Responsible tourism and our eco-adventure around the enigmatic Himalayas
Eleven years ago, my husband and I decided to commit to a healthier and more sustainable approach to raising our family. First order of business was to get away from the pollution and frenetic pace of Makati. We moved about an hour away to Sta. Elena in Sta. Rosa, Laguna and built a “green” home made of shipping containers and other recyclable materials. We enrolled our children in a holistic school nearby; adopted a homeopathic approach to medicine; took courses on farming, naturopathic wellness, and nutrition; until, eventually, we started growing our own vegetables in our garden.
The years to follow were replete with downsizing and detoxing from physical and emotional matters that were no longer sensible to us; and recalibrating to a new “flow” where our life choices were in sync with our family values. Little did we know that these choices would later lay the groundwork for a complete transformation that would echo into every aspect of our lives.
One of the values we chose was ecological responsibility. We wanted to make sure that everything we consumed and purchased had little to no detrimental impact on the Earth’s ecosystem. An overwhelming feat, to say the least, but it was an ideal we aimed for 11 years ago, and still do to this very day.
We believe our lives are inextricably linked to that of the planet’s. Whatever the planet feels, we will feel sooner or later. Whatever we give out, will eventually come back to us. It was no longer enough to create a healthy and ecological environment at home. We had to think beyond sustainability inside our home and more on how we impact the larger whole. This is when we began consciously lessening our food and plastic waste, cultivating and growing soil wherever we could, and ensuring cleaner waterways in our business and home activities.
This was also about the time we began measuring our carbon footprint. We learned that we were contributing about six and a half metric tons of carbon into the atmosphere by taking three trips a year. We also wondered how much plastic and food waste we generated during these trips abroad. Just think about all the food and packaging from airports, airplanes, room service meals, restaurants, convenience stores and drivethru thrus. The thought alone makes me queasy. We quickly real realised that our commitment to sustainability had to exte extend into our travels as well. We had to make more con conscious decisions about the countries we visited, and the hotels and activities we chose while there.
Aside from food waste, we also cared about ecofriendly practices in food production, so we looked for organic restaurants and speciality markets wherever we travelled. Fair labour and trade practices also mattered to us, so we would do background checks on the hotels before booking. We also checked that the h hotels had green practices when it came to their food, lau laundry, housekeeping, and waste management. It was also important that these establishments were culturally