Minimalist Living on the Road: My Backpacking Essentials

Well my lovelies, the time has finally come to start packing up my backpack and triple checking my to do list ready for next weeks great departure!

One of the most exciting things about packing up an ambitiously small 46L backpack for a year of travels is that it highlights just how little you need to get by in life. Once you realise that you have to lug all these belongings on your back almost every where you go, you soon get ruthless to what makes the cut in your final packing list!

What’s been the most interesting about my final backpack contents is just how flexible I’ve had to be with my own ethical interests, in order to weigh up practicality, durability and, naturally, cost. But I’ve tried to stay as balanced as possible, and suspect that as I go on I’ll slowly go without less in my bag in order to keep my arms from falling off!

So whilst not everything I’m packing is 100% ethical, vegan, Fairtrade etc, they will help to serve me in living as minimalist and zero waste for as long as possible. You will also see that a lot of the items below have also been gifted to me by my lovely friends, family and colleagues, so I haven’t spent much money on my final contents!

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A Backpackers Fears: Preparing to Let Go

What a difference a week can make. Especially when you feel like you’ve been moving at 100 Mph for the last 6 months, on an unsatisfying energy source of cheap coffee, hummus and Sex and the City reruns! Life for the first half of 2015 has seemed to move both mind numbingly slow and overwhelmingly fast in equal measures.

On the one hand, I’ve impatiently anticipated the day I finally fly the UK nest and take my lazy green ways on the road trip of a lifetime. The days have dragged as I’ve lived as frugally as possible to save for my dream one year trip around the globe.

On the other hand, days have seemed to blur into weeks faster than the TGV, and I’m left with just 9 days to go before I fly (and an ever escalating to do list!)

I know, I know, it’s hard to feel sorry for someone who has quit their job and is about to embark on a year of galavanting around the world! But there is unfortunately no calm before the backpackers storm, and it seems that the most stressful part of a round the world trip is the preparation period itself, where your whole being has a last minute freak out, and yells: “what the hell are you doing?! Lets just run back to where we came from and hide under a rock where it feels safe!” Continue reading A Backpackers Fears: Preparing to Let Go

Easy T Shirt Hacks for the Lazy Seamstress

I can’t believe its already day 5 of Zero Waste Week and what a week it’s been!! I must admit, I’ve been a terrible blogger and been so knee deep in my last week of work and packing to move house, that I haven’t had much time to blog!

But it’s not all been zero waste naughtiness over here, and I’ve been having lots of fun passing all my unwanted belongings on to friends, and on sites like Gumtree and Streetbank.

However, some items – especially clothes and small reusable containers – are actually easily upcycled with a few very easy tweeks, to breathe new life into them. So, though I have been looking at things as I pack thinking “will I miss it in the year I’m away, or should I part with it now?” I’ve also found myself asking “could I use this in someway in my backpack?” It’s a travel hoarders dream!!!

My very good friend Emily recently inspired me with the idea of T Shirt Hacks; quick and easy fashion updates which don’t involve a thread or a needle. My idea of upcycing heaven! This is perfect for making the clothes I’ve been wearing all summer in the UK, new and exciting for my summery days on the road!

I had a little dig to find some examples of how Emilys hacks works in reality before I braved a pair of scissors to my clothes on my 2 weeks off before my flight, and it appears there are 100s of ways you can update a simple T shirt with no sewing skills whatsoever! Here’s just three of them:

Continue reading Easy T Shirt Hacks for the Lazy Seamstress

Packing solutions for the Green traveler

Well my lovelies, Zero waste Week is here and has already gone off with a big bang!! Some of my fellow zero waste bloggers have already shared some fabulous tips, ideas and confessions for cutting down the waste, and the activity on social media was so electric yesterday, #zerowasteweek was even trending on Twitter!!

But this week is also big for another very exciting reason: it’s my last week working at the amazing Eden Project before I pack up all my things and move back to my parents home. In less than 3 weeks I’ll be off on my round the world trip!!

After months of successful planning and not so successful saving, I’ll soon be heading off on foot with just a 46L backpack and leaving all my worldly belongings behind.

This kind of life change calls for a MASSIVE clear out, so Zero Waste Week couldn’t come at a better time! Continue reading Packing solutions for the Green traveler

Infographic – the Growing Global Water Footprint

I’ve always thought it’s a little odd that despite 71% of the Earth’s surface being covered in water, reports of global water shortages are steadily increasing. Especially when I happen to live in a county that seems to be in a sate of perpetual rain!

But the fact is there’s a huge difference between sea water and fresh water, and the demand for the latter is causing millions to suffer across the globe. The assumption that this is simply an issue for those in underdeveloped countries is a myth. In fact, the United Nations reported earlier this year that predictions suggest within 15 years, the world water supply will fall short by at least 40%, and continue to rise. It will soon affect every single one of us.

An infographic I came across recently shows that those small things our mums always told us off for doing when we were young – like leaving the tap running for too long – aren’t helping the situation either. Luckily, it also reveals that there are quite a few things we can actively do to help reduce our “water footprint”, and make the most of this life giving liquid. Not surprisingly, reducing our meat and dairy intake – which, along with chocolate is one of the biggest drain on fresh water supply – can have significant benefits.

Custom Made, the lovely makers on the below infographic, say:

“Fresh water consumption has doubled since World War II and is expected to rise 25% by 2030. All of this water use takes a toll on the planet and can create water scarcity which effects up to 2.8 billion people around the world at least one month out of the year. Explore ways you can reduce your water footprint in your home.

Dual flush toilets, turning off the tap while scrubbing dishes, and using a rain barrel to collect outdoor water are all great ways to reduce your water footprint. There are many simple changes you can make in your day to day life that can positively impact your water use and lessen the effects of water scarcity.”

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Why getting muddy is the key to gratitude

This week kicked off with an exciting start, when I had my very first ever post published on my favorite website, Elephant Journal!

My extremely honest and personal story – detailing an embarrassing fall into a huge puddle of mud – is a reflection on how I generally like to live life; with trust, gratitude and a huge sense of humor!

The fact is, shit happens every single day, and we will regularly get covered knee deep in sticky, muddy situations. The key to living a happy and full life is to learn from these falls from grace, and welcome the lessons they often bring.

Sometimes, though not always, it can even be quite liberating and awakening to throw yourself into unknown or scary situations, as you’ll likely surprise yourself with just what you’re made of!

So, if you need a little reminder of the twists and turns of life, or simply fancy a giggle at my expense, have a little read of my Elephant Journal post: Why You Should Throw Yourself into the Mud Immediately.

Image: PRO micadew at Flickr

Vegan Life: Issue 8 Review

When, late last year, the introduction of a new vegan specific lifestyle magazine – Vegan Life – was announced, I think more than a few people cried a big veggie hooray! But little did I know that this monthly magazine would become such an important part of my plant based lifestyle, in more ways than one.

Mixing delicious vegan recipes, restaurant reviews and beauty product spotlights, as well as fantastic interviews and news from around the world, Vegan Life is fast becoming an invaluable source for connecting vegans with goings on around the world. Not to mention helping us to feel part of a passionate and diverse community.

In short, Vegan Life makes vegan living sexy, accessible and fun to be part of.

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