By: Melody Yun Chen
The world works in a funny way. Sometimes the things you think you need the most are actually the things you need the least. I feel like everyone else has the formula for happiness figured out. After all,
"The world is constantly telling you that the path to a better life is more, more, more – buy more, own more, make more, be more."
- Mark Manson
After a year of living abroad, I sat in my empty apartment with 6 giant boxes to mail home and I thought to myself, I have a lot of stuff. I wasn’t even sure what was in those boxes anymore. Clothes, skin care products, souvenirs that will inevitably just throw away, and whatever else I deemed necessary to ship all the way back to Canada. Not sure what those items were, but they sure were necessary.
Is this what I had to show for my first year of living abroad? Boxes of stuff? Absolutely not! I traveled for the experience, not for the things I collected and now those things were holding me back. How can I go backpacking when I have two giant suitcases and a carry-on? When did I collect all this stuff and why do I even need it?
Every time I set my feet on “the most pristine beach ever” according to some online blog I look around to find trash, bits of plastic and other debris contaminate the scenery. What is the true cost of a plastic fork, something that I toss after one meal but this little piece of plastic will outlive me.
If you think about it, and I mean truly think about it, how many of these disposable plastic things do you really need in your life? Do you really need a straw to consume your beverage? Do you really need that plastic bag for your fruits just so you can put them into another plastic bag? Where does this lack on consciousness for the health of our planet stop?
At what point do we determine that we don’t want to live in a place filled with pollution and garbage that has a longer lifespan than us?
Buying another outfit doesn’t make me happy the way it used to. Getting the newest Phone doesn’t make me as happy as it used to. I have enough and I am content.
If you’re interested in transitioning to a zero-waste lifestyle I suggest taking a look at this video for some simple tips on minimizing your long-term impact on the world: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OagTXWfaXEo
👇 Or take on our Plastic Free Challenge 👇
Try living without these 4 one-time use plastic items for a month:
1. Plastic bags
2. Plastic bottles
3. Coffee Cup Lids
Check out plasticfreeme.org, our inspiration for this challenge.
In the words of Leo Tolstoy,
“Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.”
So, I encourage each of you to make this small change in your life, know that you are impactful and know that your actions do matter.