Wellness Travelled is a blog that inspires people to not just be “well-travelled” but to travel well. Founders Christine and Sarah, are sisters, best friends, business partners, and the ultimate zero waste travellers. They share a unique passion not just for traveling, but using their precious time abroad to enrich their lives as well as the lives of the communities they visit.
We took five to chat with them while they were on their Zero Waste Journey, top tips for travellers and the not-so-glamourous side of world travel.
Tell us what inspired you on your Zero Waste journey?
After seeing an over whelming amount of footage of the issues we have with single use plastics polluting our oceans, especially in countries that do not have the same garbage disposal systems we have here in Canada, we tried going zero waste on our trip to Belize and it was super hard but we made it work thanks to some zero waste essentials we packed! We created a packing checklist that helped us avoid single-use plastics while on the road: http://wellnesstravelled.com/zerowastetraveltips/
What would you say are your top tips for travellers trying to reduce their waste?
Be prepared! We have 6 packing items we bring on every trip (local road trips or international holidays) to be prepared for reducing our single use plastic! 1) Reusable bag 2) reusable straw 3) reusable water bottle 4) travel mug 5) food containers and cutlery 6) reusable toiletry containers! We find that when we go prepared with these 6 things we can avoid so much waste on our travels! Lastly, we like to preach that it is progress over perfection! Every bit helps, even if you start with packing one of these items and then on the next trip pack another it makes a difference and everyone is on their own journey!!
You aim to spread the message of eco tourism, zero waste and giving back to local communities, all the while enriching your own lives in the process. Can you tell us a bit more about your giving back initiatives?
My sister and I have done beach clean ups while travelling to Belize and Cuba this year! After we did our clean up in Belize we created a blog with 5 easy steps on how people can do their own beach clean ups on their travels http://wellnesstravelled.com/beachcleanup/ We have also been promoting give-back programs on our social media to spread awareness of the various ways tourists can give back when they travel (like being a dog chaperone for an adopted pup or packing much needed items for countries they're travelling to). We also try our best to give our tourist dollars directly to the locals by staying at locally owned accommodations, tours and restaurant’s.
Travelling brings a lot of joy but also a lot of challenges, how do you tackle the not-so-easy side of being on the go?
There have been some hiccups with every adventure we have been on together. We've experienced missed flights, food poisoning, sleepless nights in not so desirable accommodations, almost not having a place to sleep on NYE in Thailand (yes this happened) - and yes we've had our fair share of quarrels - we're not perfect :) You cannot control the hurdles you come across when travelling but there is always a solution. Our advice to getting through the craziest of situations without a heart attack: don't sweat the small stuff, be open minded to "plan B's", and never be afraid to ask people for help - it's incredible how many people are willing to go out of their way to lend a hand when you need it most. Oh! And always triple check your flights times/dates and check the airline website for flight delays the day-of
What would be your favourite Wellness & Eco destination for Canadians?
The most eco friendly way to travel is to travel local, so we like to promote visiting cool spots in Ontario like Prince Edward County, Elora, Niagara-on-the-Lake, and Muskoka. For international travel it would be very hard to choose, but Belize hands down was the most progressive for eco-friendly hotels in their jungle. We loved Black Rock Lodge. For overall wellness getaways, Costa Rica has it all with surfing, yoga, healthy food, hiking, swimming, and lots of eco-hotels to choose from.