By Dawn Francom
Moving across this beautiful country of ours has definitely affected me greatly (Montreal-Vancouver for those who don’t know). I’ve had experiences that I’ve never had before, and more importantly, didn’t even know that I wanted. There’s a calm excitement about getting a fresh start: new work, new friends, new hobbies, new memories. In all this enjoyment however, I haven’t done the best in keeping to my Zero-Waste lifestyle. Don’t get me wrong, I try at any chance possible! And I mean ANY! We even had a “zero-waste shopping date”. It was basically us going all over town to check out hot spots. It was oddly romantic, or at least it was for me! Imagine, my fella and I, hand in hand, staring lovingly into each other’s eyes, with nothing but the sound of our mason jars knocking together in the background… BLISS.
This all being said, there’s one thing we’ve been adamant about. Fun. We focus on our recreational time and how it can impact our lifestyle. Sure, we can just throw this routine out the window and go blow an afternoon, as well as a wad of cash on stuff, and pretend to be content with that decision. Buy things we’d use once or twice and eventually donate or throw away; but no. We still refuse to go down that road. So we’ve decided to turn our spare time into discovery time. To see this beautiful new city, we call home.
So far we’ve seen and done quite a few things, and our “to do” list is endless. Here are just a few of my favorite Zero Waste activities, that are easily adapted to any city! Really guys, ANY! Everywhere you turn, you’ll have these chances, just need to keep an eye open:
- Exploring National Parks: Within the first few days of arriving, we took a sunny/rainy afternoon to explore the gorgeous Stanley Park. It was such a worthwhile time, we got to skip rocks on the water and just be, without any pressure whatsoever. Another time, we walked around Lynn Canyon and it was stunning! There was a huge suspension bridge, beautiful waterfalls and the friendliest people you’d meet. It’s as though the serenity of the park altered everyone’s mood and uplifted it without an actual effort. Add in a packed lunch and you’ve got yourself quite a day!
- Museums: My fiancé loves museums! Legit loves ‘em. Personally, they’re not my thing but I gotta say; I had a heck of a good time! We’ve had the chance to see two so far and they were both more interesting than I had thought they would be. We got to see history through art and how people grow through generation to generation.
- Exploring new Farmer’s Markets: I love walking through farmer’s markets and checking out the fresh produce. Chatting with local merchants and just enjoying the buzz that surrounds the area. We took a morning to check out one of the more popular markets in the area, Granville Island, and loved it! We stopped for lunch and bought a few veggies, ya know, just the usual.
- Take a scenic drive: I know, I know. Gas is bad. I try not to use my car whenever possible, but sometimes you gotta give in. Everyone told us about the Sea to Sky highway and how it’s an absolutely stunning route. They were right! We took a drive up to Squamish BC, stopped in at Victoria Falls and continued onto Whistler. It was a bit rainy that day, so we didn’t have too much of an opportunity for outdoor activities. We still made the most out of it and got to experience the beautiful views of the mountains against the water. Amazing day all together!
- Visiting a Micro-Brewery: Vancouver is full of these gems! And what I’ve come to love most about them, are the growlers. For anyone who doesn’t know, a growler is a refillable bottle that they pump draft beer into. Making it a zero-waste beer! It’s basically my secret love. We’ve checked out a few of these great places, enjoyed the wonderful atmosphere, stayed for a pint and filled our growlers all in one spot. Highly recommend checking out your city for micro-brewery’s that offer this! Such a good time!
- Escape rooms: Now this is definitely an acquired taste. If you enjoy problem solving, and fully encompassing yourself into a game, you’ve got to find one of these bad boys! They’re everywhere now. It encourages teamwork and communication (which is a huge plus to practice in relationships). Also, you go in needing nothing, no equipment of your own or special gear, and you come out with only awesome memories.
- Dinner Parties: We’ve been lucky with this, I have family here and they were incredible and invited us along with them to a few of their friends’ parties. It’s among one of the first times where I had the opportunity to completely allow myself to enjoy a party, while being a stranger. Getting to know other people on more than just an acquaintance level was a completely worthwhile experience. It taught me how interesting people are and how the art of a simple conversation is gradually becoming lost in our society. I suppose in a way, I had the chance to get back to basics with this one. Side bonus, when you bring a Zero-Waste dish for a potluck, everyone asks about it, so you have the best chance to spread the word! HAHA!
There it is folks, several of my favorite Zero-Waste activities. If you just take the time to think about how you’re spending your time, you’ll realize how simple it is to alter it for this lifestyle. I never feel like I’m lacking things that other people want, because I know that they’re not for me. I feel completely fulfilled while being simultaneously open to any new idea!
For more posts about Living Zero Waste, check out my Facebook page Live Waste Free. Many random tips, tricks and funnies to be had on the daily!