Amir Zakeri enjoys the total travel experience each time he visits a new location, embracing the native cultures and people through the art of connection. He was raised in Kansas where his curiosity would be his best friend. He grew up more than 700 miles away from the nearest salt water, but always imagined living and traveling in different environments. After graduating high school, Zakeri took a trip to Hawaii with a plan to launch his career as a cinematographer.
The local nature, culture and people made it easy for Zakeri to fall in love with his new home, and he was inspired to use his skills to showcase the raw beauty of the islands to the entire world. Ambition led him to follow his dreams, moving to Maui to pursue filmmaking, and a lot of time and effort has gone into the journey since that first leap. However, the knowledge and experiences gained through adventuring the islands have certainly been worth it. Face the Current connected with Zakeri to discover more about ‘conscious travel’ and the total travel experience.
Ty Johnson: What does ‘conscious travel’ mean to you in the total travel experience?
Amir Zakeri: Conscious travel to me is a mindfulness for the world and other people, their culture and language. It’s about having a different mindset about travel, changing our values and perception of the world and having a common respect for the land of which we visit.
The world is ever-changing as people’s mindsets are shifting and consciously waking up. People are beginning to sway away from traveling as a mediocre tourist, not delving into the new domain, learning about it’s people and culture.
For me, I feel my first travel experience was the most eye opening, awakening experience of my life. I traveled alone to the Philippines and cruised around with locals, learning about the country and it’s culture on my endeavors.
Something that caught my eye was the plastic litter issue and how many people were ok with littering and not being environmentally responsible. I believe whether you are a local or a tourist it is your responsibility to take care of the land you walk and be mindful of the local environment.
TJ: What are some ways to put ‘sustainable travel’ into action?
AZ: Reading and educating yourself about the country and it’s culture shows a huge respect before visiting. Support local restaurants, farmers markets, hotels and businesses wherever you go. Reduce your single-use plastic use! Many countries, especially Southeast Asia, don’t have clean tap water, requiring you to buy bottled or filtered water.
To save yourself money and the environment, travel with a water bottle that has a built in filter to clean your water. Use your social influence to raise awareness and inspire others to make these positive changes. It’s essential that we make these small amends and inspire our friends and family to be more conscious travelers. It only takes a few conscious choices to really make a difference and help us to enrich the lives of others on our journeys.