Whee…it’s Earth Day, a Hallmark holiday for green living. Just like Valentines Day is the one day a year we’re all expected to be lovey-dovey and buy heart shaped chocolates and flowers for our sweethearts, Earth Day is the day we clean up our local parks, turn off lights, forego the hairdryer and the car in lieu of air drying and walking…all of which is just great, but we only have to do it today, right?!
Deal Alert: Save up to 50 percent off green hotels and get free carbon offsets when you book an eco-friendly hotel before April 30.
I’ve always been a mindful traveler. I grew up with nature all around me; it’s those surroundings that fostered a love and respect for the Earth and its natural (and limited) resources. Since I’ve been involved in our Travel for Good program, I have developed an even deeper appreciation for our environment and have truly learned to tip-toe across the planet as I explore it.
I recently came across the term “dark tourism,” for the first time and was more than a bit surprised. According to the Dark Tourism Forum, it is “the act of travel and visitation to sites, attractions and exhibitions which has real or recreated death, suffering or the seemingly macabre as a main theme.” To me, when I thought of this, Severus Snape, the dark wizard from Harry Potter immediately sprang to mind as the poster child of “dark tourism.” I could just picture him digging around graveyards, poking around medical-specimen museums, glorying in haunted houses, touring former prisons, and thrilling to sites of mass horror, like the spot of the former World Trade Center or the bloody battle fields of the Civil War.
Quick, think about the scariest thing that could happen to you on a plane. Terrifying turbulence? Sudden loss of cabin pressure? Being forced to eat every last scrap of the inflight meal?
Think again, my friends. What if four baby pythons got loose mid-flight?
No, I’m not talking about Snakes on a Plane, that cult movie with Samuel L. Jackson that for a few weeks in summer 2006 had everyone screaming “Snakes on a plane!” whenever you told them you were about to board a flight. I’m talking about actual snakes on an actual plane in an actual real-life situation.
Sitting in the airport waiting for my flight to Dallas, I saw a news report that Lake Tahoe got a bunch of snow dumped on its peaks just in time for closing weekend at many of the resorts. It made me wish I was headed there for some last-chance snowboarding instead. Earlier in the season, I took a road trip to Northstar-at-Tahoe to learn how to snowboard at Burton Academy, a non-traditional school that manager Chris Hargrave says allows pros to “share the sport with the world in a way that is fear free and pain free.”