Alice Ford is an adventure filmmaker, content creator, and stuntwoman. She owns an eco-hotel booking platform called TravGanic as well as a blog and Youtube Channel called Alice’s Adventures. Alice has lived and worked all over the world and fundamentally believes that travel should be a form of social good and education.
With an MS degree in Environmental Management, Alice uses her social media platforms to educate and foster the idea of sustainability in every piece of content she shares. She is also an UnTours UnFluencer—a travel ambassador who uncovers hidden gems in your favorite destinations while championing a better kind of travel that preserves and protects. We spoke to Alice about what being an UnFluencer means to her.
What is your personal concept of the kind of slow travel that makes a positive contribution to the world?
For me, slow travel is taking the time to learn and explore a place beyond the tourist hot spots. It’s treating a destination like it’s your home while you are there. I don’t always get to stay in a place for a long time, but that doesn’t mean I am not slow traveling. Slow travel, for me, is about the choices I make when I travel: which businesses I support, who I stay with, how I get around, and what I purchase.
I tend to lean into booking sustainable places to stay, or stay with locals when possible. I always support tourism initiatives that are owned by locals and support the local economy. Choosing the right tours and tour guides while traveling is super important. I like tour operators who hire locals or indigenous people, only buy supplies or crafts that are good for the planet or made locally, and do everything they can to promote local biodiversity and community. When I pick places to eat, I look for locally owned or farm-to-table style restaurants that use organic or locally grown products. I do a lot of research before I step foot into a place to make sure my money and my time are respecting the place I am visiting.
How do UnFluencers differ from influencers?
We promote slow travel and the more cultural and local aspects of travel. Unfluencers are not here to show you the same overtouristed place everyone else is, we are here to help you learn about culture, food, nature, and wildlife. We promote the necessary skills and respect that we should all have as travelers and people of this world.
How can UnFluencers be a part of destination management that preserves nature and culture?
By working with sustainable destinations and promoting them through great storytelling that doesn’t exploit anyone or anywhere. By telling the stories of indigenous peoples, and by helping destinations and tour companies educate and inspire people to be better travelers and individuals.
Can you share a personal story of slow travel that was meaningful to you?
Last year, I traveled to Ecuador for a month-long solo trip, staying at traditional haciendas in the mountains where I hiked for days on end and explored with a local guide the national parks and spectacular scenery near Cotopaxi in the Ecuadorian Andes. My local guide was from the village I stayed in and took me hiking up some of his favorite mountains in the Andes.
I explored slowly and purposefully taking a cooking class on my off days and learning more about the culture of the Chagra a.k.a. Ecuadorian Cowboys. By the end of the month, I had explored several areas of the country from the Amazon to the cloud forests, discovering wildlife and staying with an indigenous tribe. My favorite experience was the week I stayed with an indigenous tribe in the Amazon, living slowly and off the land in the way the tribe did, sometimes eating grubs and picking fresh papaya from the wild trees, canoeing along the river, and walking through the Amazon to learn about native medicinal plants.
Where can UnTourists find you?