I’ve been fortunate to experience the world through Peace Corps in India, leading Earthwatch programs in Tunisia and France and personal and family travel around the world. I’m passionate about real life education and travel. I initiated Cabin Fever University and wish to share that concept and educate the traveling public about thoughtful travel. I grew up near Niagara Falls and have seen over a lifetime how the tourism industry warps the special places that travelers wish to appreciate and often, because of sheer numbers, ruin instead.

In order to accommodate thousands of tourists, unique places are altered in ways that spoil the experience. Thus, the clamoring to visit the undiscovered places before the tourists get there.

The conversation I think we should have is how we can savor our traveling experiences without contributing to the degradation of the places we wish to visit. Further, are there ways to enhance the communities we visit, acknowledging our cultural impact.

5 ideas to consider how to go about the business of travel:

The first is to think about the thing you personally are passionate about and where in the world could you get a broader understanding of that interest.

If you have a club or special interest group, find places that specifically cater to that interest and arrange for your group to meet there.

Second, we are all tourists! So go to the must see places on your list in the shoulder or off season and engage with the folks that serve you. They need you off season.

Third, we wish to bring a piece of our experience home and souvenirs is how we do that. I’ll say this in a diplomatic way: Why would you go to a unique place then buy crap produced in some other country with the name of your special place plastered on it? Don’t.

Buy something you will use or as a real gift. Support the businesses that are around for generations still doing great work.

Fourth, go somewhat outside your comfort zone. I must say that the next few images are actually my comfort zone, and making a 5 minute presentation here is not. Sprinkle some back alley neighborhood discoveries with the iconic Go To places. The neighborhoods need you.

Don’t be afraid to stop somebody on the street and ask about something they cherish in their neighborhood..They live there. They know stuff.

The fifth notion I want to present is that it often comes down to one’s special sauce. The meal I had in a back alley restaurant hadn’t included the signature sauce, so I asked for a tablespoon of it to taste. And I found myself in the kitchen a few moments later. Be warmly inquisitive and be a good ambassador.

So I’ve thought about the things I care about and decided I wish to promote thoughtful travel around the world. This is my new cabin fever university. Connect with me about experiences you’ve had and what you are passionate about. No matter what you are curious about, there are amazing places that will add value and more to what you now know. Go there. If you need assistance or cheering on, let me know. It’s what I do now.

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