“Travel far enough… and you’ll meet yourself”.
Soul Travel blog is an inspirational and practical guide to responsible travel: that shows how to travel and create a positive impact. It’s for people who want to travel to improve, to connect with themselves and the world, and to travel to make the world a better place through sustainable, positive-impact tourism.
Who is Soul Travel for?
Have you ever travelled to a new place and felt filled with a sense of wonder? You look up and all around, like a child experiencing the world for the first time.
Everything around you feels new. And in the process, you become new too.
Whether or not you have experienced such a transformative journey, you know that you love travel experiences that awaken your senses, and widen your horizons. The best type of travel not only improves the destinations that we visit and strengthens our connection to the world, but it also allows us to improve as human beings. You seek to improve yourself and the world around you, and you want to travel in a way that doesn’t perpetuate the problems of the world but helps us all become more connected. You’ve come to the right place.
Soul Travel Blog is an inspirational and practical guide to sustainable travel: in short, how to travel and create a positive impact through travel. It’s for people who want to travel to improve, to connect with themselves and the world, and to make the world a better place through sustainable, positive-impact tourism.
Why is Responsible Travel Necessary?
The tourism industry is not only bigger, but it’s more important than it has ever been before. Accountable for 1 in 11 jobs globally and 10% of total global GDP (source WTTC), tourism matters. It matters to us as travellers, but it also matters to countries economically, particularly in the developing world.
The number of people travelling keeps growing too. It’s estimated that by the year 2030 we will have increased from 1.2 to a huge 1.8 billion travellers each year (source UNWTO). That’s a 3% increase each year. On one hand that increase provides additional income to countries, but on the other hand, things can start to go very wrong. Just take a look at the state of Venice, or the protests that erupted against tourism in European cities this summer.
Unfortunately, travelling sustainably and creating a positive impact isn’t always as easy as it sounds. With the massive amount of travel information available online, it can be difficult to sort out which experiences are truly ethical, and which ones are more about… marketing.
And that’s where Soul Travel comes in. I know that you don’t have hours to sift through all of that confusing information, so I’m here to demystify what sustainable travel is as I share clear information about how to travel more responsibly—without any “greenwashing” or marketing hype.
Hi! I’m Ellie Cleary. I’m the blogger, freelance writer, speaker, and consultant for sustainable travel brands behind Soul Travel.
My journeys have inspired me to explore different cultures, and I am fascinated by Middle Eastern architecture, in love with colourful India, and go crazy for finding hidden places in Asia.
I travel solo, or with my partner (who gets the credit for most of the photos that actually have me in!). I write about soft – adventure travel: you’ll find me eating local streetfood, getting inside the culture and environment of places I visit, and always hopping on and off of trains.
On this blog I cover a range of travel budgets: from backpacking and overland travel, to a luxurious treat. What’s more important to me, is: is it sustainable? I work to highlight which the more sustainable options are for travel, whether it costs pennies or hundreds of dollars.
A Londoner by birth and a surrogate Amsterdammer for 7 years, I’ve been pursuing a life with no fixed address since then. My background is in hospitality and tourism, where I worked in sales & marketing for luxury hotels in London for 5 years, followed by 7 years working in leadership positions for the world’s largest OTA (online travel agency).
I started this blog during a six-month sabbatical trip in 2015 around Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Laos, and India. I returned to my corporate job after that trip, but I found myself called increasingly drawn toward a career change that would align with my vision of travel—one that promotes cross-cultural understanding, peace building, and expanded awareness. So in June 2016 I made the decision to pursue working full time on Soul Travel and other sustainable travel initiatives.
I’m passionate about using this website to spread the message that a different way of travelling and creating a positive impact is possible because I wholeheartedly believe that travel is the best opportunity for self-growth that there is. It challenges us to push our boundaries, get ourselves outside of our comfort zones, and overcome our fears.
I’ve experienced this growth and transformation in my own life as I have travelled throughout Europe, the Middle East, and Asia. In today’s world, there’s a huge amount of fear about what might happen if we go to countries which are perceived as being less safe, especially as females. In early 2017, I met my fears head on and spent two months in India, just travelling around by myself. Before I made that journey, I was quite fearful about it, but in the end, I had a wonderful experience and felt I had really achieved something for myself.
I’ve also learned the hard way that travel is not always good. In 2006, I took my first trip outside of Europe to teach English in Cambodia for three months, and I saw firsthand some of the pitfalls of volunteering. It was then that I began to learn how travel can have negative (and usually unintended) impacts as well as the good.
Despite its potential downfalls, I still passionately believe that travel is one of the most exciting opportunities we have as people to grow personally and become more conscious of the global impact of our decisions.
The world needs more of this kind of travel, and I believe we shouldn’t all stay home just yet.
So stick around on Soul Travel, and I’ll share with you how to travel in a way that has a positive impact on you, the destinations you visit, and the world as well. I hope you’ll come along for the journey.