“Conscious living” is a term that’s been gaining popularity in recent years, touted by everyone from yoga gurus to environmentalists. But what exactly does it mean?
For some, it’s an intangible approach to life, emphasizing a certain level of mindfulness and awareness of one’s actions. It’s a way of living in harmony with others, giving more than you take and promoting a general sense of wellbeing.
For others, conscious living is a daily calculation. It’s an exacting measurement of your total carbon footprint, plastic consumption, and the amount of waste you produce. It’s a method of creating a net good through careful considerations.
As for us, we think conscious living is the best of both worlds. It incorporates the idea of improving the lives of those around you, while giving you concrete, measurable steps to take. It’s social harmony infused with pragmatic environmentalism. In short, we think conscious living looks to the future, while making the most of today.
Everyone has the chance to make an impact on those around them, for better or for worse. In a world that so often rewards putting the self before others, it can be all too easy to fall into a pattern of making short-sighted choices, instead of thinking about tomorrow. Luckily, there is a growing movement of people looking to live more consciously, the Regenerative Resorts way. They use their buying power as consumers to support ethical and sustainable brands, they participate in volun-tourism opportunities, and they are excited to put these principles to work, no matter where their travels take them.
We’ve put together this comprehensive guide to give you the resources to start living a more conscious life. Through empowerment and education, we can all make a positive impact on the people and places we love.
When it comes to carbon calculations, there’s no bigger culprit than airline travel. It’s a stunningly simple problem: planes are big, and they need fuel to get where they’re going. But while some environmentalists would have you believe you need to completely cut travel out of your life, we think there’s a better way.
Experiencing other cultures through travel is one of the best ways to understand the environmental impact a typical first-world lifestyle can have on the rest of the world. Not to mention, travel is one of the most enriching activities a person can partake in.
In the Anambas Islands of Indonesia, Regenerative Resorts location Bawah Reserve does more than talk about the importance of eco-travel—it actively encourages guests to experience it firsthand. Epitomizing the idea of eco-luxury, Bawah Reserve gives guests the chance to participate in coral regeneration while staying in stunning overwater bungalows that showcase the beauty of the islands. It’s an immersive destination that helps guests make the connection between environmental health and sustainable luxury.
As Bawah Reserve demonstrates, you don’t need to cancel your flight to make a positive environmental impact during your travels. We came up with 5 Ways to Be a More Conscious Traveler that still allow you to travel, while contributing to positive environmental change according to the principles in Paul Hawken’s Drawdown plan. The answer is not to stop traveling altogether, but to take small, thoughtful steps like turning off the air conditioning in your hotel room and eating a plant-based diet.
One Regenerative Resorts location in particular, Playa Viva, has built its foundation on this very idea. Located on a pristine beach in Juluchuca, Mexico, the hotel is totally off-grid and uses solar power to meet its energy needs. Additionally, the hotel has no air conditioning, as the cool ocean breezes and the innovative architecture utilizing the venturi effect keep the temperature comfortable without damaging the environment.
As you become more comfortable with your personal conscious travel techniques, the next logical step is to turn your focus outward. Our article Impact Travel: A More Meaningful Kind of Wellness explores the benefits of adding volunteer activities to your travels. Impact travel, or “volun-tourism” as it’s sometimes called, allows travelers to give back to the communities they are visiting. It’s a refreshing way to connect with local people and immerse yourself in the place that has become your temporary home abroad. Participating in an impact travel trip encourages a deeper appreciation for your surroundings, because you actively did something to improve them.
Las Flores Resort, in El Cuco, El Salvador is a surfer’s dream on a black sand beach. But the hotel is more than just an escape—it also works closely with local communities and encourages volunteering in local schools or at the permaculture farm onsite. These integrated projects embody the spirit of conscious living abroad, while creating a lasting impact for the people who call this place home.
Making an Impact
Your positive impact doesn’t have to end when you return home. If anything it should be amplified in your day-to-day life. The routines we build up and establish over many years will ultimately have the greatest environmental impact of all. The decision to use a plastic water bottle may seem fairly innocuous, but when compounded by a lifetime of unexamined choices, the ramifications are startling—from mountains of waste to piles of plastic.
Despite this, there’s no need to fear for tomorrow. By making small, simple changes, you can have an equal if not greater impact on the planet. In fact, our article about How Green Is The New Black Is Leading Asia’s Sustainability Movement covers this topic; the sustainability platform highlights #littlegreensteps we can take everyday to make things just a little better. As a concept, conscious living may seem like a radical life overhaul, but GITNB reminds us that really it’s about small, consistent changes that can change the world with enough time and patience.
And in that vein, there’s almost no power more universally respected than that of the dollar. Businesses big and small want to please their customers, and by purchasing from conscious and sustainable brands, you are directly contributing to the success of their mission. We’ve created Your Gift Guide to 5 Socially Conscious Brands that Give Back to get help you consume consciously—whether you’re shopping for a loved one or yourself. Take a moment and treat yourself to something, and know that by putting your money where your mouth is, you are making a difference.
Wellness expert and founder of the travel website and booking platform Destination Deluxe Vivienne Tang has spent a lifetime trying to make more conscious choices to increase the health and wellness of herself and everyone around her. Whether she’s exploring new yoga classes or thinking about sustainability, she strives to make a positive impact in all she does. During her extensive travels, she visited Fivelements Retreat Bali, a holistic wellness retreat unlike any other. The resort utilizes ancient Balinese healing techniques along with modern technology and therapies to craft a unique healing experience that will stay with travelers long after they’ve returned home.
“Nowadays, we still try to get away from it all once in a while, but we bring back more of the tools and exercises we’ve learned, and we integrate them into our daily routines,” Tang says. “Fivelements Retreat Bali is great in that it plants many seeds in our minds of living a healthier, happier life.”
More than that, Fivelements was built using sustainable, local materials and emphasizes plant-based cuisine, both for the personal and environmental benefits. The hotel is on the cutting edge of conscious living for both wellness and sustainability, with no plans to slow down anytime soon.
When looking to the future of the planet, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed or powerless. But while we still have a long way to go in the realm of sustainability, if we all commit to making small, sustainable changes during our travels and at home, and learning from the people and businesses who are making an impact, there’s no doubt that we can make a positive change through the power of conscious living.