Woh Woh Woh – Where have you been Lily!?

Wow, sorry guys. I kinda went AWOL there didn’t I?

But guess what? I have SO much to tell you!

When I left you last, oh so many months ago, I was in the Mediterranean, working on a 70ft classic sailing yacht. Remember the one?

image11Right. So, Marc and I are still working on the same boat, but a lot has happened in the meantime! For starters, we bought a boat together !!!!!!!! Yes, we bought a boat together. That’s sort of like marriage isn’t it? It felt just as serious and stressful and fun and heart-racing as marriage anyway.

Ladies and Gentlemen… Introducing… our new darling lady… the one and only…

Sailing Vessel PROJECTION – a Stevens 47:

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Wow, right? Are you thinking what I’m thinking? (**NB: I’m thinking: DAMN, that’s a big boat!!**)

Yes, we bought a big boat. She’s 47 ft long! That may come as a surprise to those of you that know me as the “smaller is better” “go small go now” “who needs a fridge anyway” philosophical sailor… but there is rhyme to our reason, don’t you worry.

Here’s the thing. It’s not just our boat. It’s your boat too!

The story is, we’re launching our very own business. It’s called Projection Travel and it’s officially a company so you can go ahead and put PTY LTD at the end of that 😉 We will be offering sailing and cycling charters throughout the Pacific, starting in January 2016. Think gourmet food, kayak expeditions, tropical bike tours, turquoise anchorages, yoga mornings etc, etc…        So, can I get a HELL YEAH?

More info on all that exciting stuff will come over the next few weeks as we get our website launched – watch this space for an opportunity to join us for some sailing and cycling adventures!

But by now you might be thinking… what about baby Portal?

Yes, baby Portal.

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My first love… my beautiful, darling Portal. This little lady will always hold a very special place in my heart. She taught me so much of everything. And she made it easy. Portal was a wonderful First Boat, and our journeys together… all the way from the smog of LA, through the clear waters of the Pacific, and into the tidal belly of the Brisbane River… will never be forgotten! 

What? Portal’s GONE!?

Yes, ’tis true. Well, she’s “moved on” let’s say. She has found herself an abundantly suitable new caretaker, who I trust will love and care for her twice as well as I did. She will mosey her way along the Northern NSW coasts, and be grateful to have the wind in her sails once more.

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… So that’s about it for the BIG NEWS items. A summary, for those of you that skip to the bottom:

  • I left my job in the Med for a 3 month crazy-head-spinning trip to Australia, where I scrubbed my lovely boat Portal within an inch of her life and sold her to a delightful man named John.
  • Marc then came to snatch me back. It was a joyful reunion after 2 months too long!
  • Then, we signed some big documents with scribbles at the bottom to say we just bought a NEW boat – Projection.
  • We are now back at work in the Med. But only for a few months – in September we jump ship, and start the real project – Projection Travel: Sailing and Cycling Adventures.

Stay tuned for more 🙂

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Gear

Fully Loaded

So most bike tourers seem to have a pretty little photo with all their gear, and a list of stuff they carry. I’ve never done it, but today, with my stuff scattered all over the floor, I thought it was about time. Yep, i’m fully loaded – but remember it’s everything I own in the world (bar a box of books at mum’s!)…

“You can’t jump a jet plane, like you can a freight train, so I’d best be on my way, in the early morning rain”

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I have just flown from Barcelona to Amsterdam in 60 000 kilos of steel speeding through the sky. It took three hours. When I boarded, it was 28 degrees, when I arrived at my destination: 13 degrees. My eyes, my skin, my clothes, were all very used to summer sun in Spain. Suddenly, I began to shiver, goose bumps raising the hairs on my body. I needed twice as many layers and my eyes felt scratchy, unused to this dry cold wind. While in transit, I met two people. The check-in guy who said to me “Tickets please” – and the air-hostess offering me beer with a plastered-on smile.

 On such a trip, the community break-downs and unnatural speed means less trust and more health risks. Without even considering the amount of energy unnecessarily consumed.

I have a friend who cycled from Amsterdam to Paris. It took a week. As she peddled through the days, the temperature changed slowly and signs of the seasons showed themselves gradually. When she left it was the start of spring, but the trees were still bear, their spindly branches haunting the canals. By the time she reached Belgium, a few leaves had begun to sprout, and when she arrived in Paris, wildflowers peppered the streets, the trees were blossoming.  She was invited into a stranger’s home for dinner – three times; offered Stroop Waffles by a post woman; helped a man fix a flat bike tyre; and met two Spanish guys who became good friends.

 The only immediate energy used on a journey like this one, is what you eat. You power on potatoes and muesli. The connections shared are real, true and tangible, and they last longer. 

My brother hitchhikes everywhere. He once went from Milan to Budapest in one day. It took him 8 rides. The adventure began in Italian, his driver speaking no English. By midday he was hearing German on the radio, and by nightfall, learning Thank You in Hungarian. He discussed politics and spirituality, helped a woman decide what to do with her life, and had lunch in an Austrian pizza shop owned by one of his drivers. With Eight people, he shared language, stories, culture, and skills, each one teaching him something new. 

The fuel he used was 0.2 Litres of petrol, when a woman took him 5 kilometers out of her way to drop him off in a good spot. The others were all going his road anyway. 

Travelling, moving, nomadism – can be inherently environmentally unsustainable. I can’t grow my own food, I can’t carry a lot and I often don’t know the communities in the area. Finding ways to combine our passion of travelling, whilst living in balance with the planet, can be a challenge, but consuming consciously is the first step.

Of course, the way you travel is the most important thing. Inspiration can be found in those using sustainable transport. Walkers, cyclists, horse riders, sailors and hitchers are roaming their random roads. Their eyes sparkle with stories. Aside from the other benefits though, alternative travel also drinks a lot less diesel. Not like the plane I took, which by the way, used around 19 200 litres of jet fuel.

 

*this is a fictional story*

Beeing Vegan

Standing between the aisles of a supermarket, empty basket in hand, you spend 10 minutes deciding on cookies. Full cream milk powder? Aroma? A series of 621, 352 and other random numbers… which contain NO animal products to satisfy your vegan label? Does ‘May contain traces of milk.’ count?
A little further up you take as long debating on chocolate. Is vegan regular chocolate better than non-vegan fairtrade, or is poorly paid labour as ethically wrong as any milk content?

Scanning the ingredients of ever item, you’ve quickly learned the German, Dutch and French words for milk, cheese and egg. But aside from improving your linguistic skills, what is the point of all this?

My reasons for veganism may not be the traditional ones, but in a world so full of animal consumer goods, I feel the need to justify them.
Being Vegetarian, with the now somewhat understood evils of factory farming, has become almost accepted. An increase in documentaries like ‘Our Daily Bread’ and ‘Meat the Truth’ have done a lot to expose animal cruelty, but for me, the ethics of what I eat doesn’t stop there. With my understanding of the production chain, sitting down to scrambled eggs, let alone a steak, doesn’t seem justifiable.

The amount of land that was cleared to allow for grazing, the water plowed through to grow those non-native crops, and the total energy consumed to impregnate, fatten, then slaughter that animal, just can’t be worth it. If I’m going to be so concerned about which lightbulbs I use, then i ought to question what energizes my body too.

Which means not stopping at flesh. Not eating meat for ethical reasons makes a hypocracy out of accepting any animal product. A dairy farmer is driven by the same profit motive as a cattle farmer, and often has the same practices. When more yield in less space equals more money, ethics get left way behind… everytime.

A milk cow lives just as short a life as a beef one. She is there to produce, produce, produce and when her prime is over, so is she. The potential of the energy she used gets lost too, when she doesn’t reach maturity.
Even organic or free range options have constraints. Often organic measures just means 80cms of space instead of 70, or only slightly better conditions than their factory counterparts. There are no free range egg classifications in Europe, the United States or Australia that prohibit the cutting of beaks on chickens. If they want to have that many fowl living together in one space, preventing pecking is the only way to generate that precious profit.

That carton of a dozen eggs I was looking at may have a smiley free range logo on it, but unless I see the farm myself, I have no guarantee of making an ethical choice. Those hens may only be let out of their close cages for a few hours a day, allowing then to be labeled ‘free’. How much is that omelette really worth?

These options are certainly a step in the right direction, but we need to bring power back to the consumer. How much do you know about the food you eat? How sure can you be that it is sustainable? Trusting a label has never been enough and corporate companies are not going to make the right decisions for us or our planet.

For me, being vegan is about eliminating the margins for error. Until I can guarrantee that what I consume has neither harmed the earth nor it’s animals, as far as I’m concerned… It’s not fit to eat.

Skipping Waste

Monopolizing chain supermarkets dominate food sales. Bananas from Columbia and avocados from Brazil are filling baskets throughout European winters.  These unsustainable consumer habits lead to a well of waste, burning oil and overflowing landfills. Desperately seeking an alternative, ‘Dumpster Divers’ are taking to the streets, feeding hundreds with the found food. ‘Skipping Waste’ follows these communities through France and the Netherlands as they recoup and reuse what capitalist society has deemed as ‘trash’.

see here the full video on trashwiki.

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