Travel Fuels Life Podcast and Show Notes
Traveling Jackie | Responsible and Sustainable Travel (S2-E3)
Since I started more extensive travels in the last couple of years my focus has started to shift from just traveling to travel, to traveling with a purpose. This past Fall while in Billings MT for the TBEX travel conference I had a chance to hear Jackie Nourse, better known as Traveling Jackie, give a keynote where she focused part of the presentation on responsible travel.
I've been amazed at how much more concentration there is on protecting the environment in other countries, but sometimes I think we American's feel we are starting to do enough on the individual level but maybe not as well as we could. With all of this cheap airfare and a good economy, we're starting to experience concepts like Overtourism, dealing with increased carbon footprints, the destruction of the coral reefs, the fires in Australia, and uncontrolled pollution from single use plastics.
So Jackie is here with her years of travel experience, to help us understand our impact on the Earth and some ideas of how we can do better as travelers.
Here are some of the topics we'll cover:
- Jackie's own travel journey from Costa Rica on
- The inception of the Budget-Minded Traveler blog and podcast
- The biggest change in travel from 2003 to now
- The first time using extended technology to book in Italy
- How over-tourism has changed Jackie's travel habits
- Machu Picchu, Rainbow Mountain, Peru and finding other amazing places
- Following in our footsteps, being cognizant of where we are traveling
- We don't have to promote places like Rome, Paris, New York
- Being more local and diverse in our destinations
- The podcaster and blogger responsibility to disperse traffic to hidden gems
- Too good to share
- What place speaks to you
- That hyperactive need to see everything and how it relates to sustainable travel
- How to overcome that feeling of guilt of being on the beaten path
- How to spend your 2-weeks in Europe, if that is all you have
- Rome in three days and then off the beaten path
- America and the difficulty of seeing Europe without increasing your carbon footprint
- Offsetting carbon emissions vs experiencing the world
- Seek out companies that give back to the environment
- Business trips offset
- Extending a trip to stop multiple flights overseas - how she saw Bosnia's back-country
- Green-washing and how you can REALLY protect the environment with your packing
- Get a water-bottle with a filter and your Hep-C shots
- Reusable straws and how to cart them around
- A fork spoon thing
- How do you pack?
- Fanny packs and running belts
- Camping and the leave no trace concept
- Watch your time of the year. Do more good than harm.
- How local communities are starting to work on preservation projects
- How to lower the impact on a tourist attraction by how and the time you go
- How are local tourist destinations dealing with protection of their resources
- The introduction of permits
- Showing by example how to respect where you are
- The evolution of global warming from a political football to a real world example
- The moment you became aware of the need to protect the environment
- Australia and the example of helping by traveling to a community
- The personal impact that travel creates - going beyond just stories into experience and empathy
- Jackie's upcoming travel and group travel
- Traveling Jackie's official website
- Traveling Jackie's Instagram
- Terrapass: Buy Carbon Offsets
- Grayl Water Bottle (you can get 20% off GRAYL products - use discount code JUMP at checkout to receive 20% off of purifiers and replacement cartridges)
- Lifestraw and Lifestraw Bottle
- Titanium Spork with knife
- 60 Minutes story about the albatross and garbage patch in the Pacific
- Chasing Coral Netflix Documentary
Visit the sustainable travel category on Travel Fuels Life's Amazon page
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Jackie's TBEX Keynote
I'm traveling Jackie from Jump Podcast and traveling jackie.com, and you are listening to Travel Fuel's Life.
Everybody and welcome to Travel Fuel's Life, the show we share stories, tips and inspiration to help you live a travel lifestyle. I'm your host, drew Hesh, and since I started this traveling journey, at least ramping it up over the last couple of years, my focus has started to turn from just traveling to travel to traveling more with purpose and being more aware of what I'm doing as a traveler. And this past fall I went to the Tex conference, which is a travel conference in Billings, Montana. And Jackie Norse was there and she is better known as traveling Jackie. And if you listen to podcasts at all travel podcasts especially then more than likely you have heard her show before the budget minded traveler or her latest podcast called Jump with Traveling Jackie. And she's been giving us great advice over the years in how to get out there and travel on a budget and also how to get out there and be a better traveler.
And during her keynote, she gave a very personal recap of her own journey from global traveler to blogger and podcaster. But what really struck me was the discussion about being a responsible traveler. And I've been amazed at how much more concentration there is on being a responsible traveler outside of the United States, but probably not as much inside the United States. And with all of this cheap airfare and a good economy, we are getting out there and in some cases maybe wreaking a little bit more havoc on the environment than we even know that we're doing. And so we start hearing these terms over tourism and carbon footprints and the destruction of the coral reefs and fires in Australia and the uncontrolled pollution from single use plastics. And even while I was in Kentucky just a couple of days ago, they were actually debating whether they were going to do away with plastic bags in grocery stores and retail outlets, which all of this stuff is great and we're getting an awareness towards it, but I haven't spent a lot of time on it here in the podcast. So when Jackie brought it up during her keynote address, I thought this would be a great opportunity to have somebody who has tons of travel experience who could come on the show and we could have a little dialogue about sustainability, responsible travel, and the like. So it is my great pleasure to welcome to the show Traveling Jackie. Jackie, welcome.
Thank you so much for having me. It's nice to be
Here. Yeah. So does it feel odd being on the other end of the podcast as you do your own and now you get to have some questions fed at you?
I know it's funny as we were just talking about this off record, but yeah, I actually love going on other people's shows because this time you get to do the work and I just get to chat about things that I know about and it's super easy. And so no, I love it.
You've been traveling since what, 2003, so I understand. Yeah,
<laugh>, it's a long time ago. <laugh>.
Yeah. Well at least you're not in the nineteens in the 21st century <laugh>.
I know. Well I, yeah, I was 18 when I first left and that I studied abroad in Costa Rica at 18 for a year. And that kind of kickstarted everything for me. That was the first time that I really felt like I kind of found myself in this element that felt so organic and natural that I was completely hooked. And that based, that element wasn't just Costa Rica, it was just being out of the United States learning new culture, new language, new skills, new everything and just exposing myself to the other that I absolutely fell in love with. And that turned into another year of study abroad in Italy the next year. And just kind of snowballed was, I mean I kept studying abroad, I kept traveling. It was mostly on my own, but sometimes with programs or with friends it's been all over the place that I've traveled with groups and everything.
And then it snowballed into I became that person that everybody started asking questions and how do I do this that, where do I get this? And for travel? And so that is how I eventually started the blog <affirmative>. It was 10 years later though, so I had already had all this 10 years of experience by the time I started the budget minded traveler. And so I just downloaded my brain basically into the podcast, into the blog, and that took off. And I mean that was a very long story short to get to where we are now. There have been lots of changes and evolvements over time. I have much more projects and platforms now than just the budget minded traveler as, but yeah. So what is it that you'd like to know about that whole 17 years <laugh> so that we're not here all
Day. So if we're looking at 17 years of travel, travel and we're kind of in a golden age of travel, I would say right now because it's inexpensive and there are so many people doing it. What is the biggest change you've probably seen from 2003 to now in the world of travel?
I think it's becoming, with the evolvement of blogs and the internet it's becoming much more, I wanna say almost like a household name. Travel is everywhere. People are doing it everywhere. And back when I studied abroad in Costa Rica, we didn't even have cell phones, <affirmative>, we went to internet cafes to write mass emails to people. And when the electricity would go out, because it was rain storming outside and you would lose the two pages of email, you just started writing. You give up and you leave. Really, it was different back then. Now we have phones in our pockets. I still remember the first time that I was in some tiny corner of Italy in a piazza, literally outside at a table at a restaurant. And I borrowed someone's iPod touch. Do you remember those? Oh yeah. Because they had wifi access. This is still before cell phones, but before we all had cell phones in our pockets and I booked a hostel and I felt like the world shift.
I was like, this is huge. <laugh> <laugh>, I'm outside and I'm in a piazza and I'm booking a hostel in northern Italy and I was in the south. It was just mind blowing to me. But now that most people who are traveling now weren't even traveling then they're traveling now because it's so easy. You can book anything, you can find information about almost everything you need online because of blogs and people who've gone before you. It's so easy now. And so I think that's the biggest change is it really is becoming more commonplace. And I think more people are understanding that it's not as expensive as maybe they previously thought.
So now with more people out there traveling, how has your pattern of booking trips and going places and decision of where you want to go, that sort of thing, how has that changed? Because I mean, there's now this concern about over tourism and <affirmative>, a lot of times you have to plan ahead. I'm guessing back in 2003 it wasn't quite as tough to get into some places, especially more popular places as it is now.
No, not at all. I mean, I think in 2011 was when I went to Peru and we booked our Machu Picchu hike 24 hours in advance. Once we arrived, we got to Cusco and did a little shopping around the tour operators right there in the main plaza to basically compare prices and decide which one we wanted to do. And we had our choice of what Machu Picchu trek to do. I don't think you can do that anymore. Also a fun fact about Peru, guess what was not on the radar at all when I was there and somehow did not affect my trip. Huh? Have you heard of Rainbow Mountain? I have, yes, of course you have <laugh> that's always been there, <affirmative>, but back then it was not on the radar wasn't a thing. People didn't travel there. And so that's also a really good example. And I'm saying it didn't affect my trip to Peru cuz I had an amazing trip to Peru.
I didn't go to Rainbow Mountain <affirmative> <laugh>, but I went all these other places that I found to be amazing. And yes, I did go to Machu Picchu. We did a hike of course, which I highly recommend. I mean it's one of those things, it is a seven, it's a wonder, you've gotta do it. But the idea now that so many people are, I don't even wanna say following it in our footsteps, I just wanna say are getting out there <affirmative>, it's really important for those of us with a voice, with a platform, with any kind of spotlight who people are watching to watch our steps and watch what we do. Because if we are just going to, if we're just hitting all the touristy spots, it's not helping <affirmative>. It's really not. I don't need somebody to watch me go to the Eiffel Tower to say, I wanna go to the Eiffel Tower.
You know what I mean? That's not helping. Instead, what about a small surf town on the southern bask coast of France that you've probably never heard of that has an amazing French school where I spent a month. That's the kind of thing that I would rather share. How about let's get off the beaten path, let's go explore just more outside, let's put our money in the local economies instead of like you said, MIT cafe at the bottom of the Eiffel Tower, you whatever. I mean it does matter. And so I have over the years, I mean, I'm not saying that, I mean I've been to the Eiffel Tower, I went to the Eiffel Tower back in 2009. I've done those things and I understand that. I think most people still wanna do those things. It's iconic, I get that. But while you're on a trip to France, check this out as well.
Do something else. I mean, don't spend all your time in Paris something like that. So those are the things that kind of come to mind of just, yes, I am traveling a little differently now maybe what I'm sharing is different. There are places for example, in Patagonia that I just won't say where they are or not even just Patagonia in the Balkans. I mean there are some gems on this planet. And <laugh> hard because I love them so much that I don't want to see them ruined by over tourism. And so you have to be a little more discreet about it. And the thing is, that was my adventure. Those places are out there. If you go out there, you're gonna find them too. You don't need me to tell you where to go to go. You don't need me to say this is exactly the place that's going to speak to you. No, I don't even know that those were the places that spoke to me. But that's why I encourage you to go out and find the thing that speaks to you. Where do you wanna go? Don't ask other people, get off the beaten path. Have your own experience. It does matter. It does matter. So it is different now.
So it's interesting to see the way that I used to travel, which was, and I still travel this way unfortunately, a lot of times I, it's like I go somewhere and I feel like I need to see everything and I'm in this hyperactive mode to go here and here and here and here and make sure that every day is filled to the teeth with all sorts of activities and to really just immerse myself instantly in a culture. But how do you see that? Do you feel I, to me, that's where my mind goes when I'm thinking about sustainable travel and I'm saying I'm not doing it right because I'm trying to go to too many places and I'm not getting to know any single location. And it feels like from the very beginning you were immersing yourself in different cultures. Have you ever had that time where you were just bouncing from place to place cuz you just wanted to see as many places and check off as many as you could?
Absolutely. Of course I've had a Euro pass before 14 cities in two weeks or something. Not cities, but places stops I should say. Yeah I've definitely done that. And I wouldn't like, don't shame yourself feel bad, because sometimes it depends on our situation as well. I had the opportunity, I was a Spanish major, I had the opportunity to study abroad for an entire year. I did that <affirmative>, I did it again. I've done it since. But I know there are a lot of people out there who only have two weeks and they wanna go to Europe. What do you hit? As many places as you can. Yeah, that's okay. Because you know what? It's better than not going at all. And you're gonna get a taste for what you like, maybe don't like what you wanna see more of. And if you can knock off all those iconic places in one trip, then guess what?
Next time you get off the beaten path, there's no real, I mean, it's not like you're doing it wrong, like you said, I don't want you to feel like that about travel because you're learning as you go. You're having experiences that are changing you, opening you to the world and that is what matters. So as long as you can get out, see these places, and if you have a little feeling of guilt for being so on the beaten path, just get off of it. Just change something. Listen to yourself, go somewhere else. Let's take Rome for an example. Italy <affirmative>, I used to live in Rome and I always encourage people to be in Rome for at least three days because especially if you're there over a Monday because the Vatican is closed, <affirmative> and you've got to see these places, you must see the Colum, you've gotta do the tour, learn about it while you're there.
Go to the Vatican, you've gotta see the chubby fountain, all these things. There's like a circuit in Rome that you have to do. And I think that it takes three days <affirmative>. And so I highly encourage people to do that. But guess what, if you have a week, then stay for a week and do your things in three days and then explore the neighborhoods and find the backyard alley restaurants which are divine and just spend a little bit more time there. And then maybe you can get a better feel for it. If you must do Roman three days and Florence in two days and Venice in two days, in one trip, do it and then go back and rent a villa somewhere in Laso or Umbria, maybe Tuscany, that's the one everybody knows about. But really the rest of Italy is fricking gorgeous too. It doesn't matter. Rent a car and get lost. You'll have the time of your life. So it, it's not like you need to shame yourself, but just be open to what you're feeling, what you're learning and what you wanna experience more of.
Well, it's interesting that you say that because I've sort of found myself wanting to push myself to do more in a single destination instead of taking these big flights from place to place. And I think that comes from this concern about my carbon footprint and what I am doing to the environment. So should we be settling down and taking less trips or doing more walking or biking when we're in a destination?
I would like to say that that's a personal choice. When you get to that and when you understand how important that is, that's great. And I would encourage you to look into it if you don't know what this is about already. We have a huge disadvantage living in the United States because we are a flight from everywhere. Unless you're traveling within our own country or taking an overland trip down through the Americas, we have to fly to Europe. We don't have the choice of skipping the one hour Ryan Air flight and just driving to Barcelona, <affirmative>. We don't have that choice. We've got to fly. And so it is very good to be aware. I do not think that staying home because of carbon emissions is a better choice than not traveling <affirmative>, do you know what I'm saying? And not exposing yourself and learning about the world and being there and seeing everything.
I don't think that, but if it does bother you, there are so many things you can do to offset your carbon emissions. There's a lot of websites that can walk you through things like that. So really you just need to Google it. It can be expensive. And so that can be overwhelming. But perhaps if you don't want to carbon offset all of your flights or something, maybe you can instead purchase your water bottles or your gear or whatever it is from companies that are offsetting their own footprint. I mean there are other ways to do it when you book, book an adventure tour, for example. If you do that, see if the company is doing or seek out a company that is doing something to give back.
Just if you're aware of it, that's the first step. If you can afford to offset or to plant trees or to do something about it, then that's great. Get on board with that. Heck yeah. But if not, it's not the biggest thing that you should feel that shamed about. If you have the option in Europe, then maybe take a train instead of a flight to somewhere when you do have the option, sure. Act upon it if it makes sense for where you are in your schedule and all of that. I do think though, awareness is the first step and that will cause you to act in more sustainable ways, even in other ways, even if it can't be the carbon offset. You know what I mean? Yeah.
Have you ever found yourself maybe not taking a trip because you thought maybe this isn't as necessary a trip as something else? For instance, you're running a business, so some of your business meetings that you may have along the way have you ever said, Hey, maybe that's something that I should just do a online meeting for that and not, or do you tag on that trip other places to go that have been on your list for a long time to go to?
I usually, oh, when you're talking about meetings, conferences, I live in Montana. I mean the meetings either online or it's not <laugh>. Okay. I mean, yeah, I will travel to conferences all over the world, <affirmative> and if I have the space in my calendar and the desire I will add on to the trip <affirmative>. But like you just said, for me it's a business now. And so I have to be careful of how I manage my time, even when it comes to travel, because travel is my work. So it's not aimless. It used to be I used to just wander the world because that's where I was <laugh>. But I'm in a different place now and it is my business. And so everything, I try and make everything, every trip everywhere I go, there's a reason I'm there. And often I will have, for example, last fall I had two different projects in Europe that were a few weeks apart, <affirmative>. And so the choice was to either come back in between for two weeks and then go back to Europe or just stay there for two weeks. And of course I opted to stay and I found another project to do. I've my girlfriends and I actually planned a girl's backpacking trip during those two weeks in Bosnia, which was amazing. Talk about off the beaten path. So yeah, I do try to use my time wisely when it comes to travel.
That makes sense. And that's great. The idea of just, hey, my decision making is actually coming more from that, protecting the environment side. And I get a bonus because I get two extra weeks in Europe and can do some stuff while I'm here. So yeah, that's very cool.
Let me just add real quick to that. Since I've spent so much time in Europe, those two weeks were completely, I mean was visiting a friend in Munich, we went somewhere I'd never been before, but all of it was something I hadn't done yet. <affirmative>. And so once you knock off those big things on your list, you know can just kind of chill. Where does the path go now? And that's why I went to Bosnia to do a back country backpacking trip in Bosnia. I was like, yes, this sounds awesome. And it was. But yeah, it's cuz of that extra time getting off the beaten path and understanding that once you've seen the things that you wanted to see every, it evolves <affirmative>, your bucket list, I suppose your willingness to travel to places it evolves too.
Well let's talk about some of the strategies that we can use in terms of packing and that sort of thing that we can do since now we are gonna definitely go somewhere and we want to pick up some good practices along the way. So one of the big issues is single use plastics. And I heard this term the other day and I thought it was very interesting, green washing, which is when somebody markets to you that they are green, but in reality what they're doing isn't having very much of an impact. It's just kind of a, hey, look at us kind of thing. And to me going to a hotel and them having the signs that say, leave your towels down, we're a green company. The onus is on you to make sure that you are not having us wash these towels so often. But then they have these little single use plastic bottles of shampoo and there's very few hotels that I've seen recently. Luckily Airbnb is now kind of pushing towards this, but where they have the pumps now and that you don't have to use the single use plastics, they refill those. But I mean, what has your strategy been along the way to try to avoid using plastic especially single use plastic along the way?
<affirmative>, the first thing is definitely get a water bottle. If you don't have one yet, <affirmative> you've got to travel with your own water bottle, a reusable water bottle. And if you can grab one that has by life straw or by Grail or that's G R A Y L, <affirmative>, the ones that have their own built in filtering system. If it, depending on where you're going in the world, that could matter. But first basic step, definitely have a water bottle that you can reuse because you can fill it in most places in the world, you can just refill your water bottle. Always ask first obviously when you get somewhere. But oftentimes too, if a place doesn't have clean water out of the tap for you to drink and you don't have your own filter because you can drink out of those when you have your own filter for your water bottle then possibly they'll have a clean water jug somewhere in the hotel or something that you can use to refill with. So definitely when it comes to water bottles, pay attention to that. See that's, and
I was gonna say, that's an interesting one for me because I just went to Mexico and actually in Hawaii I had this happen as well where there was a tank of water in there for me to be able to get water out of. But my thought was going still, should I, even if it's coming out of this bottled water or they've provided this bottled water, should I be trusting that or should I still go to the plastic bottles that I'm buying in the store? And up to this point I've been buying the plastic bottles in the store. So your experience in places like Mexico and other places where the water is sometimes questionable do you feel that the bottled water that they're providing in the big tanks is actually fine to drink?
Yeah, I definitely would. And that's where if you have your own filter filtered anyway, if you feel like that it's not that expensive to get your own filter, now you can get a life straw, which is actually just a straw that you can put into any drinking vessel and drink straight through <affirmative> or you can get a life straw bottle. I'm not sponsored by them. Don't. I'm
Just saying what's out there.
The grail bottles are sweet, they're like French presses. They have a filter in them and you fill the shell and then you press it down. Okay, regret out of it. Those bottles get kind of big and bulky, but they're very worth it. If you are heading, depending on where you are in the world, as long as you have your what is it? The your he series shots, all of that that's supposed to protect you from unclean water and unclean food and all of that. And in places like Mexico, make sure that they're not, or if get, for example, if you order a drink that has ice in it, pay attention to the ice too. Ask them where they get their ice because they have to buy their ice, not make it. Do you know what I mean? Okay, yeah. You buy your ice from packaged ice so that it's clean.
So that's another thing to think about. And sometimes it's hard. I mean, if you're in the back country in Jordan and all they have are big plastic water bottles for the group that they've packed in for you for miles, then that's your choice. Yeah, I mean this is, these are extremes here. Do what you can when you can <affirmative> if you reusable straws are all the rage right now. I think I've gotten, I don't know, six gifted to me at the last few conferences I've been to. Cause everybody's into it. Yeah, they're all making their own branded. They're like metal or bamboo. And so that is a really easy thing to even slip it in your car, put it in your purse, in your backpack, whatever you're carrying around, because then you can always have it. Just the other night actually we went to see Star Wars at the movies of course.
And we ended up getting, ugh, this was straight back to our childhood, but we ended up getting one of those giant slushy coke things like a slurpy and they gave it to us and it didn't have a straw in it, but it had one of those domed caps with the hole in the top. And I was like, what do we do with this? Is there a straw here? And I'm looking around and I'm thinking this would've been the perfect opportunity to use one of those six reusable straws that I don't actually carry with me when I'm at home. I'm like, why don't I carry these with me when I'm at home? Why not? We order drinks when we're out, let's use 'em.
I think the hard part, especially for a male, I don't have anything to put it in. And so it's like it's gonna be this big. The ones we got at Tex, I got two of them at Tex and they're both metal. I looked at it, I'm like, what is this thing? And somebody said, oh, that's a reusable straw. And I was like, oh, well cool. I don't have one, but where am I gonna put it? I can't put it in my pocket Every time I bend over to pick something up, I'm going to be impaled by this thing. <laugh>. Yeah.
Well to what I'm kind of with you, cuz I actually don't carry a purse. I don't carry something around with me <affirmative>. But I usually think ahead. So here's a funny thing about me. I love cus and I know that when I'm going to a brewery, for example, I will bring my own. So I usually think ahead about that. How easy would it be to also bring a straw or how easy would it be to also throw a straw in your car in the glove compartment? Or when you're traveling, I know that you carry something as well. You're not walking around Rome just with your hands in your pockets. You usually have something, whether it's a jacket with zipped pockets or somewhere that you can put a little something extra. I mean even most men will carry a backpack or over the shoulder bag or something when they're traveling. So that is a good opportunity to slip one of those in. Another thing that you can put in with your straw is one of those reusable fork spoon things because that way you can avoid taking a fork, fork, spoon thing. Yes <laugh>,
Aka fork spark, but sometimes they have a knife edge on 'em. Yeah, that's another really brilliant thing to just carry with you because then you can avoid the plastic utensils and straws altogether. It's just one thing you can do and a water bottle. Yeah.
So what about in terms of packing? Do you tend to pack light or, I mean, I know as much traveling as you do and you're traveling to places for long periods of time. Maybe that plays into your decision as well. But do you try to be a light packer as much as possible? Oh yeah.
Oh my gosh. I am only a carry on traveler if you have traveled as much as I have. You understand the incredible invaluable lesson behind traveling light <affirmative>. Oh yeah. So the less you have to carry, the better your world is and your shoulders. Yeah. So yeah, I definitely actually have an ongoing list. See, the cool thing about the way that I travel now is I have it so dialed as far as what I pack and my trips are so similar, meaning I always have to be prepared for everything. So I've got all of my adventure gear plus usually casual clothing for conferences as well. That's like my world these days in the same pack, in the same packing. And so I kind of just have it down and I actually have a list of all those things because it's so dialed <affirmative> at traveling jackie.com/pack. Like I update it because the items that I use, I've learned to trust so well that I could pack with my eyes closed. I always have to have my mobile office with me. So there are certain things that I carry on the road that I have to have because I've learned over the years that this is what I need. And then my adventure clothing and then my regular clothing and then a bunch of cool little other random things like a running belt that you can keep. There you go. You can keep your straw in there too. Nice.
There you go. It can go under your clothes and you can just walk around with it. Or just a straight up fanny pack. I mean I totally rock the fanny pack when I travel. I love it. And you have to carry it. Yeah,
Well we're actually going on a trip to Barcelona not too long from now. And I've been sitting there considering I've never taken anything more than just a jacket for carrying things around and I'm thinking, where am I gonna put all of my stuff? I don't necessarily there want to have a wallet in my back pocket and all that sort of watch out for people boosting my stuff. So yeah, maybe that's the new strategy that I'll take on is to finally get the fanny pack and go with that. So yeah,
Just get a low profile one that kind of stick. And obviously one not from rei, that is huge. It can fit your whole digital SLR and stands out. No, no. Something that's just low pro and kind of hugs your body. Awesome. Nice.
So are you a camper? Do you like camping? Oh yeah. Okay. I, okay. I was gonna say you go to when you're going to South America, probably camping is one of the best ways to see the country, I would imagine.
Well, I think camping is a great way to see any country absolutely. But I also love nature. I love the back country, I love being outside. And so that's me, that's my personal preference. But one of the best trips I ever took was spending a month driving down the length of the southern part of Chile and Patagonia, <affirmative> actually the entire length of Chile and Patagonia. And we went in a forerunner and we camped every night and just made our way down and hiked and oh my gosh, it was absolutely amazing. Incredible
When I went to Lake Tahoe not too long ago, and they are very insistent on the whole leave no trace concept and <affirmative>, I mean the waters there pristine. It is hard to believe that it's not that far from overpopulated California to see how they're handling the environment. What are some of the things that you pay attention to when you are trying to protect the environment while camping?
Well, I definitely, I'm a huge fan and proponent of leave no trace, which is, I mean essentially it's keep your etiquette about you pack out what you pack in, leave the place cleaner than you found it. Don't disturb wildlife, stay on the trail, don't disturb other people either. Keep your music to yourself kind of thing and make sure your fires are out. Don't even put them in places they're not legal. In fact, Tahoe's big on that because, so the fire danger's high there and I mean that whole area is national forest and so they do a lot to protect it including the lake itself. I'm actually from Lake Tahoe originally. Oh, are you? Okay. So yeah, I grew up there on the West shore and so that place really means a lot to me as well. So I understand and I so appreciate their communal efforts to protect it.
And there's a league to save Lake Tahoe and everything. I mean it's a big deal and a lot of places in the world don't have such organization like that, <affirmative>. And a lot of places are getting there. I mean we're talking about Patagonia and all the recent development of national parks down there and donation of land by Tompkins conservation to the government so that it can be made into national parks to preserve this pristine these pristine places. But yeah, the leave no trace is big. Also pay attention to when you're going, because for example, getting into the back country when it's super muddy and rainy could actually make the trails worse if you're hiking on them, especially multiple people or biking on them, especially <affirmative>. And so it's just a respect for the place that you're in, a recognition that you could harm to this place. Let's do more good than harm. Yeah, that's basically what it comes down. In fact, that is sustainable travel in a nutshell is using travel to do good, to leave a place better than you found it. And if you are aware and your friends aren't, make them aware, share no trace with them, spread the message because everyone needs to be aware. The first step is just being aware of your impact on an environment.
Do you ever purposefully stay away from certain places? Because for instance, last time I went to Utah, I did not go to Zion, I've never been to Zion, but I've just heard how many people are there and it makes me feel like I need to lower the impact on that place just by not going <laugh>. Do you ever do that?
Well, I guess that's when you can think, okay, when are you going to these places? Are you gonna go in the middle of July or what if you go in April <affirmative> or even March? It's to Moab especially those places are accessible year round <affirmative>. And that's when your dollar can also do good is to support the off season in places. So you can think about it that way if you must go or how are you going? Or meaning are you going with a tour operator somewhere? Who is this tour operator? Where is their money going? Or if you're going on your own, what this is the place that means something to you. What if you go to Moab and then look into something that you can donate a little bit of extra money for the preservation of the parks down there.
Nice. Let's look at local destinations. Have you seen any specific examples of how these local tourist destinations are dealing with protecting their own resources?
There's a really popular trek in Southern Patagonia that I have done several times. It's called the W Trek and it's getting very famous. The first time that I ever saw a picture of it, it was like through someone, I've never even met their Instagram. I just saw this picture and I was like, wow, I need to go there. And when I did, it totally changed my life. And I have gone back lots of times. I lead groups there. But this is a very touchy subject because this is one of those places that has become super iconic over the years and it is making, and it's having an impact. It's having a negative impact on the place. And so the park that is directly there, I've seen just in the last three years, I think have just about doubled their prices for everything, including lodging, including your park entrance fee.
Everything has gotten way more expensive. And they're refining <laugh> their permit system. So now you have to have a permit to get into the park, which is, these are good things, but even the management there is such a mess. <affirmative>, it's a bureaucratic mess because actually, I mean this is this specific place, but it's a really good example because you never know where the places you're going, how they function. This specific place has three different landowners in the park, which is wild. So not one entity is governing the whole thing. And so they're trying to work together to handle the rise in tourism. It's a mess. And so it really does matter that you pay attention, just you need to follow the rules. When you go to places like this, it matters. They're in place for a reason, staying on the exact marked trail because they're trying to refor the other one. They're trying to restore the places where people have trampled in the past. They're trying to just, I guess just fix this area.
So for me specifically, I have then the question, okay, am I adding to the problem or am I helping? And I believe that when I take my groups there that I am doing it the right way. And I would encourage everybody to go, I want you to travel there with me cuz I know I'm doing it the right way. And I will educate you while we're there to protect it and to preserve it and to love it the way that I do from the tour operators that I work with and what they're doing in the local community to the way that I am donating to that specific land, the park and the way that I am at least corralling 12 people at a time to stay on the trail, to stay in the lodgings, to respect where you are. We do a little naturalist talk at the beginning. It's all about etiquette in the back country. That is my contribution. These people are gonna go there anyway. Rather they go there with me and do it right. Do you know what I mean by that? Yeah.
And what you're doing is you are actually teaching them when they go to other places and then they can pass that information on to the people they travel with, which I think is fantastic.
Exactly. And not just do it in the one place, but maybe they understood how serious the situation is. And if that can happen in one place, maybe they'll think about that in the next place they go as well and the next and in their home as well.
So what's interesting to me about sustainable travel and this whole concept of protecting our environment is watching my own evolution and knowing that early on when everybody was talking about global warming and everything else, to me it was just a political issue. I never really felt it as something that was impacting my life in one way or another. And one day I was watching a report on the albatross at Midway Island and how they're finding all of this plastic inside of these albatrosses, they're dying because they're basically being killed. They can't eat anything because their stomach is so full with plastics. And that was the thing that really brought an awareness to me and was like that moment when I said, wait a second, I can't just travel. I, I have to pay attention to this. Did you have a particular moment when you said, wait a second, what am I doing? And maybe I should be paying more attention to this.
Yeah, I did actually. Have you seen Chasing Coral?
I have not.
Oh man. I think that that movie has a really, really, really powerful moment. It's a documentary <affirmative> Chasing Coral and it's fabulous. It used to be on Netflix, I'm not sure if it is anymore, but highly recommend that you guys watch it. That documentary has a really powerful moment. I don't think there was a dry tier in the house. I went to the screening of it actually in Denver or in Boulder. That's where they did the premiere. It won a bunch of awards in film festivals. Yeah, I mean it's on Netflix. It made it, yeah, that, watching that in the company of my friends and who are in the industry, I know the people who created the documentary because of the industry that I'm in <affirmative>. And just being in the room with them and seeing what they have done and watching this thing just really was like, okay, it not only showed a story of the Coral, which happens to be pretty far away from where I live in Montana, but it was my friends in Boulder who did this that hit home. It was like, whoa, okay, in this I can do more. Yeah, that was my moment. And that was years ago,
Four years ago when Chasing Coral came out, or three, I can't remember
It. It is interesting that we can be so affected by something that Midway Island is not even a place that I have any plans of going to see, but yet it, it's like these, it's like when people tell stories and they give you real life instances that you need something like that to shake you out of this days that you're in and gets you really thinking about things.
I mean, right now Australia is burning and I can't even, it gives me chills. I it's absolutely catastrophic what's happening over there. And personally, I've never been to Australia.
Wow. That surprises me.
I know I'm actually going in September this year in October. I'll be there which I'm really glad about now because we have a tourism conference that's happening there that is going to help. Australia is going to need our help. They need our help now and they're gonna need our help after. That's a good example of something we can do. You can just go visit Australia this year. They need you send your money there right now while you're not there. But my point actually was how much stronger is it for people who have been to Australia who have held a koala or a kangaroo that should hit home for those people <affirmative>. And it's hurting me and I've never even been there. But that is the beauty of travel is once you can get out, you can see these places, you meet these people, you have an experience, an interaction with this environment, and you hear about these stories later, they've become more than just stories. They mean something to you. They're part of your story now.
Yeah. I really have found that people who don't travel, I sometimes hear the way they talk about other places. And I think, wow, no wonder our politics are the way they are these days because there's not enough people getting out there and really learning mean. For me, the first shot was going to Quebec and having people there reflect back on me what their feeling was of Americans. And I'm going, wow. Well this is interesting because I never really thought about this before, how you deal with language and things like that. <affirmative>, that we are very isolated here. We're a big country. We have a lot of space, but our cultural diversity is very unlike going to Europe where you have 50 countries that all have very different cultures and you have to know different languages to go from one to the next. And so I think we as Americans miss that opportunity and that travel for us is even more important I think, than it is for people in Europe because we are so disconnected from the rest of the world.
Everything you just said is exactly why I started my blog in the first place. Everything nice to get people out. We need to this country more than probably any country in the world. <laugh>. Yeah,
Yeah, absolutely. Well, hopefully we can start working in some better ways of traveling. And I love the point that you made about Australia because that is the other side of the coin. Yes, we do have an impact by taking a plane somewhere, but we also have an impact by helping people in another part of the world lift themselves up even in a situation like that. Yeah,
Yeah, the whole idea is using travel for good. It's completely possible. It really is. It really.
So where besides Australia is next on your list? I take it you're in Montana right now?
I am, yes. Nice. I am home. It is winter. <laugh>
<laugh> you. You're doing some shoveling, I'm guessing?
Actually, no, we haven't had a big snow year this year.
Have been doing some skiing, but no, shoveling greatly. Nice.
My next stop is gonna be Portugal and Morocco. I've never been to Morocco. I've never even stepped on the African continent before. And so I'm pretty excited about that. That's coming up actually next month. So. Nice. Yeah.
Well I'm going to Spain and I thought, well I could cheat and go across on the ferry and say I went to Africa, but I think I would rather actually immerse myself in Morocco is a very interesting place for me. So yeah, I think you're gonna have a great time there. That's awesome. Yeah.
Excited. Well, good, good. Well and you do group travel. Tell us a little bit about what you're doing with group travel and other things that you do that people might be interested in.
I do. Yeah. It's always been my dream to, well get people out and see the world. And I first was doing that through my blog and then it became a possibility for me to do it in person and to take people to some of these places that I've really had an effect on me. And so that's why I started doing group trips down to Patagonia. I've been doing that for four years. I just did my fourth one in November. And along the way along my own travels, I spent three years Nomadically traveling solo and learned quite a bit about what it takes to make big changes in your life and to support yourself through them. <affirmative>, I cuz I had actually gone through a divorce and then left Montana and was on my own for a few years just traveling the world. And I started after that doing, well actually when it wasn't quite finished <laugh>, I started leading women's retreats. And these are a little different, they're still adventure trips, but they're also focused on the adventure inside and the personal adventure through life, which I think is so important. And so I'm about to lead my third one of those in May in Italy. Nice. And yeah, in Tuscany on actually, so here's a cool example of off the beaten path for you. Everybody knows Tuscany, right? Right. But we're going to Elba, which is an island.
Off the coast of Tuscany. Yeah. So it's super off the beaten path and that was very carefully chosen actually. But yeah, so I'm taking a group of women there in May. I actually still have spots left for that one. I'll be doing Patagonia again. I always do. We're going to Croatia for a bike and boat trip in September. And yeah, I'm, I am absolutely loving being able to connect with my people in person and just have an experience together on the ground, a travel experience that, I mean they're just the best. They're absolutely my favorite thing that I do. And yeah, you guys can find all of email@example.com.
Awesome. Awesome. Well great. And you have the podcast as well?
Yep. My podcast, which is called Jump Now. It's still going very nice. And yeah, that's <laugh> a labor of love. It's been, Ooh, it'll be, I can't count six years this
Yeah. Nice. Yeah, so still all, I'm on your one and two months, so I got nice. Good for you. I got ways to go, but I'm getting there. <laugh>
In it to win it.
<laugh>. Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. Well thank you. So good. Thank you so much for spending time with us today and I hope you have some fantastic travels and it's been a pleasure speaking with you.
Thank you so much. I really appreciated being here.
Well it was a real honor having Jackie on the show today and I am so glad that she took time out of her busy schedule to be with us and to talk about sustainable and responsible travel. We're gonna be talking more about that as the season progresses. But also if you are interested in learning more about Jackie and her group travel and want to keep up with her on social media, go out to travel fuels life.com/podcasts. Look for season two, episode number three. And on the show notes page, I'll have links to all the stuff we talked about about today, her links to her social media, to her website, and also to some of the products and organizations that we talked about. And I will have some extra links out there to some of these carbon offsetting websites. And so check that out. It's all gonna be out firstname.lastname@example.org slash podcasts.
And one other thing I wanna mention before I go, I went to Kentucky and just got back a couple days ago and the very instance of greenwashing that I was talking about happened in both hotels that I stayed at. And I like both of these hotels so I want to continue going to them. But what I did was, because here they have the little placard that says we wanna protect the environment so you hang your towels up on the hooks, but meanwhile we have all these little single use plastic bottles for you. Which I mean that's nice. I appreciate that they're wanting to give me free shampoo and soap and body wash and all that. Fantastic. But could you put 'em into these little dispensers that you can refill instead of these plastic tubes that are gonna end up at the bottom of the sea?
Just so here's what I did. I took the four little bottles and I stuck them in front of the little placard that says how green they are. And I snapped a picture of it. And here's you should do with that picture When you take it, when you do your review on TripAdvisor or Google or wherever you do your reviews, upload that picture showing that they are saying they're green, but they need to go one step further and just leave a comment on there, be nice about it. Cuz if you're gonna be in their face about it, they're not as likely to hear your message and just say, Hey, I appreciate that you guys want to be green. Can you take it one step further and go ahead and get these reusable dispensers for our soap and our body wash instead of using these single use plastics. And we would really appreciate that. I think just these little touches, these little reminders to them that we are paying attention and that yes, the, there's a marketing message coming at us, but it's falling a little flat because of some of your practices, then maybe we can actually get some change happening in this world. So I hope this is Food for thought and I appreciate you guys listening today. And until next time, wish you safe travels and thanks for listening to Travel Fuels Life.