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Conscious Traveler Podcast
36 minutes | May 10, 2021
Long Distance Love — What It’s Like When Your Partner Is A Travel Writer
The life of a travel writer typically means months at a time spent away from home. But both Kathryn and Eric have found significant others who, far from discouraging us from taking trips, appreciate how our passion for travel drives us and encourage us to see as much of the world as possible.During normal times, that is. This past year has been completely different. With everyone locked down and working from home, including us, we’ve had to find new ways to relate both to travel and our partners, Keith and Jeff. We thought listeners might enjoy hearing their perspectives on what it’s like being with a person who travels for a living, including how they handle our personal... shall we say, quirks. And how everything has changed lately.
51 minutes | May 3, 2021
The Future of Sustainability in Aviation
Being grounded for much of the pandemic has had hosts Kathryn Romeyn and Eric Rosen taking a harder look at how our passion for travel is contributing to climate change, and asking if there are ways we can address our environmental impact without simply giving up flying altogether. In today’s episode, Eric interviews three experts on the ways that airlines, airports, and yes, even travelers, can chart a greener course for the future.First up is Karel Bockstael, the vice president of sustainability at KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, which has recently undertaken research into futuristic aircraft and sustainable aviation fuels, among other measures.Next is Samantha Bricker, the chief sustainability and revenue management officer for Los Angeles World Airports. During a massive expansion, LAX is fast-tracking green building projects that will cut down on traffic, emissions, energy and water use, and waste.Finally, we turn to Tim Johnson, the director of the U.K.-based Aviation Environment Federation to examine aviation's climate and community impacts. He also tells us how travelers can make more responsible choices when flying.Follow and message us on Facebook and Instagram to let us know!
49 minutes | Apr 26, 2021
Food Tours as Delicious Introductions to Culture in Barcelona and Saigon
They say the way to a person’s heart is through their stomach, and over years of travel writing, Eric and Kathryn have discovered that adage is true for falling in love with a city, too. As we’ve eaten our way through countless global destinations, in many cases we’ve simultaneously consumed local knowledge, history and context. It turns out food is a delicious gateway to new cultures, especially when you have a local host guiding the experience. To explore this concept we looked to a few individuals who have created some of our most positive and illuminating foodie outings. First up is Marwa Preston, a vivacious Egyptian expat living in Barcelona who founded a company called Wanderbeak that curates experiences around the city. Kathryn gained far more knowledge than she anticipated during a pho-focused walking tour of Ho Chi Minh City with Saigon Street Eats, founded by a husband-and-wife team comprising Australian Barbara Adam and Vietnamese Vu Vo. For some delectable food pics, follow @wanderbeak and @therealsaigonstreeteats.
42 minutes | Apr 19, 2021
How Tourism-Based Charities In Kenya Are Adapting to COVID
Eric traveled to Kenya with Micato Safaris in partnership and the Elewana Collection of lodges in December, reassured by both organizations’ stringent COVID health protocols.While staying at Elewana Kifaru House in the biodiverse Lewa Wildilfe Conservancy, Eric spoke to the CEO of Lewa, Mike Watson, about how the conservancy is persevering through tough financial times with projects like rhino anti-poaching activities to protect the area’s animals, and micro-lending programs that help local women support their families.Back in Nairobi, Eric visited Micato Safaris’ philanthropic arm, AmericaShare, which runs a community center in one of the city’s largest slums and underwrites the education of hundreds of students each year. He spoke to AmericaShare’s country director, Albanous Gituru, about all the efforts the organization has been making throughout COVID to ensure that its students remain connected to educational resources during these challenging times.
47 minutes | Apr 12, 2021
Considering Politics, Human Rights and Inequity When You Travel
What is our responsibility as travelers to follow politics, current events, and human rights issues in a destination we are interested in visiting? And should we be avoiding places where we believe the government carries out unethical policies? Travel invites us to explore faraway cultures and environments, yes. But it also invites us to look inside ourselves and examine our personal values. This episode is about just that. First we speak with Dr. Anu Taranath, a teaching professor on issues of diversity, racial equality and social change at the University of Washington. Dr. Anu recently wrote an award-winning book called Beyond Guilt Trips: Mindful Travel in an Unequal World.We also call up Simon Lynch, director of sales for Luxury Travel Group, the parent company of Scott Dunn, a conscientious bespoke tour operator. Simon shares Scott Dunn’s efforts to work with locally owned and operated businesses in each of their destinations to ensure tourism dollars directly benefit communities.
47 minutes | Apr 5, 2021
Touring Tasmania’s One-of-a-Kind Wildlife, History and Food
Cut off from mainland Australia by the Bass Strait for more than 12,000 years, Tasmania retains a sense of isolation and mystique. However, as Eric discovered on a two-week road trip, the island is home to some of the country’s most fascinating and sustainability-focused travel experiences.We begin by interviewing Clyde Mansell, an elder of Tasmania’s Palawa community and founder of an Indigenous-owned and operated multi-day trek through the Bay of Fires along Tasmania’s dramatic northeast coast called wukalina walk.Next, we check in with Wade Anthony, who founded Devils @ Cradle to help preserve Tasmania’s unique marsupials through focused educational and breeding programs. Finally, we called Rodney Dunn, the food writer, chef, and farmer who started The Agrarian Kitchen cooking school back in 2007, just as Tasmania’s burgeoning food scene was starting to take off.
53 minutes | Mar 29, 2021
How to Rehabilitate a Landscape—Lessons From Rwanda and the Great Barrier Reef
Many causes of environmental destruction are rooted in human action. But as we find out in this episode, mankind can also be the driving force to revive some of the earth’s most damaged places. There are success stories from around the globe of ways landscapes have been almost completely rehabilitated, from Mozambique to Cambodia. Here, we focus on how two unique ecosystems, one in Rwanda and the other in Australia, have been reinvigorated. First up, African Parks’ Jean-Paul Karinganire talks to us about how the nonprofit conservation and management company took a Rwandan wildlife refuge from post-genocide decimation—think few animals, no more carnivores, and an unstable relationship with the surrounding communities—to overwhelming success. Akagera National Park is now also home to Wilderness Safaris’ eco-sensitive yet radiant Magashi Camp, which Kathryn visited in late 2019. We also speak with passionate changemaker and conservationist Peter Gash, the self-styled caretaker of Lady Elliot Island. Part of Australia’s southern Great Barrier Reef, the island was was nearly destroyed by guano harvesting in the 19th century. Peter’s relationship with the island—where he runs an incredibly environmentally friendly resort—has spanned 40 years, and he’s been nothing if not persistent in his quest to restore the island’s natural equilibrium.Listen to the episode for these fascinating stories, including some truly inspiring messages that hit on the importance of engaging community—whether it’s the locals who live nearby, or the travelers who visit and can take lessons home with them—and the power of collaboration to make a real difference. As Peter tells it, our planet has suffered near-death by a thousand cuts, and it’s up to human beings to help reverse the damage with a thousand—or more!—innovative band-aids. Follow @africanparksnetwork, @akagerapark, @wearewilderness, @visitrwanda_now, @ladyelliotislandecoresort and @queensland for gorgeous visuals to bring these tales to life.
50 minutes | Mar 22, 2021
How Travel Can Help Bring Clean Drinking Water To Communities Around The World
The scarcity of potable water across huge swaths of the globe is a daily reality for around two billion people. In this episode, we talk to two people who are working hard to address this issue. Jon Rose is a former pro surfer–turned-humanitarian, and founder of Waves For Water. This NGO’s courier program gives travelers a way to be part of the solution in a very tangible way: By bringing portable water filtration systems to communities they seek out while on the road.Claude Graves, cofounder and managing director of the Sumba Foundation, is our second guest. He shares the story of how he discovered the serious need for potable water sources on Sumba Island as he was building one of the world’s premiere surf resorts, Nihi Sumba. As he’s seen firsthand, clean water is a necessary first step in a chain of events that leads to improved nutrition, health, and even educational opportunities for the island’s people.
50 minutes | Mar 15, 2021
Rediscovering Los Angeles–A Lockdown Love Letter To Our City
Every great travel writer should start with a mastery of her or his own backyard. During the coronavirus travel lockdowns of the past year, that’s why we were both inspired to explore hidden corners of our hometown, Los Angeles.We took a (sanctioned and pre-arranged) hike up to the iconic Hollywood Sign to learn more about this landmark’s checkered past, talked to writer and architecture expert Jessica Ritz about some of the city’s underappreciated design gems, and interviewed Amy Luftig-Viste and Jasper Dickson of Angeleno Wine Co. about the city’s past as a wine-producing powerhouse.Our three conversations all uncovered fascinating facets to Los Angeles that have us viewing our adopted hometown through a whole new lens.
45 minutes | Mar 8, 2021
Women In Tourism—How Ride 4 A Woman Changes Lives In Uganda
Women’s fair-trade craft cooperatives around the world have changed the game for so many families. As part of our series on changing female roles in tourism, we look at one inspiring version of this concept where Kathryn has spent meaningful time: Ride 4 A Woman, a compelling place on the edge of Uganda’s mountain gorilla territory of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park. In this episode, we talk to Ride 4 A Woman founder Evelyn Habasa about her mother’s dream to help the women of their community, and how the organization has grown from bicycle tours to sewing and weaving, plus a microfinance program and accommodations for travelers. Next, we turn to Susie Crippen, a fashion designer and cofounder of J Brand jeans about how she partnered with Evelyn to launch a dress line called 4, hand-sewn by the ladies of Ride 4 A Woman. Follow them @ride4awoman, @susiecrippen and @thisis4official for more on their work and products.
38 minutes | Mar 4, 2021
Environmentally Sensitive Architecture in the World’s Most Beautiful Places
There are stunning examples of innovative architecture and design in hotels all over this great planet, some of which we have been privileged enough to visit over the course of our travels. But the most impressive are those hospitality ventures that haven’t taken over a landscape, but have instead become part of it, quietly. In this episode, we first speak with Reda Amalou, architect and founder of AW², who allowed the dynamic topography of Costa Rica’s Papagayo Peninsula to guide his low-impact designs for the intimate yet sprawling beach and jungle retreat, Kasiiya Papagayo.On the other side of the world, on the tiny yet lush Christmas Island, Swell Lodge is the result of wildlife photographers and guides Chris and Jess Bray’s passion for what’s sometimes referred to as the “Galapagos of the Indian Ocean.” What Kasiiya and Swell Lodge have in common is a reverence for the natural environment that runs so deep they have not sought to change it. Listen to the episode for more from these visionaries, and follow them on Instagram at @kasiiyapapagayo, @redaamaloudesign, @aw2_architecture, @swelllodge and @chrisbrayphotography.
4 minutes | Mar 1, 2021
Season 2: Episode 0 - Welcome Back to Conscious Traveler!
Welcome back for another season of Conscious Traveler! Like the first, season two is full of our travel tales from destinations as diverse as Tasmania and Rwanda, Cambodia, Costa Rica, and Barcelona. This time around, we’ll be featuring an array of dynamic, global voices, with experts on everything from environmentally sensitive architecture to the challenges of wildlife conservation, and from the delicious dishes that can reveal a culture’s hidden facets to how travel and tourism can lift up entire communities of women. Listen for a little taste of what is to come, with the aim, as always, to inspire and inform your next conscious adventure.Come along for the ride and follow us on Instagram @conscioustravelerpod, @ericrosenla and @katromeyn. Also like our new Facebook page!
19 minutes | Dec 17, 2020
Episode 12 - Traveling From Home Through Souvenirs
Eric and Kathryn discuss how they adapted to the early days of lockdown and travel restrictions, and how this time to sit still encouraged us to unpack souvenirs we’ve been meaning to use for years but just haven’t found the time to do so…until now.Among the treats they’ve been enjoying are Manjimup truffle honey from Western Australia, Iittala glasses used aboard Finnair flights, sentimental brass cutlery from Bali, and hand-dyed textiles from Rwanda and Laos. This time also helps us remember that there are hidden gems right in our backyards just waiting to be discovered, and how rewarding it can be to explore your own hometown as a travel writer, even if you aren’t leaving the country anytime soon.
57 minutes | Dec 10, 2020
Episode 11 - COVID Might Be the Biggest Threat to Mountain Gorillas in Our Lifetime
Gorillas and humans share about 98% of their DNA in common. There are truly no words to describe the experience of trekking into the African highland rainforests to spend an hour with these incredible animals. It’s like visiting an ancestor from an ancient time. Happily, their status was downgraded from critically endangered to…endangered just a few years ago. But there is still so much more that needs to be done to preserve these forest-dwelling living wonders.Building upon the legacy of visionary researchers like Dian Fossey, who brought awareness to the plight of mountain gorillas when it was most critical, conservation of these primates is a case study in how of tourism can accomplish a tremendous amount of good – not just because of the international interest and funds coming in, but because of how carefully the industry is managed by dedicated people in Uganda and Rwanda.On today’s episode, we talk to three individuals whose work is ultimately crucial to the survival of the mountain gorillas of Africa’s Great Lakes region. Dr. Gladys Kalema-Zikusoka is the first Wildlife Veterinary Officer of the Uganda Wildlife Authority and the founder of an NGO called Conservation Through Public Health. They work to educate and empower the communities living around the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and make them partners in protecting the endangered mountain gorillas.Praveen Moman grew up in Uganda and, when he founded Volcanoes Safaris in 1997, pioneered the idea of luxury gorilla tourism in the country. He was also among the first operators to open a safari lodge in neighboring Rwanda after that country’s strife in the 1990s and 2000s. His unique perspective on the central role of tourism to gorilla conservation programs, and how travelers can bring much-needed attention, aid, and action to the effort to save the great apes, leaves us hopeful and all the more determined to visit this part of the world once again.We would also like to thank Emmanuel Bugingo of Partners for Conservation in Rwanda, who spoke to us on background. His organization helps communities living around Volcanoes National Park and promotes conservation efforts by focusing on three main priorities: public health, literacy, and conservation education and employment..
34 minutes | Dec 3, 2020
Episode 10 - Packing For More Than Yourself On Trips
When you’re on the road as often as us, you start trying to pack as light as possible. Who cares if someone sees you in the same thing twice (or seven times)? Among travel writers, it sometimes even seems like the smaller your suitcase, the better a traveler you are.But what if you could use some of your luggage allotment to do real good for others in the places you visit? If you get a free checked bag with your international airfare, why not bring a full-size suitcase packed to the brim with school materials? Heading out on safari? Bring two outfits, and fill the rest of your duffel with much-needed medical supplies. On this episode, we explore ways that travelers can positively impact destinations they visit simply by packing a few thoughtful items.Our first guest is Rebecca Rothney, the founder of Pack for a Purpose. Her philanthropy matches travelers up with destinations and suggests supplies they can bring along for worthy grassroots organizations across the globe. Check out some of their latest work on Instagram. Our next guest gives us a fuller understanding of how much-needed philanthropic efforts can impact projects like the ones Pack for a Purpose works with. Emma Kennedy is the administration and fundraising manager at Tujatane School in Zambia, which is supported by a beautiful tourist lodge near Victoria Falls called Tongabezi. The school and lodge work together to incorporate a charitable component into guests’ visits and to keep them involved long after they go home. Plus, their Instagram feed is pretty inspirational.
23 minutes | Nov 19, 2020
Episode 9 - Locked Down In Nairobi During COVID
It’s time for a flashback. In April 2020, sensing something unprecedented was on the horizon, we recorded our first episode (chronologically speaking) when Kathryn was in stuck in Nairobi, Kenya, and Eric was quarantining at home in Los Angeles. Then, COVID-19, social distancing and quarantine were still novel concepts. This episode represents our first conversation about we can be travel writers who are unable to travel in the typical sense, and how we can all take advantage of the places in our own backyards to keep our curiosity and wanderlust alive.
43 minutes | Nov 12, 2020
Episode 8 - The Ethics Of Swimming With Dolphins And Whales
In all of our extensive travels, some of the most meaningful encounters have been underwater in places including Mozambique, Tahiti, Indonesia and the Galápagos. These vibrant aquascapes are the settings for life-changing encounters with wondrous marine species that can shift our perspectives and priorities.Snorkeling and scuba diving around the world, we’ve been fortunate to swim with everything from whale sharks and dolphins to sea turtles, sea lions, manta rays and even a few (vegetarian) sharks—all totally wild, in their native habitats. But we’ve also witnessed dangerous and poor practices, too, from 50 tourists being allowed to jump off one boat into a pod of spinner dolphins off Oahu, to businesses profiting from keeping sea creatures in captivity. Knowing what we do about highly intelligent marine mammals makes these these situations totally unacceptable, and we want to spread awareness.We begin this episode hearing all about how underwater photographer (and children’s book author and entertainment industry executive) Pier Nirandara uses her compelling aquatic wildlife images to excite viewers about conservation. She also discusses her own boundaries and how she chooses excursion outfitters. Next, marine expert Frank Murphy, director of the Tetiaroa Society in Tahiti, shares his experiences with humpback whales as they make their annual migration past the atoll where resort guests of The Brando can safely observe them. And we connect with Chad D’Souza, general manager of Perth Wildlife Encounters, about their company’s long-running wild dolphin swims, which Eric experienced years ago but remain a highlight.We hope listeners will come away from this episode not only inspired to plan a life-affirming swim of their own, but confident that they can do so ethically, respectfully and sensitively. What’s more, we attempt to answer the question of whether the benefits to humans outweigh any potential risk or negatives for the wildlife, since we believe these firsthand experiences can directly result in an increased desire to support conservation.
32 minutes | Nov 5, 2020
Episode 7 - Coffee With A Purpose
Coffee is not only consumed and beloved around the world, but it is also produced in many countries ranging from Costa Rica and Indonesia to Uganda, Brazil and Laos. Though coffee agriculture has not always been equitable for the farmers, there are innovators changing that. In this episode, we talk with two entrepreneurs who have found a way to make coffee into a sustainable and sustaining industry by creating fair-trade projects that not only provide producers with living wages, but also support local conservation and community development efforts.Kathryn met our first guest, Dr. Gladys Kalema-Zikusoka, on a trip to Uganda in 2019. Not only is she the first Wildlife Officer of the Ugandan Wildlife Authority, but she is also the founder of an NGO called Conservation Through Public Health that works with communities living around Bwindi Impenetrable Forest to promote gorilla conservation efforts there. She and her husband, Lawrence, founded Gorilla Conservation Coffee to help farmers living around the park support themselves by growing and selling coffee at fair prices.Next, Eric calls Todd Moore, the director of Saffron Coffee. Along with a lovely little cafe in Luang Prabang, Laos, Saffron Coffee was founded in 2006 to help farmers in the hill villages of northern Laos shift from growing opium to farming coffee. Today, they work with more than 800 farmers in 25 of these villages. That success didn’t come without challenges, though, which we learn during our conversation.Follow Gorilla Conservation Coffee on Instagram @gorillaconservation_coffee, and Saffron Coffee @saffroncoffee. And as always, be sure to check out our own Instagram feed @conscioustravlerpod.
39 minutes | Oct 29, 2020
Episode 6 - Navigating Indigenous Experiences With Sensitivity
Many of us travel not only to explore new environments but also cultures. And there are so many around the world that feel exotic, that seem intriguing to peek inside. But doing it the right way requires incredible sensitivity, since there are positives and negatives for those on both sides. In an effort to find better, more respectful ways of engaging with indigenous cultures and immersing ourselves in truly unique experiences as we travel, we look to an anthropologist guide, Rita Prochaska (author of Taquile, Weavers of a Magic World), who embedded herself with the people of Lake Titicaca in Peru. Her advice for being a gracious guest is echoed by as well as traveler and epidemiologist Nabarun Dasgupta, who talks about a yearlong trip he took full of deep, meaningful cultural interactions. Kathryn and Eric have sought out these experiences, too, from Namibia to Tasmania, where Eric trekked with Wukalina Walk, learning not only Aboriginal skills but stories.For images from Eric’s and Kathryn’s encounters with indigenous groups such as the Himba and people of Taquile, follow @conscioustravelerpod. And to get a peek into the adventures of Wukalina Walk, check out their Instagram @wukalinawalk.
33 minutes | Oct 22, 2020
Episode 5 - How Airport Design Will Change Due To COVID and Beyond
COVID-19 is changing the way we travel, especially the flight experience. Eric covered this topic for Travel + Leisure, but he and Kathryn delve further into how airports are taking on sustainability and environmental issues, and how they will have to adapt to new and changing demands around traveler wellbeing, both related to the pandemic and beyond.To gain insights on the future of airport development and design, we talk with Terence Young, an aviation principal and design director at the architecture firm Gensler. Terence shares ways that designers, cities, airlines and governments, not to mention fliers themselves, are looking at the evolving airport experience and what we can all expect in the coming years.For a specific example, we hear from Cathay Pacific head of brand insights, Ed Bell, to learn how the airline is designing their lounges and working with airports in general to improve the passenger experience and promote traveler health.
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