For me, there’s nothing better than coming across a group of individuals so utterly dedicated to a cause that they commit their work to it. Don’t get me wrong, everyone who volunteers their time and resources to worthwhile initiatives in addition to the daily demands of their full or part-time job(s) should certainly be applauded, but I find it incredibly heartening that there are people in this world who seek change from humanity so badly that they make it their work and have little time for anything else.
Through our “Travellers For… Donation Project” we aim to seek out and financially assist great projects that are devoted to the protection and betterment of costa rica – its land and inhabitants alike. To date, we are a green alliance partner with Save The Turtles, a supporter of Kids Saving The Rainforest, and an advocate for the costa rica chapters of well-known non-profits such as Habitat For Humanity and World Vision. We love that these organizations love what they do, and we would bet that the founders of each would hardly think of their job as work. We also enjoy searching for new donation projects, highlighting great efforts where they are made, and giving credit to those who work to preserve costa rica in its most natural form. This past week we were fortunate enough to find iSeeiTravel and learn about their 2.5% documentary project concerning costa rica’s osa peninsula. The project title represents the 2.5% of the world’s biodiversity that can be found on the osa peninsula – home to one of the most pristine ecotourism destinations on earth and an area of costa rica that iSeeiTravel is aiming to protect.
*photo courtesy of the 2.5% project website
In their own words, iSeeiTravel explains their efforts:
“We are trying to help this amazing region of Costa Rica.
Our documentary project, 2.5%, will highlight the incredible Costa Rican ecotourism efforts and showcase the negative effects that mass tourism has brought to other parts of Costa Rica — expensive prices, locals being pushed out, corporate development mega projects, drugs and prostitution.
Most importantly, 2.5% will show how we as travelers can change all this simply by traveling consciously — meeting local people, respecting the environment and culture, and spending money at local businesses.“
Travelling consciously. Now there’s a concept worth devoting some serious mind-time to.
Are you a conscious traveller? What does it mean to be one, exactly? As iSeeiTravel describes, “The conscious travel goal is to create an environmentally sustainable, socially just and spiritually fulfilling travel economy that does not cost the earth.” We could not think of a better narrative for a more imperative goal ourselves.
So where does everyone who cares about the future of costa rica go from here? Fortunately, iSeeiTravel and similar focused groups are working hard to transform costa rica travel, but in order to do so successfully they are going to need tourists to do their part. In our opinion, at its most basic level (the foundation upon which future plans for environmental sustainability, social justice, and spiritual fulfillment can be built), conscious travel begins with travellers packing an open mind and leaving judgment at home. After all, in order to bring about any change in the world don’t we first have to change the way we look at it?
Our bottom-line recommendation for practicing conscious travel? Respect. If you were attending a house party, would you disrespectfully comment on the house decor? Choice of food? Choice of music? Choice of host attire? Party entertainment? Probably not. The same goes for your venture to costa rica. Travel is a privilege, not a right, and although the setting, food, music, clothing, traditions, and other cultural identifiers you may be exposed to while abroad may not mirror those you are accustomed to at home (perhaps many would not be your choice for your own house party), they still deserve your respect. At its core, conscious travel is about learning one’s place and value in relation to everything else in this world, which is why being both open to and non-judgmental towards difference is so important. Adopting an attitude receptive of awareness as part of your travel style will not only present you with more culturally rich and rewarding learning opportunities, but as initiatives such as the 2.5% project suggest, it can also help preserve some of our world’s most precious gifts.
Note: The 2.5% project is currently running a fundraising campaign to help fund the documentary. To help financially support this project, please visit: http://www.indiegogo.com/25-percent-documentary-iseeitravel
QUESTION TO COMMENT ON: What does conscious travel mean to you? How do you practice conscious travel while away from home?