21 Aug How to leave a country better than you found it: Sustainable practices during your trip to Russia
We at ExploRussia firmly believe that sustainability and travel go hand in hand. That’s because when acting responsibly while travelling don’t only take in order to have a good time. You actually contribute to local life and give back to the community which is very rewarding all by itself.
Follow our little sustainability guide below and you’re guaranteed to have a much richer experience during your time in Russia (and anywhere else, for that matter).
Take part in local life
Let’s be honest here: would are you more likely to remember? A shared meal in a restaurant with a fellow traveller that you met along the way or a shared meal with a Russian babushka that invited you home to her?
Of course, friendships amongst travellers are formed very easily and quickly because you find yourselves in the same position in Russia. But only when you push yourself out of your comfort zone can you also make friends amongst locals.
Same goes for cultural festivities: customs and festivals often allow for a closer look into peoples’ values and belief systems. What do they identify as? What are they proud of? What do they celebrate? What’s more, it’s also an amazing place to meet locals (whose interest is always spiked when they hear a cute foreign accent).
And by taking part in festivities you also support the local culture and make your contribution to its “survival”.
Sure, travel is awesome because you can visit all those places that you normally only know from brochures, but in fact, it’s the people you meet and friendships you build along the way that make your trip truly unforgettable.
Public transport over cars
One of the most obvious things concerning sustainable travel is taking public transport over driving yourself. But as a matter of fact, that’s how life in Russia works anyway. In the bigger cities and especially on longer trips a la Moscow – Siberia people very much rely on public transport rather than their beloved cars.
By the way, have we already mentioned that the Moscow metro is simply mind-blowing? 🙂 On average, almost 7 million people take the metro here in Moscow every day! This number is only trumped by Asian megacities like Beijing and Tokyo.
Embrace local goods
We are already so used to perfectly round apples and flawlessly formed pears from the supermarkets in our home countries that we have completely forgotten about the fact how much pesticides and genetic engineering go into that. Local farmers often refrain from all that so that you get to taste the natural juiciness of the fruits you buy from them. In the end, the apples you buy at local markets might not always be the prettiest, but they for sure are the tastiest.
Another big advantage of that is the fact that the money you spend stays in the area and doesn’t go into the pockets of big corporations which, of course, is good for the development of the rural area. Don’t worry, we’ll won’t get any further into economics J.
And some more, rather basic tips and tricks around sustainability:
– Go by metro, train or bike rather than by car
– Don’t throw your trash on the street, wait for the next trash can
– Smile and spread positive energy! We often underestimate the impact of small gestures like those.
We have found over and over again that travelling responsibly is really the key to unleashing travel’s full potential. It’s all a question of having the right mind set: instead of having a great time somewhere at the cost of the country you visit, you go there with the intention of leaving the place better than you found it.