Travel Green: Ideas and Ecuador
Have you ever noticed how the enthusiasm, or the total lack of same, can change your entire perspective and priorities on things? This exact thing happened over the past weekend. Let me explain. I spent the weekend at the LA Times Travel Show at the LA Convention Center. It was great fun and vastly different from the Los Angeles Travel and Adventure Show a fortnight ago in Long Beach. The LA Times show was fun because they had a bit more space and there seemed to be a lot more going on at once. It was fantastic seeing some of the same people and meeting old friends, but there were vendors I had never seen before for places I have found I would like to go to. But by far, the most entertaining and enthusiastic bunch were all from Ecuador. I left saying to my show companion, “We have to go to Ecuador.”
Aside from a newly developed passion for a country sandwiched between Columbia and Peru (two countries also on my travel list of “must sees”) I have also developed a certain lack of interest in places I originally thought I would like to go. For example, a small cruise company which travels to places wonderful and fantastic does not recycle their waste. Really? In this day and age? As a green traveler this was a sure fire way to make sure I never ever travel with them. And I was told this interesting fact after I had identified myself as someone who is a green traveler and, more importantly, writes about it. I am not going to name names at this point but as with everything, if you want to be sure of the type of company you are dealing with, be sure to ask about their green policies, and don’t be afraid to get specific. If they are green they will be more than happy to tell you and will certainly give you more information that you thought you wanted. If you get the cold shoulder, or an irate individual staring back to you, then you already know the answer to your question and move on.
But now as I begin to finally get to the bottom of the bag full of travel show materials that I lugged home. I seem to have automatically divided it up into several piles. Ecuador has a pile all its own. I am absolutely going there. The sooner the batter. Then there is the China and Tibet piles, which I call research for my pending trip. Then the places where there were enthusiastic people manning the store. These places all deserve a closer look and consideration when trips are planned. The business cards which have hand written notes always get a second and even third look as I begin to enter the information into my address book. I am, of course, noting the non-recycling cruise people and those booths which were home to people who were more interested in their cell phones than actually dealing with the general public, which had paid to be there I might add. There were a few booths which had run out of everything, but several were still talking to people and making sure websites and emails were readily available. Simple yet effective.
I also have to say that I had a deep seeded desire to see a few places but after the show, not so much. And it isn’t based on a few hours in a convention center either. It was the same two weeks ago so either the representatives were trade showed out or the place they represent has nothing exciting to attract people. This is hardly the case, but it seems to be the message they are portraying.
There is middle ground as well. After the Travel & Adventure show I really had no desire to go to Turkey. There the reps were unenthusiastic and really couldn’t be bothered getting into the spirit of the event. Happily, this weekend I came across several people who were so excited about Turkey, and were so kind and generous with their time, information, and trade show trinkets that it was hard to not want to reconsider Turkey as a destination.
And there was the Yukon. A very green destination, despite the snow, and one that most people rarely, if ever, consider. I had the pleasure of meeting several people who were genuinely in love with where they lived and were passionate about what they did. They didn’t only represent the businesses they were representing, they worked for and/or owned them. I have a date to learn how to paddle, followed by a couple days of learning how to run a dog sled. How totally cool will that all be? And prior to the event, I had never ever considered the Yukon as a place I would want to spend vacation time and money. But, alas, here I go – The Yukon and Ecuador. Now, where to fit them in an already full travel schedule?
Travel green. Pass it on.
PS The trade literature that I am currently still wading through will all be recycled. The paper that cannot be recycled via the recycle bin will either find a second life as paper beads, additions to scrapbooks and journals, or in some other way that I have as yet to conjure up.