Traveling with a conscience

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So, you’ve bought your round-the-world tickets, or are jetting off to some exotic location that no-one you know or work with has ever heard of. You have your slick new hiking boots and are out to do more than just travel; you want to “experience” your chosen destinations. At the same time, you are eager to give something back to the people and places that you will meet along the way as well as being sure that you leave no adverse impact.

 

At MICExchange we like to think we are pretty good examples of “boots -and-all” travel.  Apart from saving those hard earnt dollars (or whatever currency you can still bank) – If your are not dusty at end of a hard day or hanging out for a refreshing beer or very cold wine at the end of a long day hiking, market watching, busing or otherwise getting up close and personal to a destination – sorry – your probably had a plastic vacation.

Its most often the most satisfying type of travel, and I jotted down a words on my laptop at 30 odd thousand feet on my way home from one such trip. We also loike the idea of volunteering, of helping out those in need, whether in human or animal form.   Its a great way to meet people, find out how things really work and is a whole lot more interesting than celebrity watching.  Apart from just doing your bit, it can give you an immense sense of self-reward. We have done our bit building, digging and so on – and will do more – with different volunteer organisations, from schools in Zambia to composing in India.   But, giving back and “experiencing” can take many more forms than just volunteer work. Little day-to day things can add to your own growth, and may mean a lot to someone else too.

We love shopping at markets. Getting amongst the local stall owners and shoppers to buy fresh produce and knick-knacks as well as to just simply feel the vibe is a lot of what a trip is about to us. Be sure to learn a bit of the local lingo and have a chat with someone on your shopping adventure.
If someone is offering you to try a deep fried cricket in backwoods Thailand or some prehistoric looking fish – try it – you may enjoy it . at worst you  will make someone laugh as you choke on something ….. Be ready to laugh, and try something new – much better than visiting a foreign owned fast-food outlet charging way too much and not looking after local interests.

Remember that in many third-world countries there can be a massive misproportioning of wealth, so appreaciate the difficulties that the locals have to live with for you to enjoy your holiday. Use some common sense and you will leave safe in the knowledge your hard-earned is now with someone deserving of it. If you prefer to travel in tour groups,try to find one that gets you out among the locals, you won’t regret it and you will always have a precious memory.

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