Is this it?!

Sean Keener's Personal Blog

November 16th, 2015

What is EcoTourism?

Google defines Ecotourism as:

“tourism directed toward exotic, often threatened, natural environments, especially to support conservation efforts and observe wildlife.”

Googling the definition of Responsible Travel brought me this:

“Responsible travel is a new way of traveling for those who’ve had enough of mass tourism. It’s about respecting and benefiting local people and the environment – but it’s about far more than that.” via

The question of What is Ecotoursim? and What is Responsible Travel? brings me back to a value of the Indie Travel Manifesto:

Learn the economic, political and environmental context of my host culture

That value, works for me as a guide towards responsible travel.

The very act of learning, brings awareness, and the ability to make informed decisions on my choices while I travel.

EcoTourism & Responsible Travel

You’ve heard about traveling responsibly, conservation, and ‘leaving only footprints’ when you travel, but how can you tell what is actually responsible tourism?
Do you try to travel responsibly? How do you define ecotourism and how important is it to you? (Be honest.) What are some ways you can travel responsibly and how you can tell if a company/tour is actually eco-friendly or not?
Have you ever been on an eco-trip? If you have photos, show us!

November 15th, 2015

Contributing to the local economy when travelling

1) Goto the food markets, and buy from local vendors and merchants vs (KFC/McDonalds)
2) Stay at a local guesthouse, AirBnB, or a local hotel vs Marriott/Hilton/Some Chain
3) Goto local meet-ups, or Craigslist and more to find out what locals are interested in and meeting about. Go, listen, learn.

Give Back to the Local Economy

What are 3 ways you can make an effort to give back to the local economy when you travel?
CHALLENGE: Where did you go, what did you buy? How did buying from a smaller local place differ than going to a big chain? Do you feel like you helped give back to the local economy? What are some benefits of giving back, versus some potential issues with buying from small, family-run businesses. These may differ for those traveling abroad versus at home.

November 14th, 2015

Cut Crap from your life, not just expenses

Today’s prompt is about cutting expenses, which is super practical when saving for a big trip. I analyze at least once a year all of my personal and business expenses.

1) Which ones am I still using, and provide value
2) Am I spending money on something that is not aligned with my core values and purpose? (If so, AXE it)

When I look back at what I actually spent money on, I can’t kid myself, it’s there in black and white and evidence of what I value in this world.

I read the book Essentialism earlier this year and the thought processes that I went through helped me get to a place where I’m thinking 1st, about what to cut out of my life, and the resulting expenses will follow.


Cutting Expenses

Think about what you spend money on that isn’t a necessity, whether it be a fancy coffee, going out to lunch instead of packing one, or paying for cabs instead of taking public transportation.

When you are getting ready to travel what can you do to cut back on your expenses? Is there anything you do differently before you travel versus during?

CHALLENGE: Find something that you can save money on and commit to it for a week. What did you cut back on? How difficult was it to make this change? How much money did you save? Now search online and find out where you can afford a ticket (plane, train, bus) with the money you’ve saved.(If you are having trouble thinking of ways to cut back, check out our post on the subject.

November 13th, 2015

5 Travel Photos

Keener Kids "Surfing"

Twins Pacific City


Kai Giggle

Pepper Sand Pacific City

We want to see your 5 favourite travel photos!
CHALLENGE: Share your top 5 favourite photos from your adventures. They can be places you found beautiful, amazing food, or silly selfies.
Haven’t been on a big RTW trip yet? We want to see your photos too! Show us your favourite family trips, your five favourite places to visit in your hometown, or go on Google/Pinterest/Instagram and share photos of the five places you want to visit the most!

November 12th, 2015

Packing Light and Simple

I like to start with a small bag, then work backwards from there to “fill” it, making sure to leave some space.

Here are my 2 favorite bags now that are carry-onable, and enough to travel around the world with.

The Tortuga Backpack

and the Minaal

Both bags, are a superb and will force you to pack light. Injoy!

Show us what is in your pack!

CHALLENGE 1: Share with us what’s in your pack right now, or what you bring on a long-term trip. Have you changed how much you bring since you first started our challenge?

CHALLENGE 2: Pretend you are going on a six-month trip and pack a bag. Show us what you are bringing. Do you think you should bring more? Bring less? Do you have any questions about what you should pack that you’d like to ask the community to help answer?

November 11th, 2015

Phrozen to your phone

After watching Rolf travel around the world in 2010 with no bags, I think a passport, access to money and the clothes are my back are the only things I HAVE to have.

If I had to bring 1 item, it’s a smartphone. There is so much value packed into that thing. It’s also the biggest crutch and distractor for awesome experiences. See photo below.
phrozen to your smartphone

Photo courtesy of Benji Wagner of Polerstuff

Being “Phrozen” to your smartphone, is the exact opposite of being present in life. How can I engage to the world around me, if my face and attention is buried in my phone? How can you?
What’s your #1 thing you cannot travel without (besides your passport or money)?

November 9th, 2015

Cultural Paranoia – don’t be a Panic Merchant

I’ve stopped watching and reading the news for sometime now for a bunch of reasons. One of the big ones besides it doesn’t add joy to my life, and from what I can tell, those around me, is the cultural paranoia of “news”.

“If it bleeds, it leads”. Every hear that? – sounds like a fun way to run a business, eh?

I LOVE this value of the Indie Travel Manifesto, “Practice Caution, Not Paranoia

When I used to watch the news, or when I run into people that bow at the alter of news, sometimes, these folks appear to live in a state of fear. They are fearful of this and fearful of that.

If the topic turns to international travel, it’s hard for me to believe, but there are still some folks who this is is “dangerous” over there. Where ever that is.

In the 2015 Peace/Danger Index the USA was 92 out of 162 in peacefulness and considered “medium” from a peaceful standpoint. Cuba is considered more peaceful according to this index.

Lists like this aside, every country or place in the world has places that are less safe and more safe. I’ve found being paranoid about it, is the WORST thing todo. Even going to “dangerous” places, is often safe in my experience. Locals are still living and going about their daily life.

Co-Founder of BootsnAll, Chris Heidrich used to call these people “Panic Merchants” – Folks that were buyers and sellers of panic.

I choose to not be one. What’s your choice?

When traveling it’s good be be cautious and safe, but you don’t want to become so paranoid about your safety that you don’t enjoy your journey.

How can you practice travel caution without becoming paranoid?

November 7th, 2015

Co-creating the Indie Travel Manifesto

November 6th, 2015

Long-term Travel: Top 5 Travel Tips

1) Just Go.
Don’t over think it. Today’s world can feel like it is built on series of rules. There are not rules, and you truly can do, whatever you want.

There are no rules. Go Long-Term Travel. You will thank-yourself later. In many cases, its a better investment that a college education. I’d like to see GAP years and around the world trips be as ubiquitous as a colleage education one day. I suspect it will be better for humanity, and the world than just sending more kids to college for an often times, over priced. education.

2) Bring 1/2 the stuff and double the money

3) Start somewhere comfortable to get your mojo going. If you are from the USA, start in Australia, NZ, or the EU, instead of sub saharan Africa (Do go though). You will build confidence and better habits building up to places that are more shocking to you culturally

4) When/if you are saving to go, get down and dirty and cut, cut, cut non-necessities. $5 bucks a day for your skinny latte can go a lot farther in places around the globe.

5) Take one of BootsnAll’s Long-Term Travel Courses. These 30 days of free emails, were built to get more people on the road, because I believe that is the best thing for humanity. We do link to some of our products throughout, but we also link to many more products/services that we don’t have an interest in. We build this to get you on the road…it’s free, use it and give us feednack after so we can continue to make it better. It will be worth your time.

What are your top 5 travel tips you’d like a new traveler to know before going abroad

Even if you haven’t been on a RTW trip, we bet you’ve traveled some. To family for holidays, camping with friends, or exploring your hometown by bike. Tell us 5 things you’ve learned during your travel experiences.

November 5th, 2015

Local Interactions Perferred

When I think of today’s prompt, I’m thinking about all the information out there and available to travelers. Even though I co-created the Indie Travel Manifesto with Rolf and colleagues at BootsnAll in February 2012, when I read this value, it makes me think.

“Indie travelers value local information over received information”

I like what the full value says. It doesn’t mean “received” information is bad, it just super duper awesome to get a local view or interaction.

Think about it, do you want to travel the world, and hang out with people from your city/country? It feels safe to do so, but is it as expansive?

For me, I just love and feel loved when I put myself out there in other places and take that risk. Say Hi. Ask a question. Get out of the major tourist hubs where the local interactions are more often “built” for you.

I’m recovering from a quick bout of stret throat, so I’m not able to try the challenge just yet, but I intend to.

Tell us about an experience you had from information you got from a local.

CHALLENGE: Pretend you’re a first-time visitor to the city/country you are in. Walk up to 5 people on the street and ask them their favourite thing to do in the city (restaurant, park, place to ride bikes, etc).
Now pick one of those things and go do it!
Did you learn somewhere new? How was it asking a stranger for local information? Where did you go and what was it like? Tell us all about your experience and how local information can help you learn about a place.

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