SIX THINGS THAT HAVE HAD AN IMPACT ON MY TRAVEL
This months Travel Link-up topic was picked to reflect a beautiful and brave lady, Polly who started the, spread a little sunshine campaign, to encourage people to undertake acts of kindness. So, with that in mind, I have thought long and hard about things, which have had an impact on my travel and changed the way I look at everyday life.
‘Travel is more than the seeing of sights. It is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living.’ Miriam Beard
1. Volunteering with an Elephant Foundation, South Sri Lanka
It’s no secret, I’m a huge animal lover and one of the stand-out experiences for me has been my education on the work of Elephant conservation. Twelve years ago I was involved in helping a group of Asian elephants who had been rescued by an elephant foundation in Sri Lanka. They had been subjected to poaching logging and used for the tourist industry. It is well known that elephants are not made for riding and their vertebrae are most definitely not designed for this. Do not break an elephants spirit, they are sociable animals.
Impact on my Travel: Since my week with the elephants, I have been mindful of booking any kind of wildlife experience, especially where they are being exploited for tourism.
2. Educated at The Sepilok Orangutan Rehabilitation Centre, Borneo
Seeing the hours that this rehabilitation centre has poured into saving and nursing orangutans back to the wild is just so emotionally striking. The education and dedication that this team provide triggered my visit and it was really inspiring to see the hours they spend on educating the locals on sustaining the environment. Removing the natural habitat of animals, leads to extinction globally of many species. To find out more about the work of the Orangutan rehabilitation centre, have a read of my post on hanging with the kings of the forest.
Impact on Travel: I tend to source Eco lodges and environmentally friendly hotels on my travels, especially in remote locations, where there is the capacity to live more back to basics, for example the time I spent at The El Remanso Lodge in Costa Rica.
3. Visiting an Orphange in Siem Reap, Cambodia
Popping into a local Orphange just outside of the famous Angor Wat complex was quite a heart breaking experience. Children were there due to being conceived and born into poverty and the older children were begging for money. It is difficult to resist giving into a child until our local guide said that it would be better to encourage the children to go to school as by giving them money, they will take this back to extended family members, who claim they cannot look after them and instead spend the money on feeding their alcohol and drug habits.
Impact on my Travel: We bought a bunch of pens and paper for them to take to school.
4. Experiencing the two sides of a city in the Favela’s of Rocinha, Rio de Janeiro
Rio de Janeiro is the buzzing carnival capital of Brazil. A place full of lavish restaurants, clubs and luxury hotels but it has a dark secret. A dark underworld of the favelas or slums where a drug culture controlled by infamous barons coupled with a serious lack of education and poverty. We visited the Rocinha favela, notorious at one point for being shot on entry, but working with a local charity we were able to visit and see the rehabilitation work being undertaken. Merely supporting the charity and providing a donation meant we saw where our money was going. You can read more about my Rocinha visit in my post about Rio.
Impact on my Travel: From this point forward I try and get involved with as much charity work as I can to ensure that I can give something back during my travels as well as gain an understanding of the local culture and financial prudence. If you would like to find out more about volunteering in a favela, contact Project Favela.
5. Supporting local businesses, guides and tour operators world-wide
I am a firm believer in supporting smaller businesses and local companies at home so I never let that stop when I’m away. I will opt for the smaller hotels and family run tour companies where possible. A private local guide has all the expertise of the area and additionally I have come to learn how the money has helped them educate their children to bring business acumen to further develop their livelihood.
Impact on my Travel: Source local and independent experiences.
6. Heritage and Culture in the UK
A few years back, Dr C and I were gifted a lifetime membership to the National Trust. Since visiting many of the Trust’s properties and gardens and seeing the work of the volunteers, it has made me appreciate the properties we have right on our doorstep and the restoration work that goes on behind the upkeep. One of my favourite National Trust properties is Waddesdon Manor.
Impact on my Travel: Travel more extensively through the UK and support organisations like The National Trust and English Heritage to maintain such properties and gardens steeped in history.
That’s my round-up for this months Travel Link-up but please do let me know where you have travelled to make a difference or about people or acts that have had an impact on your travel.
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