„Nuk du qese” – I said the all too familiar sentence, this time in Albanian, as I gave the bananas for measuring. The store clerk was surprised, but put away the plastic bag she took by reflex. After writing the …
Here you can find blogposts which shows the environmental protection aspect of the tour. About the background and why we are doing things like this, read here.
The thing is, many think that being environmental friendly or practicing zero waste costs a lot, but actually the opposite is true, if you’re conscious about it, and see the long term benefits, in case of the solar panel for example. Everything is connected with our buying habits anyway, and if you learn not to listen to the consumerism mantra, really think about the origin and making of a product or food so you asses the ecological footprint better (which you should do on yourself too), then you are already doing more than 90% of the western population, while your wallet stops shrinking. It should be a systematic change though, shop mindfully. If you go to a zero waste shop 50km away with your car, maybe you’re doing more harm than buying those oatflakes packed in the local shop.
As for the money savings, I can tell you some tips which also simplifies a lot of things, and can be used for travelling too:
- Forget about cleaning and hygiene products in bottles, don’t carry extra water with you. A bar of soap is perfect for cleaning yourself, the clothes and the dishes too. A bigger piece can last for months. Tell me anything cheaper than that. (Ok, maybe chestnut, if you can pick it somewhere, not so practical while travelling though.)
- By the way dishwashing. A simple, plant fiber brush can be used for months or more, compostable so it breaks down even if you loose it in nature. Meanwhile costs like nothing, especially if you think about usage time. If you live at home, try growing loofah squash, the inside works like a sponge when you dry it out.
- Shampoo free life can require a bit of practice, but after you get into it, it saves you a lot, apart from your hair being free of chemicals. Personally I use eggyolk and soap with vinegar rinse, and only need to wash my hair once a week. Alan uses water only, with a bit of vinegar rinse when the water is hard, to get rid of the salt.
- Always carry a water bottle with you. If you fly (which you should think through), you can easily get an empty bottle through security check (yes, even a metal was not a problem, tested), which then you can fill in the toilet. Some airports already have filling stations too.
- If you’re a pro or travel to a more exotic country, you should take a small water filter with you, which can fit into your hand. And don’t be afraid to ask tap water in any café, believe me, no one will say no. Forget bottled water forever (how much did you spend on it so far anyway?).
- Soaking everything up with paper is a luxury, use a kitchen towel instead which you wash out. Or a handkerchief for your nose (and if you’re an experienced biker, you already know what to do). During travelling, paper is a treasure, which we use for much more important things (if you know what I mean).
- Buy seasonal, local food, both on the market and in the restaurant. Not only you will spend less, but the flavours will be more intense. Have you ever tried a sun ripened tomato directly from the garden? You don’t really want the winter stuff from the supermarket again. (And don’t forget to refuse any kind of plastic bag. No, the cashier won’t look funky at you, and if you bring your own reusable bag for the small stuff, you will even get a compliment.)
- On the topic of food, decrease your meat consumption, eat more grains, legumes and vegetables. You don’t have to be a vegetarian to lower your impact considerably, we don’t do that either. Just cut it back a lot, to about a few times a month. And instead of premade food, cook real meals (your health will thank you for it too). Without any stress, we keep our budget under 8 euro per day (so far, in 2018 November), for two persons.
- You don’t need a lot of clothes to be happy, and if something doesn’t smell after a day, there’s no need for washing (hey, you can save time on that, yay). You should only buy what you really need and wear (you can’t take much in a backpack anyway), and frequent second hand stores when you do so. In case you really need something new, try to opt for natural, quality materials like linen, hemp, merino wool or cotton. They last longer, don’t smell that bad and your skin can breath better. Quality is extra important in case of shoes.
I think I don’t have to emphasize that you should avoid flying whenever possible, and in case you can’t, use public transport/hitchhiking when you get to your end destination. Or you can rent a bike :) (Unless you are a cycle tourist, in which case, great!)
I wrote this on our support page, but I feel it has a place here too, so I just copy it:
Please consider donating for a charity in regards to climate change. It can be anything related to providing safe drinking water, or educating women in third world countries, or helping an organisation fighting big corporations (SumofUs and StoryofStuff are two great ones). It doesn’t even have to involve money. You can share stories on your social media, go out and pick trash in your neighborhood/beach, start implementing zero-waste and anti-consumption life choices in your every day life (read this and this to start, but feel free to contact me if you want to learn more), encourage others to do it too, and contact your local representative to urge them about immediate actions. And don’t forget to join a climate strike near you. There’s so many ways to make the world a better place! :)
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