The last concept of responsible travel that we will be exploring is promoting social well-being. Being involved in interpersonal relations work and having a background of volunteering and team work in intercultural and international settings, I immediately found this particular concept the closest to my heart.
Social well-being and digital nomads
Well-being as such implies the state of being comfortable, healthy and happy. Social well-being then refers to how individuals are treated and valued in their community. It all points to the overall social cohesion among diverse groups.
When we are travelling, we have to keep in mind that we are entering a new world of different social dynamics, traditions, habits and regulations. It would be good to get familiar with those beforehand so we avoid potential issues especially if there are any legal repercussions that might catch up with us. For example, the no alcohol rule in U.A.E., or no walking down the street in your swimsuit in Croatia. However, social well-being is not just rules and regulations, it is much more, and mainly consists of social interactions. How do we behave in a diverse setting? How do we approach people in our communities, how do we interact with them, what do we expect?
As nomads and travelers, we play a crucial role as our country’s ambassadors. We are a mirror of our own culture and are presenting it to the world. At the same time, a lot of pressure can be put on us to do our best to leave a positive impact in our new communities. There has to be a balance between the two. This means being aware of who we are, where we are, how we behave and who are we in contact with. Furthermore to remember we are also there to explore and enjoy ourselves and not to earn a gold medal from the president.
How to promote social well-being
Be conscientious of how we represent others
Whether on social media or in conversations, be conscientious of how you choose to discuss and represent other people, places, and cultures. A good rule of thumb is to think about if you would like to be represented in this way by someone else.
Be respectful of cultural differences
Since we are all foreign communities, it is important that we are respectful of diverse customs and traditions. It is a great idea to learn local phrases, dress appropriately for them, and respect religious practices.
Be a good representative of your own community
Unfortunately, in many areas of the world, tourism is accompanied by a variety of illegal and unethical activities. Make sure to not engage in actions that would be exploitative of other human beings or support criminal organizations. Being a good representative of your own community also means engaging and communicating with locals in a respectful manner.
Volunteer in local organizations
This one was already mentioned in my post on promoting environmental stewardship, but you can choose an organization that deals with many other areas such as women’s rights, education, work with children, addiction, helping people with special needs that need assistance, anything that comes in mind where you would want to help out and have the skills for it, there will be a place for you to put your hours in, just check if there are any groups or pages on Facebook that can put you in contact with a local NGO or ask around, if you already are at the destination.
Get in touch
I hope that these, and previous suggestions have been useful for you to start looking at your travels in a different light. We’ve looked at how to be more aware of your choices and behaviors. As well as what you can do to help yourself, the environment and the people you cross paths with. As always, we are here for you and you can reach out if you’d like to brainstorm on any of the three concepts of responsible travel. Our Facebook and Instagram pages are always open!
Stay tuned for my future posts where we will be exploring other areas of sustainable travel. We will dive into local communities around the world, starting with my next post on Argentina!
by Antonija Bosanac
Antonija was born and raised in Split, Croatia. Now a restless traveller gone digital nomad in 2019, she’s passionate about building communities, volunteer work, education and human & civil rights. Currently working as a coach in the field of interpersonal communication and self development, she’s promoting change through individual work with clients; as well as being en route to getting a degree in psychotherapy. For her current location, check her Instagram profile.