon, that uses other sustainable tenants from our checklist.
Traveling for Good
And we seek unique off-the-beaten path experiences curated to your interests and passions give you an opportunity to see how tourism can “do a world of good” for the places and people you visit.
Responsible & Ethical Travel
In Asia, you can choose from a myriad of local food experiences that support local economies, train disadvantaged youth or fund children health and education initiatives.
One example for responsible or ethical travel from tour operator G Adventures comes from India. Their NGO, Planeterra, partners with the Azad Foundation to create “Women on Wheels” – a business solution to a social problem. If your travelers come to India with G, these women would provide their arrival transfer.
Another example is a Peru lodge hiking/community immersion experience by Mountain Lodges of Peru. Their lodges deep into the Incan Andean landscape are staffed by local community members and curated experiences are provided by the local villages in enterprise projects that support their way of life and cultural survival.
In Jordan, women in small villages have home-based businesses in food such as local honey, traditional handicrafts, traditional arts, or cooking classes to give culturally immersive experiences to visitors while supporting their children.
Want to know more? Contact me to help you design the perfect transformational trip that does a world of good.
If you’d like to have more ease in your travel planning in 2019, I’d love to help!
You can stay informed and inspired in planning your travel by reading more of my blogs. You can also follow me on Facebook. Twitter @enlitndjrntrvl, and Instagram @enlightenedjourneystravel. Sign up to receive the blogs and a newsletter filled with more insights and offers so you don’t miss a thing.