Tag Archives: lifestyle

Reusable Silicone Bags: Are They Worth It?

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Silicone bags are almost as famous as reusable straws in terms of products that mainstream society knows about as being good for the environment alternatives to single-use plastics.

Walk into basically any home-goods store nowadays and see displays of reusable bags on the shelves. It seems like every day there’s a new brand that pops up. But how good are reusable bags, really? And, are they actually a good choice for you?

Unfortunately, like most of the zero waste products on the market: it depends.

Whether or not you specifically need to buy silicone bags will depend entirely on your own lifestyle. If you don’t already rely on things like Ziploc bags for food/other storage, your silicone bags would probably just end up collecting dust and never get used.

If, however, you’re constantly using Ziploc (or another brand) of bags, you would probably get a lot of use out of silicone bags. You might think they’re the best invention ever and feel dumb for taking so long to buy some.

With such two extremes, how can you decide whether or not they’re worth the hype? Take a look at some of the pros and cons, then imagine if you’d actually use them in your everyday life.

Not that distant ‘someday’ utopia you often daydream about, I mean your actual everyday life.

 

Pro 1: They’re Versatile!

Since they’re made out of silicone, these bags are pretty versatile! You can freeze them, put them on the stove or microwave and/or even a dishwasher.

This isn’t true for every silicone bag though, so you’ll want to be sure to read the instructions for the specific brand you’re looking at. In my own research, I’ve seen a lot of them say they can at least go in the freezer and at least one source of heat, which are too of the best qualities you could ask for, in my opinion.

 

Pro 2: They Can Store a LOT!

Another perk I’ve seen is the sheer volume some of these bags can hold!

Obviously this depends on the brand and what size you buy, but I’ve seen ones that come in packs with snack-size, sandwich-size and 1 liter sized bags. I’ve also seen a few that have a fold-out bottom type thing so they can free-stand! That is not only a perk for the extra room they provide, but it’s also great for when you have to store the bags.

I’ve seen some Youtubers who use the non-free-standing kind, and they have to lay them all flat on top of each other to maximize their space. They also need to use three or four of the smaller bags.

Instead, you could use one of the free-standing bags, and that not only cuts down on the amount of bags you’ll have free for other storage, but might also be an easier way for you to store things like soups right side up.

 

Pro 3: They’re Better For The Environment!

Hopefully by now, I don’t need to tell you why single use plastics are bad for the environment. But, what you might not know, is why silicone is a good alternative.

Silicone is better than single-use/regular plastics because it’s an easier material to reprocess and it’s designed for longevity. This means you can use your silicone bags over and over, unlike Ziploc bags, which are designed to be thrown away after one use. This also means they won’t degrade as fast and don’t leech plastic into whatever you’re storing in them. (Like food)

 

Pro 4: They’re NOT Made Out of Plastic!

Though they may look and feel similar, silicone bags and disposable plastic bags are not made out of the same materials!

Plastic bags are (shocker) made out of plastic, whereas silicone bags are made out of a mixture between synthetic rubber and sand. Yes, you read that correctly. Silicone is (partly) made out of sand. How cool is that?

 

Con 1: They’re Pricey

Like most other zero waste products on the market, silicone bags have a bigger upfront cost. However, since they are designed to last you years, they actually help you save money in the long run, because you won’t constantly be buying disposable bags!

Don’t believe me? Let’s do a quick math check:

A 90 pack of Ziploc small size snack bags are $5.99 at Loblaws (at the time this article was written 24.06.28) and a 60 pack of big freezer-safe ones is listed at $13.99. Together, that’s only $19.98.

So, let’s say you bring a sandwich with you to work every day until you run out of the small bags. 90 bags means you’d run out in 90 days, which is about 3 months. And since there’s 12 months in a year, this means you’d have to buy Ziploc bags 4 times per year.

5.99 x 4= 23.96

This means your yearly cost of just the small Ziploc bags is $23.96. Which might not sound like a lot – 20 bucks is like the Adult $1, right? – but we’re not done. We still need to add the cost of the big Ziploc bags. Also, the small snack size bags aren’t listed as being freezer safe, which means you won’t be able to use them (safely) for long-term food storage.

The big Ziploc bags only come in a 60 pack, which would be only 2 months worth of bags. This means you’d need to replace them 6 times a year.

13.99 x 6= 83.94

83.94 + 23.96= $107.90

So your actual yearly cost of Ziplocs is about $107.90.

Now for the silicone bags.

I found a company that sells a 4 pack of different sizes for $49.99. (Linked here) So even if you bought 2 of these packs, that’d still only be $99.98. And that’s not a yearly cost.

Silicone reusable bags are as the name suggest, reusable. I unfortunately couldn’t find an exact number of disposable bags they replace, but the silicone bags are supposed to be reusable for years. So a one-time payment of $99.98 for let’s say, 4 years, instead of a multiple payments totaling $431.60 for the same amount of time, should hopefully highlight why silicone bags are actually the cheaper choice.

The above calculations are obviously for a very specific scenario of use, however I think it helps illustrate the true difference in prices. Reusable silicone bags aren’t actually more money, they’re just more money right now.

 

Con 2: They’re Not Infinitely  Recyclable

Unfortunately, unlike some other reusable alternatives (like glass or metal), silicone bags are not infinitely recyclable. This means that though they are reusable, they will still eventually break down/become unusable and at some point, and contribute to our garbage problem.

Granted, this can be as far away as five years, ten years or longer, our world does not need us producing even more garbage. I know there is no perfect alternative, but as mentioned above, there are a few other ‘better’ reusable options.

 

Con 3: Can Become Unstable If Heated Too High (Passed 300F)

Remember how above I said some types of silicone bags can be used on the stove or in a microwave? Well, this doesn’t mean you can heat them to any temperature.

Silicone bags can become unstable if they are heated too high – my research has indicated this number is around 300F. This is bad for obvious reasons: the bags become unusable if they melt and you definitely wouldn’t want to eat a meal that’s covered in melted silicone.

And this actually brings me to the last con of the day:

 

Con 4: Not All Silicone Bags Are Completely Inert

If you heat the silicone bag too high, not only does it have the potential to melt, but it also might start to leech its chemicals into whatever’s being stored in it.

This means you could potentially ingest the materials that make up silicone bags like sand and synthetic rubber.

These are obviously not the only potential pros and cons of silicone bags, but I feel these are the most important to consider before deciding if you should start to introduce them into your lifestyle.

Though silicone bags clearly aren’t flawless, don’t let them being imperfect be the only reason you don’t buy them. It’s better to take a baby step forward than stay exactly where you are, hoping that eventually you’ll be able to take a leap.


Like this article? Check out more articles about zero waste here!

Planned Obsolescence: What Is It?

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If you’ve spent any amount of time in zero waste spaces whether online, or in person, you’ve probably heard the term planned obsolescence thrown around, but you might not know what it means.

Don’t worry! Before I started looking into the zero waste lifestyle, I had no idea what it was, either.

Planned obsolescence is when companies create or build a product with the intent of making that product fail within a specific amount of time. (Usually, a number of years) This can be anything from making the product actually stop functioning, or even something as making the product seem so undesirable no one wants it after a certain amount of time.

This means companies are purposefully planning for their products to fail, before they ever even leave the assembly line!

Why would they do this? Well, if companies were to make products that were so amazing you only had to buy them once in your lifetime, they wouldn’t make money. So unfortunately for us, their solution to staying in business is to force consumers (that’s us) to buy replacements.

Have you ever wondered why your phone starts acting funky right around the same time a new one is released? Or why certain colours are considered ‘in’ during a certain time of the year? Or why there seems to be so much societal pressure to have the latest whatever-it-is? Whether it be the latest tech, newest fashion trend, the ‘best’ car, etc.? These are examples of planned obsolescence. Creating that sense of must-have is companies way to not-so-subtly influence consumers into buying more, or buying something specific.

Now obviously, this tactic will work better with some products than others, but that won’t stop companies from doing it.

Unfortunately for everyone though, this planned obsolescence is not only annoying and mean we’re shelling out more money, but it’s also not good for the planet!

Think about it: if say, you have to buy a new phone every 2 years, instead of 4, that’s double the amount of phones that get tossed in the garbage and sitting in a landfill. Now times that by basically every product on earth, and you’ll hopefully start to see why this is a problem!

So, what can we, as consumers, do to help offset this stupid thing? Well for one, if you ditch your clothes and buy a whole new wardrobe every season change, stop. I promise you, no body cares if you’re wearing ‘a blouse from three years ago’, or, if they do, they are not people that you need to listen to.

I’ve been wearing mostly the same clothes since I was in gr. 7 (I’m short, thanks genetics!) and the people in my life who care and love me couldn’t care less. If people are only hanging out with you because you always wear the newest shirt, you need some new friends.

Another big thing is tech. What will really happen if you don’t go out and buy the latest phone the day it comes out? Will the world explode? No. Will you save money? Yes! Will people make fun of you for using an ‘old’ phone? Maybe. Does that actually matter? No.

Keeping up with trends I know is especially hard for people who are in school. But as lame and cliche as this will sound: don’t give in to peer pressure! It’s honestly not worth it.

If you feel it starting to get to you, just ask yourself: would you rather have the newest toy, or a planet to live on?

Because those are the stakes.

And yes, you can argue that that’s too much pressure to put on ourselves as consumers. As said above, this is the companies’/capitalism’s fault. But while we’re lobbying, protesting and writing companies to change their practices, we need to hold ourselves accountable, too.

A company won’t do something unless it makes them money. So if we stop buying the latest thing as soon as it comes out, and start keeping what we have longer, they’ll (eventually) start to make products that last longer.

Remember: Voting with your dollar is real and one of the best almost-passive things you can do to help enact change.

Now, this is all well and good, but as I mentioned above, these products are designed to fail, so if the product is truly no longer working properly, obviously buy a replacement. BUT, that doesn’t necessarily mean you have to buy a brand new one. Check out some second-hand stores or thrift shops, or for tech, look into refurbished products. Those are products that were previously owned, and returned for whatever reason.

Usually, this means you can get a product that’s maybe a couple years behind, but is cheaper and that’s almost like buying everything on sale and really, who wouldn’t love that?


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What Makes Nail Polish Non-Vegan?

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While we are living in the futuristic sounding year of 2024, there are still many beauty products that aren’t vegan. Nail polish unfortunately is one of them.

Fortunately though, vegan polishes are a lot easier to find nowadays, as long as you know what to look out for. Also luckily, I’ve done the research so you don’t have to!

Common Non-Vegan Nail Polish Ingredients:

Carmine

Let’s start with one you’ve surely heard me talk about before if you’ve been around. Carmine – also sometimes called Red 40 or Allura Red –  is a vivid red dye that is used in a lot of different products (including food!) that is made from crushed cochineal beetles. Speaking of food, I recently found this ingredient in Hickory Sticks, so unfortunately simply not buying a red coloured polish wouldn’t necessarily mean you’re off the hook.

Shellac

Another ingredient I’m sure you’ve heard of before, Shellac is a resin secreted by the female lac bug, which obviously makes it not vegan. Why is there another bug in your nail polish? Because it’s used to give polishes that typical glossy shine.

Lanolin

Here’s one you might remember from my Vegan Sunscreen post. Lanolin is an animal fat that’s extracted from sheep’s wool. It’s classified as a moisturizer, which is why it’s sometimes added to nail polishes.

Tallow

If you read this article, you’ll remember this ingredient, too. Tallow is rendered animal fat, typically coming from cattle. Unfortunately I couldn’t find a specific reason as to why some companies put Tallow in their nail polishes, I found a bunch of articles speculating that this ingredient could be the reason your nails sometimes turn yellow after wearing polish for a long time.

Guanine

Also sometimes simply called Pearl Essence, this ingredient provides a shimmering luster to polishes that make their shines almost irresistible. Until you learn that this ingredient is derived from fish scales.

Keratin

This ingredient is used for it’s strengthening properties, which is supposed to enhance the durability of your manicure. (Ie make it not chip off as fast) Which sounds like a good idea, right? Well, it would be! If this ingredient wasn’t a protein that is typically made from hooves, horns and hair.

 

Think you’ll be safe from non-vegan ingredients if you reach for a polish that says something like ‘all natural’ on it? Think again. Some of these fake saving-the-Earth companies that market or boast their products as being all natural use ingredients like beeswax and honey. Which I hopefully don’t need to explain are not vegan.

The only way to be sure that you’re actually getting a vegan nail polish is to look on the label and not see if it actually says the word vegan on it, but read the ingredients list! Some vegan polishes may also say something like water-based formula or breathable on their label. Before actually going to the store, you can also check out the brand’s website if they have one. You can often very quickly find out whether or not a brand is vegan or sells vegan products from their website.

That said, while some polishes ingredients may indicate they’re vegan, keep in mind the brand selling them might not be. Not only could they be a brand that sells both vegan and non-vegan polishes, but they may also not be cruelty-free. The company might boast that they don’t test on animals but watch out for an asterisk (*) somewhere in that statement. Or if they say something like we don’t test our products or ingredients on animals, except where mandatory by law.

This means they unfortunately do test their products or ingredients on animals, so that they’re allowed to be sold in a particular country. I’ve most often seen this statement to mean companies sell their products in China, which requires animal testing before allowing certain products to be sold there.

As I always say though, the decision of whether or not to support these non-vegan brands is up to you. Is it worth it (or sustainable) for you to only buy and support 100% vegan companies? Or is it enough for you to simply buy a vegan product from a non-vegan company? I’m a fan of voting with your dollar, so while buying from a non-vegan company is obviously not ideal, buying their vegan products will show that company that that’s what their consumers want. And this will hopefully (eventually) lead the company to offer more vegan products in the future.

I know this is a vegan ingredient article, but I also think it’s worth mentioning that non-vegan ingredients aren’t the only problematic ingredients in nail polish. Some polishes also contain toxic chemicals.

Dun dun dunnn

No but seriously, some polishes contain very harsh chemicals that you definitely shouldn’t be putting on your body.

Ingredients like:

  • Toluene (which has been linked to reproductive harm and respiratory issues)
  • Formaldehyde (a known carcinogen)
  • Dibutyl Phthalate aka DBP (can interfere with hormone function)
  • Camphor (a resin which comes from a tree so you may think it’s safe, but has unfortunately been known to cause skin irritation, cause respiratory problems and could potentially even lead to liver damage)

Ever wonder why some nail polishes smell super awful? These guys are usually the reason. If you’d like to save your body – and nostrils! – from further abuse, look for polishes that say anywhere from 3-10+ Free on the label/in the website description.

I know this may seem like a tall order – not only trying to find vegan polishes, but 10 Free, too? But don’t worry!

As I said at the beginning of the article, vegan and healthier polishes are becoming much easier to find nowadays, because we really are living in the future!

Here’s some of my personal favourite brands to help you get started:

  • Karma Organics
  • ORLY
  • Sally Hansen’s Good. Kind. Pure. Line
  • Nails Inc (I haven’t actually used Nails Inc. yet – they stopped selling in Canada right before I placed an order – but they’re vegan and have cool polishes like colour changing and scented options!)

I’m purposefully not listing why I love these brands in this article, because I’m planning on doing Product Reviews on them in the future.

As I said at the top of the article, this is just a list of the most common non-vegan ingredients in nail polishes, not an exhaustive list! I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: I recommend you to do your own research for country-specific rules or ingredients or if nothing else, read the ingredient label yourself before buying!

Do you know of any other common non-vegan ingredients I missed? Or do you have your own favourite vegan nail polish brands? Sound off in the comments!


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What To Do With Unwanted Christmas Gifts

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We’ve all been there. Whether it be a butt-ugly Christmas sweater, itchy socks or even just something that’s so far removed from something you’d actually want you begin to question whether or not the gifter knows you at all.

There’s unfortunately many reasons you might’ve received an unwanted Christmas gift this past holiday season, and while the ever polite smile and stash might’ve saved you on the night, stuffing the unwanted present into the back of your closet and then never thinking about it again isn’t actually going to make it go away.

So, what are you to do?

Well thankfully, throwing it in the trash isn’t your only option – and shouldn’t even be on your list of options for a brand new still-wrapped-in-plastic product – but that rant is a whole other article.

For now, let’s just focus on what your other non-polluting-the-planet options are. There might be more than you think!

  1. Re-Gift It

While some may see this as some sort of gift-giving sin, it’s really one of the simplest options you have. Ask your friends and family to see if anyone else in your life would like/use/appreciate the gift you were given more. If  so, give it to them! And just like that, it’s problem solved. You don’t even have to wait until the next holiday season!

In fact, if you plan on having a party or get-together where the original gifter will be attending, I’d recommend not re-gifting in front of them. You can either give it to the person you know privately, for their birthday or even just on a random day of the week. Who wouldn’t love to get a present (they actually want) on a random Tuesday?

 

  1. Donate It

This is sort of a branch out of the first option. If you don’t personally know anybody who would like the gift you received, see if you’re able to donate it to a second-hand store like Value Village or a charity.

This way, somebody out there will get to use/enjoy the item, even if you didn’t get to see it. Do some research into what second-hand stores and charities are around your area and what items they allow to be donated. You might be surprised to learn it isn’t all food and clothes!

 

  1. Up-Cycle It

This will obviously depend on what the gift was, but if you’re able to, see if you can up-cycle it! What I mean by this is see if you’re able to take the less-than-stellar gift and turn it into something you’d actually use.

Whether it just needs a paint job to match your aesthetic or a bit of minor sewing to get it to fit ‘just right’, up-cycling is a great way to breathe new life into any item.

You also don’t have to keep the item as whatever it was when gifted. Again, this depends on what the item is, but for example if it’s some sort of electronic, see if you’re able to save the charging cable for your other ones or the headphones, etc.

Or if it’s something like a dresser, maybe you could reuse the drawers for some other storage you have, or reuse the wood  to create some shelves, or even those spin-y wheels that the drawers use to slide in and out, or the bolts holding all the pieces together or…

Well, hopefully you get the idea. If you can’t up-cycle it as is, pick it apart to see if there’s pieces of it you can use for other objects/projects.

 

  1. Sell It

Obviously you’ll want to decide on this option before you go picking it apart to see if you can up-cycle it, but selling the item is also a very handy and helpful option to remember.

There are over 7 billion people on the planet, so chances are good somebody out there needs/wants what you have and there’s also a good chance they’re willing to pay money to get their hands on it.

If you think you could get an unwanted gift off your hands and make a little profit off of it? That’s about as win-win as things get.

 

  1. Tell The Truth

I know this isn’t a very popular opinion – especially when it comes to the holiday season, for some reason – but just tell the person the truth!

If you found out someone you gifted something to ended up giving it away, or selling it basically immediately after you gave it to them (instead of say, 5 years down the line when they no longer need/use it), wouldn’t you feel… disappointed? Sad? Embarrassed? Possibly even a little bit angry? If they just told you in the first place, you wouldn’t have bought it for them! Now you’re feeling like you wasted some money because they didn’t like the gift. Right?

Right.

So why are you going to do that to somebody else?

If you don’t like something, you are under absolutely zero obligation to keep it to yourself. Tell the gifter! This will not only be a good way to not have to take something you don’t like home with you, but can also open the door for a conversation about things you do like/want, which will (hopefully) lead to better gifts in the future!

Nobody (or at least, nobody I’ve ever met) want to think of themselves as being a bad gifter, but the person will never know their gifts suck if you never tell them!

Sure they might be a little hurt at first, but just be sure you let them know you absolutely appreciate the gesture of the gift, you just don’t particularly like that item. And you know what? Tell them why! If it’s something not very serious, like it’s the wrong colour or size, chances are good you can probably get it exchanged for the right colour/size.

If it’s something more serious like it reminds you of a deceased relative… well you maybe don’t have to tell them that exactly, but you can tell them it reminds you of a personal tragedy, or you associate negative feelings with it, so you’d rather not have it in your house.

Most people who care enough about you to go to the trouble to give you a gift will also care about your well-being, so if you tell them something like that, they’ll most likely get embarrassed and apologize profusely – maybe even swear to ‘make it up to you’ by getting you something else later.

If they’re one of those people who just give a gift for the sake of saying they did – instead of because they want to – you can also politely tell them you don’t want a gift. Or if that would be weird (why did you only tell Aunt Sheila not to get you anything?) see if you can ask them for a gift card or homemade good, instead.

Are they into Christmas baking or crafty? Great! You’d rather have some homemade cookies or a cool, handmade card. They might be relieved to not have to buy for one more person, and it’ll give them a chance to share what they love with their loved ones. (That’ll also give you something to talk to them about next year)

And, if it’s baking, it’ll save you from having to make/buy your own.


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3 Questions to Ask Yourself to Prevent Impulse Buys

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Important: This is the 3rd last article for 2023. I’ll be taking the last half of December and first half of January off from posting.

I’ll be back January 12th, 2024 with the first short story of the new year! (The first article will go up January 15th)


Whether it was a pack of gum at the check out line, a box of cookies you tossed in the cart because you were hungry, or “it was on sale!” impulse buys are something we’ve all done in the past.

Unfortunately, these buys are usually nothing more than us just wasting money we don’t have. We end up regretting them sometimes as soon as we’re done paying, or at most a few days later.

Luckily, I’m going to give you my top 3 questions to ask yourself next time you’re shopping, to hopefully help you not get anything you don’t need.

  1. Do you really need this?

This question is the most important one you can ask yourself before buying something. If this item isn’t vital to your survival, the answer to this question is “no”. Yes, this includes cookies. Just because they’re food doesn’t mean you need them. Things that are vital to your survival: water, healthy food, clothing and shelter.

I’m assuming you didn’t walk into the store naked and you’ve got some kind of dwelling to bring your haul back to (not to mention you can’t buy a house from a regular store) so unless you’re grocery shopping: step away from the shelf!

Now obviously this question will have exceptions – I’m not saying you’re not allowed to buy fun things anymore – but this is a great first step in making you stop and think instead of mindlessly grabbing things off the shelf. (Or mindlessly adding to your cart if you’re shopping online)

  1. Is it on your list?

If you don’t go shopping with a list, you need to start! Shopping with a list helps tremendously in keeping impulse buys to a minimum. Also, making a list will help you feel organized and can even help you from wasting products.

What do you do if you can’t remember if you don’t have shampoo (for example) at home? Do you buy an extra one now while you’re here, or go home and check and possibly come back?

Smart shopper’s would say it’s better to grab an extra bottle while you’re already out. However if you’re not out of this item and you buy a replacement, it might expire before you get a chance to use/finish it, and thus you’ve just wasted money.

Using a list however can minimize if not completely eliminate this! Keep a list somewhere you’ll see it everyday/have easy access to it (I keep mine on my fridge) and then any time throughout the week/month/whenever you run out of something, write it down.

Once you’re ready to go shopping again, take a look at your list and put a star next to the items that you absolutely need to buy next. (Or, if needed, make a new list)

For example, if your list is something like:

  • Apples
  • Toilet paper
  • Parchment paper
  • Ginger
  • Flour
  • Bananas

Unless you’re planning on baking before the next time you go shopping, the parchment paper and flour can wait. Also, depending on how often you use ginger, you could probably leave that off, too. I’m hoping you’re not one of those people who buys toilet paper when you’re down to the last roll (or completely out), but if you are, then getting more toilet paper is an absolute must for this trip. Also, if you eat fruit everyday, the apples and bananas would be essential.

Congrats! You just whittled your master list down to essentials. So now when you’re standing in the store, this will be your list:

  • Apples
  • Bananas
  • Toilet Paper

This actually brings me to the last question:

  1. Go shopping less often.

Okay, I know technically this one isn’t a question, but it’s still good advice! If you for example run to the store after work every day (or every other day) to pick up one or two items, the only thing you’re doing is increasing your risk of impulse buying.

I don’t care if you live 2 minutes away from the store and it’s “convenient”. Learn to plan ahead so you can reduce your number of shopping trips. Whether this means going grocery shopping once a week, or becoming an ultimate planner and only going once a month: planning ahead is a vital life skill!

You’ll not only get more organized but planning your life/meals out one month (or further) in advance may also help you reduce stress. How can you function day to day when you don’t have a clear picture of what your future looks like?

No, I’m not talking existentially – even just in terms of meal-prepping, being prepared and planning ahead is a great skill.

For example, I live in Canada and as I’m sure some or most of you know, Canada = snow/winter for a good chunk of the year. Who wants to go to the store when there’s 4 feet of snowbanks and it’s -40C? (No this isn’t an exaggeration. We actually get some pretty cold winters)

And that’s not even mentioning the weather advisories where they tell people not to go outside, and/or what if there’s a power outage? (This happens more often than you’d think because the winter weather freezes the power lines) Because of this, it’s absolutely essential to start planning ahead in September, or sometimes even the summer to make sure you have your pantry stocked for winter.

This is talking strictly about things that can be stored for long periods of time: canned/frozen meals, shelf-stable products (nuts, trail mixes, peanut butter) and of course, household essentials like toilet paper. (You do not want to run out of toilet paper on the coldest day of the year, trust me)

Planning your meals ahead of time will also help you keep to buying in season. It’ll help you rotate what you eat and therefor, you’ll end up with a more well-rounded diet. Look forward to the changing seasons because they mean changes in food!

Buying in season may also help you reduce your overall cost because when foods are in season, they’re usually cheaper. (Because they don’t have to be shipped in from another country)

Now, if you’re not already shopping with a list and/or asking yourself the first question, you should prepare yourself for an adjustment period. Unfortunately change doesn’t happen overnight, and however many years you’ve been impulse buying won’t be erased just because you read an article.

You’ll need to work at it, but if you stay consistent (and try not to beat yourself up too badly when you still find yourself coming home with things you don’t remember picking up) you will change your habits! And your wallet – and the planet – will thank-you for your efforts.


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Where to Start Your Zero Waste Journey

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*This article was written 20.05.20 when the COVID-19 related lockdown was just beginning to ease in Toronto/Canada. Please excuse any reference that is no longer applicable.


Since I’ve gone vegan, it’s opened me up to this whole world of research, and in my research, I somehow keep stumbling upon things that bring me closer to that old ‘hippie’ cliché.

I don’t know why, but the more I learn about alternatives to the 9-5 path, the deeper I’ve been falling in love with it. I mean, if the goal of life is to be happy, that’s what I should be focusing on, right?

With that in mind, let me tell you about something new I’ve discovered: zero waste living!(By ‘new’, I mean I just discovered this way of life only a few months ago) This is a way of life I would love to try to adapt, because well… who doesn’t want to help save the planet?

I’m currently nowhere near a zero waste expert, but I am determined to integrate it into my lifestyle until I could be considered an expert. (Or at least… someone who actually remembers to bring their reusable bags to the store)

While I’d like to say that I’ve changed a lot of my lifestyle since discovering this way of life, I actually haven’t. But I think that’s okay! Because I’m still a newb, I can share my experiences with other newbs (or people who are maybe scared to try) and hopefully help you to take the plunge.

So: where the heck do you even start?

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I understand how overwhelming overhauling your lifestyle can be, especially because I’ve already done it once. But, the great news is that you don’t have to go zero waste over night. In fact, if you were to toss all your plastic stuff and buy brand new ‘zero waste aesthetic’ things it would actually be more wasteful of you.

So, as the same with going vegan (or any other major life change): go slow.

One of the easiest things to switch that I’ve seen a few people in the zero waste movement talk about are The Big 4. These are the 4 most used non-reusable things most people use without even thinking about it, but if they were to change just these four things, it would have a massive impact on how much personal trash you make.

They are:

  • Water bottles
  • Plastic bags
  • Straws and
  • Coffee cups

Now, I’m sure you’ve seen some recent campaigns calling for the banning of plastic straws, or that gross video of somebody pulling a straw out of a turtle’s nose, but straws are actually not that big a deal, in the grand scheme of things. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying switching to reusable straws are pointless, I’m just saying there are other, bigger impact swaps I think you could personally make to help the environment.

The number one best thing you can do to help the environment is to adopt a vegan diet. I know, I know, I’m starting to sound preachy, eh? Well, it’s for a good reason! There have been multiple studies that show veganism is the best diet in terms of planet-saving.

Just look at the stats from my 4th Year Veganversary post:

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I’ve saved 1.6 million gallons of water and 29 thousand pounds of CO2 since I’ve stopped eating animals. That’s insane!

To put these numbers into perspective for you: 1.6 million gallons of water is the equivalent of taking 93,023 showers, which is triple the amount of showers 1 person takes in their entire lifetime!

So you can either not shower for literally the rest of your life, or you can go vegan. Seriously, guys, it shouldn’t even be a debate at this point.

I won’t go too much further down that rabbit hole, since I did cover those specs in my 4th Year Veganversary post, but I thought I should at least reiterate the water and CO2 stats here, because those relate to saving the planet, and that’s the goal of zero waste. (… Right?)

I will say though, that perhaps the best part of the above, is that I was able to save so much and help in a very easy, passive way. I’ll admit I’m not exactly ‘active’ in the activism scene, (which I’ve been feeling kind of guilty about) but I love knowing that basically without even trying I’m saving the planet every single day! It feels really awesome to say, because seriously, what is easier/more passive than just not eating animals? It’s not hard, I promise! (Also, for those of you who may be concerned about nutrient requirements, I’ll point you to my Nutrient Collage series. But also note I have been vegan for 4 years now and I’m still not dead so…)

Okay, sorry, I know I got a bit off topic. Which isn’t hard to do, because see how all these things are basically interconnected to saving the planet?

… Anyway, I think that everyone could be doing more to help save the planet, (some more than others) and I love that there are so many passive ways for us to help in this day and age.

Let’s say you’re already vegan (or don’t want to go vegan) and you’re looking for some other things you can do to save the world. I think the best way to go about getting into sustainable living (in a way that will form habits that stick) is to start small. As with anything, uprooting your usual routines are not easy, so you can’t exactly quit trash cold turkey.

Okay, so with not being able to just suddenly stop producing trash, you’re gonna need some help, right? I mean, that is why you clicked on this article… right?

Right. So let me get into the specifics: where to start your zero waste journey.

Unfortunately, this isn’t going to be a one size fits all starting point, because I don’t know your lifestyle, what your current trash is like, or your situation. Also, as I said above, I’m not an expert! (Yet 😉 ) So keeping that in mind, I think that a good place to start would be The Big 4. I mean, they got the name ‘big’ for a reason. Most people use these things every day without thinking about it. And if that’s you, I’d recommend you start there.

Maybe instead of buying a Tim Horton’s (or Starbucks, calm down US) coffee in a paper cup, you try to remember to bring a reusable cup. Or, ask for no straw. And start trying to keep reusable tote bags for groceries in your car (or back pack or whatever you use for grocery shopping).

Now, for me personally, I wasn’t ever the person to go to Tim Horton’s every single day for a coffee (yay being broke! Lol), but I still have a reusable coffee cup. While that wasn’t really a ‘big’ thing I was changing, I felt good that in the once-in-a-blue-moon time I wanted a coffee (usually a mocha [decaf, with coconut milk and no whip] in winter because fuck it gets cold up here!) I could give them my reusable cup, instead of just making trash for a momentary pleasure. (Which again, is kind of how I view veganism. Someone had to give up their entire life for 5 minutes of pleasure? Uuuhm, no.)

Also, my vegan research has led me to uncover that plastic bags contain bone char, so I’ve tried to stay away from those as well. I fortunately have a few tote bags already, so that’s another part of the Big 4 that I personally don’t have to worry about. (As much as other things)

I’ve actually always been at least a somewhat conscious person, or at least… I like to think so. I know as a fact though through my own life experience of visiting other people’s houses that I don’t make nearly as much garbage as the ‘average’ person. Even looking into the stats of it, the average Canadian produces 2.7kg (5.9lbs) of trash every day. (US citizens average 4.4lbs per day)

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And, maybe that doesn’t sound like much, but if you take into account that this is strictly for trash and not recycling (cardboard, glass, paper, etc.) it’s actually a lot. Our society has become very focused on disposables for some reason, and I think it’s time we change that.

I mean, think about it. Like, really sit and think about it: if you buy paper towels (or a plastic cup or any other single use plastic) you just spent money on something that you’re going to immediately throw out.

As my mom would say, ‘you might as well just light your money on fire’. Cause seriously, that’s crazy!

‘But it isn’t very expensive!’ Alright, well, let’s do some quick math. Let’s say you’re buying a cup of disposable coffee every morning. And let’s pretend the coffee is $5. You just threw $35 in the trash at the end of the week. Times that by 4 weeks, and at the end of 1 month, you’ll have spent $140 on an item you just threw away!

As I said above, I don’t know your situation – maybe you happen to have millions where you can afford to throw out $140 each month – but if you’re a normal person, I’m sure you could think of a lot more uses for that $140!

Now, let’s do another hypothetical: you spend maybe $15-20 on a reusable coffee cup. It’s a little bit more up front, but in the long run it will save you immensely.

I realize the above example isn’t too accurate, because you would still have to pay for the coffee inside the reusable cup, but if you have a reusable cup at home, you may also be more likely to just make coffee at home, and avoid that expense all together. Also, I think you understand the point I was making.

Actually, let’s go with another example: napkins. Everybody needs napkins to use when they eat, right? And they’re relatively inexpensive?

Well, let me break it down:

At Loblaws, a 4-pack of Bounty Paper Towels are $11.49.

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It’s estimated that 1 paper towel roll lasts about 2 weeks on average. So, with that in mind, you would have to buy this particular pack every 2 months (b/c there’s [roughly] 4 weeks per month).

We can times that by the 6 months a year you need to buy them, and that would amount to $68.94.

$68.94 you’re spending on trash. (Although, as long as paper towels don’t have meat fat on them, they can be composted, but still…)

Buying something just to throw it out is genuinely insane, and the fact that it’s so normalized in our culture is weird. Why did we all just agree with that being the new normal when companies started doing that?

Seriously!

And now it’s considered weird for people not to buy things just so they can throw them out – what?!

Why that’s considered weird is actually really odd if you think about it for longer than .2 seconds. When I stopped to think about it, it definitely didn’t make sense, which is why I’m taking steps now to remedy that!

Cause why are you gonna do something if it doesn’t make sense?

As said above, I think I personally have a pretty good handle on the Big 4 already, so my personal zero waste goals won’t focus as much on those. I actually find it easier for me to achieve things if I set myself goals, so I’m going to be doing that with this, so that I give myself the best shot at success!

So, for right now, my end of the year 2020 zero waste goals are:

1. Switch over 100% to reusable pads. (I’ll be making a dedicated article about this, don’t worry!)

2. Buy new metal or silicone reusable travel size body wash/shampoo containers. (I have some plastic ones I had received as a gift back in 2014, and they’re finally breaking, so those will be some of the first plastic things I’m switching out for reusables!)

3. Get some glass food containers, or those silicone reusable Ziplock bags.

4. If I get take-out or snacks, see if I can use my own container, get them in bulk (the snacks) or ask if they have non-plastic options.

 

Considering we’re already almost half done this year (actually, when this article comes out it will be over half the year is gone), I think it will be really interesting to see what on this list I’ll be able to cross off, and what I’ll still have to work on come the end of December.

I think probably the hardest thing on this list to achieve will be #4. Since the COVID-19 lockdown is just beginning to ease it’s restrictions here in Toronto, I’m not sure how far we’ll get before the end of the year. They may not allow customer containers or bulk food buying until later, when things have really cooled down.

The good news though is that I can focus on the snack aspect more. While I don’t know if they’ll allow people to buy snacks in bulk any time soon, one thing I can try to control is picking snacks that come in a paper bag, or metal or glass, so that I can at least recycle them, instead of throwing them out.

#4 will also be especially interesting during the upcoming holiday season, when we can (hopefully) get together with friends and family.

The use of reusable pads is definitely #1 because it’s one of the only things I have 100% control over during this uncertain time. And, since I’ve been stuck at home, I’ve actually begun to make some reusable pads out of old towels and a fleece blanket. Also there isn’t ever been really a better time to test them to see if they work.

If nothing else, I at least hope to be able to use only reusable pads at the end of the year. I do still have some disposable pads now, but I thiiiink I’ll be able to use them for the next few cycles while I continue to make reusable pads, and should be able to be completely switched over before the end of the year.

That’s actually one thing I’m the most excited about, because even though I started using all natural cotton pads, I still feel bad that I’m throwing them out. I haven’t done a calculation, but I’m like… 90% sure that pads are my biggest cause of trash.

Anyways, I hope you were able to get some good starting points or tips for beginning your zero waste journey. This is going to be the only post for this year specifically talking about zero waste. Since this is my first year starting, I thought it best if I leave the articles for next year, and the following years, since I’ll be gaining experience and then can share what I learn.

I will however be talking about the above zero waste goals in my annual End of Year post, to see if I achieved what I set out to, and kind of do a year in review type thing, along with teasing some upcoming projects. So be sure to keep your eye out for that! Also, keep an eye out on my Twitter and Instagram, where I’ll most likely post day-to-day things I discover or frustrations I have.

Also: if you’re starting your zero waste journey, do you have any questions you’d like to see me answer? And, if you’re a zero waste veteran, do you have any tips and tricks to help out us newbs? Let me know in the comments below!


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On-Grid vs Off-Grid

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So you’ve decided to make an effort to save the planet – that’s awesome! One of the recent trends of saving the planet is realizing you don’t need a 4,000 sq. foot mansion for just yourself. That’s super impractical and actually pretty selfish, if you think about it. (No offence if you currently live in a mansion)

But before you get too swept away in the Instagram aesthetics of living tiny, you’re gonna have to make some pretty hard decisions. Rome wasn’t built in a day, as the saying goes, and it’s true. You can’t 180 your lifestyle overnight. Not only is that not practical, but even if you had giant gobs of money to do that with, you would fail miserably because you’re trying to do everything all at once, and that isn’t good for anyone.

There are a lot of things to consider when deciding to take the plunge, and that’s because this is a life changing decision. You’ll want to do as much research as you can before diving all in, because no one wants you to waste your time (or money) or something you aren’t really feeling/are unsure about.

So, first things first: why are you wanting to change your current lifestyle? Figuring out your motivations for changing will be a big tell on what you are and are not willing to change. The next big question: what does your end goal new lifestyle look like?

Do you want to end up full ‘hippie’, living off grid, having your own garden and using as many mason jars as possible? Or are you thinking more of wanting to save the planet, minus the inconvenience?

One of the easiest/smallest changes you can make for yourself right now is to stop using single use plastics: grocery/produce bags, water bottles, straws, etc. They all suck major balls for the ocean, and unless you’d like to swim in garbage, maybe you should stop contributing.

Instead of using the plastic grocery bags, buy (or diy) a tote bag, that you can use again and again for shopping. Think about investing in a reusable (metal!) water bottle, instead of buying the cases of plastic ones every week. Maybe even get yourself a filter so you can drink tap water? (Seriously, growing up in Toronto, I’ve been drinking the tap water every day for years and I’m fine.) I realize not everyone may have the option to drink tap water, but then again, those people most likely also don’t have internet access. You I’m sure could at least try one of the above without exploding, so why not go ahead and try? (I 100% guarantee you won’t explode)

You came here to find out how to save the planet and live more in line with your core values, right? So go ahead. It may seem weird/foreign at first, but trust me, you’ll get used to it.

Okay, now that we’ve spoken about small ways to change your lifestyle, let’s look a little farther down the line: what do you want your life to look like in the future? Your ‘ideal’ life, if you will.

Probably something you wouldn’t be ashamed to post on Instagram, am I right?

All joking aside, if you’re going to be in this for the long haul, you’ll definitely need to think about whether or not you want to continue to live on grid, or explore off grid options. (Especially if you want to become a traveler)

Okay, okay, quit starring at me like I have three heads, I get it, you have no idea what I just said. But that’s okay, you’re here to learn, and I’m here to teach.

So, first things first: what the heck do ‘on grid’ and ‘off grid’ living mean?

On Grid means living ‘plugged in’ to the system: your water comes from the city (or towns’) supply, you’re connected to hydro lines, and you’re connected to sewage. Basically, you’re ‘plugged in’ to the systems used by the city. This is probably the way you’re currently living.

Off Grid means you aren’t connected – you use alternative means to get what you need, and are cut off from the citys’ supply. This could mean you use solar panels for your electricity, have a well for your own private water supply, have a septic tank for your toilet, etc. A much more hands on way of living.

Depending on how far down the saving the planet/hippie rabbit hole you want to go, you’ll have to think about which of these options would be best for your future. One of the greatest advantages of being on grid is since you’re tied into the system, you personally don’t have to worry about your resources, and they’re all pretty immediate and hands off.

One major downside though, is if there’s a black out, you’ll be left without until the issue is fixed. Another downside of on grid living is getting a bill each month for using the services. You also don’t have very much freedom in terms of moving around/leaving. (Unless you get the world’s longest extension cable, or [again] have a massive pile of money somewhere you can use on plane tickets, in which case, why are you reading this?)

Okay, now that we’ve kind of established the pros and cons of on grid living, let’s take a look at off grid:

One of the best advantages of off grid living is not being tied to one spot, and being completely (or mostly) mobile, not having to pay a monthly bill. A downside though is there are usually a lot more up front costs, and the services are more hands on: you’d have to get your own water, chop firewood to keep yourself warm, empty your toilet by hand, etc.

As you can see, both lifestyles have advantages and disadvantages, which is why it’s important to think about the type of life that’s right for you. Maybe the call of travel supersedes the ick factor of having to be hands on with your waste, and that’s awesome! If you think you can do it, I say go for it.

But be realistic.

Figure out what you are and aren’t comfortable with, and see which would be a better fit for you. Even better, figure out what you’d like, and see if it can be adapted to fit either the on or off grid capabilities. If getting a bucket toilet is too gross for you, but you like the idea of being off grid, look into having a black tank for your waste instead. It’s more of a hassle to empty (in my opinion), but maybe you won’t mind having to drive to find the designated dumping grounds.

Another thing to consider when wanting to live off grid: will you have internet access or continue to use your cell phone, or be completely remote? Where will your mail go? The post office can’t deliver to ‘the van in the middle of the forest’. (Though how convenient would that be?) Do you have family that would let you use their address or will you pay for a P.O. Box? What will you do for money while traveling? Will you work on the road, or save up and take a more vacational approach?

I’m sure some of these things you never even thought to consider, but that’s okay! You’re just learning right now, so that you’re prepared when the day comes to make the plunge. It’s much better to figure all this stuff out now before you’re in your van 3 countries away with no idea what to do.

I’m going to list some of the other big things you’ll want to figure out before going too much further. This way you can turn the info over, research, and see what feels right for you.

 

Off Grid options

Electricity:

  • Solar Panels – these are one of the most popular options as it’s a renewable resource, and they’re relatively easy to find/install. The only downside is they can be pretty expensive up front.
  • Wind turbine – another great option using a renewable resource, though wind turbines would be easier to build if you didn’t plan on using a vehicle. I’ve only seen a small number of van lifers using a wind turbine, and the ones who are, are using it in addition to the solar panels

 

Water:

There are many ways in which to get water. You could get water tanks and fill them up so you have a small stash while you’re travelling, or if you’re not planning on being on the road often, you could keep the van/bus water-less and just bring in bottles with you. Though I’d only recommend this option if you were only looking into part time travel, such as excursion weekends.

Or, if you’re not planning on living in a vehicle, you could dig your own well to have water on your property. You will of course also need to think about whether or not you’ll want a water heater so you can have hot water, or if you don’t mind having to boil water using a stove, or will you be able to deal with cold/room temperature water?

While on that note: how are you going to get your water from Point A to Point B? Will you fill up a bucket from your reserve/well and carry it to wherever you need it? Will you have a water pump to push the water wherever you need it, so you can just turn on your tap and have it, or will you consider using a foot pump, to help control the flow of water?

What will happen to the ‘used’ water? Will you get a grey water tank to hold it, or build an elaborate set up to irrigate the used water into your garden/plants? What about rain water collection? (Fun fact: collecting rain water isn’t legal in every province!)

 

Heating:

  • Real Wood Burning Fireplace – will you be able to keep up with the maintenance and needing to go out to chop firewood? Will you have enough clearance for a stove and to store the wood so you don’t accidentally set your curtains (or couch, or anything else) on fire? Do you want to be able to heat your home and cook on the fireplace, or would you rather have a separate stove for cooking?
  • Gas fireplace/stove – do you want to deal with propane on top of everything else you need to take care of? Do you feel safe having propane around, or would you rather not risk the potential explosion? Do you want to feel more like camping, with having to set your stove burners alight using matches, or do you just want to turn it on and have it work, no fuss?
  • Electric – yes there are electric fireplaces (and stoves), though like most other things on the off grid list, they’re a bit more of an up front cost. And, you need to think about whether or not you want to heat your home using your electricity. Will you have a big enough solar panel (or wind turbine) set up to handle a fireplace/stove as well, or would you rather not have your heating pull from another resource?

 

Make sure to check in with yourself, and ask which of these options will fit your lifestyle best or what are you willing to try changing so you can live the life you want?

For example, if you’re someone who takes really long showers, if you want to live off-grid, you may have to try to cut your showering time down to 5-10 minutes, or look into military showers. Also, ask yourself: would you realistically be okay with not showering every day in an effort to conserve water? Or will you need to include water tanks big enough to hold enough water for you to shower everyday?

Will you get your drinking water out of the same reserve as the water you use to shower, (and wash dishes) or will you have a separate system/holding container? Are you the type of person who could walk up to random businesses and ask them if you could refill your reusable bottle/water tank, or are you uncomfortable with that?

Okay, I’ll ease up now. I’m sure that was a lot of info you may not of even thought about, but that’s okay. Take some time to do your research, and keep these questions in mind while you continue to plan to make changes.

Remember: Helping the planet does not have to be an all or nothing! If all you can do is switch to a reusable water bottle, (or some other small change) that’s still 10x better than the guy who’s not doing anything. The planet will thank-you as long as you’re trying. Everyone can always be doing more to help save the planet, but you gotta start somewhere, right?


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No. Mad. Planning

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I’m fairly certain I had begun this post in a notebook somewhere, but at the time of writing (20.04.01), I for the life of me just can not find it, so this may not be exactly what I originally intended. Please bear with me.

Okay, so to start a nomadic lifestyle, you can’t just give away most of your possessions over night, pack a bag and leave. I mean, you could technically, but you’d probably not get all the benefits, and wouldn’t feel nearly as free as all the Instagrammers led you to believe. Especially if you start out living in a city, like I am.

You need to make a plan to get yourself from Point A to Destination: Freedom. The plan of buying/converting a bus I have, I had been looking into this way of living (as well as tiny living) for about a year. I’m still continuously looking and learning about this way of life, but I was about a year into things when I started to seriously consider adopting this way of life.

Maybe you have a couple thousand dollars saved up, to which I applaud you, and say this article may not be right for you. But, if you’re a broke adult like me, then please continue.

In my research, I’ve discovered that while each cost of converting a bus is different for everyone, the cheapest I’ve seen is about $20,000. (The most expensive get well up into the $100,000s) Now, to someone who thinks they’re ‘rich’ when they have $50 in their bank account, $20,000 is a lot of fucking money. But, honestly I believe the pay off will be worth it. (… Hopefully)

So, after bringing myself out of the fantasy of ‘the perfect life’ and down to the practicalities, I realized I’d need to carefully plan how to get myself from here to there. And I recommend that no matter where you’re starting out, to do the same. You can plan it out however you want, but just make a plan. That needs to be Step #1 for anyone making a life changing decision.

It may seem like a daunting task right now, and giving yourself a plan of attack can make it seem less impossible, and will break it down into manageable pieces. (Also, who doesn’t feel good/accomplished when checking something off a To Do List?)

The main plan for my attack, is to save up the money. That is one of – if not the most – difficult aspect of changing your life. Unfortunately, money makes the world go ‘round, and you’re going to need at least some of it so you can make your dreams come true. It sucks major balls, but it’s a fact. No one can do anything without some money.

Now, I’m very fortunate (and very grateful) to my mom who is letting me stay in her house (rent free!) while I take the time to pull my life together. It actually gives me anxiety sometimes when I think about it – she’s giving me an amazing opportunity to figure out what I want out of life and giving me the chance to go after it, so part of me worries if I don’t pull it off, I don’t want her to feel like she ‘wasted’ all that time and energy.

I absolutely love her death, even though we don’t agree on every life philosophy, and I really can’t stand to think what I’d do if I let her down. I realize how lucky I am, and I’m grateful everyday for what she’s doing for not only me, but my siblings (I have 3). For someone who has been working since she was 14, I love that she is giving us this opportunity, and I’m really hoping not to f*ck it up.


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She says all the time that she’d rather we take our time so that we ‘don’t get stuck’ living a life we don’t want, because she knows how much it sucks.

… Sorry, I realize I kind of went off topic there. Getting back on track, I’ve put a plan in place to save up the money (hopefully) within the time frame I have (like I said in the Intro, my house is scheduled for demolition). I’ve already got myself a day job (surprised blogging isn’t it? Me too! But I’m working on changing that 😉 ) that I can do from pretty much anywhere, as long as I have an Internet connection. The place I’m working for is awesome because I also get flexible hours, which I’m imagining will come in quite handy once I hit the road.

The only downside is it’s pretty below minimum wage, but like I always say: some money is better than none. (Which was what I was making before)

Due to the low nature of my pay, I can’t put as much as I’d hoped into my savings, but again, $20 every month is better than 0.

Now again, I don’t know your situation, but give your current situation a hard think, and give yourself a payment plan you can realistically stick to. It’s much better to put $5 into your savings every month than $100 once, and then have to take it back out again.

That’s the other trick, too: Once the money is actually in your savings pretend it doesn’t exist. Don’t take it out unless it’s an absolute emergency. Taking $5 out here and there will soon turn into taking it out frequently, and then you’ll just kick yourself later for taking away from your future. (Trust me) Each time you take money out, your goal just got 1 year (or more) further away.

Do yourself a favour and don’t touch it! I know it can be hard, and life sure as hell loves to get in the way, but do your best.

Once you’ve got a financial plan down, start thinking about the other practical aspects of living nomadically. What will you do for money once you’re actually on the road? Will you continue to do the job you have now (if working from home is an option) or will you have to find a new source of income? Will you just save up, leave for 3 months and then come back to your regular life?

The main question you need to ask yourself: What are you looking to get out of this lifestyle?

The end goals will look vastly different for someone who just wants to do this as a vacation apposed to someone who wants to live life on the road 24/7. It’s easy to get lost in the beauty and aesthetic of it without thinking about the practicalities. But, the practicalities are the things that will allow you to sustain the lifestyle.

Now that I’ve (hopefully) got your rational brain awake, here are some more questions I want you to think about, while you begin to make your plan:

  • What things do you have right now that you could do without, without affecting your quality of life? (Everyone has things they’ve collected over the years they don’t really I’ve seen some articles that recommend sorting through all your stuff: if you haven’t used it within the last year, you probably don’t need it)
  • What do you want to get out of this lifestyle?
  • What will you do for work/money when on the road?
  • How will you even hit the road? Get an RV, self-convert a van/bus, or just grab a backpack and hit a trail?
  • How will you get water?
  • How will you go to the bathroom/shower? (Definitely not the most glamorous question, but definitely an important one!)
  • What will you do for food?
  • What’s your contingency plan for when shit hits the fan? (B/c shit always hits the fan sooner or later)
  • What can you change about your current lifestyle today to start transitioning to the lifestyle you want? (For example, if wanting to convert a bus [or van!] you may [definitely will] need to get rid of a lot of your clothes. But the question is, will you be actually be getting rid of/donating them, or will you rent a storage space to house everything you can’t take with you?

I hope these practicality questions will help you really have a good (non-dreamy) think about your future life. I know this isn’t the fun part, but if you don’t do the non-fun work, you’ll never get to be in a position to do what you want.

In the next article (coming in July) we’ll take a look at the differences, pros and cons of Off-Grid vs On-Grid.


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