Looking Back at Sustainable Travel in 2019… and Ahead to 2020 — Hidden Lemur Weekly #2

We all know the well-worn stereotype of the January gymrat turned February couch potato. 

So why is it so damn difficult to change our habits?

I’d argue that every New Year’s resolution gone awry owes its failure to misplaced motivation. 

As in: have you set your resolution because you know you’re supposed to set one? 

New Year's resolution: get a haircut, dude.

(Editor's note: This article is part of our new sustainable travel newsletter. If you think you'd like to receive a regular dose of sustainable travel news and inspiration, sign up here.)

Or, have you decided to make a change because your lived experiences have proven to you that there’s a better way?

Let’s apply that same logic to sustainable travel. 

It’s easy to agree that we should travel ethically. But without widespread education and accessibility, sustainable travel will remain an unfulfilled ideal.

So let’s kick off the new decade by looking back — and then, by looking forward to a more sustainable future.

Looking back:

The New York Times’ 52 Places Traveler, Sebastian Modak, reflects on his year in motion and his lessons learned abroad. Among those lessons: “low season” is often the best season to visit a new destination, “when it was far easier to blend into the fabric of daily life because I wasn’t just part of a horde of tourists changing the face of entire cities for months at a time.”

Looking forward:

In that same spirit of off-the-beaten-path travel, The Guardian has released its 2020 hotlist of ethical destinations, spotlighting Romanian safaris and Slovenian bike trails. 

And in case you missed it, Hidden Lemur’s published our own 2020 sustainable destinations guide, featuring locales ranging from Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way to Mexico’s antidote to beach-rave excess, Huasteca Potosina. Take a look.

Slieve League, along Ireland's Wild Atlantic Way.

Looking back:

As we discussed in our most recent edition of Hidden Lemur Weekly, sustainable living can feel downright overwhelming. Here’s a Quartz rundown of some of the ways it got harder to be a good person in 2019. (And yes, “flight shaming” made the cut.)

Looking forward:

We don’t necessarily believe that the outsized carbon footprint of air travel means travelers should cease flying entirely. We do, however, believe that every air traveler can do their part to fly more sustainably.

(At least until this theoretical air/train hybrid thing lands at an airport near you.)

Looking back:

That bubbly you popped to ring in the new year may not have sprayed the room if not for a 17th-century energy crisis. Lesson being: innovation almost always comes from necessity. 

(Even if that innovation is carbonated booze.)

Looking forward:

Here’s a wonderful article on slow travel, regenerative tourism, and other trends set to shape sustainable travel in the new decade, courtesy of the Altruistic Traveller.

(And if you missed our Q&A with the AT’s founder, Bianca Caruana, give it a read.)

With that, we’re out. Happy New Year, friends.


Conor is the founder of Hidden Lemur. He's deathly afraid of bees.

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