In the face of drastic climatic change, immense waste generation, and exploitation of resources, travelling responsibly is becoming increasingly necessary. According to a study published in Nature Climate Change, the global travel and tourism industry accounts for eight per cent of global carbon emissions, making the aforementioned all the more imperative.
Thankfully, in India, youngsters are taking the lead in responsible travel and inspiring others to follow suit.
Jestin Shaji, a BCom graduate, has set out on an all India tour on a bicycle and guess where his next stop is? Namma Bengaluru!
“I’ve been to Bengaluru before, but each travel brings its own surprises. I’m expecting to get some hands on experience in cycle repairs, and looking forward to having an enriching experience; interacting with people from different backgrounds”, he says.
Jestin in an earlier tour, cycled across all 14 districts of Kerala in 14 days covering a distance of around 1400 kms, with no money in hand. He sustained himself by befriending and staying with strangers from different socio-economic backgrounds and religions throughout his tour.
“After backpacking up North India and Nepal with a very tight budget, I realised that travel doesn’t exactly require a lot of money. It is the people you meet, the experiences and the memories you make that are more important.So I went back home and picked up a five-year old cycle (Giant Roam) that my brother brought and I decided to set out on a tour”, he says.
He documented his experiences with people who helped him with food, water and direction in vlogs on his YouTube channel, The Bicycle Diary. “My travels are mostly personal. But I also take extra care and prepare myself to avoid the use of plastics and wastage of resources and spread the same message through my vlogs, hoping to motivate fellow travellers to follow the same.”
Travelling responsibly definitely comes with its challenges, because suddenly you have to spend more time in commute as opposed to a quicker journey by an airplane, or restrain yourself from stocking bottled water.
Jestin sure had his share of challenges, he says, “When the Kerala tour ended, I had planned to pack my bike and get back home on a train. But I didn’t have any money, so I wrote a message on a cardboard piece and showed it to people right outside the railway station in Mangalore. The message read:“Kanyakumari to Kazaragod14 days 14 districts No money Need help to go back home.”
15 people from 15 different backgrounds came helping me with the money; a foreigner, an auto rickshaw driver, students, families and many others. After 45 minutes, when I counted the money it was more than what was needed.”— Angel Maria