3 Travel and Bucket-list items you should definitely reconsider

1.       Climbing Mount Everest

Without experience it is life threatening to climb this mountain. And what is the fun of it when you have to rely on a path on which the signs are frozen human bodies? Would you still want to go up when you had the knowledge that Sherpa’s (the Nepalese workers carrying the luggage) have to carry as much as 3 times as you would, having much less quality clothes and have a ..x higher risk of dying than you have? For the true adventurers and experienced climbers, yes this might be a great thing to do, but for all the rest of us, the kick-seekers and spoiled kids, it won’t be worth the struggle, nor the money, nor the lives of Sherpa’s and yourself. Find a more accessible tranquilient mountain to climb, away from the crowds that stumble upon each other every day at the ME. And don’t you think that with all these people (700 per day..?) the beauty of climbing the ME is gone? I’m not saying you should start discovering remote first-time-conquered mountains but it might be very worthwhile to get away from the popular path.

2.       Riding an elephant in South-West Asia
Of course, I would also love to ride an elephant, but I would only want to if the elephant is treated well, has enough rest and food and lives in a spacious, peaceful enclosure. This is very often not the case. Really, if you care about animals and want to have them live in future too, you should consider going to an ecovillage in which society, economy and ecology are combined and supported in a very sustainable way. Spots of ecotourism strive for good animal welfare, nature-supporting jobs for the villagers and education for both girls and boys in the community. Often in these places you will not only be able to ride your elephant, but also get to know the villagers and their culture. This is a much more future-based manner of tourism: mutual understanding, mutual learning and mutual respect. The money you pay will be used by the whole community, supporting the present and the future and corruption will be oppressed through social structure. And if you cannot pay for such an experience (even though the price-quality is very good), you might always be able to find a place to volunteer for a while; really submerging yourself in the local culture.

3.       All inclusive places: These places are probably quite fun because you don’t have to think about anything you’re doing or asking for, as everything has already been paid for. But think twice about booking such a holiday because these big hotels often have a very large carbon footprint. They need to have food ready all the time because of the unlimited food that they have to provide their customers. This asks for throwing food away as well when customers do not eat the food as everything has to be freshly bought/prepared. Also the energy consumption of all-in hotels is not very environmentally friendly as such a hotel is likely to be a 24-hours active place, in which lights have to be on almost all times as customers walk in and out, as well as keeping air condition/heaters on all night. Hotels like these also have a high freshwater consumption as it is used for swimming pools, gardens, showering, washing and cooking. Local people get very disadvantaged by such hotels because the tourists do not eat in their restaurants anymore because they will eat in the hotel, as that is what they had paid for. Locals have to deal with increased prices, waste disposal by tourists and likely also water shortage, as the hotel uses much more than everyone else in the region. Tourists often search for entertainment and these big hotels rather organize that themselves to keep the prizes low, than cooperating with local fisherman or clubs. Large amounts of tourists often cause a lot of unorganized garbage which in return damages the natural surroundings and can be harmful for the locals.  Last but not least, tourists staying in these all-in places barely leave the hotel because almost everything you need can be found within the boundaries of the hotel. If not, the little trips one books are often also organized by the hotel which doesn’t really make one leaving the touristic environment. Getting to know the local culture is then, outside of the stereotypical representation of the country by the hotel, hard to find.

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