Anybody who has ever traveled has likely seen the price paid by places that we humans love to death, or at least to grave detriment, often fragile places to begin with, like Venice, Waikiki, Florida, Phuket and on and on and on. I’ve been lucky enough to travel a lot in my life, but as I edited this issue of Source, dedicated to sustainable tourism, I’ve been wondering if I should start staying home.
Lucky for me, my new home is Maine, Vacationland, and it’s summertime and the living’s easy. In the past couple of months, I have climbed a mountain with a view so endless I had to be dragged down, observed an ungainly baby osprey dine, walked an old canal and longed to time travel, eaten too much frozen custard (professional obligation), seen a lighthouse, and another one, thrilled as a bald eagle flew directly overhead, chilled to the rhythmic sounds of crashing waves, biked a causeway to an island, eaten fantastically good local food, and missed – but heard tell – of the endangered Atlantic sturgeon leaping out of the Kennebec River. (Maybe next year.) All this within 40 miles of my Portland apartment.
Should I – should you – need help thinking up more reasonably green things to do, we could search out a Single Gas Tank Trip on www.Maine.gov for a “gas-saving adventure close to any town in Maine.” Type in your location, and wait for ideas. “The good news is you live in Maine,” said Gary Best, assistant regional manager in Maine’s Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry, “and there are some amazing places that are very close to you.”
So I hope I don’t sound like a sanctimonious killjoy if I suggest we all consider a staycation, not because times are tight, but because the Earth may need a break even more than we do.