13th Oct 2019 - Environment
The Art of Travel
Technology has allowed us to travel further and quicker than ever before, making the world a smaller place. Constant innovations help quench our thirst for more adventure, more convenience and more connectivity. It’s probably most people’s dream still ‘to travel and see the world’; and why not, it’s a beautiful world. With costs coming down, routes opening up, selfies spiralling, the possibilities seem endless; and in this dizzy excitement of growing our own worlds, we have forgotten the consequences on our actual world.
It’s human instinct to travel, it’s part of our evolution, what makes us feel alive and feeds the soul. It’s philosophy, education, wonder.
With climate change and overtoursim at its current zenith however, we need to learn how to travel more sustainably and what this actually means. We want to open conversations, share stories and through celebrating the beauty of our natural and cultural world, take the necessary steps in protecting what we love.
The word “overtoursim” was in fact shortlisted as a Word of the Year in 2018, a word so new that it doesn’t yet have a place in the dictionary. A good example (a place we are yet to visit), is Thailand’s Maya Bay, which shot to international fame when it featured in The Beach, is closed until further notice. 1000’s of clumsy tourists a day arriving by speed boat, grabbing the corals and shedding sun cream (proven to kill corals) has indeed taken its toll.
According to a National Geographic survey, many travellers want to support sustainable travel and tourism, however the concept remains fuzzy with only a small percentage of people, mostly young, actually aware of what it really means. When we asked the question “What does sustainable tourism mean to you?” on social media recently, it was met with replies like ‘delicate issue’, ‘can of worms’, ‘stay at home?’. But this is exactly why we want to proactively open up the conversation. It’s also relevant to our business - we make shorts to be worn in the sunshine; they’re designed to make you dream.
Leading the way, through story telling and adventure is good friend and documentary maker James Levelle. Currently a quarter of the way across the Atlantic, James is journeying 7000 miles from the UK to Chile, fossil fuel free. His goal to better understand the climate crisis and deliver a message from the global youth he meets along the way to politicians and the world at the UN Climate Conference this December. Crossing the ocean by wind on a tall ship and cycling on land through countries known and new, inspires us greatly. Maybe it’s time to slow down when we travel too - the journey is our time away.
On the isles of Greece, one of our long standing shorts customers organises swimming tours. His aim to create an experience that brings people closer to the sea and therefore deepen their connection with it. “the goal is for my tours to be a platform enabling education in environmental sustainability.” Although he admits he is always amazed at how many of his customers are both uninformed and in denial. “All work in progress, but a process we can no longer leave for tomorrow, or for others.”
Another example of ‘work in progress’, are the guided surf tours organised by our Boardshorts Ambassador, Felippe dal Piero (Mahalo Surf Experience) in the Maldives. The combination of being an island nation and not having proper waste management makes plastic pollution a huge problem there. A tiny win has been to successfully pushed to install water filters on all the charter boats in the area, encouraging guests to bring their own reusable bottles. But it’s the work of Six Senses Laamu, who are creating real positive change to the local ecosystem and communities through their sustainable initiatives. It’s case studies like this that could inspire a whole tourism industry to follow suit.
For us, we have always strived to make our shorts in the most sustainable way possible. We are aware of the challenges, the pitfalls and the compromises, but we are also aware of the opportunities of using business as a force for good. Part of the reason we started our small company was to align commerce with lifestyle, to live the brand, to bring us closer to summer, the beach and the sea. So just as we have a responsibility for what we make and how we make it, we hope to link these values to where our shorts are worn and how they get there. So that the positive footprints of our products last long after they have been made, passed though a conscious community of customers, of caretakers, of champions of travel.
Over time, we hope to dive deeper into this topic, to inspire, connect and share.