We are all aware that travel itself isn't the greenest of gallivants, yet in a world which yearns for unity we’re all drawn to it. Partially through pure curiosity, and partly because somewhere deep inside, we realise experiencing the cultures of others builds a necessary part of our empathy.

My husfriend and I have long agreed that it should be a requirement, funded by government, for all high school children to spend time abroad before they commence university, outside their own comforts and culture. The reality is, if we don't leave the sphere in which we were raised, it stunts our growth, our gratitude, and in many cases, our humanity.

Those of us with even a trickle of extra income and the political freedom to travel are given a great privilege. And with that privilege comes a great responsibility, to coexist, to balance the scale between give and take, and to feel, see and taste, without judgement, what other cultures share. 

Living in Paris and having lived in London, I’ve seen my fair share of 'take' from tourists, who are unintentionally selfishly enjoying a place. Though this isn't true for all tourists, it is true for many, who mindlessly create litter and dispose of it on sidewalks or beaches, buy trinkets which say 'Paris' on one side and 'made in China' on the other, frequent Starbucks over local cafe's, and use taxis rather than public transport (or their feet). It is likely just habit, a mimic of behaviours developed back home, but as visitors, their actions stick out like a sore thumb, and though this depth-less behaviour affects their own native community, it seems unfair to direct the unconscious and taxing currents that come with tourism it at one's host as it wipes out the voices of authenticity which deserve to be heard.

Barcelona is the first city in the world to be awarded Biosphere certification. It recognises the city as a sustainable tourism destination, one which has developed techniques which allow them to manage the sustainable, environmental, cultural and socio-economic issues which are posed by heavy tourism. Despite their efforts, the imbalances between give and take remain.

There are various ways to ensure that your visit doesn’t fall into the realm of take, one of which is reducing the impact of your actions and experience by supporting truly local business, from your sustenance and the way you shop, to where you sleep, and how you go about your day.

My husfriend is half Spanish and has spent much of his 20s in Barcelona's streets, the true authentic Barcelona can't be found at a monument, nor at an establishment, it's found through interactions and through fate. The guide that I have created is a reflection of Barcelona's future, one which cares for the planet, its inhabitants and its history. It is a future where locals profit from the travellers who walk their streets, and where that income is shared from cradle-to-cradle with all those who help it form. Whether it is the artisans who learned skills from their grandparent, or the farmer who cultivates the grain, or the cook in the kitchen in touch with the seasons, or the hotel cleaner in the conscious hotel using chemical-free products and being paid a fair wage, there is a story behind your story and it is one worth trying to unveil. 

To support sustainable tourism, my husfriend and put together a travel vlog (video below) and a two-day conscious walking tour for you to use as a compass as you discover the city and its people for yourself. 

Though it takes you on a chronological journey through the city, be sure to follow your instincts and if you see a small family owned restaurant, or find yourself at a market, or hear music escaping the walls of a place, choose your own adventure and if it feels authentic, allow yourself to ride that wave. 

The daily itineraries (which include online maps) in the two-day ebook guide we created take you the historical and beautiful sights of Barcelona, with stops for sustenance, sleep and souvenirs at slow food restaurants, sustainable shops and eco hotels/hostels.

BUY IT(£7.00) HERE