Sustainable Travel 101
Author: Athina Cantle Date Posted: 22 June 2018
Would you consider yourself a sustainable traveller? As consciously as I try to consume on a day-to-day basis, I must admit that in planning my upcoming overseas getaway, sustainability has not been my first priority. It seems that in navigating unfamiliar territory, culture, language, and currency, good habits may stray.
If this feels familiar, let me introduce you to sustainable travel and lifestyle blog Recess City. Recess City is run by Anna and Porter, photographers by trade, high-school sweethearts, and now husband and wife. Anna and Porter travel the world capturing hotels that focus on sustainability in their architecture, catering, decor, and impact on the wider community.
1. Tell us a bit about where you're currently visiting.
Right now we're in Iceland, a country we've been wanting to get to for a very long time. We've been living in a modern, Scandinavian-design camper traveling the south side of the country. It's absolutely beautiful here, and unpredictable in every sense of that word. The landscape changes every half an hour or so and in a single day you can see emerald hills, lava fields, glaciers and mountain peaks. Outside of the capital city and a few towns here and there, it's a pretty barren place. We've loved getting to unplug and explore and (most of all!) being somewhere where the sun never sets. Skateboarding empty highway roads at 3 am and photographing seals popping in and out of icebergs at midnight are things we just won't ever forget.
I love anything made by NPR (national public radio). I listen to a lot of TED talks and TED radio hours, but I especially love the podcast "How I Built This." Each episode profiles a different successful entrepreneur and I'm really encouraged by listening to the backstories of people from a huge range of fields, and just how much luck (if you believe in that) and hard work has played into their success. I think at our core, Porter and I are both entrepreneurial and, for now at least, Instagram is the platform we've been able to express that side of ourselves in. I definitely recommend giving it a listen if you haven't yet!
5. You have limited your luggage to only one suitcase each, which we so admire by the way! Tell us a bit about what's inside this capsule closet.
I try to stick to neutrals and basics, and even with just one suitcase still seem to have items that I ignore for the most part. I've never been the type of person who went for lots of bright colors or patterns, and neutrals allow us to easily mix and match, dressing things up or down depending on where we are and what we're doing. It's also so important to me that what we wear is very, very comfortable. If you only have a few things with you, they need to be spot on. If something's a bit too tight or itchy or too loose and you don't have an alternate in that clothing category (let's say, a cardigan) you will grow to resent it pretty quickly. In hot weather places, like when we were in Bali last month, I lived in loose summer-y dresses and jumpsuits. In Europe in the fall it was jeans and a sweater most days, but the ones I had then weren't anywhere near as comfy as my Outlands. We both wish we had a pair back then!
6. Anna, you've been travelling with the Harriet jean and Porter you've been sporting the Vanguard, what drew you to these styles?
I almost always go for a mid to high rise pair of jeans. They're just what I'm most comfortable in because I tend to wear a lot of cropped shirts and sweaters. Port loves jeans that are soft and have give. He also can't stand when they "bunch" at the bottom, so he tends to go for tighter rather than looser fits (which I prefer on guys anyway so it's a win-win!). We also like how the wash on Outland Jeans is just a little bit different without making too much of a statement. The unique shades of blue and off-black and the way they fade in and out on different parts of the jeans have made more than one of our friends ask us where they're from.
7. What I noticed about Recess City is that you focus on a wide spectrum of travel, catering to a range of perspectives of the word 'sustainable' - stories of visits to a trash clad balinese beach are only a short scroll from an article covering how sustainable accommodation is redefining luxury. Have you found that sustainable travel is just as accessible for all styles of traveller; from those who like to put their feet up to those who are keen to get their hands dirty?
I definitely think so. I mean, the number one hotel in Asia last year was simultaneously named one of the world's greenest. On the opposite end of the spectrum, camping is the original sustainable travel form haha. Obviously, there are a lot of options in between those two extremes, but this sector of travel is growing daily. Just like in the fashion industry, people are beginning to care more about their impact on the planet, and it's also becoming classified as somewhat "chique" to be involved in the eco-friendly movement thanks to a lot of celebrity who are vocalizing their support. I think if you're serious about your commitment to environmentalism, you'll always be able to hunt out a good option.
8. So in planning our next getaway, where would you recommend looking to find sustainable hotels in our chosen destination (after Recess City of course!)?
Definitely check out The Good Trade, it's a very well curated site that has all things sustainable & ethical. For higher end places, Bird PR represents some amazing leading sustainable resorts. But when all else fails, just go with Google. Sustainable hotels are excited to share their mission so you won't have a hard time finding them!