Blogger Awards

I am sitting at a coffee shop in Amersfoort, Netherlands with 2.5 hours until my train back to Berlin arrives, so I decided it is finally time to do some of the blogger awards and thank the lovely people who nominated me!

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I was nominated by lovelyandgrateful for the liebster award, I love her blogging style and the values she shares with others. Also, adorable cat pictures!  Liebster is a German word meaning dearest, sweetheart or beloved, and the Liebster Award is a virtual honor passed from blogger to blogger as a way of supporting and promoting each other.

The rules of the Liebster Award are:

  • Thank the person who nominated you and link to their blog
  • Answer the questions your nominator asked you
  • Nominate 5-11 other blogs (and don’t forget to let them know)
  • Ask your nominations up to 11 questions or facts about themselves.

Here are the answers to the questions I was asked:

  1. What advice would you give to other bloggers? Simplfy! Make your blog readable and easy to navigate. My favorite posts are 3 – 5 minute reads with clear content and good images. Sometimes people use crazy colors and fonts which distract from the writing rather than complimenting to it.
  2. Other than blogging, what are your hobbies? Urban gardening, reading, video games, walking/hiking, and eating. I’m a big foodie!
  3. Do you have any pets? I have two adopted cats that are like little pieces of my heart.
  4. Tea or coffee? Tea always, coffee messes with my stomach and mood.
  5. What’s your favorite book and why? I am not sure I have a favorite so much as favorites in categories, like Small is Beautiful by E F Schumacher is my favorite book on how to improve society. The Truth by Terry Pratchett is my favorite satire, Miss Minimalist by Francine Jay is my favorite book on minimalism. I post my recommended books here. I like books that help me understand people and culture better.
  6. Where in the world would you most like to visit? The painted mountains in China, Japan, and New Zealand.
  7. What’s your favorite quote or personal mantra? Choose the kindest option available to you. There is no one way to live that will work for everyone, but if everyone makes the kindest choice for their personal circumstances the world would be a better place.
  8. Have you ever won any awards or trophies offline? Yes, but I just prefer an individual person to say thanks, or give me a hug, or tell me they appreciate something I have done. I don’t really like trophies, they seem flashy and silly.
  9. What’s your favorite weather? Autumn/Fall because I can wear the clothing that I feel most comfortable in and my health tends to be better when the temperatures are 8 – 18 C (47 – 65 F).
  10. Are you an early bird or a night owl? I was born to be wild…until about 9 pm or so 🙂

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Zheng Fan Minimalist nominated me for the Mystery Blogger Award, I love his simple messages and ideas and that he always has kind words for everyone! Thank you for the nomination!

Rules of Award:

  1. Put the award/logo image on your blog
  2. List the rules
  3. Thank whoever nominated you and provide a link to their blog
  4. Mention the creator of the award and provide link as well
  5. Tell your readers 3 things about yourself
  6. You have to nominate 10-20 people
  7. Notify your nominees by commenting on their blog
  8. Ask your nominees any 5 questions of your choice; with one weird or funny question (specify)
  9. Share a link to your best post(s)

 

Here are the questions:

  • Who is your one favorite public person (in the history of mankind)? Why? I really can’t pick and commit to one, because different people inspire me for different reasons! I would say someone who is alive today and very inspirational is Naomi Klein. She has been campaigning for a wide variety of rights for decades and wrote No Logo which I believe is still the best book about fast fashion, human rights and the environment out there. All of her books are incredible and she is really out the on the streets as well as behind her computer fighting for human and climate justice.
  • What is your one favorite song? Why? Haha, again I can’t pick one because (thankfully) the world is full of wonderful music and artists who share their skill with all of us. I suppose Nostolgia by Wim Statius Muller is probably my favorite because he is my grandfather. I feel so blessed that no matter what the future may bring I can listen to his music and feel like he is talking to me.
  • Define yourself in less than 15 words? Complex simplicity.
  • What is the one most important trait you look for in a partner? Compassion, I knew my life partner had to be a vegan and human rights defender, and he is!
  • What is life to you? Marveling at the awesome and beautiful world we have been given, the mysterious and intreguing universe, and the diverse beings we share it with.

Three things about me:

  1. I drink more Earl Grey tea than Jean Luc Picard.
  2. In case you didn’t notice from the last fact, I am a HUGE trekkie.
  3. I once had tea with the former Queen of the Netherlands.

Here is where I am supposed to nominate people but I am running out of laptop battery and most of the people in my blogging sphere have already been nominated. So I am going to leave nominations for now but may come back to them in the next couple weeks! (When I am home with reliable power!)

Blogger Awards

Schloss Charlottenburg – Berlin

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This weekends green trip was to Schloss Charlottenburg. I had been avoiding this as it is a major tourist attraction, but I was pleasantly surprised at the amount of peace and space we had when visiting.

Charlottenburg Palace was built at the end of the 17th century, commissioned by Sophie Charlotte who was the wife of the Elector of Brandenburg. It was heavily damaged during WWII, but has been renovated and now functions as a public space. Although entrance to the palace is 12 euro, anyone can enjoy the extensive gardens for free. Honestly, I recommend skipping the palace and saving yourself some money.

The gardens are split into formal and informal, the informal being much larger. You can easily walk around for 2 hours in this huge wild space, and although you will see joggers and sunbathers lounging around there are plenty of private nooks for those who need to escape the busy city.

For vegans making the trip, I highly recommend stopping at nearby Attila Hildmann on Schillerstraße 71 for incredible burgers and the best vegan ice cream I have ever had!

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Schloss Charlottenburg – Berlin

Given

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Jonathan and I just watched the most incredible movie on Netflix called Given. It is about the Goodwin family, world renowned surfers who travel the world with their two small children learning the skills of humanity. From weaving to rubber making to beekeeping, they take an interest in the crafts and the people behind them. This movie is beautifully shot with an incredible soundtrack and the story of a simple wholesome family is heartwarming.

I highly recommend checking it out, you can see the trailer here.

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Chasing The BIG Dream

I’ve been planning to start saving for our boat after my wedding on Dec 1st, but thanks to an unexpected job offer that came in yesterday I am able to speed this up and will start a savings account at the end of the month.

I’m reaching for a wild dream that would have been even too big to hope for a couple of years ago. I am going to buy a catamaran (hopefully a Palamos Mira) and upgrade it with a water maker, eco toilet, and solar panels to make a self-sufficient floating home. We are also looking at ways to have an onboard garden to grow some of our own food. With this, we are going to give up life on land to sail the world.

It will be a long process, from getting our captains licenses to buying the boat to doing all the renovations ourselves. Our budget is about 40k, which is inexpensive for a boat, but still a lot of money! We also want to ensure that we can continue to work remotely while traveling. Currently one of my jobs is 100% remote, but the other requires me to be onsite for a few hours a week. Jonathan’s current job requires him to be in an office every day.

I don’t think we will be hitting the sea’s full time for at least another 5 years, but we will certainly do some test sails before then. Looking at my current savings ability it should take around two years before we can buy the boat, and then another year and a half to do all of the renovations and eco-friendly rebuilds.

In the meantime, I will be tracking our progress on this blog, as well as talking about how we continue to enjoy life to the fullest while saving. I am excited both to share this with others and to be able to look back in 5 years and see my whole journey in pictures and writing.

In my next savings post, I will talk about how I found work online and how I overcame my fears and started my own business which has allowed me to work from home. If anyone has any specific questions please feel free to leave them in the comments!

And don’t worry, I am still talking about zero-waste, minimalism, and vegan eating. This will just be a new topic in the mix!

 

Chasing The BIG Dream

Low Waste Shopping

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Last night Jonathan and I returned home very late from a trip to the Netherlands. We had done a good job of using up food before we left, so the first thing on todays agenda was shopping. Having arrived late and tired from a very emotionally draining weekend, with a pile of laundry, cleaning, and work (from home) waiting for me I was not feeling up to a 2 hour round trip to the zero-waste store so I did a low waste shop at my local bio market.

The biggest difference here is that I bought rice in (recyclable) plastic. I brought my own bags for the veggies and although the tofu is packaged the ones at the zero waste shop also have some packaging.

It’s good to know I can still keep my waste pretty minimal at a ‘normal’ store, and just wait to stock up from the zero waste shop when we get time. This mini-shop will tide us over for a couple days while we recuperate.

We also managed to stay low waste while traveling, although I slipped up and had a Starbucks after one particularly intense incident.  We ate a lot of food from our favorite Dutch restaurant SLA (this means salad in Dutch) which has made a commitment to sustainable business. You can’t beat good food and good ethics!

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Low Waste Shopping

Grab a Cuppa in Berlin (Vegan Friendly)

 

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Chen Che on Rosenthaler Str. 13. This is a Vietnamese teahouse and restaurant and offers some of the best tea I have ever tasted in my life. The decor is natural and peaceful and we received great service. They offer rice milk and the menu has vegetarian items that can be veganised upon request.

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Die Tadshikische Teestube (The Tadjiki Tearoom) is located in the beautiful Kunsthof near Oranienburger U-Bahn station. This tearoom is modeled after the traditional tearooms in what is now the Republic of Tajikistan, but they offer a selection of teas from all around the world. The design is sandalwood and oriental rugs, with low tables and floor cushions. You slip off your shoes at the door and relax on the pillows while sipping gorgeous tea. Vegan options, including a dumpling dish, are available. Great to visit with friends!

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Meta Mate Bar at Straßburger Str. 16 is not a fancy teashop, it’s a place to relax and enjoy a Mate experience at a slow pace, the lovely owner will tell you about each tea in detail and help you choose one that is right for you. There is a ceremony to tea drinking at the Meta Mate bar. I recommend planning at least an hour, and you can go alone (and meet people!) or as a group.

 

Grab a Cuppa in Berlin (Vegan Friendly)

The Things I Buy More

 

Buying in Bulk

These days I buy my staples in bulk, whether it’s tea, rice, toilet paper or cat food. Buying in bulk not only saves you money but reduces packaging and transportation, making it a much greener option. I know some minimalists who refuse to carry or store more than they immediately need, but I disagree with this for several reasons. Not only is bulk more sustainable but it serves a practical purpose. My city has strongly advised citizens to keep 10 days of food and water in their home at all times because that is the amount of time they have forecasted it will take to restore order after a natural or man-made disaster. Simple preparation can save you a lot of stress if you live in an area that may be at risk of earthquakes, flooding etc.

Books 

Minimalism has given me more time to read and more money to support the authors I love. Currently my Amazon wishlist – which used to be full of clothing, handbags, and gadgets – contains only Kindle books. A good book adds tremendous value to my life, but the same could be said about video games or movies. I happen to be a minimalist that is passionate about books, but you could be a minimalist that is passionate about indie games or anime or photography. Minimalism helps you focus in on the thing(s) that give you real happiness.

Quality

In my old life, my paycheck was used up buying clothing or ‘stuff’ that I could show off. There was very little left to spend on practical things. Now I invest better in my home, the most recent example being high-quality blinds for my windows. They help regulate temperature, keeping us cool in the summer and warm in the winter! It might be a bit boring to talk about blinds, but they really make my home a more comfortable place to live, which contributes a lot more to my overall happiness than a new pair of shoes!

Experiences

I remember the days when I had a new outfit in my closet, but no money to go out and show it off! Now I have less clothing but I go out every week and visit museums, parks, and restaurants. Studies have shown that it is human nature to compare our material possessions with others, but experience can not be so easily compared. For this reason, experiences bring us more long term satisfaction than a material purchase.

Saving

Setting up our new home is almost done, so by September I will be able to start putting a good chunk of money away each month towards my long term goal of buying a boat and spending my (early) retirement sailing around the world.

Check out my previous post The Things I Stopped Buying

The Things I Buy More