22 Apr Rules for Intentional Travel: Taking vs. Giving
This is the a guest post by Ingrid Hannan in our series, Simple Rules for Intentional Travel, by – and for – intentional travelers.
Rule #8: Shift Your Focus from Taking to Giving
Yes, you’re on a holiday. But that doesn’t mean the whole world is there to serve to your wants and needs. Think about how many people you rely on to travel: flight attendants, waiters, guides, hotel clerks, bus drivers, shop owners, park guides…all these people deserve gratitude for making your adventure possible.
Find ways to show your appreciation. This can be done on both a big-picture and a personal level; you can give to the country you’re visiting and give to the guy who gave you a lift. Furthermore, consider making your excursion less about having a good time and instead try having a giving time. Donate to local non-profits, volunteer for local causes short or long term [with truly responsible organizations]. Educate yourself about regional problems and spread the word about it.
Another way to look at it is to keep up the cash in your karma bank. No one can live by continually taking from others without giving back at some point. It’s called mooching.
Organizations like CouchSurfing are a great way to realize this goal. While traveling you get a free place to stay, but it only works when people open their own homes as hosts, including you!
I’ve known people to bring small gifts from their hometown to distribute as thank yous on their travels. A bumper sticker, a small flag, a sample of chocolate from home, any simple gesture of thanks can be meaningful.
I observed one kind interaction in which a traveler invited a man he had conversed with to sit and share a chai with him. (It took place in the photo below.) Simple, not extravagant, but giving.
What ways have you found appropriate to give back during your travels? How do you show appreciation as a guest of other places and cultures?
Coming soon: Stay tuned for the last installment by Ingrid for Simple Rules for Intentional Travel.
About Ingrid: Ingrid is a wanderlust at heart. She’s lived all up and down the west coast, studying environmental science and Spanish at the University of Portland and studying how to grow vegetables in Colorado and Washington. Her favorite activities include rock climbing, eating ice cream, and writing letters. Her travels have taken her from the Caribbean to East Asia and many destinations inbetween. The next places she hopes to travel to are New Zealand, Japan, and Norway.
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