Traversing the roads of Manali with travel vloggers Ronnie and Barty, we find out why Hyundai’s advanced electric SUV–the Hyundai KONA Electric–is perfect for a road trip that’s sustainable and memorable. By Simrran Gill
The word sustainability has a newfound meaning in our vocabularies. While some might use it interchangeably with ‘going green’ and ‘low carbon footprint’, in a broader sense, it means using our resources to fulfill our current needs while leaving plenty behind for future generations. And keeping in mind the significance of being sustainable in today’s day and age, Travel + Leisure India & South Asia, in collaboration with Hyundai KONA Electric, brings Road to Sustainability, a three-part sustainable living series with thought leaders from the fields of travel, food, and lifestyle.
In Part I, we make our way to Manali with the travel duo—Ronnie and Barty—to understand their view on sustainable travel, and how it’s the little things that make all the difference.
Conscious and Sustainable Travel
“Living a sustainable life isn’t easy, but I think it’s worth the effort. Through travel and our channel, we get to meet so many different people who have varying views of what being sustainable means. People sometimes forget the most basic things that can be easily solved by being conscientious [in our choices],” says Barty. “We’ve travelled extensively over the last decade and witnessed the beauty this great blue planet has to offer us and are often reminded of how it’s our job to take care of it, the same way it looks after us,” adds Ronnie. This is why the travel vloggers decide to take a road trip through the beautiful landscape of Manali in the Hyundai KONA Electric. Expressing their excitement about driving an electric vehicle through the serpentine roads, Ronnie says, “The Hyundai KONA Electric is like having a personal chariot that transports you to beautiful corners of the mountains you haven’t discovered.” And at the same time, being sustainable and mindful about the way you travel, which is non-negotiable for both.
Why Hyundai KONA Electric?
When it comes to travel and sustainability, Hyundai KONA Electric, India’s first All Electric SUV is the perfect partner to explore any picturesque scenery, including a destination like postcard-perfect Manali. “Since the car can go up to 452km seamlessly in a single charge, we can literally go anywhere and set up shop and enjoy the view,” emphasises Ronnie.
Driving across Manali, the travel duo shares why Hyundai KONA is the perfect vehicle for a sustainable yet memorable journey. And when it comes to charging points, Ronnie explains, “There are properties here in Manali that offer charging included in their packages; so you can charge your EV and roam the hills to your heart’s content. You can plug it in here and set off to brand-new destinations every day.”
Travel and Sustainability
When it comes to travel, food is an integral part of the experience. And keeping in mind sustainable practices, local food is an inevitable part of the conversation. A trip to Manali is incomplete without sampling the traditional dishes. Ronnie and Barty cherish a comforting home-cooked meal at the Kalzang Dhaba. Run by a local couple, the dhaba has been in existence for a long time. Ronnie smiles, “The really special thing [here] is that they grow their own vegetables, even forage for ingredients, and make authentic Himachali cuisine with it that you will probably not find anywhere else.”
Barty chips in, “I think it’s about committing to a decision and then making small choices that hopefully add up. One such choice is finding hidden gems like these that are run by locals.”
As the day of adventure, fun, and exploration comes to an end, and the sun makes a slow exit leaving behind the chilly air, the couple is comfortable in their front ventilated seats. Focussing on mindful travel, the travel duo touches upon the sensitivity of tourism in the mountains. “The mountains are a great place to rediscover yourself, especially if you’re coming here on your own. A lot of people come to the mountains in large groups, and they forget one basic thing—there’s nobody to clean up after you. It’s a romantic notion to think of spending all your time here, but do the mountains want you here if you don’t respect them?” questions Ronnie.
For the night, the couple checks into GlampEco Manali, once again choosing a property that’s sustainable and eco-friendly. On a stroll through GlampEco, Ronnie explains, “[At GlampEco], all their wet waste go to feed the cattle, the lights are powered by solar, and they have almost no usage of single-use plastic. They also have bio-digester units, which are basically toilets that have their own waste disposal system. So essentially, they are not using septic tanks.”
With increased awareness around mindful and sustainable travel, some like Ronnie and Barty, are now doing their bit to travel consciously, ensuring they leave no trash behind, engaging in practices that help the planet in the long run, choosing places and products that have a planet-first approach–leading their ‘Road to Sustainability’. As for the travel duo’s sustainable practices, they always ensure to take Jerry, their mountain mascot, along. Traditionally used to carry extra fuel, their jerrycan is used to carry water. “Our Jerry holds water and that really helps us avoid buying single-use plastic bottles while we travel,” says Barty. “If you really want to commit to going green, there is always a way,” adds Ronnie.
As we bid adieu to the breath-taking landscape of Manali, Ronnie and Barty conclude: “We all have a part to play in keeping our planet safe, so electric vehicles are the most obvious choice for the future—there are electric vehicles already in use for shorter distances in Manali. In a place like this, the Hyundai KONA Electric is a game changer.”