Tag Archives: Sustainable

We’re going to South America!!

So I’ve been keeping a secret for the past little while but now that I’ve finally put in my notice at work I have some exciting news! We’re going to South America!!

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Mount Fitzroy, Patagonia. One of the hikes we have planned for while we are there. They say Patagonia is a real life Narnia. I can’t wait to see it in person! Photo credit: http://www.tcktcktck.org

Like the hippies at heart we are we both quit our jobs and are going backpacking again! This time with a proper backpack instead of a giant suitcase on my part.. As you can tell I am extremely excited! I’m also super excited about what we’re going to learn down there. We first heard of the wwoof organization (Willing Workers On Organic Farms or World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms) while in Australia 3 years ago. We actually just stumbled upon a membership book on the free bookshelf at our hostel and thought it was the coolest thing ever. We contacted a couple farms nearby and heard back from one with a kangaroo petting farm and eco-tourism style venue where they held parties and weddings and hummer tours through the rainforest. I know a hummer is not the most eco-friendly vehicle but it was pretty cool nonetheless. We had planned on wwoofing again while we were there but sudden flooding in the area forced our plans to change as the farms we contacted were now housing their neighbours.. It also cut off our route south so we stayed put at another farm planting watermelons and pruning mango trees.

Anyways before I get too side-tracked reminiscing.. This time around we knew we wanted to learn as much as possible about sustainable living and what better way than get some hands on experience in a place we can’t wait to visit.  Many of the organic farms are almost completely self-sufficient with water collection units, solar panels, woodstoves, and yes even composting toilets. Not only do they grow all their own food including animal husbandry for meat or wool they try to use their own water, heat, and energy sources. I’m hoping that after spending a few months living like that we will pick up on enough tips and tricks to put it in action back home.

If you haven’t heard of WWOOF I suggest checking them out. It’s an international organization with branches in many countries and probably has some farms enrolled close by to learn from if you don’t feel like traveling. Another awesome thing about the organization is that the only fee is your membership unlike some eco-tourism trips where you end up paying thousands of dollars just to go volunteer with them. In exchange for a few hours work a day (normally 4 or 5 with a day or two off a week depending on the farm) you get free accommodation and food. It’s really a perfect way to travel the world, learn about their culture, and for us hopefully learn some Spanish as well! We’re landing in Patagonia and will be working our way up Chile, then hopefully heading over to Argentina, Brazil and back through Bolivia and ending our trip in Peru or back in northern Chile. We’re hoping to do lots of hiking while we’re there as well. So far we’ve planned two hikes in Patagonia. The Torres del Paine “W” circuit in Chile and another 4-5 day one to Mount Fitzroy, Argentina. Maybe a little ambitious after only ever completing a 3-day hike lol.

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Stunning photo from the Torres del Paine hike in Patagonia! Photo credit: http://www.wikipedia.org

I’ll try to blog as often as possible while we’re there and share what I’m learning and probably a million pictures of cute animals since we’re both big animal lovers. Anyways that’s all for now! Hope any of you in the US are having a wonderful thanksgiving!

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From an article on wwoofing in Chile. Photo credit: http://www.oneearth.org

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Introduction!

So this is my first attempt at blogging! I’m sure everyone’s first blog starts the exact same way.. AND since it is my first post I figured I’d say a little something about who we are and the purpose of this blog!

First off,  my name is Sara and my boyfriend is Shadoe (He’s actually got a real life hippie name! I’m a little jealous). A little over a year ago we were living and working up in the Yukon Territory of Canada, which is an extremely beautiful place, and I urge everyone to take a trip up north at some time in your life! Anyways up in the north there’s really not much else to do but go hiking, fishing, and other outdoorsey stuff, seeing how you’re in the middle of nowhere! So when the weather was crappy we used to stay inside and watch our  2-3 TV channels, one of which used to show all kinds of eco documentaries. Well we fell down the rabbit hole.. I couldn’t get enough and when we moved back to Edmonton, AB I started watching and reading everything I could over the next year. Food Inc., The Corporation, No Impact Man, Eating Animals by Jonathon Safran Foer, just to name a few. We decided that we needed to change the way we were living. It started out very slowly and very difficultly. I remember so many arguments over who was doing more, or what was ok, what was not ok. It was and still is a tough process to go through. To try to live consciously but to also be happy and ok with the choices your making.

At that time I was studying Neuroscience at the University of Alberta, but it just did not feel right.. I felt I was trying to make myself be something I wasn’t and wasn’t sure who I wanted to be. I quit after that one semester back and got a job. I had a Biology degree from the U of A but I could not find a single job I was interested in (probably cause I did not know what my interests were) and like so many other grads found a job in an unrelated yet booming field.. Working for an oil company.. I lasted about 4 months there until I found I could not justify it any longer and I quit. My boyfriend started his own construction business which we are hoping to one day turn into building Eco-Friendly homes and I decided to stay home and start really trying to lead a more sustainable lifestyle.

Our new backyard! Much better than the cement slab behind our old apartment..

We moved from the city to the country. I started a garden in my yard, which for my first time turned out very sucessful! I even got a couple chickens from a neighbour and my landlord, who lives next door, let me clean out and use their old chicken coop which hadn’t been used in 10 years. I started baking and cooking everything from scratch (and using only organic ingredients of course!). I tried my hand at homemade pesticides, homemade laundry soap, homemade everything! I got an old sewing machine and started sewing my own clothes, mending old clothes, making rugs, and reusable sandwich bags!

The very first sprout to emerge in my garden. It’s a sunflower that will end up being 8′ tall! You can see our tiny house in the background too!

It’s been almost 3 months since I left my job and I couldn’t be happier. My boyfriends business is doing well, and although it’s a lot of work I love our new lifestyle! As the fall and winter approaches I am going to be looking for a part time job, since there won’t be as much to do around the house without the garden and chickens (I have to give them back for the winter so they don’t freeze). But I’ve discovered organic stores nearby that I’d feel proud to work at.

CHICKENS!! They were timid about going outside at first (they came from battery cages) and they walked a little funny but now they love it out there!

I wanted to start a blog to show others out there going through the process of making changes to become more sustainable that everyone struggles and to not give up because it gets so much easier over time! And it just feels so rewarding when you look back to see how far you’ve come! We still have a ways to go before obtaining our dream of living completely off the land and creating our own energy and harvesting our own food, water, etc.

Knowing that there are so many others out there willing to help and work together makes it a lot easier to see our dream one day becoming a reality!

~EcoCouple