Commemorated every year on 5 June, World Environment Day is one of the main ways the United Nations “stimulates worldwide awareness of the environment and enhances political attention and action.” It’s also a day to remind us to take stock of our own behaviour, and that includes what we do when we’re travelling.
Whether we’re swimming in it, paddling on it, or drinking it – luxuriating in refreshing water can bring us infinite pleasure while we’re on holidays. But of course we don’t want it to be at the cost of the local residents. Nearly 3 billion people or half the world live in water-scarce conditions and people are travelling more than ever, so how can we be water wise when we’re away from home?
If portering was an Olympic endurance event, the trekking porter would win all the medals for their weight-lifting skills. Celebrate and admire these incredible athletes of the mountains. Watch them in action, appreciate the balance, strength, endurance and their good nature, then try picking up a load yourself!
Portering is an important part of the economy in many popular hiking destinations. If you are off trekking in places like the Himalayas, Mt Kilimanjaro or shorter treks like on the Inca Trail in the Andes, employ porters, support the tradition and take good care of them. At Intrepid, we follow strict guidelines in how we recruit and care for porters. You can play an important part in this…
The following statistics could come as a shock:
Half the world’s girls are illiterate,
Over 60 million girls don’t attend primary school,
Over 70% of people living on less than $1 a day are female.
It’s pretty alarming, wouldn’t you agree? So, as a global company, Intrepid Travel has decided it is time to step up. We’re joining the fight for gender equality with the launch of SAMA, a 3-year global program, aiming to improve the lives of communities and help bridge the gender gap through early education.
Enjoying a delicious local meal is one thing, but knowing that where you have chosen to dine also makes a real difference to disadvantaged youth gives you even greater satisfaction. Many Intrepid travellers know the dining delights of KOTO in Hanoi and now Ho Chi Minh City. KOTO was established in 1999 to support deserving young people and Helen Cunningham explains why it’s one of her most memorable meals in Asia…
“If you’re a people person, then some of the best travelling discoveries you can make come from meeting the locals at your destination. For a down to earth, realistic and sometimes colourful experience, I thoroughly enjoy the knowledge, company and stories that the locals are willing to share. Having travelled through many Asian countries, I love to get away from the regular, most visited tourist spots and sample local cuisine, culture and art, and in return the locals are excited to share their lifestyle with me.
Porters: we’d have a much tougher time getting up those hills without them! They play such an important role in the success of trekking operations in many mountainous regions, including of course the mighty Himalayas, so Intrepid and The Intrepid Foundation are very proud to support the Kathmandu Environmental Education Project (KEEP) Porters’ Clothing Bank (PCB).
The PCB was established in 2009 to provide ill-prepared porters with improved clothing, suitable for treks in a mountain environment, and KEEP has no doubt that supporters of the PCB have helped save hundreds of porters from extreme cold, frostbite, amputation and even death. PCB’s latest report tells that nearly 1000 porters, representing different trekking companies as well as individual porters, have benefited from the PCB. Aside from helping porters with clothing items, the KEEP’s PCB assists with education and awareness amongst porters, the tourism industry and with trekkers. So what can travellers do? Here are some tips from KEEP’s Porters Code, to guide you…
The temples of Angkor and their mystical quality is what attracts many travellers to Cambodia. But what Intrepid’s Anya Hodson discovered on her trip to this beautiful kingdom, is that it’s the everyday people of Cambodia who make this country so special…
“During a recent conference trip, our Intrepid group was able to schedule a visit to a local project supported by The Intrepid Foundation. Green Gecko is an organisation in Siem Reap for street kids of all ages. As a place of refuge from life on the streets, Green Gecko is somewhere that children can go to receive shelter and education, but also have fun with other kids.
Many Intrepid travellers have been introduced to the dining delights of KOTO Hanoi. Now such culinary pleasures, while supporting deserving young people, can also be had in Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC)!
Established in 1999, KOTO has grown from a small sandwich shop in Hanoi to an internationally accredited hospitality program. In January 2010, KOTO was able to replicate its successful Hanoi model with the opening of KOTO Saigon training centre and has recently celebrated the opening of a restaurant in HCMC. Same great service from trainees who prepare and serve the food. Plus a menu that celebrates local ingredients and utilises the international culinary techniques the trainees are learning, resulting in an array of innovative fusion dishes.
If you’ve followed Intrepid’s journey then you know that an integral part of our trips is our Responsible Travel philosophy. It’s not something we only talk about, but something we do every day, and seeing this in action made Viv Frost’s Kenya Wildlife Safari all the more special…
“As soon as you set foot on African soil there is something that captivates you, heightens your senses and makes you fully aware that you are somewhere magical. Arriving in Nairobi after a long arduous journey from Auckland, my husband and I felt relief as well as a sense of excitement.
In 1835 Charles Darwin described the Galapagos Islands as a “living laboratory”. Fortunately centuries later the islands are still a haven for unique flora and fauna, but there is a growing threat – tourism. In an effort to protect the native animals, new cruising restrictions will come into effect in 2012, but more can be done to travel responsibly in the region.
Intrepid’s Active Galapagos is a great example, because you stay on the islands and support communities by dining in local restaurants, rather than just running up a tab on the boat. And as Sean Kennaway discovered, your wildlife encounters will still be amazing…