Mindful Travel, Part 4: 3 Things to Think Critically About Before You Buy a Plane Ticket

The world is essentially a global village now. If you save up the funds and are willing to plan, you can almost go anywhere. Formerly remote and untouched places are changing fast because of our “travel NOW” and escapist mentality that is leading us to escape farther, be more epic, get off the beaten track, snap those wanderlust-worthy social media pics. When I was in college, I was constantly daydreaming over travel Pinterest boards and writing quotes about going out to see the world, experience things, discover myself and learn by immersion instead of just through books and articles.

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Mindful Travel, Part 3: A Day Trip to Lady Elliot Island

This past August, I had the good fortune of flying out to a little island north of Fraser called Lady Elliot. Located off the coast of southern Queensland, it is one of the southernmost cays of the Great Barrier Reef and is known for its abundance of sea turtles, manta rays, reef sharks, and spectacular array of other marine species. The moment I arrived in Hervey Bay, I was surrounded by chatter about Lady Elliot and people who gushed over how amazing it was. Literally, I’d be sitting at the office at work and multiple other crew members from different boats in the harbor would bustle by and stop in for a chat, and inevitably, Lady Elliot would come up. “You have to go. That place is insane.”

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Mindful Travel, Part 2: A Balinese Farm Tour and Cooking Class

Let me whisk you away to Bali - the Balinese Farm Tour and Cooking Class is a half-day tour (morning or afternoon) that picks you up from your accommodation in Ubud and whisks you away to a local market in a neighboring village. A guide meets you there and escorts you around to different stalls, pointing out and explaining the local offerings of fruits, vegetables, and various prepared goods.

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Exploring the Meaning of Mindful Travel, Part 1: Choosing Ethical Tour Operators

So what makes a tourist activity eco-friendly - as in, how do you decide if it’s a responsible choice or not? You want to support locally-owned businesses that are not only reducing their environmental impacts, but are using their tourism platform to help local communities and raise support for conservation. Sustainable tourism has been defined by the World Tourism Organization as “tourism that takes full account of its current and future economic, social and environmental impacts, addressing the needs of visitors, the industry, the environment, and host communities.”

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Five Practical Tips for Being a Responsible, Eco-friendly Traveler

As a traveler, we have an immense responsibility. Jet-setting or road-tripping (or cycling, walking, running, horseback riding, etc.) to see the world is a beautiful gift, and we really shouldn’t take it lightly. Just as we try to “greenify” our lives back home, we can try to spruce up our travel game to be a bit more self-sufficient and leave less of a consumerist trail in our wake.

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A Guide to the Best Vegan Food Spots in Hervey Bay, Australia

This is a straightforward summary of my explorations of plant-based dining options in this beautiful coastal town. Ok, let’s make sure we’re on the same page. I love Hervey Bay. It’s cute, quiet, and the weather is pretty much mint year-round. The ocean’s in your backyard, and the whales come to play from July to October (that’s why I was here!). But, I won’t lie - the food scene leaves something to be desired, especially for the vegans. Since I was living there for three months, I wasn’t about to sit at home and cook the same ole same ole every night - I wanted to eat out, too! I was able to do a fair bit of exploring in my quest to both satiate my stomach and stay committed to my environmental morals. This post is meant to save any vegan or omnivorous veggie-lovers some grief the next time they visit the Fraser Coast!

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Exploring New Depths with Apneista's Level One Freediving Course - Bali

What does the term freediving bring to mind for you? Diving without scuba tanks? Spearfishing? Long breath holds? Insanity? For me, it was mainly just a talent I admired of other people when I saw them diving down to look at an octopus or a moray eel in Molokini Crater for extended periods of time.

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Perk Up, Ocean Lover: You're Making it Better Than It Would've Been Otherwise

A Post To Perk You UP About Fighting for Conservation

I’m sure many of you, like me, have been experiencing the ebb and flow of enthusiasm/motivation and helplessness/anxiety over the conservation of our natural environment. The articles/news/research findings are bombarding us - always - and they should, because we need to be aware of the issues and the science. The emotions we attach to the media, however, are brought about by our own projections. I associate so much doom and gloom with everything I hear about climate change and ecosystem destruction, I can’t help it. But what if I stepped away from that and chose to see things differently? What if this perceived negativity could be transformed into a positive source of motivation?

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From the Sunny Coast to Brisbane to the Gold Coast - Adventures in Eastern Oz

I had some time off! And it was amazing! Whale watching is a beautiful way to spend your days, don’t get me wrong. In the midst of a busy season, though, you can bet I’ll snatch an opportunity to take a few days off and explore amazing Aussie. After taking so many guests on our trips who simply gushed about the Sunshine Coast and Byron Bay, I knew I wanted to go see them for myself.

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The Final Week: 8 Weeks to a Greener Life & a Bluer Sea

Do something today that scares you.

I'm sure you've heard a similar quote before. Eleanor Roosevelt said it: "Do one thing every day that scares you."

So what's the connection between this challenge and environmental activism? Look, going green can be scary. It means changing habits that you've grown up with. It means politely talking to your parents and grandparents about a new way of life you've adopted that doesn't necessarily mesh with their viewpoints. It means going against the grain more often than not. It means being adaptive, open-minded, and vulnerable to change. That's scary. And it's hard. I recognize and respect that, because I muddle through these changes every single day. I stumble a lot. I fall. I get up. 

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Week 7: 8 Weeks to a Greener Life & a Bluer Sea - Using Social Media for Positive Change

A Positive Opportunity for Education & Activism with Instagram

How many "pretty" pictures of food or drinks or cute cafes pop up on your social media feeds throughout the day? It might just be my love of experimental cooking, foodie-based travel, colorful ingredients, and beautifully-designed dining spaces, but my feed is brimming with snaps of smoothie bowls and tofu dishes and perfectly crafted coffees with hearts and bears in the latte art. I love seeking inspiration from photos of food, and I imagine there's a part of my brain that relishes looking at them as well. Like some sort of dopamine hit. 

Although most of the food-based accounts I follow depict eco-friendly practices, I'm finding that there's still a lot of accounts that are including plastic straws and other single-use plastics in their glamorous marketing shots. Now, I'm not trying to call anyone out and shame them. Nor am I encouraging you to bash anyone or any operation on social media. That's bad form. I'm only saying that I found a perfect opportunity to open up a discussion on single-use plastics when I came across a photo from a hip little pop-up business in Portland specializing in gourmet dessert milkshakes...

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Week 6: 8 Weeks to a Greener Life & a Bluer Sea: #justpickitup

I'm back with Week 6's Eco-Challenge! This is a real simple one, going back to the basics. It's about picking up litter (hence the #justpickitup theme). We see trash all the time in places it doesn't belong, and the concern here is how often we refuse to acknowledge it. On the beach, on your morning run, on the side of the road, at the park, in the supermarket car park. Why do we see it and ignore it so much of the time when we know that it's negatively impacting the environment? It all comes down to convenience, doesn't it?

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Week 5: 8 Weeks to a Greener Life & a Bluer Sea - New 'Poo for Your 'Do

This week I want to talk about hair. Specifically, how we wash it, and how we purchase shampoo. There is so much plastic in our bathrooms, it's not even funny. Not even remotely. It's annoying as hell. It tumbles off the shelves and ledge when we bump into it. Once you squeeze ever little last drop out of the bottle, you have to get rid of it and buy another. Where does it go? Rubbish? Recycling? Do you get confused and just chuck it? "Oh well, someone else's problem now." (Please don't think like that.)

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Week 4: 8 Weeks to a Greener Life & a Bluer Sea - The Importance of Delayed Gratification

When we want or need something, it's as easy as opening our browser to Amazon.com or driving to Target and feeling that rush of immediate gratification. No thought required. Just a credit card and a desire. 

This scares me. You know the feeling of emptiness that comes after an impulse buy? It's like a cloud of confusion. It's not satisfying us the way we thought it would. The thing we bought didn't solve our problems. It didn't make us happier (because only you can make you happier). We often choose what is easy instead of what is better in the long run. Maybe our brains are wired that way. Survival, man! But, it's no good.

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Week 3: 8 Weeks to a Greener Life & a Bluer Sea - Eat Like You Give a F*** (One Vegan Meal)

If someone were to ask me one critical thing they could do right now to help the environment, apart from dropping single-use plastics, I would suggest to them to be more aware of the food on their plates. You know, to eat like you give a f***. Like, where the heck did your food come from? Who grew it? How did they grow it? And...how does its production impact the environment? 

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Week 2: 8 Weeks to a Greener Life and a Bluer Sea - Speak Up About Single-Use Plastics

Week number 2 brings a bit of a different challenge, and one that became more and more relevant for me after I became hyper-aware of plastic waste and poor environmental practices in restaurants and other businesses.  The challenge: speak up about a possible improvement that you think one of your favorite restaurants can make in terms of its plastic use. You know those places you go to eat, the ones you adore with delicious food that you can’t get anywhere else and that give you the warm fuzzies because it’s familiar and it’s the bestest…but that also produce horrendous amounts of waste? I experienced that in Coeur d’Alene this past week at the Fish Market. My family loves this place. AMAZING fish tacos. But EVERYTHING served with single-use plastic sauce tubs, plastic cutlery, and beers on tap are even served in plastic pint cups. WHAT. WHY. GET A DISHWASHER. Give someone a job in the community and stop producing so much waste!

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Week 1: 8 Weeks to a Greener Life and a Bluer Sea - 5 Reasons to shop at your local Farmer's Market

So a little while ago I made a promise to start posting some simple, easy steps you can take to living a more eco-friendly lifestyle. I'm calling this blog series 8 Weeks to a Greener Life and a Bluer Sea, and I'm excited to kick it off with one of my favorite summertime activities: farmer's market shopping! I'm going to keep these posts brief, so you can read them over your morning coffee, absorb what you want from them, and hopefully feel inspired to get out and implement these strategies in your own life.

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Company Crush: Clam & Clasp

One of the most powerful driving forces in nurturing my zest for ocean conservation is connecting with like-minded, creative individuals who are working towards the same mission - but usually from a slightly different angle! I had the pleasure of connecting with Janell, the founder and creator of Clam & Clasp, and instantly fell in love with her beautiful pieces of jewelry. Each features a sustainably collected seashell and a promise to speak for the sea.

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Green Mind: The Challenging Shift from a Cheapest-is-Best Mentality to a Do-It-for-the-Earth Mentality

To the millennials out there: we were raised in a different time with different priorities, and we don’t exactly have a blueprint to look to as we navigate these new and constant environmental challenges. It's a huge task, managing and instigating all of this change. But for those of us who care about the environment to any degree at all, which I truly do believe is most of us, we can start shifting our habits to live a greener lifestyle. We might have to start small; everyone's personal and financial situation is different. But when we continue to demand green alternatives and use our purchasing power to support what we believe in, we are going to keep seeing changes. So start where you can. Do what you can. And at the very least, keep up-to-date on environmental issues and talk about them with your family and friends.

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Be Like the Buddha of Environmentalism - A Movement Towards Enlightenment in Conservation

I wrote a post not too long ago about the challenges of being an optimistic environmentalist. The struggle is real. Very, very real. I’m sure many of you have seen National Geographic’s latest magazine cover depicting a plastic bag looming up from the ocean like an iceberg with the title “Planet or Plastic?” This particular issue is just the start of the magazine’s multiyear plan to bring awareness to our planet’s plastic overload crisis. At first glance, it’s heart wrenching - another reminder of the doom and gloom and challenges ahead of us. But once I read the article and absorbed the painful facts, the scary stats, and the troubling photographs, I felt a little rush of excitement. Do we even know how many people are going to be exposed to this crisis as a result of this publication, people that may never even have thought about it seriously and now would? National Geographic has always been a magazine that has sparked controversial conversations, and this particular cover has been dubbed “one for the ages.” People are going to be talking. People are going to be freaked out. And that’s good.

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