Ecotourism – Three Things to Consider

-Guest post by Evan Delahanty, Founder of Peaceful Fruits

 

Hmmm so roomy in this blog – I feel like I’m on the beach in Thailand! Or is it South Korea? Guam? I’m not sure, but thanks for inviting me over, Alex!

 

Alex has taken her show on the road and, I have to say, it’s a great idea. Travel can be enriching both personally and professionally and, if you do it right, it can have a tremendous positive effect on the local economy as well.

 

I know something about that from MY time on the road – well, technically the path. I guess the river?

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Let me just quickly introduce myself – I’m Evan Delahanty, founder of Peaceful Fruits. Peaceful Fruits is a social good snack startup that empowers people in the Amazon Rainforest – and here in Akron, Ohio – while making healthy, delicious fruit snacks. I launched Peaceful Fruits after spending two years in the Amazon Rainforest as a Peace Corps Volunteer.

Hear Evan’s Full Story Here!

Life on the Road

Peace Corps is both the ultimate travel experience and the ultimate staycation. I was living in a remote Amazon village – literally in the middle of the virgin rainforest, accessible only by canoe or helicopter (if you have on laying around) – for 2 years. I became fluent in both the local language and the local culture.

 

Evan that far off the beaten path, there is some tourism. The industry – “eco-tourism” – is still small but flourish rapidly. It ranges from “home stays” to “it takes a village” community lodges, to near-luxury hotels (minus the AC generally) – and that was just on my incredibly remote river!

 

Community run eco-lodge in my village. Click for info (some in English)

The Pros and Cons of Eco-Tourism

 

These places offer incredible experiences – local guides, community-based entertainment and cooking. You are also contributing to the local economy.

 

In many of these places, people live at or barely above the subsistence level. Your outside cash is literally the only way to expand the pool of available capital in the area.

 

At the same time, there are risks.

 

  • What is fair vs exploitative, both to you and to the local people?
  • Safety vs adventure?
  • Cultural appreciation vs de-valuing spectacle?

The ultimate question is – what is sustainable and what is destructive?

Community recycling project…from way too much litter

 

When diving into this question, there are three things to consider.

  • Comfort with uncertainty is key to adventure, but always trust your gut (both intestinal and integrity)
  • Look for places where the owners live in the community (and are part of it)
  • Use a guidebook to find your post-airport accommodations. Don’t plan beyond that – ask around for local suggestions.

 

The best way to experience new and incredible things is to ask! If there is a Peace Corps Post or an Embassy – or just a cool concierge or driver – ask them! They will be happy to give you quality insights geared toward positive initiatives in the community. Not to mention that their suggestions will take you places you could never even imagine, connect you with incredible individuals and redefine your trip in the most amazing ways. When traveling, often times life is better off the beaten tourist path. The locals will get you there.

 

Feel free to buy them a beer to show your gratitude. Well, maybe when your driver is off duty.

Want another way to get involved? Keteka has the local vibe all planned out for you! check them out!

Through approaching your travel in pursuit of authentic experiences that also empower the local communities you can be part of redefining tourism around the world to create a “positive impact” – see what I did there?

Supporting communities from other parts of the world isn’t limited to just travelers. Take for instance checking out Peaceful Fruit’s ethically made and overall social good snack. Supporting awesome companies like this, only minor bias here, helps amplify good all over the world. For some communities, it can also help to create additional revenues outside of tourism.

 

Not to toot my own horn or anything.

 

If you’re curious about experiencing the flavor of the Amazon, enjoying more of my classic wit or just want to get your hands on these little snacks, come hang out with us at Peaceful Fruits.


 

{Oh yeah, we’re launching a crowdfunding campaign right now. Working to ramp up our efforts to make these snacks available across the nation, as well as giving out sweet discounts to all of our supporters. You can check that out here.}


 

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“Evan Delahanty has lots of interesting opinions about lots of interesting things – especially economic development, the Amazon Rainforest, social enterprise, and food startups.

 

Like the right eco-lodge, Peaceful Fruits is definitely a couple bucks well-spent on a great experience and making the world a little bit better.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Three things to consider when planning your ecotourism from former AmeriCorps Member and Peaceful Fruits founder.

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