What It Means To Be A Conscious Traveller

Why we travel, culture, community and the environment all matter

Jessica Toale
The Conscious Traveller
6 min readDec 5, 2019

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View over Rio de Janeiro. Photo: Jessica Toale

At the beginning of the year I made a commitment to be more conscious of my impact as a traveller.

I had just spent the year living in seven different cities from Mexico City to Jakarta. Come December it had become painfully obvious just how much of a privilege my lifestyle was — and how high-impact it is.

Along the way the dilemmas of travel also became ever more apparent.

I heard gripes from locals and tourists alike about the sheer number of visitors at Thai beaches and Cambodian temples. Flight shame and overtourism had become prominent refrains across Europe as a result of student climate protests and floods in Venice. And in Barcelona, Lisbon and Seoul, anti-tourism graffiti adorned the walls of traditional neighbourhoods.

It became clear over the year that thinking about my impact meant much more than just trying to reduce my carbon footprint or using less plastic.

While these are undoubtedly important, and part of the package if you want to be a responsible traveller or tourist, I began to realise that thinking about my impact also meant thinking purposefully about the way I move through the world and interact with the people I meet…

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Jessica Toale
The Conscious Traveller

Londoner. Traveller. Activist. Instagram: @jessica.toale