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Let’s talk about trash.

I experienced eco-guilt for the first time in Hawaii. As a traveler, I thought I had experienced every emotion already. Yet, my 21st birthday adventures in Hawaii forced me to uncomfortably recognize the negative impact I was having on the planet’s health.

Environmental lessons, such as Leave No Trace and recycling, were ingrained in me. I thought I was doing my part.

But once I saw suffocated coral, abandoned by the thousands of flora and fauna that used to call it home, I knew my eco-actions weren’t enough.

Plastic followed me when I was home again. It surrounded me and encroached on me. Seeing every single product covered in plastic at the grocery store invoked emotional pain. My shower and skincare products became eyesores. I frantically complained into the abyss.

The only thing more difficult than changing the way I travel was not to change it.

I completely failed at the trash jar lifestyle my first try, though. Instead of feeling like a change-maker, I felt like a failure. Uprooting and unlearning my entire travel identity would not happen overnight.

Adopting a sustainable lifestyle must be sustainable.

Instead, I committed to making one zero waste swap every single week for one year. That seemed achievable for me. And it was.

One year later, despite critics who said my zero waste journey wasn’t enough, or that it was an over-dramatic response to the climate change hoax, I made 52 zero waste swaps and significantly reduced my waste.

A zero waste lifestyle also benefits the communities travelers love to visit.

When I visited Peru, trash was everywhere. Anti-littering laws ensured residents and tourists threw their trash into bins, yet the trash littered the cities, shorelines, and ocean.

Many of the places we love to visit developed their waste infrastructure pre-plastic revolution. The cities’ infrastructure couldn’t keep up with the uptick of trash when tourists started to arrive. Now that travel is becoming cheaper and more accessible, the trash problem only intensifies.

Travelers love the places they visit, yet we’re also destroying them.

We must leave positive traces on the places we visit if we wish to continue visiting them.

I’ll show you how.

Getaway Girl shows travelers how to wander without waste.

All you have to do is show up regularly and intentionally.

Zero waste travel might seem like an oxymoron, but it doesn’t have to be! Together we’ll change the travel industry and protect the planet.

No zero waste journey is perfect or linear. Personally, I don’t live a perfectly zero waste lifestyle and I don’t store all my trash in a jar. There are a million ways to be sustainable and I’ll show you the options. Adopt a few sustainable travel practices, and leave the rest. Once those are habitual, adopt some more.

A little bit goes a long way to becoming an eco-traveler.

About Kendal

I’m Kendal, the active adventuress and pineapple addict behind the screen.

When I’m not travel blogging, I work full-time in my “real job.”

All of my adventures and zero waste swaps are budget-friendly because I started traveling on a student budget. I love this scrappy, backpacker style of travel! Even now, with a little more disposable income, I still travel this way.

Thinking back to my childhood, I believe growing up in a military family sparked my travel obsession. In eighteen years, I moved eight times! I begged my parents to move more frequently because exploring the world invigorated me. My parents would laugh while explaining idleness makes me antsy.

Studying abroad at sixteen years old confirmed my inner desire for nomadism. The sense of discovery energized me. Learning something new every day hooked me on travel.

Travel guidebooks became my textbook and travel blogs my leisure readings. Those hours spent researching and dreaming taught me what I know now and practice during my travels. I worked a variety of jobs–babysitter, camp counselor, tutor, survey caller, office assistant–to make travel a reality.

I graduated from High Point University in May 2019 with a B.A. in International Relations. I was awarded a Fulbright to teach English in Belarus from August 2019-May 2020. Now I live and work in the United States.

Intersectional Environmentalism

The environmental and plastic crises extend far beyond the beautiful landscapes we love to visit. It is an intersectional issue, meaning a lot of environmental issues can also be tied to social justice issues. Fair wages, ethical labor practices, BIPOC rights, women’s rights, tourism, and more are all affected by the environmental crisis.

While this blog concentrates on eco-tourism, I simply cannot write about eco-travel without discussing these greater issues.

These posts are my most-researched (good thing I love reading peer-reviewed articles, thanks to my degree!) and require a lot of time, therefore they won’t be posted as frequently. The quantity of these posts in no way equates to their importance, though!

I hope you and I can learn and discuss the future of this planet and its residents together.

Thank You!

Your support encourages me to continue sharing how you can travel adventurously and sustainably.

If you have any content suggestions or questions, please email me at hello@getawaygirl.us. I want to hear from you!