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5 low impact trips that will connect you with nature & local community

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Modern life is hectic, the to-do lists are long and we’re always on the go. Vacations are the opportunity to get away from it all, but often we cram them full too – trying to see and do everything and coming home as tired as when we left. What’s the answer? Slow down! It doesn’t feel natural in this fast-paced world, but by slowing down you allow yourself the chance to really connect with the people, nature and the culture of your destination. It doesn’t mean you’ll experience less, instead you’ll find time to browse markets and chat to vendors about fresh, seasonal produce, chat to locals as you meander through the countryside on trains or relax with a glass of the local tipple as you watch the sunset on another fulfilling day.

If that sounds like your ideal escape these could be your next adventures...
 

 

1. Simply Japan

Spend two weeks traveling on Japan’s incredible rail network - keeping the footprint of the transport low whilst experiencing the un-rivalled efficiency of Japan’s trains. Stay in locally owned hotels and spending a night in a small family-run ryokan - a chance to experience sleeping on the traditional Japanese tatami mats. There’s time in each destination to pick out your own highlight and really immerse yourself in the culture on this Simply Japan tour.  

2. London to Marrakech Train Adventure

Make the journey the main focus of the experience, watching as Europe slowly transforms into Africa on this London to Marrakech rail tour. Sip wine in Bordeaux, walk on the iconic Camino de Santiago, explore white-washed Andalucian villages and Moorish architecture all before crossing the Straits of Gibraltar to Tangier.

3. Walking in Madeira

Exploring on foot is the best way to keep the carbon footprint low and keep the pace relaxed, and this walking tour of Madeira makes the most of Madeira’s unique network of levadas and foot paths. With lots of fertile agricultural land Madeira produces delicious fruit and veg perfect for refuelling after a day of walking. Take the chance to support local suppliers too by stopping to try the locally brewed rum!

4. Explore Jamaica

Away from the resorts and cruise liners are the real gems of exploring Jamaica.  Hiking through the forests of the Blue Mountains and swimming in the Blue Lagoon are the ideal ways to build up an appetite for delicious meals of jerk-spiced chicken and traditional ‘ital’ lunches. Spending time with Rastafari indigenous communities, learning about their music and spirituality, this is an opportunity to really connect with Jamaica.

5. Maldive Dhoni Cruise

Typically known for 5* resorts this Maldives Dhoni trip gets away from the Maldives most tourists see. Living on a traditional dhoni boat, exploring small islands and uninhabited atolls this is a real escape from reality and a chance to relax. With no Wi-Fi on the boat this is a real opportunity to reconnect with nature, spending the days snorkelling with turtles, reef sharks and clown fish before taking the opportunity to experience sleeping on the deck under the stars.

 

Have a cuppa and support a small business!

Connecting with the local community is one of the highlights of travelling, and is there a better way to do it than chatting over a cuppa? Taking the time to sit back and soak up your surroundings, watch the world go by and practice any new language skills you’ve picked up as you order.

We love finding cafes on our routes that go that little bit extra by providing employment, training and development opportunities to the local community. The chance to have a great coffee, connect with people and make your tourist spend go directly in to the local economy – what’s not to like?

From Bombs to Beans

Run entirely by students from Lone Buffalo, Bombs to Beans Coffee is served in several cafes across Laos. The coffee is grown by smallholders in Xieng Khouang province, northern Laos, and students manage every step of the process – from overseeing the harvest, contracting the roasters to packaging, marketing and keeping formal accounts. It’s a fabulous initiative that helps develop business skills as well as producing a great cuppa!  

Café Kibale

Get set up for a day of trekking and searching for wild chimpanzee by having a coffee at Café Kibale in Uganda. This community café trains people from the surrounding villages in barista skills, food handling and hygiene which open up employment opportunities in hospitality. Since launching in June 2022 the café is staffed by 10 students and the atmosphere is buzzing!

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