Sustainable Travel Special A Traveler’s Story In A Single Day
Today feels different. You’ve woken up rather slowly. The alarm clock didn’t go off. And it’s nowhere to be seen. The soft morning Sun is filtering in through the window and with it comes the sounds of a new city. A deep breath and then you remember the flight you took yesterday to begin your holiday. Oh yes, this is it! Now it all adds up. Last night you got into the city pretty late. Hungry but tired, you checked into the room and slept right away. You stretch now and look across the room. It’s all there on the floor – your hiking shoes, a map of the city, and your precious Polaroid camera, all reminding you that today is something special.
You head to the bathroom, dig into your travel kit and pull out your Bamboo tooth brush. Before you left home, you had decided to make this trip a sustainable one. Leave behind no footprints, no trash, nothing that harms this beautiful world. And you knew that it began with such small but important choices.
Having used it for a while now, you love how it feels in your hand. “Earthy!” You think and smile. A splash of water, a lil’ monkeying around in front of the mirror and done. You get into your favourite set of Dhoti pants and top it up with a casual Shirt or Top. Best to keep it light, summer after all. Your new Vegan leather backpack holds everything you’ll need for the day a reusable bottle of water, that book you’ve been reading through long flights, your Natural hand sanitizer, some Reusable straws, Energy bars, Face wash and a couple of Organic dark chocolates. Yup, all good to go!
First stop is definitely breakfast. You make your way to the local café that everyone’s been talking about. A quick set of directions from the locals, a few turning alleys and some re-routes. You’ve been following the cafe on Instagram for weeks now and here it is! You pause and look around. It’s surreal. “I’ve never been here, yet it feels like I know the place and I know exactly what to order” you chuckle.
The waiter is quick to bring your order. The food looks exactly like it did on your phone screen, with one small change. The beverage has been served without a straw on your request. You unzip your backpack and pull out your Stainless steel straw. It is re-usable, cleans easily and doesn’t add to the landfills like those cheap plastic ones. “Something that I use for 10 minutes will take a thousand years to disappear. Wow!! That makes no sense”. Your thoughts are mildly disturbed by some curious looks from the next table. It’s a group of travellers; they all seem from different places. You get talking – about the idea behind using the straw, where are you from and your plans for the day. They let you in on a little secret – a goat path hike to a nearby hill that gives lovely views of the city. You smile. This right here is why you love travelling. It unfolds slowly, one step at a time and nothing more. “Never thought that a straw could be a conversation starter! You thank your server, bid adieu to your fellow travellers and start walking.
Time to pull out that map. Finding your way to the bus stand, you hop into the first bus that comes along. An hour goes by and you’re still stuck to the window. The bus moves through the city and then to the outskirts. The city peripheries look so different from the central marketplace. Quieter and slower! Recalling the directions from your café conversation you get down at the next stop and move to the side of the road. Step by step the ascent begins. Looking up at the hill it doesn’t look that impressive, but soon you start feeling it. The path is a narrow winding one and the climb is sharp. You’re glad you chose to wear the Organic cotton Dhoti pants this morning. They are just perfect for moving about freely and absolutely breathable. With each step further the noises from the city fade away a bit more. It takes almost three hours but you make it to the top. Walking about you take it all in – the view, the stillness, that feeling of being away from the familiar. Finding a big shady tree by the edge, you decide to go sit under it for a while. You take a few sips of water and chew on the Energy bars you’ve been carrying. Whole grains, dry fruits, berries and seeds. Umm..!! They’ve always tasted great, but today they are exceptional. “Nap for a while. There are no timelines to follow today”, you remind yourself. The breeze moves in and out playing with the volume of distant noises. And in those few moments you find stillness.
On the way back to the hotel you bump into the same bunch that you met at breakfast. You thank them for pointing you to the hilly trail and tell them how much you loved it. For most of them tomorrow morning is the flight back home. But you hope to see them one last time so you decide to meet later for dinner at the same cafe.
Back in the room, a little tired and dusty you head straight for a shower. You unwrap the Soap you had handpicked earlier last week. It has Green tea, Mint, Papaya and Walnuts. You feel the lather soothe and cool your skin. “Well it’s a shame I can’t eat it ;).