Simple Rules for Intentional Travel - Intentional Travelers
Simple Rules for Intentional Travel (guest post by Ingrid H) | Intentional Travelers

15 Dec Simple Rules for Intentional Travel

This is the first guest post by Ingrid Hannan for our new series by – and for – intentional travelers. Stay tuned for more of her stories and reflections on exploring the world in a sensitive, uplifting way.


Intentional Travelers: Rules for Lightening Your Cultural Footprint by Ingrid H.

Ingrid with a family in Northeastern India. Conversation on a street corner evolved into a home cooked meal and meeting the entire family.

While exploring Asia for the first time this past spring, I couldn’t help but categorize locals into two distinct groups: people who seemed happy and interested in me (the foreigner) and people who weren’t.     As I thought and talked about the patterns to this phenomenon, it became clearer that the more touristy and popular a place was, the less likely locals were to be friendly. Their welcome mats had been worn thin. Not a surprise. But it made me defensive nonetheless. But I’m not just some rich, self-absorbed white girl looking for a party! Couldn’t they tell?

No. They couldn’t tell. Because to get beyond a looks-only judgment of a person usually requires, well, more than a quick superficial interaction. Shocking, I know.

Intentional Travelers: Rules for Lightening Your Cultural Footprint

You might never fully blend in! Despite the option to skip the line by paying, sometimes it’s worth the moment of solidarity.

Within a week of my multiple month excursion, I grew frustrated with wanting to prove to locals that I was a different kind of traveler. So I observed and talked with fellow travelers who seemed to be digging in, moving smoothly, and having an overall deeper experience. And I scrawled some notes into the journal I was carrying with me. The list is not a panacea to bad tourist habits; it’s not the only means possible to leaving a lighter cultural footprint, it’s not a cure-all. But I think it’s a good start. If you’re thinking about heading off on a wild adventure to place you’ve never been, whether the first or hundredth time, I think these are some simple ideas that can frame the trip in a positive and challenging and intentional way.

Simple Rules to Lighten Your Cultural Footprint

Simple Rules for Intentional Travel

Stay tuned for more great stories and reflections as Ingrid digs deeper into each of these important points.


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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4 Comments
  • swo8
    Posted at 16:16h, 15 December

    Those are all very good rules to live by. You really have to get to know the people and they have to get to know you.
    Leslie

    • intentionalmc
      Posted at 16:20h, 15 December

      Thanks, Leslie. We think they’re good rules to live by, too. We hope more people will practice this type of intentional travel to lower the negative impacts of tourism.

      • swo8
        Posted at 16:28h, 15 December

        We spent about the last ten years doing some serious traveling, no tours or high priced hotels. We had a smattering of the language and two way tickets plus the first night accommodation. We stayed about a month and it was a truly mind expanding experience. It is a fantastic world out there and we only scratched the surface.
        Leslie

  • Ingri
    Posted at 11:54h, 04 February

    swo8, that sounds like just the ticket! Seems like good travel is really ‘mind/soul/heart- expanding’. I always feel at the end of it that I know less than when I started.

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