Travel for nature. It sure sounds like a huge contradiction. At best, maybe a good way to ´buy off´ our recently induced flight and travel shame. At worst, just another perfect marketing strategy to profit from this phenomenon, from our awareness of and responsibility for all the negative impact our traveling has.
Of course, there are a number of things a traveller can do to reduce their ´footprint´ on the road. Choosing the right airline, going by train, using public transport, hiking instead of taking the car, choosing environmental friendly lodging etc. etc. But what if you could take it one step further? What if nature and local life would actually benefit from your stay?
Imagine a nature immersed stay. Imagine a wonderful piece of old sloping agricultural land, bordered by a crystal clear river at the bottom end, and a fierce little mountain stream from top to bottom. Imagine old olive trees, big chestnut trees and old oaks. A place where the wild boars come to eat, drink and rest. A place hidden from modern life. We found such a place and immediately fell in love with it. We quickly found out it was up for sale – and that one of the new ´wine farmers´ has taken an interest in it! The horror!
The idea of this hidden natural gem with all its wild life ending up in bare soil stripped terraces for wine, another monoculture for which all natural life on site will die… well… it kind of got us thinking… and dreaming!! One the one hand, we ourselves are planting young trees at our property, working on rain water harvesting, trying to improve soil quality and life. Quite an effort in time and money. Time and money well spent, for sure! But it is kind of sad when you realize that, faster than we can restore our land, another piece of land that ´is still good´ and harbours lots of biodiversity, is about to disappear. The time and money we spend now to plant 1 little tree, is about the same it costs to buy 1 m2 of this land, more even if it is a fruit tree or a slightly bigger one!
However, we just don´t have a bag of money to buy or even rent. Most of us don´t. All of us together, however, might just be able to pull it off. Several ideas such as co-renting, co-owning, crowdfunding etc. popped up. Now I know, us human beings, we have a tendency to be rather selfish. We are prone to ask ´what´s in it for me?!´. So, what would be in it for you, if you were to spend money on preserving a piece of land, way over in North Portugal? We came up with several answers and had to strike at least half of them. After all, the most important criteria is that ´what is in it for you, is good for the land (or at least not harmful ). We talked to the current owners of the land and came up with a good solution: we create a land preservation foundation and rent the land, with an option to buy. We, from Quinta Rural, will provide 3 of our furnished farmers tents for free, as well as the wooden platform we will place it on. This way, the land can offer unique off grid nature retreats. Summer only, as we don´t want to disturb the wild life too much. The revenue from these nature stays will go directly to the land. First to pay the rent. Then to preserve and restore. In time, we hope to gather (and be part of) a small group of earthkeepers for this land, so its future will be secured. So….
Book your 2020 sustainable holiday now – back to basic, off grid, river side glamping stay
If you can´t save the planet, at least go on a holiday and save a unique part of North Portugal . Leave nothing but footprints, take nothing but pictures.