Backpacker Blues and How to Overcome Them

For this weeks blog I have collaborated with my wonderful friend Kay of ‘Living the Life you Love’. Kay has a wonderful YouTube channel and Instagram page where she talks about all the things Conscious living including minimalism, travel, veganism and zero waste. If you like my content then please check out her channel and page because I guarantee you will love them! 

Myself and Kay formed a friendship based on these shared interests and wanted to share with you all some of the blues of travelling and how to overcome these. Often travel blogs focus on the bright and breezy side of travel but there are times when it get tough. So we thought we’d put a positive spin on them so that you can focus more on all the good stuff. So here are our thoughts, based on some of our own travel experiences.

No one knows what their adventures may bring but here are some tips on how to handle the less than perfect parts of travel

Not having your own space

Often when travelling, whether staying in hostels or perhaps even living in a vehicle with your favourite human, after long periods of time without any space for yourself you can often feel a little stressed and crave some alone time, here’s what we suggest;

Lucy: Get outside and don’t be afraid to explore by yourself. It’s a strange thing that happens when travelling, you feel suffocated sometimes and want to be alone but equally if you’ve made friends or have a travel partner you almost start to feel like you can’t do anything without them. It’s totally ok to say “I’m just gunna grab some me time, catch you later?” And just walk, explore places your friends might not want to, sit in parks or at the beach and really absorb your surroundings. It’s amazing what half an hour of you time can really do!

Kay: My favourite thing to do is to create myself a den! I love to feel cosy and safe and so find that hanging towels from a dorm bunk bed creates the most epic little den and gives you a sense of privacy even if you’re in a room with 10 other people. I think that finding somewhere to have alone time is so important wherever you are and whatever your living circumstances, even if you have to get up an hour earlier than everybody else… there is always a way. As Lucy mentioned it’s also important that you explain to people that you need some alone time, some people who are more extroverted really don’t understand that concept, so just be firm and explain that you’ll chat later but right now you’re enjoying some much needed ‘you’ time. I find that reading a book or wearing earphones tends to keep people away (muaha).

371ad8ea-a9b8-477a-a245-08d239df8a58
Alone time is an essential part of backpacker survival

Shared kitchens

Lucy: This is a big one for me, I’m a bit of a hygiene freak when it comes to kitchens and some backpackers simple don’t know how to clean up after themselves. You’ll most likely find me washing everything twice in a shared kitchen, once before I use it and one again after. I’ll really scope out the kitchen space online before booking anywhere. The more spacious a shared kitchen is the better and the more facilities they have the better too. I also carry some basics of my own such as a vegetable peeler, cutlery and tiffin to store left overs in. Research, cleaning and a few of my own essentials are what get me through. Cook for many rather than one or if you’re cooking for one store left overs so you don’t need to cook every single night

Kay: I agree with Lucy here I now always check out the kitchen before I cook anywhere and compare the facilities to the amount of people the hostel can house. I once stayed at a hostel with more than 50 people that had ONE stove top!!!! (a mistake I will never make again) I make sure that I clean up as I go so that I don’t hog any spoons or pans, there’s nothing worse than having to wait for someone to wash up before you can start cooking. I also batch cook meals and always make enough to feed a small family (not always on purpose!) and then store it in the fridge or freezer and have it for lunch the next day or as another evenings dinner.

450fc596-6f08-4a18-9fbc-27afff378ded
Avoid kitchen nightmares by researching your accommodations facilities before booking.

Snorers and other noisy room mates

Lucy: I’ve had my fair share of snorers in hostel dorms and that’s why I never ever travel without earplugs! I have two pairs, just in case and they are great for long haul flights too. What’s most important is not to embarrass or upset the snorer, they can’t help it, so if you can make your world silent without bothering them, everyone wins. If you end up in a room full of party animals (those days are long behind me now) and you can’t speak to them directly and calmly about the fact you need your precious beauty sleep don’t be afraid to speak to the hostel manager, they often have empty rooms or beds on stand by that they’d be more than happy to move you too to ensure you enjoy your stay.

Kay: I love to use lavender and frankinsense essentials just before bed. I put a drop of each into my palms, rub them together and inhale deeply. I find that this gives me a sense of calm and keeps me grounded, if people are being really loud and inconsiderate you could just explain that you are going to sleep now and would appreciate it if they could go somewhere else to chat. A lot of the time people don’t even realise you’re trying to sleep and will be more than happy to relocate. If you have a room shaking snorer in your room (we’ve all been there!) the best thing you can do is pop onto youtube or your music app and listen to something relaxing. There are loads of sleep meditations and peaceful playlists on there that will send you peacefully to sleep. The most important thing is to stay calm, don’t get angry because you will boost your cortisol levels and find it much harder to go to sleep.

Finding time to rest is so important amongst all the adventuring travel brings

Living out of a bag

Lucy: organisation is key for this one! A lot of travellers use packing cubes and these are great but I didn’t want to spend precious travel money on fancy packing alternatives so instead I used cotton tote bags that I already owned. By doing this I could keep all my tops, bottoms, underwear etc separate so if I ever needed something specific I didn’t need to rummage through the entire bag. Being minimalist makes this even easier, the less clothes you have, the less there is to organise!

Kay: I create a capsule wardobe before I leave that is suitable for all of the climates I’m going to be in. I use neutral tones and a colour pallet that compliments each other, that way i’m never without anything to wear. The biggest mistake I ever made was the first time I went backpacking where I only took pink t-shirts… it’s so hard to match pink with anything other than denim. I also love packing cubes they really help me to keep my life organised and mean I can fully unpack but stay contained where ever I live. I think one of the most important things to consider when you’re travelling is your toiletry bag, getting one with a hook or handle is SO useful, it means you don’t have to leave your bag in a soggy gross puddle and you can also hang it up n your room for easy access.

My minimalist journey continues

So there we have it, all our secrets on how to keep your sanity whilst travelling. If you enjoyed this blog post then please let me know by leaving a comment. Would you like to see more blog posts about travel from Me?

Thanks again for stopping by and to Kay for collabing with me. Don’t forget to give both myself and Kay some follows on Instagram and YouTube to keep up to date with our adventures.

Much love

Lucy

Advertisements

My Plastic Free July – 2018 edition

Hi everyone, thank you so much for visiting my blog. I haven’t posted in so long and thought what better time than this to rekindle my love of writing than at the end of another ‘Plastic Free July’. Last year I wrote a blog post about my experience trying to cut down on waste and it’s interesting to look back and compare.

The first thing I noticed when reflecting back on last years post was that I was kinda harsh on myself. I really felt like I’d failed and focused more on what I’d done “wrong” than focusing on my achievements. So this year I’m going to take a positive look at what I’ve achieved this plastic free July in minimising my overall plastic use.

I was really pleased this year to do multiple updates with tips, hacks and reflections on my Instagram page dedicated to Plastic Free July. Whilst I focus on several topics such as minimalism, travel and veganism it was really nice to put some energy into this project and it also helped me to recognise all the changes I’ve made in my own life to date.

Having access to an excellent farmers market makes plastic free living so much easier

I did of course produce some plastic again this year but I definitely feel the plastics this year compared to last year reflect some positive habit changes. For example last year I was ALWAYS going out during the day for a ton of social meet ups and I didn’t seem to have the courage to stick true to my morals and beliefs when other people were added to the scenario. This year, I’ve been travelling around Australia and meeting soooo many new people yet I’ve never felt more comfortable being my true self. Last years waste was coffee cups and food packaging where I was always on the go, this year my plastic is the occasional food wrap for cooking at home. I simply don’t put myself in situations where excess packaging (and spending) is required anymore.

This year I also decided to keep track of my waste on a month by month basis, posting on Instagram with the hash tag #ZHMYearOfWaste. This was an idea I decided to implement because I felt like my plastic comsumption went from the obvious every day items to sneaky bits and pieces here and there so by collecting all my plastic waste I could really see where it’s all coming from. I really want to hold myself accountable this year so check out the hashtag on insta if you want to see the plastic waste I’ve accumulated so far this year. I really like this task and am very interested to review it all at the end of the year to allow me to make further adjustments to my habits. It’s sort of my personal plastic audit.


I thought this year my outlook had been totally different too. Last year I had a very militant view on it all. Any waste produced was a failure, and I felt these thoughts creeping in as I shopped for my groceries this last month. These days however I’m very much into growth and self love so I have made the conscious decision not to ridicule myself too harshly. I’m doing my best, I’m learning and I am growing. We all want to be like our zero waste heroes but we must remember they all started somewhere too so be kind to yourself and appreciate your journey.

So with another plastic free July done and dusted what would I like to continue going forward;

– continued monitoring of my monthly plastic accumulation

– Be even more prepared for next years Plastic Free July

– Getting back into the swing of regular blog posts on zero waste, minimalism, travel and veganism.

I’ve even been able to find plastic free bread in my local area this year!

There are lots of exciting things being planned in the background here at ZHM and I really hope you’ll love what’s on its way. Thank you so much for coming back to my blog, let me know how you got on with this years Plastic Free July, what habits will you be looking to change? What areas of your day to day life are still difficult for you to rid of plastic? If you have any recommendtions for topics you’d like me to cover either here or on my Instagram then please do also let me know as I’d love to post content that helps people live their most sustainable and happy lives.
Much love

Lucy

You can’t have self growth without Community 

I love people! I love meeting new people, I love sharing growth with people. I think it’s fantastic to nurture each other’s growth and appreciate the skills of others. learning and developing in ways that others may be practising yet we haven’t yet discovered ourselves. There is always something to learn from someone else, even if we find someone to be a pain or we feel uncomfortable in their presence then there Is a lesson for us somewhere within that person. 

I love that feeling when you sit with someone and see their true light, when you see something glowing in them and it automatically lights you both up simultaneously and the Sparks start flying and then the creativity flows and before you know it you’ve created an empire for change and for greatness to all life on Earth! Those connections to me are the most valuable connections we can ever form because they encourage us to not hold back, to be our truest selves and that is priceless!! 

I take inspiration from others every day. Whether that be in real life with the people immediately around me, the growing online community surrounding ZHM or you tubers from all over the globe, there is so much going on in this world, it’s important to find the people that give you a sense of drive, no matter where In the world they might be. I can’t imagine for one moment living a life where I decided, “OK, that’s enough now, I know everything I am ever going to need to know, I require no more information of any form”. How limiting would that be?!? 

I didn’t always used to be this way. I used to fear others and their success. I used to worry that sharing my thoughts and ideas with people would end in ridicule or stolen ideas. Even though that can sometimes be the case, I think that is rare and it’s so much more rewarding to be open with others. In terms of fear and jealousy I learnt that just because something has something that I admire, doesn’t mean my life is less meaningful. A great quote is this; “comparison is the thief of joy”. It’s always better to be happy for others, to learn from their experiences and to appreciate that what’s happening to someone else is not going to be the right thing for you, so always be grateful for your own path and keep people around you that inspire you!


It’s also important to remember that there really are no rules. Being zero/low waste isn’t a competition, it’s about doing what’s best for you in your current situation whilst doing your best for the planet within your own means. The same goes for minimalism, it’s completely personal and we shouldn’t judge ourselves or others based on how much they possess. I would even say the same for our diets. Whilst I advocate a vegan lifestyle, I appreciate their are those of us that are still on our journey and that’s ok! I wasn’t born a vegan. I took a long and bumpy road to get here, so to expect everyone to be where I am would be short sighted. As long as you are trying to do you best and improve each day then you should be proud of yourself. Living consciously is about being aware of yourself as much as your surroundings. 


I felt it important to write this post because I see a lot of comparison and self doubt on social media. Why are we all being so hard on ourselves? If their is someone that is doing something you wish you could so, talk to them. I really do believe it’s so important to maintain a sense of community to be able to grow as an individual. 

If there’s anything you’d like to know about my journey into ethical living or if you have any advice or thoughts on this topic then please do comment on this post of on my Instagram @zero_hero_movement because conversation is powerful and the catalyst for positive change! 
Much Love 

Lucy 

The National Sustainable Living Festival 2018

Hello everyone, what an exciting weekend it’s been! February is really turning out to be a great month and I hope you’re all having just as much fun as me, exploring the endless possibilities of ethical living. 
As you may have seen on my Instagram page (@zero_hero_movement) this weekend I attended the National Sustainable Living festival in Melbourne. This weekend was their ‘big weekend’ where thousands of people from all over Victoria and further afield gathered to attend talks & workshops, to browse stalls of ethical companies, charities and grass roots groups and to buy zero waste products and delicious vegan food. 

Schedule of events for the weekend – so much to see!

The sustainable living festival has been running for nearly two decades now and I was so impressed with the amount of effort put into ensuring it was a fully sustainable event. Power for the stages where guest speakers and performers captivated audiences was all provided by solar energy, all the food being served was vegan, there was no disposable drinks cups, cutlery or plates with a ‘wash against waste’ system being run. This meant everyone got real plates, cups and cutlery which were placed in baskets when finished with, these baskets were then collected by a wonderful team of hardworking volunteers who lovingly washed all the bits and pieces and returned them to the various food vendors. It was so simple and efficient and proved that a closed loop waste free system can work on a large scale! Another sustainable provision were the composting toilets with plant based hand sanitiser. This eliminated the need for water which is vitally important in one of the driest countries on the planet. 

Composting toilets at the festival

The talks taking place were possibly the major highlight for me throughout the weekend. There were so many covering so many topics from zero waste and plastic free living to growing your own veg and permaculture to ethical banking and how to take legal action against governments who do not comply with ethical practises. There was so much and I felt I needed to clone myself so I could be in multiple places at once. Some of the talks I attended included ‘Compost Anywhere’ by Dr Belinda Christie who conducts research into composting in urban environments, ‘Talking Trash’ by Tammy Logan who shared her experiences of moving to a low waste lifestyle with a family of four and of course ‘In Too Deep’ with Tim Silverwood of Take 3 for the sea. There was also a really interesting talk by a group of women for the organisation Agari who work in construction and what they build are Eco homes made of sustainable materials inline with the nature of the environment that they are built in. I found it extremely empowering and interesting to hear their stories of connecting with each other and nature to build homes that are both beautiful and ethical. 

Meeting Tim Silverwood, co-founder of Take 3 for the Sea

Over the course of the three days I spoke to every single stall that was there. Some things I was already familiar with like the lunette menstrual cup stand and the earth bottle stand as well as the various wildlife conservation organisations that were there in force but there were also those topics I was less familiar with and I was extremely excited to gain more knowledge. Particularly for me were the financial subjects. I mean I know that large corporate companies and banks support the fossil fuel industries and various other unethical practices but I didn’t realise to what extent and how my own money could be used to continue practises that I whole heartedly do not support. As a result I am switching my bank account here in Australia to one that does not support unethical practises and have signed up to ‘Future Super’ which basically means any money deducted from my pay here in Australian for my super annuation (like a pension in the uk) will fund conservation efforts and social justice projects. Whilst still no expert on finances I am really happy with what I have learnt and will continue to seek more ethical practises with my finances. 

By signing up for and ethical Super fund I also got this free reusable coffee cup, win win!

It’s fair to say I was over the moon when I saw all the food vendors at the festival were vegan. I have attended ethical events in the past where meat and dairy products were widely available. Unfortunately this is contradictory to the cause with animal agriculture being the leading cause of climate change. There was so much good food available and whilst I was enjoying a mock duck wrap I over heard some ladies at the next table along asking each other if what they were eating was real meat or not. I advised them that all the food was vegan and they were both amazed and shocked. They couldn’t believe how delicious their meals were. I smiled and felt like the magnitude of the decision to provide only vegan food for the event was monumental. 

Delicious vegan food served on a reusable plate

 Throughout the festival there was a lot of talk about how the talks and activities were speaking to the already converted, drawing in a huge amount of like minded people. I however disagree with this statement. Not only did I learn a lot of new information myself as someone already involved in the sustainability movement but the event was free and in a public park. The amount of foot fall from those that perhaps were less involved or aware of the sustainability movement was huge and I am sure that many more people were influenced by the events of the weekend. 
If you’re in or around the Melbourne region there are further events and exhibitions taking place throughout the rest of the month at various locations so there’s still plenty of opportunity to get involved. Check the sustainable living website for full details of upcoming events. 
Thank you so much for taking the time to stop by my blog. I post weekly on Tuesday’s about all things ethical living and beyond. If you’d like to follow my journey, get hints and tips on ethical living or be part of a conscious community, please follow my Instagram page @zero_hero_movement for more info. 

Until next week

Much Love

Lucy

Australia Day – Celebrating Slaughter

I recently experienced my first Australia Day and what I found was so horrifying and upsetting that I felt it important enough to write this blog post.

Australia Day takes place on January 26th every year. It’s a national holiday here in Australia where most take the day off work, gather with friends and family, eat, drink and be merry. For the indigenous aboriginals of Australia the day could not be any further from that reality.
On January 26th 1788 the British landed on Australian soil and declared their ownership of the land. What proceeded was the mass slaughter of thousands of aboriginals as Europeans flocked to the new found land. Torture, rape, introduced disease and mass enslavement were all inflicted upon the indigenous people and it was the aim of the invading Europeans to completely irradicate the lands rightful owners from existence. Their mission was almost completely successful, today only a few dispersed populations of true aboriginals remain in Australia. Those that I have seen myself have been homeless, hungry and mostly ignored by the millions of people that pass them by every single day in the now over crowded developments of modern Australia.

Aboriginals drawing chalk images on the street whilst the police question them.
As a British tourist my eyes strain with guilt at what I saw on January 26th 2018. I am in this country partly thanks to that invasion in 1788. However as I’m sure you will have gathered by now if you’ve been following my journey, I aim to live as ethically as I can and show gratitude for all of the many privileges I experience every day. So I am truly grateful for my ability to be here and to also work in this country, I of course wish it could have come to be this way without the violence and hatred from which it was born.
Luckily for my sanity I could see many kind and loving souls of all demographics protesting against this quite frankly barbaric display of hatred. Collectively known as ‘Invasion Day’ by those that support the indigenous people and a far more accurate title. There are also many campaigns aiming to change the date. Suggestions include changing the date to when the aboriginal people were officially recognised as the original owners of the land or perhaps the day that the aboriginal people were given the right to vote. Either way, choosing a day that incorporates at least some shining light for everyone as opposed to excluding those that have inhabited Australia the longest and suffered the greatest.

[caption width="2448" id="attachment_130" align="aligncenter"] One of the many protests taking place

What I came to realise in my constant battle with this day was that this is happening/has happened all over the world! Why as humans do we feel the need to take from others? Why do we feel as though owning something regardless of our experience or investment in it will make us better off compared to others? Why do we have a hierarchy amongst people? I believe in total equality, we are all born the same and we will all die the same, why should one take from another? What does that actually achieve?
If we are to live as ethically as possible it is important that we stop trying to get one over on each other. We must fully understand that there is more than enough of everything to ensure that we all have happy fulfilled lives. Greed only creates animosity and breeds a culture of jealousy, hatred and unhappiness. Understand that there is enough for you and your neighbour whether they are the same as you or not!

The only explanation I could come up with about all of this crime against others is that the majority of us are living in fear, either fear of the unknown or fear of being left behind. Surely if we understood that the Unknown could be empowering and educational we wouldn’t try to destroy it. Surely if we understood that someone else’s success is not our own failure then we could irradicate this fear and live more peacefully? The Without rambling too much about inequality and fear, I guess what ‘Australia Day’ highlighted for me was the pain of the human condition and that we all need to show a little more love and compassion and that this needs to filter through the masses so that our governments and leaders have no choice but to listen and to look after all their citizens equally!

Whilst Australia is littered with statues of European men, there is very little to show remembrance of the Aboriginal people now gone.

If you have experienced Australia Day as a tourist I would love to hear your take on the events that take place. If you are Australian please also share with me your thoughts as someone who has grown up in the Australian culture. Most importantly thank you to everyone who reads my blogs each week, you are all so greatly appreciated and if there are any topics you’d like me to cover in the future then please just drop me a message.
To continue following my travels through Australia please follow my Instagram page @zero_hero_movement and feel free to get in contact with me there too. Connecting with the amazing online community of those seeking to live a more ethical life is really important to me and there are many new projects here at ZHM in the pipeline so watch this space! Until then,
Much Love

Lucy

Sydney synopsis

Continuing from last weeks blog post, I left sleepy Coffs Harbour late at night and travelled through the night for several hours on the Greyhound bus. I will say now, this seemed convenient at the time but on arrival into Sydney I had pulled a muscle in my back from trying to sleep in the uncomfortable seats and quite honestly felt all the symptoms I can remember as being a hangover. I arrived hoping this would all be worth it. Making my way to my hostel with my heavy bags I was disgruntled to find I couldn’t check in for a few more hours and even worse than that I couldn’t even leave my bags at the hostel until then. Tired, thirsty and grumpy, I took myself and my oversized bag pack (still working on those minimalist goals!) to the cafe across the road and set up camp there. As I ate my Avo toast and sipped a coffee (it was essential at that time) I watched all the local business type folk come and go, the morning was hot and busy and I felt like I was the only one on a real go slow. 

Avo toast for a weary traveller

Finally I was able to access my hostel, I dropped of my bags and immediately headed to the Harbour, I was excited to see the opera house. The 45 minute walk down to the harbour was full of all the sounds and smells of a big city. The sun was shining brilliantly though and I immediately felt in good spirits again. The peaks of the opera house came into view like the snowy caps of distant mountains and I walked with a refreshed sense of eagerness. She was everything I had hoped for. Stunning shapes and crisp white sails in the brilliant Australian sun. I never thought myself much of an architecture fan but it seems to have become an underlying passion of mine. 

Arrival at the opera house

A quick view of the bridge (unfortunately bridges do not spark my architectural interest) and then off to the botanical gardens. Now I must say since arriving in Australia 3 months ago I have found some of the most magical gardens, simply beautiful, the kind of places that make you feel as though you’ve been whisked away to another land. I did however feel that Sydney’s botanical garden was a bit disappointing. Mown lawns and a few flower beds didn’t really cut it for me. I went back to the hostel and settled down for a very chilled evening and some well needed sleep. 

My next Sydney adventure was the Coogee to Bondi walk. An absolute must for anyone visiting the Sydney region. Taking a bus from the city centre to Coogee, you are immediately greater by white sands and crystal clear waters. As you follow the coastal route it just gets better and better, each beach being more picturesque than the last. Finally arriving into Bondi the hippie beach lovers town had quainte little shops and plenty of vegan options for me to replenish myself with. As usual for Sydney in the summer, the sun shone intensely all day and regular top ups of sun lotion were imperative. 


The plan of action the next day was to visit the blue mountains. It was a Sunday and in Sydney on Sunday’s you can get cheap travel on your opal card. $2.60 for a two hour journey to the mountains ain’t bad at all! This particular day there was a heat wave and temperatures peaked at 41 degrees. It’s fair to say I was covered in sweat the moment I arrived (TMI?) but the breath taking views distracted me from any discomfort I might have been feeling. 

No picture of the blue mountains will ever do the place justice, here’s the famous three sisters

The adventures continued on Monday morning with a quick ferry ride over to Manly. I must admit I adored a cute little seaside town with just enough going on to keep you busy but not so hectic you feel like your caught in the city bustle. I also found Manly to be quite an Eco conscious place with water fountains absolutely everywhere, plenty of vegan food and health stores and well protected coastal areas. I felt like I could have been very much at home here.

Eco concious Manly

As you can probably imagine, by day 4 of constant moving, hiking and exploring I was pretty pooped! I dedicated my last day in Sydney to slow living, something I’m not always that great at. A had a lie in, showered, enjoyed a slow breakfast, wrote in my journal and got ready to walk around. Even on a slow day it’s important to get outside, no matter where you are. I had been advised by friends in Coffs Harbour (see last weeks blog) that the Chinese Garden of Friendship was a must see when I’m Sydney city centre. So that’s where I headed! Costing only $6 to get in, it was absolutely worth it. Beautiful oriental designs throughout with a thriving koi pond, well fed ibis and a fairly lazy population of water dragons I genuinely felt as though I’d like the city and travelled to rural Asia. The perfect end to a face paced 5 days. 

Calming Chinese gardens in the heart of the city

I’m not a city girl, give me mountains and oceans any day. If I could summarise my time in Sydney, I’d say I enjoyed the times I got out of the centre the most. Sydney is surrounded by stunning natural beauty and I’m pleased with how much I managed to fit into my 5 days in the area. Playing tourist in the city was fun for short periods of time however I was glad to be on my way when I left. 

Thank you again for reading my blog this week. For more pictures and videos of my travels through Australia please follow me on Instagram @zero_hero_movement

Next week I’ll be talking about ‘Australia Day’, what I found out about the historical culture of this country and the conflict of interests this day brings. 

Much Love

Lucy

Coffs Harbour – A little slice of paradise

Today I’m giving you a travel blog. I really want to share with you all my amazing experiences in a little town called Coffs Harbour in New South Wales. When I originally booked my stay here I was only aiming for 5 days, see the sights and then move on down the east coast. This plan quickly changed and 5 days turned into 5 weeks. 
For my east coast travels I am staying in various hostels and the YHA I found in Coffs Harbour was by far one of the nicest hostels I have stayed in to date. Being so far away from home can often leave the weary traveller craving a home like environment and that’s certainly what I found here. Most importantly though we’re the amazing friends I made there, these are a special group of people who I will never forget and hopefully see again soon further along in my travels! 

Some of my favourite people down by the creek in Coffs Harbour

Now outside of the hostel was a world of beautiful wildlife and some of the best nature reserves all within a stones through of where I slept. Not to mention one of the most beautiful botanical gardens I have seen so far! 

The jetty is an amazing and highly understated spot for wildlife. Once me and my friends realised there were green sea turtles there every evening at sunset we never missed a viewing. Another evening we were graced by the presence of vast numbers of Ray’s of varying species and if we were super lucky the local bottle nose dolphin would make an appearance too. Every day at sunset I still miss that Jetty and its inhabitants.

The Jetty

To the left of the jetty there is the designated nature reserve known as Mutton bird island. As an amateur bird watcher I wasn’t sure what a mutton bird was exactly, I was pleased when I discovered it to be a shearwater and this was a prime nesting site for the sea bird species. A trek to the top of mutton bird island also gave great views of the ocean and its accompanying solitary islands. 
The wildlife of Coffs Harbour would literally overflow into everyday life. On my morning runs I’d see galahs gathering, rainbow lorikeets feeding on the local flora, Australian magpies in their daily chorus, white ibis looking for a free meal, kookaburras laughing at my struggle to run in the heat and the huge cockatoos screaming through the skies. Those early mornings were some of my favourite times. 

A gorgeous Galah watches as I run past

So, as I reminisce on my time in this secret paradise I encourage anyone planning to visit the east coast of Australia to spend time here. Absorb it’s beauty, marvel at the chilled out atmosphere and just basque in its coastal sunshine. 
Thank you for joining me on my little heart felt day dream about a place I will always think of fondly. Next weeks blog will be detailing all of the adventures I tried to squeeze into my 5 days in Sydney and what it’s like to go from natures paradise to the big city. 
To keep up to date with my travels and see where I’m headed next please follow me on Instagram @zero_hero_movement
Much Love 

Lucy

My Minimalist Mission

Like many people who may be reading this or following my Instagram account (@zero_hero_movement) I have in the last year or so become attracted to living a more minimalist lifestyle. 

I guess the main thing that triggered this for me was my desire to travel. I didn’t want material possessions making it difficult for me to leave at a whim and go where ever I wanted. So, when my brother bought me a travelling ruck sack for my birthday over a year ago I made this my first target, to have everything I own fit into that ruck sack so that I could literally get up and go when ever and wherever I wanted! Now by a lot of minimalist standards this was not a small ruck sack 65-85 litres in fact, but I’m not one for comparing myself to others and starting where I was with an overflowing wardrobe, a huge supply of toiletries and a collection of now antique electronics stashed away I felt like getting my life into one ruck sack would be a huge step in the right direction.

What really helped me downsize my possessions was living in small ships cabins for 2 weeks at time. Having a limited space to keep your stuff forces you to only have what you really need. Also, going back home once a month made me realise that I hadn’t missed any of the items I’d left there so clearly I didn’t need them. Once a month I would have a clear out and each month I felt more and more liberated. Even though the amount of belongings I owned was getting smaller and smaller I still felt there was much more to be gotten rid of and this feeling continues today as I travel. Want to have less stuff? Try carrying everything you own on your back and you’ll soon want to lighten the load.

My brother adventuring with his own 60L rucksack

My goal was to have my life in that back pack by Oct 2017 ready to leave the uk. By September I was left umming and arring over the last few items and ended up leaving one box behind of things I simply couldn’t let go of. I presume after several years of travel when I eventually see those things again it will be easier for me to let them go, for now I am happy with what I have achieved. 
Going forward into my minimalist journey as I now travel through Australia I am still shedding items. Each place I stop I leave behind a pile of clothes for other travellers to help themselves to or donate to the many op shops around the country. Sometimes I think my clothes must be breeding in my ruck sack because no matter how much I get rid of there is still more than enough for me to work with. 
A gifted T-Shirt from the lovely folks at the YHA in Coffs Harbour

So, my advise to anyone wanting to minimise their life is;
– work on a two week basis, anything you haven’t needed in the space of two weeks you simply don’t need. 

– Don’t compare yourself to others, set your own goals and don’t beat yourself up if you haven’t quite got there yet, you will! 

– Before you even consider buying anything new, ask yourself if you already have something to serve the purpose

– Really think about what each item gives you, does it make you feel happy, does it give you self confidence, does it help you to be productive? If not then are you sure you need it?
Thank you so much for taking the time to read my latest blog post and if you’d like to see more about my journey into minimalism and my travel adventures then please follow me on Instagram @zero_hero_movement

Moving from a vegan diet to a whole food plant based diet

If you read my previous blog about New Years resolutions you’ll know that I am planning to gradually transition from a vegan diet to a whole foods, plant based diet.

Vegan vs. Whole food plant based diets

The pure and simple reason I am choosing to do this is health. I want ultimate health, I want to live a long and active life and I think the best way to ensure this is to eat plants and drink water (and obviously regular exercise too!).
Some of you might be thinking how different a vegan diet is from one that is whole food plant based. Well a prime example is this, Oreos are vegan, they are not good for you, they are not plant based and they are not a whole food. Veganism means not consuming or using any product from an animal but there are many many products that are either synthetic or highly processed that can be classed as vegan and it is these types of food that I wish to eliminate from my diet over the course of a year. 

A nutritious plant based meal from Elixibar in Byron Bay

It is my hope that by Jan 1st 2019, eating a whole food, plant based diet will become my norm. The reason I am allowing myself a year to achieve this goal is also health based. Changing your diet in any way is going to have an affect on your body and health whether you realise it or not. To suddenly just remove certain items from your diet that your body has become accustomed to can sometimes cause adverse effects. I want to be kind to my body so I am doing this slowly. Over time my gut bacteria will adjust and I will avoid any sudden side effects of a diet change. It’ll also give me time to work out how much and how often I need to eat whilst plant based as this can also change with dietary switches. I also don’t want the feeling you can experience when you go “cold turkey” and don’t succeed immediately, I’m not trying to prove anything, I’m not in a race with anyone so I am allowing myself the time to do this properly with the best possible outcome being that this time next year it will have stuck. 

A delicious vegetable korma I like to make

So what have you decided to work on for yourself this year? Do you adopt a vegan or plant based diet? I’d love to hear from you. You can see how I’m getting on switching to plant based by following my Instagram page @zero_hero_movement

Why I’m starting a Waste Jar in 2018

If you’re following the Zero Waste movement or looking to start living a more waste free life you will be aware of the concept of a waste jar. This basically involves collecting any waste you acquire in your day to day life to see it as a physical volume or mass of waste by storing it in a clear glass jar for a set period of time.

Previously I have avoided this idea, mostly from a minimalist point of view, why would I want a jar of trash laying around cluttering up the place? Isn’t that exactly the point thought? The reason most people create so much trash is because it is dealt with relatively quickly, out of sight out of mind. I am no exception from this rule and I thought what better time to fully feel the weight of the trash I create than when travelling, quite literally!

A lovely jar gifted to me from a friend

So here I now find myself looking for the perfect jar, second hand of course and dreading the idea of carting it around with me whilst travelling through every state in Australia. What have I got myself in for? Nothing like a good challenge to kick start the new year. 

If anything, I feel like this is a much easier task here in Australia than it would have been in the UK. There are bulk options everywhere and farmers markets galore. Even the main supermarket chains have small bulk sections and a wider range of plastic free produce, so hopefully this will b a big learning curve for me with regards to minimising my impact even further.

Package free produce is common here in Australia

For me, life is all about learning. I’m not setting this goal for myself to punish myself or to make myself feel bad. It’s all about observing my habits over the next year I’m the hope that I will learn to be more ethical and produce less waste with every year that’s passes.

I’d love to know if you have ever used a waste jar to monitor your waste, if not why? If yes, what did it teach you about your habits? If you’ve been thinking about starting yor own waste jar then please join me in 2018 and we can motivate each other to be more transparent in our consumption of waste items. To follow my journey travelling through Australia with my waste jar then please follow me on Instagram where I will be posting my progress @zero_hero_movement 

Bulk bins in the whole & happy store, Gladstone NSW

Thanks again for taking the time to read this blog, more to come next week. 
Much love 

Lucy