I lead as nomadic a lifestyle as possible for a confirmed yuppie. The travel bug caught years ago when I landed in Europe with a EurailPass and what felt like an eight-hundred-pound backpack. I was 21 and fresh-scrubbed, just out of college and ready to explore. That was in the late “Ëœ80s. We didn’t know terrorism or 9/11, and we had maybe only heard marginal whispers about global warming and carbon emissions. We could jump on a plane or train or car and zoom away to the next adventure without much delay or preparation or worry.
But times have changed. My travel bug has never left, but these days I skip the backpack and its accompanying heft. I still insist on packing a shoe for every outfit and leave a little room for purchases along the way. But I travel light, and more importantly, I try to tread just as lightly. I follow the usual smart traveling tips and pack layers and multi-functional pieces (more room for shoes), but more importantly, I track the carbon emissions generated during my trips – using the mileage on my car or the distance of a roundtrip plane ticket, for example – and undo or offset the damage by purchasing carbon “offsets” that fund clean energy and carbon reduction projects across the United States and the world.