A few introductory notes to the Eco-Travel Rally 2014 Blog

First of all, I have to confess that to start this blog has not been something easy to me. It is the first time I am writing a blog, so please be patient, but not less demanding on me!

One of the major questions I asked myself when I created this blog was which language I should write in: English, German, French or even Spanish (since I will be also traveling through Spanish-speaking countries later). Of course, I feel most comfortable to write in German or English, but for those following me from French Guiana, French would possibly the easiest to read my blog. Nevertheless, I strive  to target the largest audience possible, so I will probably write most of my blog entries in English. However, I am considering translating some of my blog entries in other languages than English, in case people would wish for.


Who is this blog for?

With this blog I wish to target (at least) the following groups of people:

  • Fellow travelers that have chosen the same route as me (Suriname, Guyana, Venezuela, Trinidad and Colombia) who wish to know more about the socio/environmental issues and projects in the countries they are visiting. You can also contribute to this blog by adding your own information and contacts of projects you have encountered on your way!
  • Potential (local and international) volunteers that would like to join/support the organizations, projects and people I present in this blog, for example, via a short- or long-term volunteering service or internship.
  • Professionals in the socio-environmental field that are looking for potential partner organizations in South America or need information about certain environmental issues in these countries.
  • Potential donors looking for local initiatives, organizations or social entrepreneurs they would like to support financially.
  • Media (local and international) who wish to report about socio-environmental issues, and foremost, that want to present positive (!) examples of local initiatives, grass-roots organizations or social entrepreneurs that bring about change in their local communities. (I am also planning to write some news articles on my encounters later on).

Click on the +follow symbol below to follow my blog entries and please comment, comment, comment!!!

Who’s the author behind this blog?

Hey! Hola! Hallo! Salut! Olá!

I am Julia, 28 years old, originally from Germany, environmentalist and positive thinker! I am also a passionate traveler and scholar of the world, salsa dancer, cyclist and badminton player, vegetarian.


I obtained a Master’s Degree in Environmental Studies and Sustainability Science in Sweden in 2012. I lived and worked the last 1,5 years in French Guiana (a French overseas department in South America) working on financing of sustainability projects, mostly renewable energies.

My interests in sustainability turn around social entrepreneurship, the social and environmental impact of renewable energies, sustainable consumption and corporate social responsibility.

From 08 July 2014 onwards I want to travel the North of South America – starting from French Guiana (where I lived and worked for 1,5 years until July 2014) passing through Suriname, Guyana, Venezuela, Trinidad and Colombia – by road and in the most ecological fashion (by hitch-hiking, using local and eco-tourism) – this is to say, to travel in a respectful manner that allows to get to know the people and culture of each place I will be going to.

I want to use this blog to learn more about the country I am traveling through myself, to share this knowledge with fellow travelers and to eventually create a movement of environmentally conscious travelers and change makers., but also to spread light on innovative initiatives

Find me on:

Bewelcome: http://www.bewelcome.org/members/colibri85

Couchsurfing: https://www.couchsurfing.org/people/xanti-la/

Linkedin: de.linkedin.com/pub/julia-hoffmann/59/a07/1a4

What kind of “socio-environmental” issues are we talking about?

  • Energy & Water:

o   What are the main sources of energy production: renewable and/or non-renewable energy?

o   What impacts does energy production have on the environment and people?

o   What are consumption levels of energy and water and what role does efficiency play?

o   How is energy and water access provided in remote areas (e.g. hinterland areas)?


  • Waste:

o   How is waste currently treated in the country?

o   What understanding and relationship do people in the country have to waste and litter (on the street, in their backyard, on landfills…)?

o   What measures do people find to reduce, reuse, recycle or upcycle waste?


  • Agriculture and local production:

o   Where does food come from in the country? Is self-sufficiency a goal or is food mostly imported? Who produces vegetables and fruits in the country? Is there any local food processing done? If yes, by whom?


  • Industry and economic development:

o   What role does natural resource exploitation (such as gold mining, petrol and gas) play for the local economy? And who is benefiting from it?

o   What are the major socio-environmental impacts of these industries?


  • Eco-tourism:

o   Does it exist, in what form and following what kind of principles?

o   A niche or broad phenomena?

Everyone is free to add knowledge to this platform! Please add your comments to each blog entry!

For this blog, my interests turn around the principles of:

  • Autonomy and decentralization
  • Local production and sustainable consumption
  • Collaborative consumption

What is this blog all about?

This blog wants to:

  • INFORM DIFFERENTLY on the country we are traveling in: sightseeing is fun, but only shows you a limited perspective of the country’s reality. This blog will be a means TO LEARN about the socio-environmental issues (on energy, water, sanitation, local democracy, and many more) the country is facing.
  • Create an opportunity to MEET CHANGE MAKERS who are working on innovative, local and effective solutions to these socio-environmental problems in their respective countries and PROVIDE them A PLATFORM to present and spread their ideas and initiatives. Eventually, this can help them to obtain more (international) media attention and (financial or in-kind) resources.
  • CONNECT and NETWORK with other travelers who are traveling in the same region and share the interest and passion for the environment in each country that they are travelling in. This connection can be virtual through blog posting, but also physical: together we can meet these change makers and fill this blog with life!

Eventually this blog shall create a movement of environmental-conscious travelers that want to learn about local environmental issues and meet local change makers in the fields of energy, water, waste, agriculture and local production.