ethical travel

Don’t Go To Ha Long Bay: A Lesson in Unsustainable Tourism

By | 2018-01-11T22:46:37+00:00 December 26th, 2017|ethical travel|

If you think of Vietnam, one of the first images that you will likely picture is Ha Long Bay. Jagged karst peaks ascending from azure waters, with passenger boats slowly chugging around the otherworldly landscape. Locals in their conical hats rowing past in boats teeming with mounds of bananas and rambutans. Morning mist that slowly sweeps away with the sun to reveal hidden coves and labyrinthine waterways. This is what tourism agencies will try to sell to you as the experience of Ha Long Bay. It’s not like this. I visited Vietnam as part of a university study tour that [...]

This Christmas, Consider Donating Instead of Buying Presents

By | 2018-01-11T22:48:12+00:00 December 18th, 2017|ethical travel|

Christmas is a really stressful time for a lot of people. I find it particularly straining because I work in retail and customers are so on edge this time of year. People feel a lot of pressure to find suitable presents for their loved ones, and there is a sense of urgency to get it finished in time. However, I would argue that this is a good time of year to take stock of everything that you have in life, and consider mindfully donating to an effective charity on behalf of a loved one. If we’re going to be honest [...]

Travel Blogs I’m Sick of Reading

By | 2018-01-11T22:52:00+00:00 December 9th, 2017|ethical travel|

As a travel blogger, I try to read a lot of other travel blogs to get a feel for the current state of the industry and improve my own work. I’m also part of a few social media reciprocation groups where I participate in comment threads; I read the posts of others and give them feedback in their comments section, and they do the same for me. While there are a lot of good travel blogs out there that document exciting destinations and add nuanced discussion to the conversation of ethical travel, there are certain travel posts that I’m so [...]

Why You Should Visit ex-ESMA to Understand Argentina’s History

By | 2018-01-12T13:04:12+00:00 August 16th, 2017|ethical travel|

When we travel, we seek vibrant new experiences that enrich our understanding of the world and of ourselves. However, I think it’s fair to say that most travellers are seeking out tourist sites of a positive nature. Waterfalls, iconic architecture, natural beauty, and street art are highlights of many locations around the world. However, to visit only positive tourist sites does a disservice to a country by not acknowledging history that has shaped it. I knew little to nothing of the history of Argentina before studying there on my political science study tour with AIM Overseas. Learning about the period [...]

Acknowledging My White Privilege in Southeast Asia

By | 2018-01-11T23:09:03+00:00 July 11th, 2017|ethical travel|

I’m considered exceptionally beautiful in Southeast Asia. Multiple local men stare at me as I walk down the street, and I have been propositioned by men several years older than I. My Thai cooking teacher referred to me as a “supermodel”, because I have the long legs that Thai women do not. I don’t attract this attention at anywhere near the same level at home in Australia. I get it in Southeast Asia because I am white. This is a characteristic of my white privilege; I am the beauty ideal because of my skin colour. Pale skin is one of the [...]

Why I Never Want to Go Back to Bali

By | 2018-01-12T12:57:21+00:00 June 16th, 2017|ethical travel|

My knee dislocated for the second time while I was staying in Pemuteran, on the north coast of Bali, Indonesia. I was staying alone in a small, family run guesthouse, and my phone was on the opposite side of the room. I had to scream for five minutes at the top of my lungs before the guesthouse owner came running in. He took one look at my leg, gnarled and at a strange angle, with the knee cap protruding off to one side, and went running back out again to retrieve the local healer. His teenage son, while speaking limited [...]

A Universal Experience of Sexual Harassment/Assault

By | 2018-01-12T12:41:30+00:00 June 3rd, 2017|ethical travel|

Trigger warning: this post contains discussions of sexual assault and rape. I was sitting by the side of the road in Kota Bharu, Malaysia, when I saw that a man was sitting on his motorbike and masturbating while staring at me. I froze in place. I didn’t know what to do. I was only 18 years old and I had luckily never encountered this kind of harassment before. I moved quickly down another road, but he continued to follow me and stare at me. I ran to my guesthouse and locked myself inside my room, heart thumping and nausea rising [...]

The Ethics of Consuming Cocaine in South America

By | 2018-01-12T13:45:27+00:00 June 1st, 2017|ethical travel|

They don’t say the name Pablo Escobar in Medellín. He is simply referred to as ‘the most famous criminal in the world’. Everyone in Medellín has family or friends who were killed in the terrorist attacks that plagued the city under Escobar’s orders. I was on an educational tour about Pablo Escobar when the driver pointed to a mall and simply said, “My childhood friend died from one of his bombs there”. A large proportion of the city’s population seems to be suffering from PTSD, which can be seen in the avoidance of speaking Escobar’s name or anything about him. [...]

On Volunteering for the Sake of Volunteering

By | 2018-01-12T12:58:25+00:00 May 20th, 2017|ethical travel|

Coming from Australia, I’d never actually seen a gun in person before, but Wilson had been nothing but casual as he slung his hunting rifle over his shoulder and led us down the path into the forest. The trees were so closely packed that only fingertips of sunlight could touch upon my face and I wondered how we would be able to see any animals in the deep twisting labyrinth of foliage. These are skills that can be taught, which Wilson does in his lessons to the small groups of volunteers that visit Bario to learn hunting skills and work [...]