Things You Can Only Learn When Traveling to Asia

If you are a keen traveler and would like to experience a culture or nature trip in a new way, you need to choose your next destination in Asia. There are scenes you will not see anywhere else, and people with big smiles and hearts you will remember for the rest of your life. No matter if you are interested in the cultural, human, or natural aspect of this continent, you are sure to find new experiences that will stay with you and shape your future life.

Connection with Nature

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Image via National Park Service

One of the things you will notice is that people living in rural areas of Asia are connected with nature on a different level. They can tell when it is going to be raining, when the river will rise, and even when the sun will set, even without a computer. Their traditional lifestyle and knowledge will help you develop your own connection with nature and your own environment. Just listen to the old stories and myths, and you will see that there are loads to learn from Asia.

The Importance of Water

You might also notice that people’s lives and schedules are determined by the monsoon and the flow of water. In many Asian countries, gods control the rivers and the rain, and this signifies the importance of water in people’s lives. If you happen to visit Thailand, don’t forget to check out Phi Phi Island, where you can embrace the real tropical lifestyle. Take the ferry and check out how locals respect the water and the environment.

Respect for Humans and Gods

In Asia, people are human-centered, and another person is the representation of gods in many religions. This is why family ties are so close, and parents don’t only look after their children and plan their future carefully, but also care for the sick and the elderly. If you are a visitor in Asia, in particular in India, you are likely to be treated as a god. As the ancient Sanskrit saying goes: Atiti Devo Bhava, or the guest is god.

Looking After the Natural Environment

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Image via National Park Service

Another thing you can learn from people living in traditional villages and towns in Asia is that they look after the living and natural environment. If you would like to learn more about how humans, animals, and ecosystems can exist in harmony, you might want to book a borneo travel package with ecosystem tours and visits to traditional villages where you can find out more about the values and beliefs of natives. Spending a few days with villagers living in harmony with nature can be a life-changing experience.

There are plenty of reasons why you might want to visit Asia. You can find out more about the religion of the country, the belief systems, the values, and the approach to education and work. On the other hand, you can witness how hard some of the conservationists work to protect the living environment of endangered species and restore their original ecosystem.

Vietnam

Wear Pact

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Sustainable fashion

Having a minimal carbon footprint is so important to me. I try to limit my environmental impact where ever and when ever possible. I choose to favor “slow’ fashion over ‘fast fashion”. Fast fashion is the second biggest industry polluter, behind the oil industry! In recent years people are becoming more aware of the drastic impact fast fashion is having on the environment, and companies have been making the move to the eco friendly movement.  A movement that is trying to limit fashions negative impact on our planet.

So what is ‘slow fashion’? Slow fashion represents our social responsibility and limits our carbon footprint. By choosing quality over quantity. By being clean, using organic and natural resources, and not using harmful toxins and dyes. By being fair, providing fair working conditions of employees and providing workers with decent pay.

So how do I include sustainable fashion into my lifestyle?

  1. I reuse and recycle my clothing. I never put my clothing into landfill. If I no longer need a certain piece of clothing I will donate it to charity. If the clothing item is not in a decent condition I will recycle this piece.
  2. Thrift stores. I will usually buy my clothes from a second hand/ thrift stores.And, as we have so many decent thrift stores in NYC it is so easy to stay “fashionable”.
  3. For new items of clothing, I will source sustainable and ethical brands.
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Wearing Pact relaxed fitted tee and eco-blend wrap cardigan 

 Pact

I was so happy to discover Pact, a sustainable clothing company. With their goal “to create the comfiest clothes in the world without destroying the earth, or harming people” I knew I had found a great company with similar values to my own. Pact use organic cotton, this is so important as organic cotton uses 95% less water than regular cotton to manufacture. Their clothes are made with sustainable ingredients/ fibers, so don’t contain any toxins of pesticides! Pact have sourced fair trade certified factories as they care for the well being of their employees.

I was sent three pieces of clothing to review.

  1. Black relaxed fit tee
  2. Black lightweight eco-blend wrap cardigan
  3. Black wrap dress

I am so impressed with the quality of all of these items. The material feels so amazing. The clothing certainly does live up to  the companies motto of “clothes that don’t just make you feel, you can feel good wearing them”. I wore the tee shirt and cardigan together for a weekend trip away. I can’t wait for the weather to warm up so I can start wearing the gorgeous wrap dress.

Pact is a clothing brand that I can get behind, their clothes are of great quality and I love their values, check out their online store here Pact

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Rocky Mountain National Park

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Bryce Canyon National Park

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Bryce Canyon

The natural beauty of Bryce Canyon National park is incredible. The views from above and from within are truly breathtaking. The major attraction is the spectacular crimson colored hoodoos, pillars of rock created by erosion. Bryce Canyon has the largest collection of hoodoos in the world, attracting nearly two million visitors annually. Bryce Canyon is located in southern Utah, in Utah’s canyon country. A four-hour drive from the famous Las Vegas, Nevada and two hours from the beautiful Zion National Park 

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Hoodoos

The main attraction is of course, the gorgeous collection of hoodoos. The best place to view the hoodoos are from the Bryce amphitheater, which has the largest collection of viewpoints.  With four main viewpoints (Bryce point, inspiration point, sunset point and sunrise point) and access to numerous hiking trails, this is the perfect area to start a journey exploring Bryce Canyon.  

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Hiking opportunities

Bryce Canyon has a range of hiking trails from easy to strenuous. As an introduction to Bryce canyon, I would recommend beginning with the Rim trail hike, here you will be hiking the rim of Bryce amphitheater, viewing the gorgeous hoodoos from above, walking between sunrise and sunset point. Rim trail is classified as easy. Please note that the rim trail is not a loop, so the hike can range from 1 to 8 hours, depending on when you turn back around!

A step up from the Rim trail hike, would be the Queens/Navajo combination loop, this is classified as moderate and is also regarded as the most popular hiking trail. Highlights will include viewing Thor’s hammer and the two bridges. If you are looking for more strenuous hikes, I would recommend the Peekaboo loop, here you will hike through the heart of the park, with stunning views of the hoodoos and also viewing the wall of windows. Fairytale loop is another great strenuous hike, providing you with a chance to see the Chinese wall, tower bridge and tall hoodoos. Away from the Bryce amphitheater at the northern end of the park is Mossy cave, an easy hike away from the crowds.

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Bryce Canyon hiking

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Highway 63

A breathtaking scenic drive through the park. Provides a great opportunity to view some of the major overlooks, with 13 viewpoints along this 38 mile round trip. Highlights include the natural bridge,  Rainbow and Yovimpa points. If you only had one day to explore Bryce canyon, I would recommend completing this loop and stopping off at the major viewpoints.

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Mossy Cave

If you have more than a day I would recommend a visit to Mossy cave. A hidden gem at the northern end of the park. provides an opportunity to get up close with the hoodoos without descending.  It is an easy hike along a stream side to view this pretty cave. Depending on the time of year you may also see a waterfall or icicles in the cave! A peaceful hike without the crowds.

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Bryce Canyon is a truly remarkable place. The scenery is stunning and the opportunities for hiking and photography are endless. A true nature lovers playground! Photos don’t do justice, you really need to explore Bryce Canyon in person to surround yourself in this natural beauty. A unique, and breathtaking landscape. One of my favorite national parks that I have visited so far.

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Everglades National Park

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Joshua Tree National Park

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Grand Canyon National Park

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Guest post on ‘What’s your impact’

I was given the opportunity to contribute to ‘what’s your impact’ blog site ‘The Eco Guide’. The Eco guide aims to educate people on the fight against climate change. Offering information and tips on various topics, on how each individual can make small or large changes to their every day life to help sustain our Earth by lowering their carbon footprint. It was a privilege to contribute to this wonderful organization. Below is a link to their website and a copy of my post.

Guest post

What’s your impact

Eco-fashion, the fashion industry’s answer to help combat climate change?

There is a strong relationship between fashion and climate change, the fashion industry has a direct impact on our environment. The billion dollar fashion and apparel industry is the one of the largest polluters of our clean water supply. The fashion industry uses extensive amounts of the Earth’s natural resources, such as water (second largest industry user of water) cotton and other raw materials. Approximately 8,000 synthetic chemicals are used throughout the globe to turn raw materials into the textiles that are used to make our clothes and accessories. As a result this industry is a primary source of greenhouse gas emissions, including Carbon dioxide (CO2) which as we know is a principle source of global warming, which is rapidly changing the globes climate. Understanding the ‘supply chain’ is essential in recognizing where and how various factors of the fashion industry are contributing to dramatic environmental damage and as a result accelerating the rate of which climate change is occurring. The supply chain describes, the use of millions of people, various environments and natural resources. As the supply chain is the process that turns raw materials into the finished product, the process that makes a designers vision into an object displayed in a store or on-line. It is one of the longest and most complicated industrial chains in the manufacturing industry. Changes across this supply change can and are needed to be changed to lessen the impact on our environment and to also enhance the well being of the people working and the various ecosystems along this chain which are being subjected to pollution directly and indirectly, such as the waste polluting water sources from textile waste during unsustainable manufacturing procedures.

Fast facts about this billion dollar industry’s impact on the environment:

  • Next to the food and beverage industry, clothing and accessories are purchased most often and replaced the most frequently.

  • 60 billion kilograms of fabric is outputted annually.

  • 132 million metric tons of coal is used each year through the production of natural and synthetic fibers, dying and bleaching of garments.

  • The fashion industry uses six to nine trillion liters of water each year.

  • Cotton is the worlds most commonly used natural fiber and is nearly 40% of our clothing. Cotton is also the worlds largest pesticide consuming crop.

  • On average, 150 grams of pesticides and other agriculture chemicals are used to produce the cotton for just one T-shirt.

  • Each year, over 90 million items of clothing end up in various land fill sites.

  • Annually, over 70 millions trees are logged to be transformed into various fabrics.

  • Plastic microfibers shed from our synthetic clothing, enter our water systems and attribute to 85% of the human made material found along shorelines, effecting marine Eco-systems.

  • The Fashion industry is the second largest polluter to freshwater water systems across the globe.

  • A quarter of the chemicals produced on earth are used for textiles.

  • Over 150 billion garments are produced each year, which is enough to provide every person on this planet with 20 new garments annually.

Many of us do not acknowledge where our clothing comes from and take fashion for granted. As the fashion industry has been around for a very long time, it is extremely important culturally, historically, religiously and socially. Therefore, fashion has many important attributes. As such, fashion is a leading platform globally, so it is essential to our planet that the fashion industry is sustainable and lessens its impact on the environment and reduces its carbon footprint. The fashion industry has the global platform, to endorse and promote sustainability. This industry has the power to change through education on the importance of sustainability and green living. Preserving fashion for future generations by conserving our natural resources.

Eco-Fashion is a term which is thrown around more and more frequently, so what is Eco-fashion? Eco-fashion is a social responsibility which will help reduce human impact on the environment, and reduce fashions impact on climate change. This can be achieved by designers and brands making the switch to environmentally friendly materials, and by also changing the methods of the production to that which is socially and environmentally ethical. This can be achieved by making clothing from recycled materials, or from materials that are produced by environmentally sustainable methods. The health of the consumer wearing the clothes is an another essential factor of Eco-fashion, as well as the well being of those making these clothes, ensuring that their working conditions are safe and environmentally friendly. Sustainable fashion is becoming more prevalent. There are various types of brands and designers who are branded as Eco-fashion and target a wide range of audiences, these vary from high end fashion, chain stores (fast fashion) to local boutiques. Examples include:

  • Stella McCartney: This is a vegetarian based company, aiming to use responsible resources and materials to lessen their impact on the environment.

  • MadeFAIR: An on-line retailer who strive to make ethical, sustainable, and Certified Fair Trade clothing and accessories.

  • Fair trade winds: A company which use environmentally sustainable products and support artisans, farmers, and craftspeople from various Countries.

  • Symbology: A company who employs women artisans from India and the West Bank. Who work with textile arts worldwide and fuse them with modern designs to create inspired,unique pieces, with each individually telling story of empowerment.

  • Fibre atheltics: This company use organic and recycled materials in all of their products.

  • Shift to nature: A company which only source products from Designers and Labels whose mission is to produce ethical, Eco, sustainable products. These brands create clothes from Global Organic Textile Standard Certified Organic Cotton (GOTS) and Oeko-Tex Standard 100 certified Bamboo.

  • Freedom of animals: A unique sustainable and cruelty-free luxury bag line.

  • H&M conscious collection: H&M is making the switch to become more sustainable and environmentally friendly, their starting point is the desire to make more sustainable fashion choices available, affordable and attractive to as many people as possible.

These examples are just a few of the Eco-fashion brands that exist, there are even more Eco-fashion brands found around the world, we can all do some research to find an environmentally friendly brand that is near where we live and what suits us all individually. It is vital that we are all fashion conscious and are aware of what we are wearing on our bodies. The consumers of the fashion world have a voice, each of us can shop sustainable and reach out to those fashion brands who are not environmentally conscious and suggest they make changes that will protect our earth for our future generations.

Studies have illustrated that over the whole life cycle of a piece of clothing, from the manufacturing of raw materials to the disposal of that item, the CO2 emissions on average add up to more than 10 kilograms! As consumers we all have the power to enjoy and embrace guilt free fashion. Here are a few suggestions to wear with care, and make the switch to green fashion, by following these tips each of us can help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

1. Limit your clothes:

Research has shown that the carbon footprint of a t-shirt is estimated to be approximately 6 kilograms, around 20 times its own weight! Ask yourself, how many clothes do you actually need? Ensure that your wardrobe is trans seasons. Meaning, make sure the clothes that you buy last over multiple seasons and can cross over into all seasons.

2. Recycle:

Recycling is extremely important when reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Even by recycling 1 kilogram of used clothes will help to reduce up to 3.6 kilograms of CO2 emissions. Detox your wardrobe, and when clearing out unwanted clothes make sure that these do not end up in landfill. Recycling clothing will help conserve raw materials and natural resources that have already gone through the supply chain, this will eliminate the use of 6000 liters of water, 300 grams of fertilizers and 200 grams of pesticides, required to start from scratch. Donate to charitable organizations such as goodwill and the salvation army, this will also provide to those in need, strengthening the community. Another way to recycle is to swap clothing with friends and family, you could make a fun spring cleaning event out of this.

3. Buy Vintage:

Buy your clothes from second hand stores. Keep clothes that have already been made in circulation, therefore these natural resources that have already been used do not go to waste. Fashion trends continue to pop up within vintage clothes, as they hold a unique history and have quality materials. Studies show that by extending the average lifespan by active use of an item of clothing by as little as three months, can reduce the carbon, waste and water footprint by 5-10 percent.

4. Buy local.

It is estimated that 60 percent of global clothing is manufactured in developing countries. Clothes are then placed in shipping containers and disperse around the world via various transportation methods such as planes, trains and trucks. It is not known how much fuel is used, however research suggests that 22 million new clothing items are brought by American’s annually with one 2 percent of which is domestically manufactured. Therefore around 90 percent of garments travel for thousands of miles, burning fossil fuels along this journey to reach the retailer. Keep business within your community, check the label to understand where these clothes have been manufactured. Ensure working conditions are suitable, that workers domestically and internationally are not being exploited. Local and quality materials are used, and the production methods are sustainable.

5. Slow fashion over fast fashion

Fast fashion is a dangerous trend. Sure, it may seem cheap and up to date with the ‘latest’ trends. However fast fashion is placing a large cost on our environment and future. Overall, consumers are spending less but buying more frequently. Hazardous chemicals are driving fast fashion production, as synthetic and inorganic materials are being used, which produces a large source of carbon emissions. Fast fashion clothes are made in abundance with constantly changing designs and styles therefore fast fashion clothing is disposable. It is estimated that in American each year, 10-13 million tons of clothes are dumped into landfill, releasing toxic chemicals into our soil and water. Avoid the trap of fast fashion, it exploits both domestic and overseas workers, ensures a decline in local production and is straining our natural materials and resources. Invest in quality over quantity.

6. Use sustainable washing techniques

During a single t-shirts life cycle, approximately 75% of its carbon footprint will be caused from the consumers machine washing and drying techniques, by being conscious of how you wash and dry your clothes can dramatically reduce this figure. Many laundry detergents contain harmful chemicals to both the environment and to yourself. Buy green laundry detergent, with biodegradable and phosphate free ingredients, ensure these ingredients are plant and vegetable based. Save energy (and money) by setting your washing machine to use cold water. Studies demonstrate that washing clothes at 30 degrees Celsius will have a carbon footprint of 0.6 kilograms compared to a carbon footprint of 3.3 kilograms if clothes are washed at 60 degrees Celsius. Avoid the drying machine, this requires the use of large amounts of energy resulting in greenhouse gas emissions and line dry your clothes instead to conserve this energy. Hand washing is another great technique to conserve energy.

As citizens of the globe we all have a duty to preserve the Earth for future generations. The fashion industry is linked to climate change, so it is vital that we are all made aware of this impact. From here we can educate and empower designers, fashion brands/companies, local communities and the individual to take a stand against climate change and ensure that our clothing and accessories are environmentally sustainable. When it comes to your fashion choices, always ask yourself, what’s your impact?

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