6 Tips for Living Sustainably on the Road
Meet Noami and Dustin! A pair of vibrant Synergy ambassadors and avid environmental advocates living life on the road, sustainably. We are constantly inspired by their passion for ethical living while living a nomadic lifestyle. The spring time travel bug is definitely in the air, so we caught up with them to ask for a few tips on how they do it. For more about their journey and sustainable resource suggestions, check out their website cactiandcoconuts.green
Dustin and I have been living on the road in our ‘85 VW Vanagon for almost three years. Since we made the move we’ve been experimenting with ways to minimize our waste and our footprint. We’ve incorporated numerous methods into our daily lives that have significantly increased our well being and reduced our impact. As we’ve embraced sustainability in our vanlife, we’ve realized it’s more than just “going green” - it’s about doing your best.
The thing is, the small decisions we make in our day-to-day lives can have a huge impact on our pockets and the environment. So, without further ado, here are the top 6 ways we live sustainably on the road:
1. Travel Slow: It’s easy to get caught up wanting to see and do it all, but we’ve learned that magic happens when you move at the speed of slow. And to us there’s no other way to travel. It’s not so much a particular mode of transport as it is a mindset which allows us to develop a real sense of place and help minimize our footprint. When we stay in one place long enough we’re able to make friends with the locals, shop at the local markets, and frequent a favorite coffeehouse. And by traveling slow we use less fossil fuels. Which brings me to the next one...
2. Go Local: Dustin and I love visiting local co-ops and farmers’ markets in the small towns we pass through on our journey. We’ve found that our overall experience and quality of food and/or products is enhanced when we shop local. By doing so, we contribute to strengthening the local economy and for us, it’s the easiest way to give back as we travel.
3. Shop Secondhand: One of the best recycling systems available! We rotate our seasonal gear and clothing through this system. Dustin and I believe one of the most important things we can do as consumers is vote with our dollar. Where we spend and invest our money impacts more than just our pockets - it affects local communities, fair wages, and the health of the environment. When we moved into the van and embraced a life of minimalism, our shopping habits changed. Instead of buying new, we shop secondhand and donate, sell, or giveaway what no longer serves us. And when we do buy new, we support companies and brands who are doing it right by using sustainable manufacturing methods and recycled or renewable materials. Companies like Synergy Organic Clothing. At Synergy, they believe that how your clothing is made matters. And as consumers we should feel good about the clothes we wear and have knowledge of how they are produced.
4. DIY Beauty & Health Products: Dustin and I have been making our own health and beauty products in the van for some time now and the benefits are endless. We make our own toothpaste, facewash, facial scrubs, masks, body oils, and moisturizers. For us it’s fun and educational. We save a ton of money compared to buying commercial products, and we know exactly what’s in them. If we do purchase a product over the counter, we go for non-toxic options. One example is our sunscreen, many commercial brands contain harsh chemicals and microplastics that pollute waterways and harm wildlife. Since our home is practically in the outdoors, it’s important for us to know what goes into the products we use, not only for the health of our bodies, but for the health of the environments we interact with.
5. Nature: It’s where we live, work, and play. We believe that spending time outdoors is good for our health and the benefits are infinite. We have significantly reduced our stress, we have noticeably better immune systems, less seasonal allergies, and overall we’re happier people for it.
6. Volunteer: As we travel, Dustin and I volunteer our time in the local communities we encounter. We participate in trail restoration projects, pull weeds, plant tomatoes at community gardens, and last year we organized and hosted beach cleanups along the coast in collaboration with local environmental organizations. Volunteering not only benefits the community and environment, but it brings about an extreme sense of fulfillment within us - and it’s a great way to have fun and meet new people. Stay tuned for 2019 updates if you’re interested in volunteering with us.
Living a life of travel can sometimes have negative impacts on our world. But as with any lifestyle, if we’re intentional with our decisions and mindful of our actions, we can give back more than we take and leave the world a little better than we found it.