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Garbage on the horizon: How plastic mountains changed my personal journey

My realization after almost a year of world travel? Dream vacation and plastic mountains are unfortunately often close together. 

How can you still enjoy your dream vacation and deal with it? Join me on my trip around the world and learn how I overcame my initial shock and how you too can make a mini-IMPACT. 

In keeping with World Clean Up Day, let's explore new ways to make the world a little cleaner and greener. 

Plastic Everywhere: The Shock 


My nearly year-long trip around the world in Asia took me through several plastic-ridden countries. In the process, I encountered plastic in all its manifestations. Be it in its "original form" such as cups, chairs from street food stalls and bathroom fixtures, or in its disturbing trash form along the roadside. 

As soon as I arrived in Thailand, I was overwhelmed by the amount of single-use plastic products and trash on the streets. While traveling, I witnessed surreal scenes: after walking inspiredly out of the zero-waste store I saw a cow on the side of the road: chewing on a tetra pack, she stood in a pile of trash while her calf lapped up a milkshake.

I was able to experience firsthand the direct impact of plastic pollution on the environment elsewhere as well. Just off in the pristine Vietnamese mountain landscapes Sapas, where nature should shine in its pure beauty, I stumbled upon plastic waste. When I was in Thailand sticking coral and looking at the coral nursery while snorkeling afterwards, a plastic bag floated through my field of vision. 

Once I was in tears when I saw a mangrove forest at the end of respectful dolphin watching in Goa: the roots in the water and even the branches in the air were full of plastic. Even an old rubber boot was visible. 


My initial reaction and the economic factor of the trash problem 


In those moments of seemingly endless plastic presence in my travels, I often felt deep frustration. Questions like "Do I even have one IMPACT?" or "Can the world still be saved?" echoed in my head as my first reactions.

I realized that in most countries, garbage pickup is non-existent or infrequent. While there are landfills and recycling facilities, they are too far away or too expensive. This is because many people live at subsistence level and disposable plastic or burning garbage instead of proper disposal are the cheapest options. 

One example, for example, is the Burning Season in Thailand between January and April. At the end of this dry season, farmers often burn leaves, brush and even plastic, leading to one of the world's worst air pollution Buddhist monks like Phra KK try to convince people to dispose of garbage better, even though it is too expensive for many. 

So garbage pollution depends less on cultural factors and more on economic ones. Accordingly, in wealthy countries, this garbage problem does not occur to the same extent. In our country, garbage is picked up at the doorstep, public parks are cleaned after events, and trash cans can be found on every street corner. For this reason, sustainable tourism is beneficial because it helps direct financial resources to these regions, and tourists are willing to pay for it. 


My Mindset Shift


In particular, the stark contrasts between my inspiring sustainable travel adventures and the overwhelming plastic pollution have triggered a rethink in me.

During reflection, I realized that I don't have to save the world alone, nor should that be my aspiration. It's important to put everything into perspective. As a "Sustainable Traveler" I will always encounter conflicts, be it in relation to plastic or meat consumption, which are omnipresent in our society.

Traveling means seeing the world as it is. This allowed me to reflect, understand and classify people's actions. With my new approach, I want to make the world a little better. This mindset shift helped me a lot mentally, took the pressure off me and gave me back the joy of living more sustainably.

So now when I see piles of trash, I think of all the inspiring people I've already interviewed for this blog. We all make a small but significant difference. That gives me the motivation and the strength to keep going.


My positive mini IMPACKT


The plastic problem is a reality, but we have a choice whether to accept it or actively work to change it. It's the small steps that count: Even before we leave home. Choices like buying an IMPACKT suitcase, supporting regional destinations or carbon offsetting flights help.

When I arrived with my friend Flo at our first stop in Chiang Mai, Thailand, we immediately learned phrases like "Please no plastic bag" in Thai. To which Flo remembers, "Remember how you fought off the plastic straws from the vendors:inside like a ninja? Like a sword, you drew your reusable straw everywhere in Asia to defend your coconut."

"No matter how stupid people looked at you," Flo continues euphorically, "if more tourists ask and stay tuned, it will be like the Tuesday Morning Cafe on Koh Lanta switched from disposable plastic to metal cutlery and straws." It's not just this cafe that is seeing a change. Big companies, like super app Grab, are also giving you the option to order food without plastic cutlery.

In addition to this mini-IMPACT, I use my network to speak as a guest on podcasts like "The Nomad Solopreneur Show" about Zero Waste while traveling. In doing so, I emphasize the importance of responsible travel, participating in sustainable activities like beach clean-ups, and choosing destinations that support indigenous communities. In doing so, I encourage travel lovers to work together to make a positive change for the environment and communities.

Other positive initiatives and solutions


For this reason, I am passionate about researching sustainable stories to showcase the already wonderful initiatives that are bringing about environmentally conscious change. These include litter picking on a romantic kayak tour in Thailand or my experience with Indian snake whisperer and monkey friend Aaron.

My tip: Keep your eyes open for responsible travel ideas: Whether at home for micro-adventures with the €49 ticket or for your next dream vacation in Taiwan. For that, you can find all my tips on the IMPACKT blog.

But we are not alone in our quest for a better world. This is also shown by environmental activist Sam Bentley, who highlights inspiring projects in the field of sustainability. This year, he published the book "Good News, Planet Earth," which showcases the successes of environmentally conscious people, both small and large. I highly recommend it.

Looking for the perfect beach to read this book? Then how about the island of Jamaica, which has banned plastic to a large extent?


Together for a Clean World on World Clean Up Day


As you can see, it is easier than you think to make a mini IMPACT. If everyone does their part, we create a global change.

On September 16, 2023, World Clean Up Day will once again take center stage. On this day, the largest bottom-up citizen movement in the world calls for action against pollution.

In 2022, nearly 15 million people from over 190 countries participated in this global event. Through their trash collection campaigns or Cleanups, they set an impressive example for a clean and healthy Earth. For 2023, 737 events were planned in Germany alone (as of 07.09.2023). Here you can find all information about the World Clean Up Day activities in your area.

For my part, I will be out and about in Estonia on World Clean Up Day looking for more sustainable travel ideas. Either I will spontaneously join a local action or organize a mini clean up myself like in Thailand and make the world a bit greener. 

On the garbage bags, ready, go.

Kind regards,
Franzi

Garbage on the horizon: How plastic mountains changed my personal journey

My realization after almost a year of world travel? Dream vacation and plastic mountains are unfortunately often close together. 

How can you still enjoy your dream vacation and deal with it? Join me on my trip around the world and learn how I overcame my initial shock and how you too can make a mini-IMPACT. 

In keeping with World Clean Up Day, let's explore new ways to make the world a little cleaner and greener. 

Plastic Everywhere: The Shock 


My nearly year-long trip around the world in Asia took me through several plastic-ridden countries. In the process, I encountered plastic in all its manifestations. Be it in its "original form" such as cups, chairs from street food stalls and bathroom fixtures, or in its disturbing trash form along the roadside. 

As soon as I arrived in Thailand, I was overwhelmed by the amount of single-use plastic products and trash on the streets. While traveling, I witnessed surreal scenes: after walking inspiredly out of the zero-waste store I saw a cow on the side of the road: chewing on a tetra pack, she stood in a pile of trash while her calf lapped up a milkshake.

I was able to experience firsthand the direct impact of plastic pollution on the environment elsewhere as well. Just off in the pristine Vietnamese mountain landscapes Sapas, where nature should shine in its pure beauty, I stumbled upon plastic waste. When I was in Thailand sticking coral and looking at the coral nursery while snorkeling afterwards, a plastic bag floated through my field of vision. 

Once I was in tears when I saw a mangrove forest at the end of respectful dolphin watching in Goa: the roots in the water and even the branches in the air were full of plastic. Even an old rubber boot was visible. 


My initial reaction and the economic factor of the trash problem 


In those moments of seemingly endless plastic presence in my travels, I often felt deep frustration. Questions like "Do I even have one IMPACT?" or "Can the world still be saved?" echoed in my head as my first reactions.

I realized that in most countries, garbage pickup is non-existent or infrequent. While there are landfills and recycling facilities, they are too far away or too expensive. This is because many people live at subsistence level and disposable plastic or burning garbage instead of proper disposal are the cheapest options. 

One example, for example, is the Burning Season in Thailand between January and April. At the end of this dry season, farmers often burn leaves, brush and even plastic, leading to one of the world's worst air pollution Buddhist monks like Phra KK try to convince people to dispose of garbage better, even though it is too expensive for many. 

So garbage pollution depends less on cultural factors and more on economic ones. Accordingly, in wealthy countries, this garbage problem does not occur to the same extent. In our country, garbage is picked up at the doorstep, public parks are cleaned after events, and trash cans can be found on every street corner. For this reason, sustainable tourism is beneficial because it helps direct financial resources to these regions, and tourists are willing to pay for it. 


My Mindset Shift


In particular, the stark contrasts between my inspiring sustainable travel adventures and the overwhelming plastic pollution have triggered a rethink in me.

During reflection, I realized that I don't have to save the world alone, nor should that be my aspiration. It's important to put everything into perspective. As a "Sustainable Traveler" I will always encounter conflicts, be it in relation to plastic or meat consumption, which are omnipresent in our society.

Traveling means seeing the world as it is. This allowed me to reflect, understand and classify people's actions. With my new approach, I want to make the world a little better. This mindset shift helped me a lot mentally, took the pressure off me and gave me back the joy of living more sustainably.

So now when I see piles of trash, I think of all the inspiring people I've already interviewed for this blog. We all make a small but significant difference. That gives me the motivation and the strength to keep going.


My positive mini IMPACKT


The plastic problem is a reality, but we have a choice whether to accept it or actively work to change it. It's the small steps that count: Even before we leave home. Choices like buying an IMPACKT suitcase, supporting regional destinations or carbon offsetting flights help.

When I arrived with my friend Flo at our first stop in Chiang Mai, Thailand, we immediately learned phrases like "Please no plastic bag" in Thai. To which Flo remembers, "Remember how you fought off the plastic straws from the vendors:inside like a ninja? Like a sword, you drew your reusable straw everywhere in Asia to defend your coconut."

"No matter how stupid people looked at you," Flo continues euphorically, "if more tourists ask and stay tuned, it will be like the Tuesday Morning Cafe on Koh Lanta switched from disposable plastic to metal cutlery and straws." It's not just this cafe that is seeing a change. Big companies, like super app Grab, are also giving you the option to order food without plastic cutlery.

In addition to this mini-IMPACT, I use my network to speak as a guest on podcasts like "The Nomad Solopreneur Show" about Zero Waste while traveling. In doing so, I emphasize the importance of responsible travel, participating in sustainable activities like beach clean-ups, and choosing destinations that support indigenous communities. In doing so, I encourage travel lovers to work together to make a positive change for the environment and communities.

Other positive initiatives and solutions


For this reason, I am passionate about researching sustainable stories to showcase the already wonderful initiatives that are bringing about environmentally conscious change. These include litter picking on a romantic kayak tour in Thailand or my experience with Indian snake whisperer and monkey friend Aaron.

My tip: Keep your eyes open for responsible travel ideas: Whether at home for micro-adventures with the €49 ticket or for your next dream vacation in Taiwan. For that, you can find all my tips on the IMPACKT blog.

But we are not alone in our quest for a better world. This is also shown by environmental activist Sam Bentley, who highlights inspiring projects in the field of sustainability. This year, he published the book "Good News, Planet Earth," which showcases the successes of environmentally conscious people, both small and large. I highly recommend it.

Looking for the perfect beach to read this book? Then how about the island of Jamaica, which has banned plastic to a large extent?


Together for a Clean World on World Clean Up Day


As you can see, it is easier than you think to make a mini IMPACT. If everyone does their part, we create a global change.

On September 16, 2023, World Clean Up Day will once again take center stage. On this day, the largest bottom-up citizen movement in the world calls for action against pollution.

In 2022, nearly 15 million people from over 190 countries participated in this global event. Through their trash collection campaigns or Cleanups, they set an impressive example for a clean and healthy Earth. For 2023, 737 events were planned in Germany alone (as of 07.09.2023). Here you can find all information about the World Clean Up Day activities in your area.

For my part, I will be out and about in Estonia on World Clean Up Day looking for more sustainable travel ideas. Either I will spontaneously join a local action or organize a mini clean up myself like in Thailand and make the world a bit greener. 

On the garbage bags, ready, go.

Kind regards,
Franzi

Discover IMPACKT IP1

Discover IMPACKT IP1

Suitcase L

Colour: polar white

Size: L

€159.95*
Suitcase S

Colour: glacier blue

Size: S

€129.95*
IP1 Beautycase

Colour: iron grey

€69.95*
IP1 Beautycase

Colour: deep sea green

€69.95*
Suitcase S

Colour: lava black

Size: S

€129.95*
IP1 Crossbody Bag

Colour: lava black

€39.95*
Wheel set

Colour: flora pink

€19.95*
IP1 Crossbody Bag

Colour: Spring Green

€39.95*
Suitcase S

Colour: sunset yellow

Size: S

€129.95*
Suitcase L

Colour: lava black

Size: L

€159.95*
Suitcase M

Colour: deep sea green

Size: M

€149.95*
Suitcase M

Colour: flora pink

Size: M

€149.95*
Suitcase S

Colour: polar white

Size: S

€129.95*
IP1 Crossbody Bag

Colour: deep sea green

€39.95*
Suitcase L

Colour: flora pink

Size: L

€159.95*
Wheel set

Colour: glacier blue

€19.95*
IP1 Beautycase

Colour: Spring Green

€69.95*
IP1 Suitcase

Colour: Garden Apricot

Size: M

€149.95*
Suitcase M

Colour: glacier blue

Size: M

€149.95*
Wheel set

Colour: iron grey

€19.95*
IP1 Crossbody Bag

Colour: iron grey

€39.95*
Suitcase M

Colour: iron grey

Size: M

€149.95*
IP1 Beautycase

Colour: lava black

€69.95*
IP1 Beautycase

Colour: Garden Apricot

€69.95*
Wheel set

Colour: polar white

€19.95*
Suitcase L

Colour: iron grey

Size: L

€159.95*
IP1 Suitcase

Colour: Sunset Yellow LTD

Size: S

€139.95*
IP1 Crossbody Bag

Colour: polar white

€39.95*
IP1 Suitcase

Colour: Garden Apricot

Size: S

€129.95*
Suitcase M

Colour: sunset yellow

Size: M

€149.95*
IP1 Crossbody Bag

Colour: flora pink

€39.95*
IP1 Beautycase

Colour: flora pink

€69.95*
IP1 Suitcase

Colour: Spring Green

Size: M

€149.95*
Suitcase M

Colour: polar white

Size: M

€149.95*
IP1 Suitcase

Colour: Lava Black LTD

Size: S

€139.95*
IP1 Suitcase

Colour: Spring Green

Size: S

€129.95*
IP1 Beautycase

Colour: polar white

€69.95*
Suitcase S

Colour: deep sea green

Size: S

€129.95*
IP1 Crossbody Bag

Colour: Garden Apricot

€39.95*
IP1 Crossbody Bag

Colour: glacier blue

€39.95*