The next few weeks are going to be a whirlwind of activities. My internship with Natural Home is coming to a close, I have a few papers and finals to worry about and then I’m an official graduate of the University of Kansas. As if graduation weren’t exciting enough, the real adventure begins the day after graduation; that’s when I’ll be hopping on a plane to Egypt.
As a graduation present to myself, I’m going on a two-week trip of a lifetime to Egypt with my boyfriend, sister and her boyfriend. With all that I’ve learned through my internship at Natural Home, I want to see just how eco-friendly I can make this trip.
I'll soon be traveling across the desert the eco-friendly way—by camel. Photo By Liber/Courtesy Flickr.
The elephant in the room when it comes to eco-friendly traveling is the distance. My hometown is more than 6,500 miles from Cairo, so my biggest environmental impact will come in the form of carbon dioxide, or CO2, emitted into the atmosphere from the long flight. According to the TerraPass carbon calculator, my round-trip flight to Egypt with a layover in NYC will put 5,533 pounds, or about two and three-quarter tons, of CO2 into the atmosphere!
However, TerraPass also offers an easy (and cheap!) way to offset your carbon emissions. At $13.21 per ton of CO2, I can offset all of my CO2 for about $36. That’s a small price to pay to ensure that the carbon my travel produces will be mitigated by a donation to TerraPass’s clean energy projects.
Another way we will be lessening our environmental impact will be through our choice of travel—camels, of course! These bad boys can help you navigate through the desert and give you front-row views of the pyramids in Giza. There’s no need to waste money or emissions on an air-conditioned vehicle to drive us around. Plus, traveling by camel will make the whole experience so much more authentic—smellier, too, but definitely authentic.
While researching must-do activities in Egypt, my sister came to the conclusion that cruising down the Nile is an experience we shouldn’t miss out on. Many luxury lines would allow us to cruise down the Nile in style, but we’re opting for a more sustainable choice.
Feluccas, small sailboats that have been used to navigate the Nile since ancient times, will be our mode of transportation. Because they are so small, the four of us will have our own felucca with a captain. The Glory of Nubia, the felucca we want to travel on, is especially committed to environmental standards. It has a one-of-a-kind environmentally friendly toilet and uses solar energy to power traditional lantern lights. You an even use the on-board adapters to power your computer, cell phone, or camera battery with solar energy!
I can hardy contain my excitement for graduation and for this trip. Now I’ll enjoy the sites even more knowing I’m doing my part to care for the Earth while I’m exploring it.