In the Japanese language there is a term, “mottainai”which we could translate with the expression “But what a waste!”. It takes its cue from the Buddhist religion and, in its daily use, is linked to the aversion to waste and waste of resources or even simple material objects, encouraging people to look beyond the culture of waste and to value every single thing.
While many “green” and sustainable efforts focus, as a motivator, on the future of the Planet, the “mottainai” starts from the assumption that, if you appreciate an object, however insignificant it may be, there is no reason to waste it.
That is why, in everything we do, we should always take into account how often there is waste. Even when we travel. In English this way of traveling is called “conscious travel”travel consciously, and never before do we all feel the need.
What is “conscious travel”
Traveling in a sustainable way also means thinking about not polluting our own country and any other place we decide to visit during our holidays. “Conscious travel” means Respect the enviroment and local culture, but also support local businesses. It means choosing the less traveled paths to help develop tourism where it has not yet arrived, lending a hand financially to those small businesses – shops, bars, trattorias, private individuals – often cut off from the big tourist circuits.
Responsible travel is easy. Especially now that, due to the pandemic, people tend to stay away from the most crowded destinations. We are talking about ecotourism, of course, because nature, with its wide open spaces, offers an infinite number of ideas to put into practice responsible tourism.
But also tours focused on the experience of local lifestyles, on learning about the culture and history of a place and a community, supporting the industries and resources of the place. So that, upon returning from the trip, you feel a little changed, for the better possibly.
Without going into the purely religious aspect as in Japan, “conscious travel” still has its basis a holistic approachconsidering all the aspects of a trip and the “mindfulness” (a very popular term that means awareness) of the planet we live on, of the people who inhabit it and whom we meet during our travels.
The “conscious travel” is a way of approaching a trip or a holiday in a completely new way, in short, which changes our values and the perception we have of the world and the places we visit, which allows us to look at the destination with different eyes, the eyes of those who live in that region, learning to know, understand and appreciate every single object as the locals do. Otherwise, “mottainai”!
Conscious tourism, if practiced in the correct way, can give rise to a radical change in tourism, helping to reduce the negative impact that the tourism industry has in this very difficult historical moment and to produce a benefit for those communities that otherwise risk to be further impoverished or even to be exploited tomorrow.
Simple rules to be a “conscious traveler”
1. While traveling, buy locally crafted products while avoiding department stores
2. Eat meals in local restaurants and buy street food instead of going to fast food outlets of international chains
3. Contact local travel agencies who organize guided tours
4. Stay in local-owned accommodation such as guest houses or B & Bs rather than large hotel chains
5. Get around by public transport or bike sharing bicycles to avoid contributing to pollution
6. Try to recycle garbage as much as possible and do separate collection.
Dove fare “conscious travel”
Without going too far, Italy, although small and by now known in every microscopic corner, has many places to enjoy a conscious holiday, starting from the thousands of villages scattered throughout the boot, where a holiday certainly leads to the local economy. a breath of fresh air. Especially in those regions less frequented by tourists, such as Molise or Basilicata, Abruzzo or Calabria. Prefer these regions to the already known Tuscany, Umbria or Trentino-Alto Adige, especially during the high season.
But there are also places immersed in nature, such as the most hidden valleys of the Aosta Valley (see the Mont Mars Nature Reserve) or the Abruzzo National Park or the central-southern Apennines or the hinterland of Sardinia.