Hiking with positive impact – what you can do to make this world a better place!
When Saskia from Better Places Travel asked me if I wanted to share my vision on #positivetravel I immediately became enthusiastic. While I’m doing my best do contribute to a better world already, I figured that I’d share my thoughts on positive travel with you. Since there are already many blogs written about the most common ways to travel environmental friendly (travel local, compensate your CO2 emissions) I’m sharing my thoughts on walking and hiking with positive impact with you. I’m sure that you may not even have thought about some of these things before when hiking.
1. Hiking is healthy
Althought it doesn’t need an explanation really, I wanted to mention this first anyway. Hiking is very good for your health. Not just for your physical well being but for your mental health as well. While I was going through my burn out, hiking was one of the few things that I had enough energy for and actually enjoyed doing. Hiking is frequently prescribed for people suffering from a burn out by pshychologists and that’s with good reason. It relaxes me, brings me peace of mind, reduces my stress and I can leave all my worries behind when on the trail. Hiking also activates my creative brain as many of the ideas I got for blogs on We12travel came to mind while out on the trail.
2. Leave nothing but footprints (and most definitely not white tissues)
While writing this I’m on the island of La Palma, one of the Canary Islands of Spain. It’s a true hikers paradise and today I hiked the Ruta de los Volcanes, the island’s most scenic hiking trail. I noticed many white tissues next to the trail and I started wondering why people decide to leave their rubbish behind in nature. I mean, it’s not that hard to pack the tissue after finishing whiping your behind, is it? You can easily pack them in a ziplock bag with the rest of your trash so you won’t have to smell it anymore. Use some cleansing gel for your hands and you’re all set to continue. I’m doing this for many years now and I have never been sick or whatever.
It seems quite difficult to adapt to pack out what you pack in though because while hiking in the Czech Republic a few weeks ago, I also noticed many white tissues next to the the trail. I even found a dirty diaper at some point. Are you one of those people leaving behind your waste like this? You should be ashamed of yourself really because it’s completely unnecessary and a waste to nature.
3. Use a Camelback
You probably know that plastic water bottles are a no-go, however I still wanted to mention this it’s not quite cool to fill your backpack up with plastic water bottles that you won’t re-use. In the past I carried re-useable drinking bottles (for example the environmental friendly Dopper) however these days I prefer using a Camelback. Super useful also for your internal being as this makes it easy to take a few sips of water every now and then rather than a big bulk of water in once. This will help you to stay hydrated continuously while on the trail.
4. Hike with a guide
In some countries, for example in Asia, it’s common to hike with a guide. I choose this option always when in Asia, for a variety of reasons. First of all it’s because I want to support the local economy. I went to Nepal a few months after the 2015 earthquake and my guide Lila lost his home during this disaster. The whole economy in Nepal was messed up and because I used a guide, I made sure he earned some money and could start building a new home. I also find it safer to have a guide with me, especially when hiking solo. In Asia not many trails are marked and I prefer not to get lost. Finally I also enjoy the information that the guides can provide you with as it makes the hike more lively. Hiring a guide isn’t that expensive in Asia and you really make a difference by doing so.
5. Pay your entrance- and parking fees
Entrance to some national parks require a fee. The money you pay will be used for many things such as local nature and culture causes. When you don’t need to pay an entrance fee, I suggest to make a donation or buy a souvenir in one the shops (if available) instead. When for example camping in the USA or New Zealand, many campsites have an honesty box, where you can deposit your camping fee. Don’t think ‘I’m not going to pay because nobody will notice’ as because of your contribution, campsites and backcountry huts can be maintained and enjoyed again by the next person.
6. Hiking reduces your carbon footprint
While hiking you need less motorized transportation, such as hiring a driver for renting a car. Fresh air is good for you and your physical and mental well being. This doesn’t mean that when for example going on a hiking trip to Patagonia you will travel carbon footprint neutral as flying still is a major pollute for the environment. However when flying always make sure to fly directly as the can reduce your carbon footprint up to 50%. It’s definitely something to consider when traveling long distances.
These were my suggestions for hiking with positive impact while traveling. Questions? Concerns? Feel free to leave them in the comments!
[This blog was writte in collaboration with Better Places Travel. All opinions are of course entirely my own.]
Want to read more? You may also enjoy the following posts:
– The best mountain hikes in the world
– Climbing Mount Rinjani in Lombok – Indonesia
– Safe solo hiking as a female: my tips & tricks