Plastic Free Life On The Road

Those of you who follow us on Facebook will know that we recently took part in Plastic Free July; a month long challenge which encourages participants to refuse single use plastics. We were unsure as to how difficult this challenge would be while on the road, but we thought it was worth a shot! We see so much plastic on the side of highways, in campsites, and on beaches and it drives me a little bit insane. The more we thought about the challenge the more I realised how much of today’s products come exclusively in plastic: whether it’s cherry tomatoes and berries, dairy products, or toilet paper. The month wasn’t without its difficulties and there was definitely some unexpected plastic, but overall I think we managed to reduce our plastic usage by about 95%. Now that the challenge is over we have relaxed some things, but there are also lots of newly formed habits that we won’t be letting go of! Here’s some super simple steps to living a less plasticy life! 

1. Remember your reusable grocery bags.

This is the easiest way to avoid plastic. Single use grocery bags are horrible for the environment. They never fully break down but they do fall apart into tiny pieces that animals end up eating. We’ve been using our own grocery bags for quite a while but we used to forget to bring them quite often. During July our plastic usage was at the forefront of our minds and we always remembered our bags. If you do forget why not just put your groceries loose in your trolley and pack them directly into your van? It’s one benefit of having your kitchen on wheels! 

2. Avoid plastic produce bags.

Have you ever questioned why you put your bananas into a plastic bag only to take them out again when you get home? There are lots of reusable produce bag options available but we just went without. For small things like green beans we used the paper mushroom bags. We also avoided all prepackaged produce. It turns out this is often the cheaper option-loose mushrooms are so much cheaper, but for some reason I used to always buy them prepackaged without even thinking about it! 

plastic free

What a plastic free cart looks like

3. Take the time for a dine in coffee.

It’s estimated that in Australia over 1 billion takeaway coffee cups are disposed of every year. These cups are plastic lined and don’t biodegrade and few recycling plants are able to process them. We travel slowly and are rarely in a rush to get anywhere. Going out for coffee is a treat for us so we choose to dine in and avoid plastic that way. If you’re someone that has a takeaway coffee every morning or like your coffee on the go, invest in a keep cup. Lots of coffee shops offer a discount if your use your own cup! It doesn’t have to be an official keep cup either- a cheap travel mug works just the same.

4. No straws please!

Our oceans are filled with single use plastic straws. Sometimes the plastic straws even come wrapped in plastic! I don’t know about you, but my arms are strong enough to lift my glass all the way to my mouth. Lots of bars and restaurants are getting involved by only giving straws by request but if you want to be sure to avoid plastic just let them know you don’t want a straw (explaining your reason might even get them on board!) 

plastic free

source:ukonserve.com

5. Use a refillable water tank 

Last year when we travelled in California we bought big single use water jugs from the supermarket. Now we have a 23 litre water tank that we refill. We use the Wikicamps app to find places with potable water(you usually find it near dump points) or fill it up whenever we’re in a caravan park. Not only does this avoid lots of plastic waste, but it’s saved us a ton of money! 

6. Buy meat at the butcher/deli

Meat is one of slightly more difficult things to buy plastic free. Prepackaged meat in the supermarket comes in plastic trays . You can bring your own containers and ask the butcher to fill them, or just ask them to use as little plastic as possible. The same goes for bread-buy it in a bakery. 

7. Don’t get downhearted 

There were times during July when I felt like our efforts where completely futile. When we were in beautiful places completely littered with rubbish. When we were served unexpected plastic. When I really wanted bread and there were no plastic free options. It’s important to remember that every little step you take does make a difference. Small changes add up to make big impacts. Plastic free July and the War on Waste documentaries are what pushed Coles and Woolworths to #banthebag. Your choices as a consumer do matter. Equally, it’s not your fault that the world is so full of plastic. Don’t beat yourself up if you have to buy something in plastic. We didn’t give up dairy even though we couldn’t find non plastic options. We recently needed some car maintenance products which all came in plastic- we just couldn’t avoid it. The fact that you’re even reading this post shows that you care-which is more that can be said for a lot of people. 

plastic free

Sometimes despite our best efforts we still accumuluated plastic

Is plastic free living more expensive?

The answer to this one isn’t exactly straight forward. Some of the products we usually buy in plastic were more expensive-such as peanut butter in glass or pasta in cardboard boxes. However, over all our groceries were cheaper in July because we couldn’t buy any expensive processed foods. Our diets were also really healthy and mostly plant based! Buying food in bulk stores can also help you to save money and reduce your waste, while also supporting local business-win win!

If you do find reducing your plastic usage too difficult I would definitely encourage you to try to pick up plastic litter when you see it. Nobody likes to see litter but often we complain about it and forget that we can actually do something about it! We particularly try to pick up litter when we see it near waterways, because plastic can do so much damage when it enters the water. Good luck!

Making the most of your Travels

There are so many travel experiences I look back on and wish I had appreciated more. Sometimes in the moment it can be difficult to look beyond whatever stress you’re under. In hindsight I can see how silly it is to not appreciate how cool it is for the most stressful thing in your life to be getting lost in a new city, or missing a bus back to your hostel, or not being able to read your menu.

Making the most of your travels

We loved Venice, but we didn’t always make the most of our time there


Sometimes when you travel for a long time (and a long time doesn’t have to be that long. It only takes a few weeks to forget about the responsibilities of every day life) you start to take things for granted. You see so many beautiful things every day that you start to compare them. To put them on a scale. You think’ “this beach is not as pretty as the beach we saw last week” and forget to appreciate that moment, that destination, that experience for how unique and exciting and beautiful it is.

You’re not necessarily going to fall in love with every place you visit. Not every destination is going to be at the top of your list. But that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy it and appreciate it and take a moment to be thankful for where you are. I didn’t like Vienna as much as Budapest, I didn’t like Sequoia and much as Death Valley, I didn’t like Vegas as much as San Francisco. But I’d choose any of those places in a heart beat over 9-5 days at the office.

Travel Vegas

Vegas wasn’t our favourite city but we still enjoyed it!


I always look back at the day we got lost in the back streets of Venice and wish I had taken a moment to step back and think about the situation I was in. Here we were wandering the beautiful cobble stoned streets of this historical city. We had wandered out of the tourist filled centre and now we were walking through empty, almost haunted laneways. It was pretty and peaceful and we should have savoured every minute of it. But we didn’t. Because instead of looking at how lucky we were we just felt hot and tired and we were lost. They aren’t really any signposts in Venice and they wasn’t anyone around to ask. We were fed up and worried that we wouldn’t find our way back in time to get the bus. We got angry at each other.

Making the most of your travels

It’s hard to believe we were grumpy somewhere so pretty!


When I look back now I wish we’d just relaxed, enjoyed the moment, appreciated how lovely it was. When you travel there are always going to be stressful moments. You’re always going to get lost or miss your bus. But sometimes those situations can turn into your best travel moments. They can become the crazy stories that you’ll tell forever. You just have to make the best of your circumstances first. And I’d certainly rather get lost in Venice then be sitting in an office!

Responsible Travel

The time we spent in California’s national parks was the most time we’ve ever spent enjoying the outdoors together. It was a wonderful change to spending our time in bustling cities, and we found that we loved hiking and exploring together. The American national park service is wonderful. They offer lots of in depth information and very successfully make these parks accessible to everyone, while still maintaining the wild and untouched nature of the parks. Unfortunately there are always people who feel that they can ignore the guidelines put in place to keep themselves and the park safe. We saw this multiple times in California, we’ve seen it here in Australia and we see it happening around the world in news reports. The people engaging in these dangerous and often illegal activities are ignoring our responsibility as traveller’s to do no harm in the places we visit. 

People put these ancient trees at risk

When we were in Sequoia national park we saw the biggest tree in the world, the General Sherman tree. The national park service have provided a walkway to allow people to view this huge and ancient tree without damaging its shallow root system. But while we were there one couple decided to jump over the fence and get a picture hugging the tree. It’s so sad that getting the perfect Instagram photo is more important than preserving these natural beauties for generations to come. Worse than this were the carvings covering the tree. It’s difficult to understand how someone could visit Sequoia and think that the park could be somehow improved by having their name scrawled everywhere.

Many preventable deaths occur in Yosemite

Respecting our environment is also important for protecting ourselves. When we underestimate our environment we fail to prepare for the potential dangers that we can encounter in the wild. It’s important to respect the fact that enjoying nature comes with its own risks. When you enter bear country you seal your food, when you visit the desert you stay hydrated, when you swim in the sea you stay weary of the tides. Recently four young Canadian men risked their lives by stepping off the boardwalk at a hot spring in Yellowstone national park. They posted videos of their activities online and a warrant has subsequently been issued for their arrest. They got off lucky-last week a man died after falling in to a hot spring in the park. So many deaths (of both people and animals) have occurred around the world in national parks and other wilderness areas that could have been easily prevented by following the rules. These rules may be restrictive, and I admit that a part of me also wanted a picture hugging the biggest tree in the world. But I believe it’s important to acknowledge that travelling comes with responsibilities. Because how can we justify travelling the world if we’re going to leave a wave of destruction behind us? 

Despite signs saying not to climb the pinnacles, many people do