Friday, July 9, 2010

Honeymoon for the Socially Conscious

Okay, so, the original plan for our honeymoon was a cross country train trip.  Somehow that evolved into a week in San Diego.  It is now further evolving into a week....somewhere that hurricanes and the oil spill are not.

I'm not too picky about where we go, as long as it is interesting, not stressful, and not someplace I would rather go with my friends or either of our families or as part of a longer trip.

But I am trying to honor my social conscious with this trip.  That means, in part, picking an eco-friendly destination.  It means trying to pick someplace to go that our tourism dollars might be necessary.  It means not staying at a Marriott.  It means not renting a car and making the most of public transit, if possible. It means not going on a cruise or to a beach that has dredged the sand from the ocean.  It means not going to an all-inclusive resort where I can pretend that the country that surrounds it isn't crumbling under it's own poverty.

I'm using a lot of "I" language, not because these things are not important to Mark.  But some of these tenants are from my own personal sense of ethics and promises I made myself when I was very young (like 13) about how I would live my life.  So it is what I bring to the table in our honeymoon discussions. 

At the same time, for this particular trip, I want to go someplace where I don't have to worry about the quality of the drinking water.  Where I don't have to worry about the mosquitoes.  Where I can take a hot shower if necessary, or lie on a beach.  I don't want to spend a day on an airplane, make twelve stops, or ride a puddlehopper.  I'd rather stay someplace with 3 hours or less of a time difference.  I'd rather go someplace warm or sunny or temperate. 

So suggest to us some possible honeymoon destinations.  Tell us how you are soothing your sense of self-righteousness, social justice, or environmentalism with your honeymoon.

P.S. This isn't intended to guilt anyone out of going to Sandals for a week, or on a fantastic cruise, if that's your thing.  I am a consumerist and enemy of the environment in many other ways, and the best that any of us can do is to be aware of our choices and make them with intent. 


  1. Personally, I see nothing wrong with going to a resort (all inclusive or not) in a poor country -- you ARE helping their economy, a lot of these countries rely on tourism for jobs.

    In the same sense when people thought that cruise lines were wrong to stop at Haiti's resorts after the earthquake, which is ridiculous, and I'm glad the cruise lines didn't change their plans. Now that the country needs it most you're going to pull off the little resource (like tourism) that they have to get them back on their feet? ANY money coming in a impoverished country helps.

    Off my soapbox, have you thought about going to Brazil? Sure, I'm totally biased, but you'll get no more than a 3 hour time difference, and you still have all the conveniences you may want (like a hot shower and AC). A flight to Rio de Janeiro is a bit long (total of 12 hours, including a stop in Sao Paulo) but it's always overnight, so you're not really wasting a day.

    If you're willing to travel a bit longer (unfortunately you have to connect in Sao Paulo for all destinations) both the north of Brazil (places like Salvador, Recife, Maceio, Porto Seguro, Natal, Fernando de Noronha) and south of Brazil (like Florianopolis, Curitiba) are other amazing locations, not as busy as Rio, and some (like Salvador) still have plenty of history and places to see aside from lounging at the beach.

  2. Must think about this one...nothing is coming to the top of my head right now that fits your criteria. Hmmmmmm...

  3. @Carla - I understand what you mean about "taking tourism away" from countries with resorts. What I meant was: resorts tend to be exploitative, and the big chains do not put money back into the local economy. If I'm going to pay a lot of money to travel and stay somewhere, I want it to actually help the community, not the international cruise ship chain or the big corporate hotel.
    I would love to go to Brazil, but we only have a week and 12 hours on a plane is a LOT.

  4. It sounds like your criteria excludes a lot of the Caribbean and Central America, which would be the closest Beach-available locales to Baltimore. I know it's possible to find ethical, safe, culture-rich, healthy-water, non-all-inclusive spots in those places, but it takes more searching. Maybe St John in the VI (never been there, but a close girlfriend grew up there and I'm still jealous.) Or Costa Rica, which has a ton of eco-tourism in its rainforest or beach locales.

  5. I feel the same way! Check out my blog posting about choosing a honeymoon destination..."ethically" for some contenders and tips.

  6. I applaud you for sticking to your ethics for the honeymoon. Wish I had some ideas for you, but coming up empty with the on the spot thinking.

  7. I know you mentioned where the oil spill is not, so I don't know if this suggestion would meet your criteria. But we are going to go to the FL Keys. Right now, they are free from the oil, and many of the hotels are offering to refund your money if you want to cancel if oil should hit (ours does).

    And it is a place that needs your tourist dollars. Living in Florida (although not native), it concerns me that so many people are discouraged to come when many of our beaches are still clean and our economy depends quite a bit on tourism.

  8. I highly recommend the west coast, specifically Oregon (only because it's the only state I've visited out there, but I'm told my experiences can be had in Cali and Washington). It's a welcoming environment for the environmentally conscious. You've got the beaches and more state parks than you can squeeze into your week-long trip. That means always having something to do, somewhere to go, and most are free and can be a last-minute addition to your itinerary (I think flexibility is important on a honeymoon - you don't know how stressed, tired or jazzed up you'll be). Go see a lighthouse. Take a hike. Visit a waterfall or some tree that is the biggest or tallest or weirdest. Taste local food and drink that is harvested/made in a climate different than our home state.

    In the end though, wherever you go will be fantastic. Getting away, just the TWO of you, after the wedding craziness and celebratory bliss is indescribably wonderful. Enjoy it and don't stress about the preparations. You'll just be happy to be away... and married!

  9. No matter where you go (or even if you stay home) I think the honeymoon is about connecting with your spouse. Spending those first few days calling out to each other "hey, husband" and "yes, wife"

    On the travel note, check out

  10. Taking the train from DC to Cumberland isnt too expensive. It is through the mountains and lovely ... a nice quick wknd trip ;)