Zero waste travelling? With two backpacks in Montenegro.
Something new, something different, some sort of challenge. We set up destinations again and again, not only in space but concerning challenges, spiritual and mental destinations too. Our new, progressive action: going zero waste!
Obviously, our priorities are still having a good time, to spend time together, to discover new layers in each other through shared experience, to get quite in nature; our aim is not to meet some sort of unreachable idea…no, this journey is simply a „simple” experiment and challenge.
Those who read our previous stories, tips, and tricks on travelling, and have been following our blog know that we are sensitive towards social and environmental issues, and we try to be active in these fields.
Travelling on its own is not very environmentally friendly ( thinking about the effects of flying on the environment), so God blessed us with a controversial passion. Still, we had so many great experiences, we visited a great deal of natural wonders, we met many people that influenced our lives that we decided to continue exploring the world. We are sure you have something in your lives too, to which you don’t want to wave goodbye…maybe that is travelling, if you are reading our blog!
We were filled with sadness and helplessness when we encountered views like the ones that follow, all around the world (and we didn’t even upload the worst photos):
We already had posts about why we don’t take photos with tigers, why we don’t ride elephants, or how the means of transportation that we chose impact the environment. We try to be reasonable (most of the times), so we chose to travel by train, bus, bicycle (which is good for riding across cities, but isn’t really our thing), or even walking, so we don’t fly or use other means of transportation if it is not absolutely necessary. Most of the times we walk across cities, even though we have to go through city parts that are not recommended for tourists, or where there “isn’t much to see”; these walks brought us many surprises, and through them we experienced a not so sparkly side of the places, and the life of the locals.
Many of you know about our water filter, our bottles that have travelled around the world with us, and that we are couchsurfers, all these helping us to contribute to environmentally conscious travelling.
Still, somehow all these didn’t satisfy us. We realised that despite the fact that at home we live very mindfully concerning the environment ( we buy local, seasonal products), we are able to buy products without wrapping, when we are travelling, we purchase many things that we wouldn’t at home (crackers, muesli, chocolate, sliced cheese, wrapped soap, etc.). So, not only do we travel, but we also add to it! Even at home, we are not 100% zero waste, but we were able to live without plastic bags and other single use wrapping materials pretty well.
We would like to try, with a bit of effort (only until we experiment and experience with how it is done, and we transform it into a habit), but without breaking in, to see if travelling can be enjoyed without destroying the environment or nature. We think it is possible!
One of our favorite quotes, that wraps up pretty well and simply our thoughts: “The Earth thanks us, then cleans the chaos that we caused. The question is, would we like to help it with the cleaning, so that we are still welcome here, or we force it to kick us out of the door sooner or later?” (Kump Edina, Hungarian zero waste ambassador, owner of hulladekmentes.hu)
We are not fully following any trend or movement with our way of travelling or living; the values that we are talking about are our own, we came up with them, and are important to us, this is why one might encounter discrepancies between for example plastic, zero waste and minimalism, but we hope to inspire you to get to know this travelling style, that allows you to discover places that are both close and far away while being environmentally conscious.
- minimalism and simplicity. We will only pack things that we really need; we will think it through, what are the things that are worth carrying on our backs for a week;
- ethical travelling: discovering the local culture, nature and respecting those;
- environmental mindfulness;
- zero-waste, no to wrapping materials;
- we are staying vegetarians, obviously;
- and maybe, Edvárd will be able to sneak the “slow” approach into our travels.
These seem a lot. Can the experience be enjoyed if one has to pay attention to so many things?
We try to keep it rational, and enjoy the journey, to relax, have rest, and experience the adventures, this is why we will not be completely plastic free (but maybe this is the next step), as while travelling one has to obey other norms than during normal days.
The most important criteria are still to have our backpack as light as possible and to only pack the most essential things. We also try to use the objects that we own until those are usable (even though those might not be extremely environment-friendly). For example, we won’t buy a razor with a wooden grip, as Edvárd still has the razor that he had been using since he was sixteen. Same applies to our boxes, if we would throw them out, they would immediately become waste.
Buying without wrapping? What? Ok, that’s doable at home, but while travelling?
When we go to the market on Saturdays with our trolley, we can take bottles, boxes, bags with us…what a luxury; still, we can’t fill our backpacks with storing boxes and fragile bottles. Now, we are brainstorming on what is the solution to this problem.
It is just one week, it shouldn’t be very difficult. We’ll see!
Anyways, we didn’t want to wait until we have a longer journey, this is why we packed as if we were going on one, and so we can get the knowledge for any kind of trip. We will pack our gear as if we are going to be on the go all the time, as if we would only travel out of our backpacks. Travelling with a car is yet another story, as cars can be fully packed with many things.
We don’t know how this all turns out, but follow us and our learning process.
Soon we will upload a “what are we taking with us” and some other useful things video.
A brief preview: What are the things that we are not taking with us, things to which we are searching a no-wrapping alternative (chocolate, yoghurt, pads, toothbrush…), our only rule is: NO WASTE!
Our hopes are that (joining our forces with yours) no one, nowhere in the world will have to walk on beaches that are in the following state:
Books, movies, articles that inspire and grant support in this challenge that we discovered in the world:
- Daniel Quinn: Ishmael, The Story of B, My Ishmael (our first date book)
- F. Schumacher: Small is Beautiful
- the novels of Fekete István (a wonderful Hungarian writer)
- Bea Johnson: Zero Waste Home
- D. Thoreau: Walden
- Kocsis, Tamás: Roots, Pleasure and Wealth in a globalizing consumer society
- the writings of Samuel Alexander
- Duane Elgin: Voluntary Simplicity
- Erdős, László: Zöld Hősök (Green Heroes)
and many other books, novels, philosophical pieces that we encounter during our studies and lives, also lectures and lecturers (e.g. Vandana Shiva)
- Home (our first-date movie)
- Taste the Waste
- Minimalism, A Documentary About the Important Things
- The Story of Stuff
- Brother Sun, Sister Moon
- Vad Magyarország (Wild Hungary)
and many other movies, documentaries…
- couchsurfing.com, helpX and other pages dealing with housing, transportation, sharing objects, rides and resources
- Kump, Edina and hulladekmentes.hu
- Háztartásom hulladék nélkül (My household without waste) facebook group
- Minimalism– Voluntary simplicity facebook group
- Messzelátó Association
- Colin Beavan, aka No Impact Man
- slow movement
- degrowth movement
- other travellers: rundebella, 360fokbringa
- self-made cosmetic recipes from different sources
maybe once we could write a full list if you want:-)
You can follow ou trip by joining to our Facebook event: Our zero waste travel N.o1//Footsteps after the plastic-flush
UPDATE: Check out how did it go 🙂 and read our tips about How to replace kilos of trash with just a handful?