Whilst we have been travelling we have also been working on farms, practising natural farming and permaculture principles. This has changed our lives, left us brimming with new knowledge and full of hope for the future. We will not go into much detail here, other than to point you in the direction of some useful definitions of  permaculture (I’m sure most of you know about it already). We will be writing soon about our experiences on various farms and projects.

Whilst learning about permaculture we figured that if we want to live a life according to permaculture principles, then we must apply those principles to each aspect of our lives. This includes, of course, travel. This we have decided to call PermaTravel, and it is a philosophy that we will be developing and sharing on this blog.

We do not mean to criticise or stoke controversy. This theory has arisen from a frank look at the way we travel (and, yes, the way other people travel too), and a desire to bring it in-line with the principles we hold dear. Emma and I fall pretty far from hitting all of the criteria we discuss below, but we at least wanted to get into place for ourselves a set of guidelines to help us to make our travels more sustainable now and even more so in the future.

What you will see from up-coming posts is that since we have begun practising PermaTravel we have had a hell of a lot more fun , developed a broad and broadening new skill-set, and have begun to feel a lot better about things that we typically felt guilty about before.

We are not saying that everyone needs to change everything about their travels. But it is important that, as travellers, we think about these things. And if, after honest consideration, we feel incline, then we can begin to make meaningful changes.

So what is PermaTravel?! These are our first attempts at describing an idea that is likely to evolve (and hopefully with your help).

PermaTravel requires us to take a step back and frankly assess the purpose and impact of our travels.

PermaTravel is not necessarily long term travel, but rather cultivates an urge toward a sustainable, compassionate form of travel.

It acknowledges the destructive power of the capital-based tourism industry and is actively opposed to it. It deplores resortification and the forced assimilation and partial or full loss of local and/or indigenous culture. Rather, PermaTravel is undertaken in the spirit of a pilgrimage of respect and learning toward and from these cultures.

PermaTravel encourages the use of internal infrastructure in the countries within which we travel, preferring, for example, local buses to privately hired cars or coaches, hitchhiking over the use of tourist specific infrastructure and human-powered travel over the use of fossil fuelled travel. As such, PermaTravel naturally inclines toward Slow Travel.

PermaTravel encourages thoughtful and compassionate use of the valuable resources that the environment provides for us. It requires an attitude of disdain for waste and cultivates a creative approach to recycling, reduction of consumption and re-use of resources whilst travelling.

More than just a change of attitude toward travel, PermaTravel requires a change in the ways we travel, alterations (perhaps quite difficult ones at that) in our methods of transport, the places we choose to spend our money and nights and the things we see and do whilst in other countries.

These are a few of the primary ideas we have had regarding PermaTravel. We will soon be delving a little deeper, as well as providing examples from our own experiences and, hopefully, those of others.

What do you think about PermaTravel? Do you think we are missing anything (I’m sure we are missing a lot), and could you help us to refine the definition in any way? Get in touch either here or in the comments section.





9 thoughts on “PermaTravel

  1. I wish I was more of a permatraveller! I tend to scour trip advisor and read reviews about which hotel to stay in whereas i would probably have a much broader experience if I stayed in a hostel or a home stay. I think it’s great what you are doing/have done. Brainwashed westerner haha. I think maybe you could include safety tips as well, as I know for example when I was in Mexico we were advised not to use local travel as it could be dangerous. Touristy areas fine but sometimes if you go off the beaten track there might be a need for more awareness say if you were a female solo traveller. Not scaremongering, just think it might be worth a small inclusion xx


    • We wish we were better permatravellers too! Safety tips are a good idea, and an important consideration all the time. Em and I have a good balance (I tend to be more paranoid whereas Emma is a little more care-free in some respects, so combined it works well…not too cautious, but not silly either).

      We often hear of how local transport is dangerous too, and how certain places are dangerous. We have generally found that people exaggerate these, or have never checked it out themselves because they are, understandably, too scared. For us, it has usually been the case of making sure we stay where it is generally busy if somewhere is considered dangerous. And on the odd occassions where we were in dodgy places we were pretty swift to make an exit or ask for help. But that is just our experiences. Sadly we’ve known people who have been attacked.

      Usually, the crime tends to come in tandem with the tourism. Where there are tourists (who are often considered to be wealthy and worth robbing, even if that is far from the case) there are people who prey on them. Which is sad. But also sadly understandable.

      That’s another cool thing about meandering away from the tourist circuit…people tend to welcome us with a smile rather than want to rob us (thankfully we often look rather disgusting and ragged, which is likely a deterrent also).

      That said, it’s not always about getting off of the beaten track, or away from the tourist trail. We often visit tourist places. We were discussing this today. We can’t just avoid the tourist places. It is important to carry on going to these places but to consider our impact when we are there. So perhaps a good option would be to go to the place- be it a place of tourism or not- and rather than stay only in places from guidebooks, Trip Adviser, seek out local businesses when you get there. Usually this can mean better, more local food and at a cheaper price too.

      It would be bad- now- to completely abandon these places, because often their economies will now be reliant on tourism. Also, if you choose local (for food, guest-houses etc), then the money will be going to the right places.

      It’s also good to make clear what we WANT from these places. So, if we WANT to have a lower impact and we let that be known, then over time it might be a reasonable expectation that tourist industry providers will adapt to these wants.

      Sorry, I’ve rambled there. But Emma and I were discussing that as I was typing and it all just spilled out.

      Thanks for taking the time to read the post and share your thoughts Emily.

      Lots of love from us both.



      • That’s ok 🙂 I find your blog really interesting! It’s a lot easier to comment now it’s WordPress as well as blogger is a bit of a pain. I would love to do what you guys have done but I’m awful , I wouldn’t be able to go a day without using my hair straighteners haha. I would be a terrible traveller. But then again maybe I would surprise myself…

        I think you’re right about the safety stuff. I’ve never had any problems myself when abroad but I know other people who have. I think women alone have to be really careful unfortunately. Agree as well about the food – best places I’ve eaten have always been the random little places you stumble upon by accident rather than the expensive places. Best place I ate in st Lucia was a random shack at the end of a beach where this little old lady was barbecuing fish. I’m really itching to go travelling!! Xx


  2. I want to PermaTravel. I want to slow travel. I want to hitchhike. But I also only have four days of work and I want to go appreciate beautiful art and eat beautiful food in Italy. What to do?


    • Interesting question. I suppose if we were going to be hardcore then it would be a case of saying should you go to Italy if you only have four days?
      But, to be more realistic, you’ve obviously earned your break ( especially you of all people), so I guess it comes down to applying that want to PermaTravel with what you can do when you are there. Sometimes there is no option but to get a flight (a real frustration we have faced), so the work comes down to how we travel once we arrive.

      I think this is where it gets difficult because most people don’t have the time to hitchhike or cross oceans on boats. I wonder whether there will come a day when it is no longer possible to fly and then we are forced to address this differently. Difficult questions.


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