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Friday, 16 September 2011

Have you planned your Stay-cation?

For many of us this year’s holiday season is already over. I have, for many years, travelled around my own country experiencing the vast variety of places which are on our doorstep. This got me thinking how many people really, truly, can say that they spend quality time in the country they live and explore every aspect of it? With travelling to foreign countries so popular I’m starting to think not many.
My interest in nature started early and I can’t really pin point the time I realised I wanted to make a difference. After camping with my parents for practically my whole life I can only assume it was down to them.
Back in September 2006 I decided to take the opportunity and volunteer whilst I was out of work. I enrolled on a National Trust Working Holiday and it was fantastic, not only did I make some new friends I knew I was in someway making a difference to the environment I loved.
The National Trust runs about 400 Working Holidays a year throughout the UK. Each have their own set of activities and therefore you can pick the one that suits you the most. My tasks involved beach clearing, scrub clearance and wood coppicing. The holidays demand varying degrees of hard graft but are definitely worth doing and thoroughly enjoyable. Most holidays can be selected according to volunteer’s skills sets, age and level of fitness.
I tend to spend my annual holiday camping in the south of Cornwall and absolutely love it there. Even if I choose to travel abroad I would still want to go back there each year. Not only for the friends and family I have down there but to enjoy how wonderful our own country is.
There are many beautiful countries to go and visit, which don’t get me wrong I would love to go and visit one day, but what about the country you live in? Are there not places in your own communities you would like to explore first? I was surprised to find out that a lot of my friends have never really explored their own country. And why not?  It’s on our doorstep after all.
Each country has its unique qualities and often attracts vast numbers during the summer months. If tourists are prepared to visit our country to see what it has to offer then shouldn’t we be doing the same? Do we ever truly get to fully explore our own country? We need to rethink the way we travel and the places we travel to as travelling is one of the greatest contributors to climate change.
Unlike other environmental issues green travel is entirely down to us.  As travellers and tourists we make the decision ourselves regarding how we should travel.
Well lucky for us, green travel is considered quite trendy at the moment with a lot of new people taking up camping. There are several books in shops at the moment with tips on how to be green, but favourite has to be Eco Escapes by Laura Burgess. Not only are there tips on how to be green whilst on your holidays but it provides you with a list of beautiful and eco friendly places you may wish to visit during your holiday. The book suggests that it will ‘help you see with new eyes and help you see home as a great place to start wherever this may be’.
Some campsites are known to have solar powered showers and recycling is strongly recommended. According to Jonathan Knight, author of Cool Camping, some campsites also have their own comfortable, fragrance free composting toilets. 
There is a good website you should all visit if you want to explore the advantages of green travel. Responsible Travel thinks that holidays should care about the local communities and different cultures as well as wildlife and the environment. Tourism does help communities grow by providing an income source through travel related spending. We should want to explore all the cultures available to us we just need to make sure we are accountable for our actions.
Stay-cation is the new catch phrase and many people don’t know what it means or the intended purpose of the word. But many of you I’m sure, similar to me, have being doing it for years and now it’s our turn to show them how it is done and how they can positively effect the environment we live in.