How to Travel in a Way That Benefits Both You and the Planet: Five Tips from a Climate Expert
We’ve been closely following the activities of the ToptoTop expedition on their journey across the planet. As one of their main sponsors for over ten years, we are deeply committed to their mission and share many of their values. Climatologist Dario and his wife Sabine, a nurse, have been traveling the world for the past twenty years, educating everyone they meet about climate change.
They have some help with this as their family has steadily been growing since their journey began. They welcomed their sixth child, Vital, into the world in August 2017, whilst the family were staying in Iceland. With their eldest daughter, Salina, already an accomplished public speaker, the children are just as powerful ambassadors for sustainable living as their parents. As Dario and Sabine point out: “We have found that our message is much more effective when our children talk to their peers”.
Their own experiences were at the forefront of their minds as this well-traveled and adventurous family sat down together to share with us their tips for sustainable travel.
Take Your Time
“It’s crucial that you adapt yourself to the rhythm of nature” says Dario, “If you have only a limited amount of time, you might rush your plans. Maybe you’ll disregard an avalanche warning with hazardous consequences”. Dario recalls the time the family sailed across the Atlantic ocean, where they were often accompanied by whales or dolphins, to the delight of the children. “If you flew over this ocean, as most people do, you would totally miss out on this magical experience” points out Dario. Although not everyone has the luxury of time, you can still apply this mentality to your two week holiday.
Never Too Young To Learn
Whether experiencing your own country or traveling abroad, it’s never too young to learn an appreciation for nature. As Dario says, “Kids who swim in rivers or lakes in Switzerland will grow up to be adults who fight passionately to protect these rivers and lakes”. Dario hopes that the global work of the ToptoTop expedition will have the same effect: “The seals on Robinson Crusoe Island in Chile are often hunted by fishermen. We took a group of local schoolchildren swimming with the seals and it was an amazing experience for everyone, I am pretty sure that these children will not grow up to be fishermen who hunt and kill these beautiful animals”.
Less Is More
Equally good for you is traveling light, according to Dario. “We once cycled for a week between settlements in Australia, with two small children. This experience taught us how to reduce what we took with us down to the absolute minimum, so we could carry all the water that we needed”. The family believes traveling with only minimal possessions adds a certain lightness not just to your luggage but also to your soul. “We learned that the less we took, the less we needed to worry about what we had forgotten”. Do the kids ever get bored with the few toys they are allowed to take on the boat? “Absolutely not!” laughs Dario. “The fewer toys they have, the more creative and curious they become. Nature is after all the best teacher”.
Combine Travel with a Mission
Although not everyone wants to dedicate their holidays to a volunteering project, it is still possible to have a positive impact on your destination when you travel: “Whether you are on a tropical beach or a mountain hike, take a bag with you and pick up any litter you find on the way”. Dario affirms that this simple and effective way of helping is something that he and his family love to do. “Nature is so generous, she gives us so much – from stunning scenery to peaceful moments” says Dario. “When you pick up litter, it’s like you are giving something back to nature”.
Share Experiences with Others
For the Schwörers, respecting nature and respecting the people you meet go hand in hand. It’s all part of their philosophy of traveling slowly: “When you don’t rush, you have more time to meet people, to make a connection and to learn from others” says Dario. “This can only improve your experience and most importantly expand your knowledge, helping you to learn the importance of protecting our planet”.
See our workbag inspired by the Schwörer Family and their ToptoTop Expedition.