Travel Tips

Green Travel Burn Out and How to Avoid It

burn out

Do your part to keep your destination beautiful, but also remember to enjoy it! Image by Morgan Pettersson.

Travel can be one of the best things in the world, but it can also lead to burn out.

Suddenly, the thing you love most is exhausting and almost a chore. I am sure all fellow traveling women have felt this way at some point during their wanderings.

As someone who cares about the environment, I try to make small changes in my everyday life as well as when I travel to be as green as possible. Yet after two years of travel and living overseas, I found myself feeling burnt out.

Not only was travel taking its toll, so too was trying to constantly be green and eco-friendly. When I had to purchase bottled water because there was nowhere to fill my reusable bottle with clean water, I beat myself up about it and how I was contributing to landfills. I thought that maybe I should have had iodine tablets on me or a water purifier. But I didn’t, and that’s the reality;you can only travel with so much stuff and do so much.

I carried that disposable bottle around for days, trying to find a place to recycle it, but I came up empty and had to throw it out.

I felt exhausted by constant worry about being green, and I began to wonder: How do you live eco on the road without becoming burnt out by constantly fixating on being green?

burn out

Facing environmental degradation can often be a hard thing to deal with when traveling. Image by Morgan Pettersson.

How To Avoid Green Travel Burnout

Traveling in a sustainable way can often feel like an uphill battle.

For every long bus journey you take instead of flying, you think of the over 3.1 billion people who take flights each year, emitting 705 million tonnes of carbon into the atmosphere.

Every piece of plastic you carry around until you can find (if you can find) a recycling facility feels like a waste of time.

And you may begin to despair when you find out that 90% of the trash in our oceans is from plastic and when you witness the almost cavalier aspect of some locals when tossing their plastic away.

It is inevitable that you will end up in situations where you have to make non-green choices, yet a few simple things can help ease these decisions.

Do some research.

Sometimes doing a little bit of research about the place that you are traveling to can make a world of difference.

If you are aware that it is going to be tough to access clean drinking water to fill up your reusable water bottle, then you might plan to take water purification tablets. Or understand that you may have to purchase large bottles of water during your trip.

Knowing what the key environmental issues of a region are will also help to lessen the potential impact when facing environmental degradation.

Be prepared.

To make your travel easier and less stressful, make sure that you are prepared before leaving.

Purchase that reusable water bottle before you leave, as you may not have access to non-BPA bottles where you are traveling.

The same goes for cosmetics, toiletries, and any essentials that you are not comfortable using when they’re not green and organic.

Bringing these things with you on your travels will make all the difference once you are on the road.

Offset

Don’t ignore “offsetting.”

For instance, sometimes you will have to make choices or decisions that go against what you want to do. You will have to take that long-haul flight instead of more carbon-friendly land or sea options.

You might have to purchase that sandwich wrapped in two different types of plastic because you need to eat, and there is nothing else available to you.

Relax, and remember that you have ‘offset’ this by your otherwise green lifestyle. By living and traveling green, you can feel better about having those odd moments when you are forced to live and travel otherwise.

burn out

Taking the eco-friendly travel option is not always possible, but remember that your past eco-travel choices can offset the times you can’t. Image by Morgan Pettersson.

Accept that there is only so much you can do.

Paradise found during your travels can quickly become paradise ruined when you realise that your white sand beach is covered in rubbish. It doesn’t matter how much you pick up; there just seems to be more and more each day.

Unfortunately, this is a stark reality for many places around the world, and you are going to be faced with it. Picking up rubbish is going to help you feel good in the short-term ,but there is only so much you can do.

Accept that you will not be able to solve the issue during your holidays.

If the problem is really getting you down, talk to the locals to see if there is an environmental group you could volunteer with, or discuss what they are doing to solve the problem locally.

Remember that you are not alone.

It might seem like an uphill battle that you can never win at times, but remember that you are not the only one who cares. There are lots of people both at home and where you are traveling who care about the environment and green living too. There are other passionate people working to make a difference and protect our environment.

Traveling the world is one of the best things you can ever do, but green travel can sometimes feel like a burden.

It is important to remember that you are doing your best to make a change. Also remember to enjoy the moment and the place that you are in. Green travel does not have to become a chore. With a few simple things in mind, you can travel and be green, stress-free.

Have you experienced green travel burnout? Have any tips on how to be green on the road without getting stressed? Tell us in the comments below.

 

Morgan Pettersson
Blogger Morgan Pettersson is an Australian travel and environmental writer, conservationist, author of the book 'Antarctic Youth Ambassador: protecting the last great wilderness on earth' and a gypsy soul. A self proclaimed hammock enthusiast she has called Ireland, Greece, Indonesia and Solomon Islands home.

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