Last week I wrote a blog called The Kind Vacation and promised to give some concrete examples and ideas of what a Kind Vacation might look like. I have given this a lot of thought and have done quite a bit of investigating. Some of the core values to a Kind Vacation, I propose, would be kindness to animals (no captivity at the entertainment venues, hotels, islands), as kind to the environment as possible, and still fun or enlightening.
I have to say, it has been quite disheartening to see, for example, how embedded we are using captive animals as entertainment. Hotel chains, airlines, cruise tours the list goes on and on when it comes to who is linked with this cruel practice. The good news, however, is that they all rely on the same thing to perpetuate the animal cruelty: your dollars. So, with the power of the masses we can sway this inhumane practice we’ve created, and supported over the years, in a new direction by spending our money elsewhere.
Here are a few examples I have come up with for kids. I greatly welcome your thoughts and other ideas on this!
1. Non-Captivity Parks: Good luck trying to find them. The more I looked, the more I was amazed at how many entertainment parks incorporate live, captive animals into their venues or incorporate actual zoos. If these parks want to incorporate animals in a humane way, perhaps they will look to establish non-breeding, animal sanctuaries for mistreated, injured and/or retired wildlife. Better yet, modernize the aquarium and zoo model, or stay out of the animal business.
2. Camping: Wait! If you are a mom, please don’t click the close button. I can hear what some of you are saying, “Camping! That is no vacation for me, it’s too much work!” Maybe so, but did you know that camping can be good for you? What better excuse to unplug your family, and spend some quality time together, than not having an outlet? If you don’t have the equipment, chances are someone you know does and may lend it to you. There are also renting options at stores like REI. While there are many campgrounds in state parks in the mountains and beaches, you may choose to go as local as your backyard to give it a try.
3. Wildlife Research Trips: Does your child have a passion for a particular type of animal? Chances are there is a researcher who offers trips to help fund and perform their research. Choose one that is non-invasive and in the animals natural habitat like Diane Herzing’s, Wild Dolphin Project.
Avoiding mainstream trips may help your kids experience more adventure, avoid long lines and fast food, and help you feel kinder for it. Where do you plan on going in 2014?