Traveling and experiencing what the world has to offer is an educational experience like no other, but horror stories of rude tourists and irresponsible ones abound, leaving a bad taste in locals’ mouths and an ever worse fate for the environment. You don’t have to contribute to the bad image of tourists if only you practice mindfulness during your travels. So the next time you go on a trip, remember to spread some eco love, learn a bit of Thai, and be nice to everyone you meet!
ECO LOVE (Care for the environment)
No matter how eco-friendly you are, travelling unfortunately takes it toll on the environment. Do your part to protect the Earth by reducing your footprint as much as possible. Simple measures like bringing your own water bottle and a resealable plastic bag to put your trash in goes a long way. It will mean less disposable plastic bottles thrown away and less trash littering the ground and waterways. If you are a smoker, you should also bring a “portable ashtray” wherever you go since cigarette butts are the single most collected item in international coastal cleanups. You can make your own portable ashtray by lining a tin can or old film canister with used coffee grounds as suggested by the Muni community in their #NoMoreButts campaign.
Image Credit: MuniPH
LEARNING THAI (Learn about and respect the local culture)
Travelling to foreign places is not just about seeing the sights and tasting exotic food – it’s also about mingling with the locals. So make sure that you do a little research and learn about the local culture so that you don’t end up offending people out of ignorance. Learning some basic phrases, like “good morning” and “thank you”, and using them when communicating with locals will also show them your eagerness to connect. Of course, learning Thai is a mere representation of what you need to do since you’ll need to learn other languages if you are to go to other places.
Photo Credit: Chris
BEING NICE (Practice basic courtesy)
Whatever floats your boat works when it comes to living our daily lives, but if the way you float your boat means sinking others, then you definitely have much to work on when it comes to living mindfully. Simple actions like flushing and wiping the toilet seat after using the can will make everyone’s life a little nicer. After all, who wants to use an icky toilet on the plane or in train stations. Preparing for a long trip if you’ll be bringing your small kids with you is also a way of showing courtesy to your fellow passengers. Talking to your kids to explain the need to be more mindful of their actions is a great way to raise more mindful kids, but help them out by making sure that you the kids are well rested and full before the trip. Making them stay away from sugary food will also make them less fidgety and will decrease the chance of meltdowns. Of course, this won’t guarantee a quiet trip so bring along their favorite toys to keep the kids busy and a bag full of earplugs to give away to other people on the plane.