We sought out a green traveler to help inspire our readers to keep traveling and living green. Here’s our interview with a green traveler who makes it her mission to travel green.
Interview with a green traveler who loves being eco-friendly
What do you like about green travel and working in the travel industry?
It is good to see that travel that “gives back” is on the rise. With innovative trips that incorporate a type of “active philanthropy” or the booming voluntour sector, travel seems to be changing for the better.
One of the great aspects of being in the travel industry at this time is being able to make a contribution to people and places you’ve grown to love over the years of visiting and getting to know local residents. Being able to develop programs that incorporate community experiences that will benefit these people and knowing that this is a growing part of tourism is exciting.
What’s your background?
When I was finishing my master’s degree in community-based tourism, I had worked all year with a rural community group in the small town of Quizarra, in Costa Rica. I started thinking about how I could help them create partnerships with an international tour operator.
The rural town belongs to the Alexander Skutch Biological Corridor, an area designated for conservation due to it being surrounded by protected areas that are major habitats for wildlife. The residents want to strengthen the Corridor by increasing businesses that allow for conservation, such as tourism, rather than increase more intensive land uses such as cattle ranching.
I wanted to continue helping this group of residents in Costa Rica, he said. Because I believe so much in the power that travel has in being able to connect travelers to communities in developing countries, I knew we could make it work.
What sorts of programs have you been a part of?
We developed the Costa Rica Cultural Experience itinerary that allows travelers to visit the community I worked with, helping them to establish tourism in their community, and contributing directly to their incomes, incomes which are much needed in this rural farming town. I recently guided a trip and it was so much fun.
The couple I accompanied from California said their favorite part was being in the community with the families, having lunch with them, learning how to make tortillas from scratch, taking a walk through beautiful primary forests on different families’ properties, and even riding in the back of their trucks! For me it was a wonderful experience because I got to see everyone again, got to bring them some business, and got to let a few more people experience the welcoming and heartwarming culture of rural Costa Ricans.
What other programs are in the works?
Another innovative way for travel to give back is taking place at the Procopio Gamboa Villalobos School, located ten miles from La Fortuna near the Arenal Volcano, also in Costa Rica. Visitors can help the school that was started up by their own community-based enterprise, selling donated clothes. They are providing advice and business guidance to the leaders as the project grows.
There are lots of ideas for the school and the surrounding community. Next on the list for this summer is to help set up a recycling program, that will be managed by community members and will not only help with waste management, but it will provide an additional source of income as the program expands.
Already in this little town of Chachagua, travelers can see the whole process of corn being turned into “masa”, the flour to make tortillas, at a neighbor’s farm down the street. Doña Mara loves to have people visit; it’s a real treat to share in her culture. Just spending some time making authentic Costa Rican food, taking in the views around of flowers and the distant volcano, and letting the warm breeze relax you, makes for a very peaceful day.
GreenSpot.travel also welcomes the contribution of used clothes for the clothing store project. You can contact us at email@example.com
After our interview with a green traveler, it is more motivating than ever to reduce and reuse as well as recycle. Support local businesses and use less.