Go Travel and Talk’s ‘Feature of the Month’ is all about connecting each other with the inspiration we need to EXPLORE, SHARE and IMPACT. The purpose of this monthly feature is to showcase explorers who are out in the world making a positive impact, and to empower each other to get involved. By joining the Go Travel and Talk community and learning from one another through sharing our insights, stories and experiences we believe that TOGETHER we can positively shape the future of travel.
Go Travel and Talk’s ‘Blog Feature of the Month’ March 2019 goes to The Green Shoestring by the inspirational Ashley and Sam, sustainable travel bloggers from The United States.
Sam and Ashley are the inspiring duo at the helm of The Green Shoestring, an insightful blog dedicated to low budget and eco-conscious travel. Throughout The Green Shoestring, Sam and Ashley’s personalities shine bright and you can feel their enduring love for sustainable travel. Their enthusiasm is infectious, and as you read through their beautifully laid out website, you can’t help but feel motivated to do more.
The Green Shoestring provides you with all the information you need to educate yourself on sustainable travel and how we can all do more in protecting our planet. Sam and Ashley offer detailed articles on the places they have explored, tips and tricks that they have learnt along the way and the best sustainable travel products on the market right now. Their content is inspiring, educational and empowering. There is no judgement from this impressive duo, just a genuine and authentic passion for educating themselves and others on the necessity of sustainable travel.
Go Travel and Talk are super excited to see where their journey leads them to next, and how we can all work together to help positively shape the future of travel. Check out their website, sign up to their newsletter and follow their journey as it unfolds on Instagram. Our hats come off to you Sam and Ashley, keep up the amazing work!
We are Sam and Ashley, founders of The Green Shoestring.
We left Denver, CO in 2015 with the same vision as most bushy eyed first-time travelers: to explore exotic destinations and have incredible experiences. The notion of traveling sustainably and its importance wasn’t even on our radar when we first left The United States. The wool was pulled from our eyes when Ashley wrote a paper on plastic for one of her online university courses. We were awakened to the shocking reality that plastic doesn’t biodegrade; once produced it exists in our environment forever. We also learned that humans are producing and consuming plastic at a shocking rate. The curtain was pulled back even further for us when we took a trip to Bali and saw beaches entirely covered in trash, nothing like the idyllic pictures you see on Instagram. Digging our feet in the sand uncovered countless little pieces of microplastic hiding just below the surface. It was in that moment we realized the travel industry as a whole as it currently operates was not sustainable.
We knew that if there were going to be any pristine destinations left for future generations to enjoy, something had to be done.
By that point, traveling had already become our passion and we felt guilty for unknowingly contributing to the damage being done by tourism. We made it our mission to travel as in harmony with nature as we could and to share the importance of sustainable travel with everyone we met.
From this, The Green Shoestring was born. We hope that our blog will highlight not only the necessity of sustainable travel, but to guide people on that path and show them how enriching and fulfilling in can be to travel mindfully.
What does exploring mean to you?
To us, exploring means connecting. Exploring means stepping out of your comfort zone and opening yourself up to new connections and experiences. It means not only traveling to a destination but experiencing a different lifestyle. It means forgoing the comforts of a resort and staying in a hostel or homestay. It means diving deep into local cuisine and embracing street food culture. It means taking local transportation and seeking out hidden gems instead of going from tourist hotspot to tourist hotspot in an air-conditioned van.
In that same vein, exploring means supporting local communities, businesses, and families. This is where the real mojo of travel lies and is where our most memorable travel experiences lie. Anyone can drink a fruity cocktail on the beach but getting invited to someone’s home to share in a traditional family meal; now that’s exploring.
Why do you believe in sharing your experiences?
We are so passionate about sharing experiences because we believe it’s so important to share not only how you travel, but WHY you travel. We live in an instant gratification society. People see a stunning travel photo on Instagram and they want to recreate that photo and that moment for themselves. As a society we are demanding immediate gratification in our daily lives and in our travels, and ecosystems and communities in tourist destinations are paying a price because of it.
We believe that there is an incredible opportunity to flip that narrative and turn travel into a global force for good. When done sustainably, travel can preserve the environment and uplift local communities. Being a sustainable traveler is shockingly easy to do. We were amazed at how easy and painless the transition was. We are passionate about sharing our travel experiences because this is a message that EVERYONE needs to hear. Travel is one of the most powerful platforms for global sustainability on a consumer level. We like to think of ourselves as living proof that when it comes to travel, you can have your cake and eat it too. You can go to incredible places and have life-changing experiences while also making a positive impact. The message is simple:
Be respectful of the places you visit, be mindful of the footprints you leave behind, and these amazing destinations will continue to thrive for generations to come.
How do you make a positive impact through travel?
To make a positive impact through our travels we try to be mindful of a handful of things.
What will be bring with us? What will we leave behind? Where will we spend our money? What connections will we make? How will we get around? What will we do?
A big thing for us is to minimize waste as much as possible. We always travel with cutlery kits, water bottles, collapsible coffee cups, food storage containers, waste free beauty products, beeswax cloth wraps, resuable shopping bags, and a water purifier so that we don’t consume any single-use plastic.
When we travel we try to keep our tourism dollars in the local community as much as possible. Sustainable travel isn’t just about preserving the environment, it means making sure tourism is beneficial for the local community in the long-term as well. We do this by booking locally owned accommodation, eating in local restaurants, and avoiding big tour companies in favor of smaller, ethical and locally owned companies.
As for getting around, we practice the mantra of slow travel. Generally speaking, the slower you travel the lower your carbon footprint will be. We overland as much as we can via buses, trains and the occasional hitchhiking. We also think about how much time we have to travel and choose to stay longer in fewer places as opposed to bouncing around taking a flight or bus every couple of days.
Lastly, we try to make a positive impact by sharing the message of sustainability and getting others travelers on board. We’re the wacky travelers in the hostel showing off our beeswraps and Splash boxes and getting another round of beers in our collapsible cups. We love having the opportunity to share our passion for sustainable traveler. Our go to analogy is this: