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September 17, 2008



You know I'm going to have a cow about this, right? Right? But hey, you asked.

Here's the deal. I had wanted my whole entire grown up life to go to Angkor Wat. And when I finally had the chance to do so, I was not going to pass because well meaning conservationists say I shouldn't go.

But we chose to travel with an environmentally and culturally sensitive organization. Our money went to local guides and local hotels and local restaurants. Our trip organizer went out of her way to make sure we knew where we could spend our money in ways that were healthy not just for Angkor Wat, but also for the people of the region. We were happy to do so AND I got to fulfill one of my life long dreams.

I still want to go to Macchu Picchu and Borobadur and so many places on the planet. And I'm not staying home. But I can - and do - make the effort to choose to tread lightly.

Yeah, things are bad. But in addition to decrying how bad they are, let's talk about how to do tourism right.


Don't participate in the homogenous part of the travel industry.
Do it yourself. Don't go to resorts. Don't blindly follow guidebooks. Eat local food, talk to local people, see the real world.
If we can help people travel better, the places we visit will benefit.

Christine Gilbert

I think there is a temptation to view these places through the lens of "what they used to be like", but the idea that we shouldn't travel to keep these places poor, natural and unvisited, just because of this ROMANTIC ideal, just leaves a bad taste in my mouth. It's a little condescending, isn't it? They're just trying to make a living too. I think traveling responsibly is important, obviously, but the idea of staying home, to "protect" a region, seems naive.

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