BY Pallavi Pinakin
The past few months have brought unimaginable challenges to travellers, ranging from the threat of COVID-19 to cancelled flights and lockdowns across the globe. At the same time, there have been a few bright spots such as the dramatic decline of pollution levels and a return of wildlife to spaces that were previously overrun by humans.
As we move forward into a new era, this is the perfect moment to rebuild our travel relationship with nature. Here are a few ideas to inspire your next vacation.
AVOID CITIES The coronavirus pandemic endowed the people with a renewed appreciation of nature with travellers everywhere rewriting their bucket lists. So instead of heading to mega cities, why not explore off the beaten track destinations where nature thrives?
Make your way to little-known wildlife reserves, quiet coastal towns or obscure mountain villages. Go beyond traditional hotels and consider staying at small guesthouses, home stays and eco-camps.
GO GREEN Improving your relationship with nature means reducing your carbon footprint irrespective of whether you’re heading to a bustling city or remote jungle. Simple choices can help you become an ethical traveller.
Minimise plastic waste by carrying your own stainless steel straw and shopping bag. Opt for trains and buses over flights, and use public transport whenever possible. Work with ethical tour operators who don’t engage in practices that harm the environment – especially if you plan to interact with wildlife in any way through snorkelling, visiting a sanctuary or going on safari.
GO LOCAL Those with wanderlust often travel far and wide across the globe without investing the time to experience the natural treasures in their own backyard – for example, hidden waterfalls, lush mountains, serene forests and spectacular beaches.
As travel restrictions are gradually lifted, seize the opportunity to discover the gems in your own country; not only does this promise to be affordable and fun, it will also help local tourism and the hospitality sector to recover.
ENJOY NATURE No matter where you travel, intentionally cultivating a deeper connection with the planet is the way forward.
Consider an evening stroll or run in a nearby park; take a day trip to that scenic lake, which barely merits a mention on TripAdvisor; or go hiking in the hills on the outskirts of town.
If you’re staying at a scenic spot, a great way to make yourself aware of the surroundings is to meditate in the great outdoors.