It seems a cruel irony that the very things that often motivate people to want to live more sustainably (love of the earth, interest in different cultures, curiosity about everything and everyone…) also drives a desire to travel. I was privileged as a child to travel abroad most summer holidays, which undoubtedly influenced my decision to work in sustainability as I was exposed to different environments, people and cultures (read more about the impact of visits to a Greek aquarium here). In recent years though, we’ve opted for local adventures, usually seeking British mountains and coasts for our refreshment and inspiration away from daily life.
This year we broke the mould, spending two weeks sailing in Thailand. Having worked hard for years my parents are embracing retirement, circumnavigating the globe over seven years on their boat, enjoying new places and ocean crossings along the way (apparently blogging runs in the family – read about their travels here). Usually we just see them each Christmas, but this year we decided to take them up on their free cabin for an Easter break in Thailand.
I could attempt to justify this carbon-intensive decision (this BBC guide to air travel is pretty helpful at explaining the environmental issues) by talking about the positive social aspects of our trip (building our family relationships, experiencing new cultures, much needed restoring of our health and well-being). I’ll be honest instead. We are flawed environmentalists on a journey towards becoming more sustainable. It’s an inescapable truth that every decision we make has an impact on the world around us. Whilst we are trying to make better, informed decisions all the time, we remain imperfect. In this instance we were willing to take two unsustainable steps back so that we could visit my parents and grab this ‘once in a lifetime’ opportunity to experience Thailand from the sea.
Having taken that step, we recognised the privilege it was to spend two weeks anchoring amongst soaring limestone cliffs, snorkelling in clear-blue seas, and thoroughly enjoying the local cuisine. We’re aiming to keep it local next time though.
Today’s soundtrack: Damien Rice // My favourite faded fantasy