Eco-Tourism v. Eco-Travel

Last night I dreamed that I was taking a group of yoga students to the Galapagos.  I was already on my way, and the dream information did not include the decision-making process that started the venture.  Instead of being excited, though, I was feeling anxious and guilty about bringing my inherently destructive presence (the one that eats, defecates, urinates, bathes, wears sunblock, requires built shelters, and, to travel, uses fossil fuels) to a place that we value for its uniqueness in nature and relatively pristine qualities.  I woke thinking it was absurd to have had that dream; couldn’t I have enjoyed myself just a little without feeling overwhelmed by questions, doubts, and guilt?  Why on earth did my unconscious serve this dream up for me?  Is it going to make me live a less environmentally conflicted life (that won’t even begin to happen until I move into a much smaller dwelling unit, my house being my biggest infringement on the environment)?  Probably not.

For Christmas this year, I’ll be doing my own version of eco-travel — going to New York City.  I’ll be taking the train both from DC to NYC and, on the day I go out to visit my parents, from the City to the Island.  To get around NY, I’ll walk or take public transporation.  I’ll eat mostly vegetarian/vegan food, some local and organic.  I’ll drink tap not bottled water (which is easy to do in NY).   I’ll have my bamboo utensils, cloth napkin and carry cup for the meals I don’t eat in a restaurant and my own carry bag.  I’ll have handkerchiefs instead of paper tissues.  I won’t have the hotel wash the linens until I leave.  Oh yes, I’ll be consuming and enjoying.  I’ll be eating and looking at art and seeing theater and/or music and/or dance and will inevitably do some shopping.

Where is your balance?  Are you comfortable with it?


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