As we work towards sustainable travel, we want to share stories of people we have met or have inspired us during our travels that are working towards conservation and environmental solutions.
We had the pleasure of chatting to a sustainable queen and eco travelling professional, who initially motivated us towards sustainable travel and influenced how we travel. With that we would like to introduce our interview with Charlie – the beautiful and talented lady behind Charlie on Travel – to find out more about her sustainable travel experiences.
What do you think will be the future of sustainable travel?
Sustainable travel has to become the only way to travel. I think the balance will inevitably tip towards less package holidays to resorts and more DIY trips where there’s a focus on understanding and experiencing local culture. The advent of social sharing like Airbnb, EatWith and other initiatives that mean travellers can meet and share experiences with locals will hopefully continue.
What is your biggest tip to a traveller working to become more sustainable?
My biggest tip is to know where you money is going. Focus on supporting local businesses and ensuring the money you spend abroad contributes to the local economy. That can be through staying in locally owned guesthouses, eating in local restaurants and ensuring you hire local tour guides. Avoid spending your money in foreign owned chains where your money doesn’t support locals.
What is your view about sustainable travel and carbon emmissions?
There has to be an emphasis on slow travel, taking less flights and travelling locally to your own home. This is a difficult one as a travel blogger, as I’m aware how guilty I am of taking flights often and I’m working on cutting down and carbon offsetting them. Being conscious about carbon emissions and flights is important to everyone, and I’d definitely recommend looking into offset programmes if you fly regularly.
How did you break a relationship with fast fashion?
I set myself rules and boundaries. I thought about what my money was contributing to, researched the supply chains and consequences of fast fashion and the alternatives to it. From there, I slowly began to cut down on fast fashion purchases. I started by switching to only buy something when I need it and have a one-in, one-out system where I only replace something when it’s absolutely needed. The second part was that I stopped going into fast fashion stores. Just not walking in them anymore was a major part of the change. Then lastly, I have a system where I will try to borrow, repair or buy second hand first. I’ll only buy new clothes and from ethical companies as the final option.
What has been your travel highlight?
Lake Atitlan in Guatemala. The lake surrounded by volcanoes is like nothing I’ve ever seen before. The people are warm and welcoming, and continue to embrace their culture and traditions. I spent a month living there in a little casita, learning Spanish and eating tortillas and it was great.
And finally, the biggest lesson from your travels?
Our experience in a place is hugely influenced by the people we meet and spend time with. Meeting locals or knowing people who live in a place makes the travel experience so much richer in many ways. All of my favourite trips have involved being more rooted in local life, whether that’s house sitting for expats, joining a hiking group, being involved in community tourism with locals or having a great language exchange
Charlie is currently slow travelling around South America, and currently based in Colombia. You can keep up to date with her sustainable travels on Instagram . For more sustainable travel tips and advice, you can visit Charlie on Travel blog.