Zoe on the Road
Our Zoe Kinsella has headed off on her very own Outdoor Adventures!
Having assisted all kinds of travellers to access the very best in back-packing gear, she took to the trail herself. Currently backpacking through South East Asia, Zoe shares her thoughts, musings and travel adventures with all of us poor folk left at home. Thailand brought beautiful beaches & clear blue skies but unfortunately the amount of wasted plastic is of huge concern!
Travel well Zoe!
8 Top Tips for being environmentally conscious while travelling in third world & developing countries:
As I sit here getting lost in the sounds of nightlife creatures overlooking a peaceful pond at my hostel in Pai, Thailand I am struck by the disparity in lifestyles all around the Globe. Let’s face it we are all guilty of having an ‘I’m on holidays’ attitude while we’re away. From the amount of calories we consume to the lack of exercise we do. Regardless of whether we eat too much or move too little, we aren’t harming anything other than our bank accounts and our waistlines. The huge influx of tourism in third world and developing countries means that although they are flourishing in areas such as accommodation, food and drink and retail it also means that the level of waste and pollution being produced is taking a toll on the ecosystems of these countries.
In Koh Phi Phi, Thailand, Maya Bay, made famous in the 2000 movie “The Beach” featuring Leonardo DiCaprio, has been closed since June 2018 and is set to remain closed for a further two more years due to tourists flooding the beach and destroying the ecosystem. The closure of Maya Bay is part of a rejuvenation program aimed at reviving the area’s decimated corals.
If we are being honest we have become too accustomed to blaming developing countries as the prime cause of plastic pollution due to their non existent recycling programmes. In reality, wealthier countries send their recyclable waste to developing countries branding them the cause of plastic pollution. Although, as a single traveller we cannot fix the world’s recycling issues or rejuvenate beaches whose coral have been diminished we can make simple changes on a personal level to help reduce the amount of waste we accumulate while travelling.
My top tips:
- Reuse your towels. Conserve water and reduce electricity and gas costs by reusing your towels.
- Bring a reusable shopping bag away with you. These bags can be flat packed or stuff sacked to take up literally no space and can have a huge positive effect on plastic waste.
- Ask for no straw or bring a reusable one with you. Can we please think of the turtles?!
- Bring a water bottle with you. Many airports now have refill water stations where you can refill your bottle to save some money and also save you from buying a single use plastic bottle. Win, win!
- Bring a Knife, Fork, Spoon set away with you. Okay, let me clarify, if you are boarding a plane do not, I repeat do not pack the knife from said set in your carry on luggage. However, the fork and spoon are 100% acceptable on board a flight. Yay!
- Ladies, get yourselves a menstrual cup. According to Menstrual Health Alliance India, one sanitary pad could take 500 to 800 years to decompose as the plastic used is non-biodegradable and can lead to health and environmental hazards. Reusable menstrual cups are durable and can last anywhere between 6 months to 10 years with proper care.
- Although, it is cheap and easy to hop in a taxi and you tell yourself it’s too hot to walk, if it is within walking distance then walk it! You’ll thank yourself in the long run and so will your waistline and wallet.
- Get yourself some shampoo bars and bars of soap. Not only will you reduce the amount of plastic being wasted on packaging but you also reduce the risk of spillage in your backpack that could potentially ruin your year long’s wardrobe! The other handy part of bars of soap is that they smell delicious so store them in your shoes or throughout your rucksack to keep it smelling fresh. Check out the Irish company Suds Johnson who specify in natural handmade soaps and zero waste products.
Trying to reduce your carbon footprint can be a daunting task at the best of times. If you try to take on too much you can feel overwhelmed and as a result you’ll more than likely just give up. So, take it at your own pace and start by doing what you can and encourage others to follow suit. As for me, I will be stepping lightly, very lightly on this planet as I navigate the road between South East Asia and Indonesia while contemplating the responsibility we all have to ensure not just the survival, but the celebration of this wonderful world.