Ladies We Love is a monthly interview series with women from around the world that provide us with inspiration through their travels and personal stories. This month we caught up travel writer Kate of Travel For Difference Blog.
Kate turned her life upside down when she left her 9-5 role as a makeup artist and began living a life built around sustainability – all sparked by her travels. She educates and inspires all things eco travel through her Instagram and Blog whilst demonstrating how we can all strive towards living compassionately.
Hi, I’m Kate! I’m 23 years old from Melbourne, Australia and I’m the writer behind Travel for Difference.
I’m incredibly passionate about sustainability, eco-travel, green living and everything in between, so that’s where my heart generally lies! I go on amazing adventures a few times a year and share my experiences and my knowledge online, but the rest of the time I’m at home surrounded by an excessive amount of animals and an ever-expanding veggie garden… I guess you could say it’s my happy place.
I don’t LOVE labels, but I like to say that I’m a compassion enthusiast, a deep thinker (seriously, if you get me started on outer space I’ll probably end up crying), an eco-conscious human being and a lover of all life on earth.
My main three mottos are “Experiences over Possessions”, “Compassion over Comparison” and “Progress over Perfection” – I think that sums me up pretty well!
I love this question because sharing what I learn each week is one of my all-time favourite things! So here goes:
- Scientists have successfully grown and harvested rice in the deserts of Dubai, potentially creating enough food for 200 million people (thanks to the @the_happy_broadcast for this amazing news)!
- I have a deep and burning love for Australia; the wildlife, the landscapes, the people… It will always be my home.
- Your own health is the most important thing in life – you’ll never reach your full potential without it.
- I can make my own homemade wraps AND coconut yoghurt using ingredients I already have in my pantry, eliminating more unnecessary plastic from my life – winning!
- Being Vegan doesn’t instantly make you “cruelty-free”. Although there might not have been any animals harmed for your meal, it doesn’t necessarily mean that there wasn’t any human suffering involved somewhere along the supply chain. Humans are important too!
- Purple carrots aren’t really purple, they’re just orange carrots in disguise. Not really words of wisdom, but a lesson nonetheless haha.
3) Sustainability features highly in your blog, what led you to become so passionate about our planet?
Well before I started travelling, I didn’t care much about sustainability at all! I worked as a makeup artist which created a lot of waste, I had absolutely no knowledge on climate change or the fate of the planet, and to be honest, I was pretty ignorant to it all.
But everything seemed to change for me after visiting India and Alaska… India showed me extreme pollution alongside excessive amounts of waste, and Alaska showed me melting glaciers and the overwhelming signs of climate change.
It was kind of like an awakening I guess – but a subconscious one as I didn’t really know it at the time. But ever since I came home from those two trips, my morals, my beliefs and my interests were totally flipped on their head. I quit my job, I delved into a different career path, I made some drastic life changes and I’ve been trying my best to be as kind to the earth as possible ever since.
The biggest thing I learnt over that period is that if I want things to change, I can’t sit around waiting for someone else to change them… I’m not perfect by any means, but I’m just trying my best to listen, learn and grow, and help make the world a better place for our future generations to thrive!
4) What are your top three tips for living a more eco-friendly lifestyle?
- Think holistically about what you’re purchasing; the product, the materials, who made it, what you’ll do with it once it’s no longer useful to you… Can you make it yourself instead? Try your best to step away from mindless purchases wherever possible!
- Remember the 5 R’s: Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Repair, Repurpose. Try to support a circular economy instead of a disposable one!
- Don’t ever think that in order to be sustainable you have to drop everything to go and live off the grid in a far away forest… All it takes is some minor adjustments to your habits! The progress is what’s most important.
I’m going to add a 4th one just because I think it’s really important…
- CONNECT WITH NATURE! As David Attenborough once said, “No one will protect what they don’t care about, and no one will care about what they’ve never experienced”. My journey of sustainability didn’t begin by someone throwing facts in my face… It began by getting out in nature and experiencing the beauty of this planet for myself. So go outside and connect! Once you fall in love with the planet, it will be hard not to take care of it. It will go from being pointless to necessity, I guarantee it.
5) What is your number one tip for sustainable travel?
Research, research, research, and always question yourself.
Before you visit a destination, book a hotel or plan a day trip, ask yourself if it’s good for the people, good for the animals and good for the planet too. There’s never going to be a perfect answer… It’s just about finding the best alternative.
For example: Before you book a hotel, make sure that it’s locally owned and not an international chain. Before you visit an animal attraction, make sure it’s actually ethical – or opt for a wild encounter instead. Before you book a short internal flight, check if you can get there across land instead!
Always do your research and try your best to look at things as a complex whole, rather than a black and white issue. Sustainable travel is a balancing act of the environmental, social and economic impacts, to the best of your ability!
Fast fashion is bad, bad news. Clothes are made cheaply, unethically and unsustainably so that you’re constantly encouraged to replace them and keep up with the trends. Buying from fast fashion stores like Zara, Boohoo, Topshop, ASOS, etc can understandably seem good for your wallet and your growing wardrobe, but the workers, the environment and the planet often pay a very heavy price.
Australians throw away 6000 kg of clothing every 10 minutes, and many workers in the fashion industry earn less than $3 a day… It’s a big issue, to say the least.
So to break out of the fast fashion cycle, the most important thing you can do is VALUE your clothing; treasure them, treat them with respect, repair them when they’re damaged instead of throwing them away, and become a proud outfit repeater!
Buy second hand where possible, participate in clothes swaps, and support ethical/sustainable brands instead of those that don’t really care. They might cost more, but if you have the ability (and the privilege) to buy them, try and look at them as an investment – and a good deed to the planet – and you’ll actually end up saving money!
7) What are your top travel destinations for 2019?
Tonga, Samoa, Nepal, Whitsundays and Uganda!
8) If you could keep revisiting the same place year after year, where would it be?
That’s a tough one! Definitely, New Zealand as I have family there, but also because it’s just breathtakingly beautiful and a nature lover’s dream.
And Kenya too – I think I could watch the wildebeest migration every year for the rest of my life and never get sick of it. Being surrounded by wildlife is what sets my heart on fire!
9) We Are Travel Girls launched Travel Girls Giving this year to help promote charities, nonprofits and organisations working to help people, animals and the planet. Do you have any charities and organisations you can recommend to us and our readers?
For the people:
Kiva – An amazing global nonprofit working to alleviate poverty through loans rather than donations. By lending as little as $25, you can help people around the world create an opportunity for themselves, grow their own businesses, lift the local community, and realize their potential. Your loan will get repaid, and then you can use that money to loan again!
For the animals:
David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust – An orphan-elephant rescue and rehabilitation program based in East Africa. They have rehabilitated over 70 elephants + 17 black rhinos, and have removed more than 30,000 illegal snares from Tsavo National Park. Their work in conservation is some of the best you’ll ever experience.
For the planet:
Greenpeace – Greenpeace works to expose environmental crimes and hold people, companies and governments accountable. They work with local communities and individuals through peaceful activism to fight against the destruction of the planet.
I’ve tried to pick ones that will resonate with a broad range of people, but of course, I do recommend that you do your own research and support organisations that connect with you the most – and don’t forget your local community too! I should also note that regular contributions are more effective than one time donations (if you have the ability to do so of course).
10) Who would be your dream celebrity travel companion?!
David Attenborough – hands down – I mean I’ve already quoted him in this interview, he’s kind of my hero. Imagine going on a trip to Africa or the Amazon Rainforest and having him tell you all about the wildlife… Ahhh I can only dream! But if I could just stand in his presence one day, my life would totally be complete.
Read More Ladies We Love Interviews
- Ladies We Love: Hermon & Heroda
- Ladies We Love: Becky van Dijk
- Ladies We Love: Asha Daya of Girl Talk HQ
- Ladies We Love: Vanessa Rivers
Connect with Kate
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