As part of our Sustainability Influencer series, I had the opportunity to chat with Aga (@aga_on_the_run), a sustainable travel blogger & full-time traveler. She lived in Hamburg, Germany for 4 years before moving to Manchester. She became vegan in January 2020 and has embarked on a more sustainable life since. In her blog Aga on the Run, she writes about her experiences and views on traveling & sustainability. On Instagram, she runs the series Environmentally Friendly Tuesdays to share eco-friendly travel and lifestyle tips.
Q: When did you first become interested in sustainable travel? Was there a special occasion that triggered your interest in it?
A: “My interest in eco-friendliness and sustainability was slowly developing over the past few years. Reading about how humans pollute the Earth and seeing how much single use plastic is being produced and used on a daily basis, triggered my internal need to reduce my carbon footprint in any way possible. This included travel.”
Q: How did you determine Instagram & blogging to be your platforms for communicating sustainable travel experiences?
A: “I was already using Instagram at that point and with my growing audience, I figured that would be the best way to share eco-friendly tips and tricks. I started a series called Environmentally Friendly Tuesdays. Unfortunately, I haven’t had the time to continue it while full-time traveling, but at that time Environmentally Friendly Tuesdays had good feedback and allowed me to learn and educate myself more in the topic as well. Blogging was just a continuation of this trend. It enables me to elaborate on a topic and pass on more knowledge.”
Q: How has your personal background affected your perspective on sustainability & sustainable travel?
A: “My personal background definitely triggered my need for change. I was a meat eater my whole life and didn’t consider plastic pollution as a big threat to our planet. I also thought that it wasn’t my problem and there was nothing I could do about it. It wasn’t until my sister became vegetarian, I started paying more interest in the topic and it really snowballed from there.
The same with sustainable travel. Whenever I was staying at a hotel, I’d always be excited about those small bottles of toiletries, not realizing how harmful they were. Now I’m trying to minimize my usage of plastic while traveling in any way I can.”
Q: Tell us about the most memorable eco-friendly trip that you ever had!
“That would have to be my glamping trip in the English woodland. After the first lockdown in England ended, my boyfriend and I were really craving some time in nature. We decided to go to Brook House Woods in Herefordshire and stay in a tree house.
The whole place was built by hand, was sustainably sourced and is now sustainably maintained – including solar power as well as recycled and recyclable products. Even though it was super cold (#englishsummer), it was a great place to get back to nature in the most eco-friendly way.
I actually wrote a blog post about it. More as advice on how to prepare and survive glamping in England, but it also includes the description of the place.”
Q: What tips/advice do you have for people who are looking forward to transitioning to sustainable travel?
A: “Start small: get a reusable water bottle, reusable cutlery, reusable food and toiletries containers and reusable straw and make sure to take them with you everywhere you go! It sounds super simple, but from my recent experience of full-time traveling, I know it’s not – you’ll always forget to bring those things when you need them the most.
When you “master” the first step, try thinking of getting to places in a more eco-friendly way. For short distances use a train or coach instead of a plane. When sightseeing the cities, think of cycling, scooting, using public transport or simply walking. When traveling locally with your friends and family, carpool if possible. The less cars on the road the better.
Next you can start staying in eco-friendly accommodations. But that’s definitely the hardest part. Firstly, it’s not easy to find reliable information if the place is eco-friendly or not. Secondly, real sustainable places won’t be the cheapest. In fact, they’re usually the most expensive, so they’re not for everyone’s budget.
In general, my main advice would be not to get too overwhelmed by it all. Fully sustainable travel, especially in the long term is really hard. We simply have to do what we can and remember that every little thing helps.”
Q: Where do you get inspiration for your travel plans and eco-friendly travel tips?
A: “For travel plans that would be definitely Instagram, Pinterest and travel blogs. The same with eco-friendly tips really. Plus, when you travel more often, you start noticing certain things yourself and then implement more sustainable changes.”
Hopes for the Future
As a full-time sustainable traveler, Aga wants to start sharing environmental tips again within her Environmentally Friendly Tuesdays section on Instagram. She also looks forward to developing environmental content on her blog so that people can go there and have all the tips that they need in one place. “In the future, hopefully in the near future, I’d like to start collaborating with eco-friendly hotels, so that my audience knows which places are legit and worth visiting.”
You can read more about Aga’s sustainable journeys around the world in her eco-friendly travel blog, Aga on the Run.
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Aga on the run – Aga on the run