AuthorFarsao, Negin

Like most reasonable human beings, I love travel--for vacation, leisure, and adventure. (Travel for work can suck it.) I love travel so much I wish I was French and could take the whole month of August off and travel. But, then, I also wish I was Brazilian so I could take the whole month of January off and travel in another hemisphere's version of a French August. To my eyes, anyone who doesn't love travel is a pure lunatic.

And yet, travel has got me in a guilt vice. Every time I clock miles in a car or take an airplane to someplace cool--someplace that will fill my phone with needless photos that I rarely look at--it inches the planet closer to climate catastrophe. I ask myself: Is this trip to Morocco or Miami worth it? Was my stroll through Paris or my drunken stumble through Berlin worth the cost of emission? I'm that kind of bleeding heart liberal.

My guilt isn't unwarranted. Tourism is responsible for anywhere between 5 to 10 percent of the worlds carbon emissions. In 1960, we had about 70 million international tourist arrivals; today, we have about 1.4 billion. In 2019, we know better and yet our appetite for travel is insatiable.

It's jerk-offs like me, with our bucket lists and our penchant for Instagram, who trash places like Iceland and Amsterdam. Okay, I've never been to Iceland but I'm definitely the type of person who would go to Iceland, research it incessantly on TripAdvisor, and learn how to order coffee in Icelandic like a schmo. I'd like to think I wouldn't directly trash the place, but the schmoes who do never think they're going to.

I've seen the signs in Cinque Terre where hiking trails are closed because the terre of the Cinque Terre can't handle foot traffic and rain at the same time. I've seen cruise ships deliver thousands of people onto the narrow streets of Venice. The city goes from crowded and acceptably touristy to overrun and menacingly touristy in mere minutes.

My liberal guilt gets activated not only about the jet fuel and single-use water bottles but also the fact that my mere presence is making the beautiful place I visit a little less beautiful. Dubrovnik, the ancient Croatian city of Game of Thrones fame, may lose its UNESCO World Heritage designation if it doesn't start curbing the effects of tourism. But how easy will that be? It has...

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