Travel and Fair Trade Mindset

July 16, 2014

In today’s world, travel is more common than ever.

Young and old people alike set out from their homes without amazing frequency to go out into the world, to see how other people live, and to expand their own horizons.

It’s experiences like this that can revolutionise how people think about Fair Trade - visiting the places where our commodities are produced can be a startling wake-up call. 

There are over 1.5 billion people around the world who don’t have proper access to basic living necessities - clean water, adequate food, a safe place to live. To put that in context, 15 million Americans travel overseas for leisure every year, and 17 million people from the UK. Just because they can. 

The millions of people that visit the developing world are often prompted to start buying Fair Trade products when they return home, but it can overhaul how they travel as well. Instead of buying meals at recognisable chain restaurants, they might venture out to local eateries run by villagers. Instead of buying mass-produced trinkets, they might buy something from a small stand or store - and in doing so enable the seller’s family to eat comfortably that night.

The more we travel - and currently we’re moving around the UK and then heading to Nepal to meet some more artisans and get some new projects underway - the more it becomes apparent that travel plays a key part in waking people’s social conscience.

When we travel to developing countries - to places like Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, India, Nepal, and many parts of South America - we realise just how very, very privileged we are. How the fluke of birth blessed us. 

But travel shows us much more than the hardship and poverty of parts of the developing world.

To travel is to live

We experience the deep richness of other cultures, and see, learn and do things that completely revolutionise our view of the world. 

The vast differences in perspective can be mind-boggling, but also some of the greatest triggers to personal growth. Travel also helps us to shed the baggage - both literal and figurative - that we carry around with us. It frees us from needing the safety blanket of ‘stuff’, and can reveal a heap of limiting beliefs we’ve picked up along the way.

It’s why when we travel, we always try to take the Fair Trade ethos with us. The basis of Fair travel is to have a respectful and equally beneficial exchange wherever you go. 

This means being mindful and respectful of the cultural norms and expectations of the places you visit, while still bringing your interesting and educational cultural patterns to your exchanges with local people. It means that your travel experience grows you and the people you meet. It’s what Fair Trade is all about.

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