Trip Advisor tells me that my travels so far have taken me to 174 cities in 36 countries – that sounds about right. And yet there are so many places I haven’t been.
I now have my feet firmly planted here in Glebe, Australia. Firmly connected to all of those people and places that I touched and have touched me.
But I wriggle in my seat.
On my travels so far, I have seen things of awe inspiring beauty. I have shuddered in paralysing fear at the top of a mountain. I have ridden on the back of a Vespa through the streets of Rome. I have found and lost love. I have built friendships that span decades and continents.
I have held back tears as children of two and three years old begged at my table. I have seen women the age of my grandmother begging for their dinner, sleeping in the street. A child of no more than six asleep against a brick wall – his hand outstretched in hope as he slept. I have laughed and smoked a hookah with a Saudi businessman in Cairo, as he talked with pride about his beautiful daughters. They loved to drive out into the desert and look at the stars together.
I saw polluted waters and forests suffocating under garbage. Miles of once beautiful beach concreted – and deserted. Ghosts of tourist towns - holiday slums.
I dived in caverns with water so clear I thought I could breathe it.
I know too well that the small decisions I make each day, such as buying a towel, for example, will impact those I saw along the way – or others like them. I know my actions can help destroy or save the beauty in our world.
So now that I am home, I try to shop responsibly. But it is confusing... Fair Trade/Organic/Australian Made...? How do I sift through to understand what is good for the people that are making the things I buy, selling the things I buy – and good for me buying them? And how do I know that what I am buying is good for our natural environment?
How can I go shopping without feeling constantly guilty that some poor child has made my towel in a sweat shop? Or a farmer can no longer work to support his family because of the chemicals he has absorbed whilst harvesting the cotton?
Is it possible to live a responsible modern life that doesn’t involve upping stumps, going hippy and moving to Nimbin?
Lord I hope so. I rather like my lattes. Although I’ve heard Nimbin has good coffee.
Well – I’m on a mission to find out. Let’s not get discouraged. The good news is that the buying decisions we make can and do have an impact. This blog is my journey to unravel what is good and how we can make good buying decisions. It is also a journey to continue to explore and enjoy this wonderful planet - to keep us connected to the why.
Join me on this next adventure.
Let’s hope for unexpected twists and turns, challenges, silliness - and a bit of inspiration.