I’M BACK!! After taking a 2 month break from blogging to travel, I’ve finally settled in and am back at it! Now these passed months have been incredible, and you better believe that I’ve learned SO MUCH in the process! Seeing everything from: stunning beaches along the eastern coast of Australia, camping with wild dingoes on Fraser Island, and even adding in a cross country move only a week after returning from backpacking. Yes, this time has been crazy, but so worthwhile and such an eye opener.
Did you know that it IS possibly to continue to cut your impact while traveling? Convenience is key while constantly on the move, but if you’re properly prepared, you can continue to live a Zero-Waste lifestyle abroad with ease. Here are a few things that I learned while backpacking abroad:
- Buy used items and be picky about them. Prepping for a trip can be costly and add a whole bunch of stuff to your life that you may not need again. Try to downsize your packing list and cut it down to the bare essentials. Also, larger items like your back pack can be found online or in thrift shops for a lot less money. Even better, ask around, maybe someone has one they don’t mind you borrowing!
- Water bottles are essential. Not simply recommended, but necessary. Between the heat, the long drives and the tourist attractions; without our reusable water bottles, we might have been more inclined to buy plastic bottles.
- Carrying our own fork/spoon/plate. We both actually have these awesome portable sporks we kept in our bags along with collapsible and reusable plates. Thanks to our ability to plan ahead, we were able to avoid unnecessary waste. Not once did we have to use plastic utensils or Styrofoam
- Carrying a sealable container for our leftovers from restaurants. While in the airport awaiting our next set of flights, I had chosen to get a meal in a reusable container. This one container lasted the whole month as my take away container. We ate out more often than normal. As well as packing our lunches for day trips. This container saved me from getting so many more in this process. Before leaving, I did put it in the proper recycling and looked back at all the plastic I saved in lieu of getting more daily *insert sigh of relief*.
- Watch out for touristy souvenir shops. It is super easy to get swept up in the “I want to bring something back for everyone” aspect of traveling. If you’re really dead set on bringing stuff back, try to limit it. Not only will you run out of cash fast, but you’re going to have to carry everything around with you the whole duration of the trip. And maybe it’s just me and my lack of attraction to souvenirs, but I always insist when people go away, that they not get me anything. I don’t need another key chain. I don’t need another fridge magnet. As nice of a gesture it is, I’d rather hear your stories and experiences. Not have something that will most likely get donated in 2 months or worse, break and end up in the trash. This time out, I brought back incredible stories, pictures of glorious views and an incredible tan. After all, that’s the reason we travel isn’t it?
- Speak up and ask. Who knows the shops better than locals?! We found a few amazing zero-waste stores while abroad, just by fluke from striking up conversations. Unfortunately we didn’t have our jars/reusable bags with us; but they provided paper bags we could use and then compost.
- The will to keep going. Not everyone sees eye to eye on this, especially while traveling. Most things we saw and even refused were single use items. As long as you stick to it, know why you’re becoming zero-waste (or near Zero), there’s no stopping you.
- Keep like-minded company. I know this one’s probably the trickiest, or I may just have been incredibly lucky to have a friend with me, who has the same views I do on the matter. This trip would have been so much more difficult had I not had her there (in more ways than one). We both feed off each other’s creativity and really inspire one another to keep going. It’s nice to be able to have someone to brainstorm ways around the norm with. I definitely couldn’t have done this without her!
I know there’s so much more we could do while away, but I wanted to keep it simple. These suggestions are a big part of what I took away from my experience. Now go on and explore for yourselves! See everything you want to and remember it’s all about doing what you can and focusing on the positives.
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