Zero Waste Travel Tips for Women

Travelling alongside living a zero waste lifestyle can be super tricky. However, it’s super important that we all look after our beautiful planet. Plastic pollution is a serious issue that is causing a great risk to wildlife and their environment. Therefore, I’ve written up some zero waste tips to use on the go:

1. 🌸Stainless steel water bottle🌸 – this will prevent you from buying plastic water bottles. In most places, restaurants and bars will even fill up your water bottle for free. Stainless steel is a great option because it keeps drinks cold for a long period of time. (If you are a regular coffee/tea drinker a keep cup is a also a great purchase)

2. 🌸Buy your clothes from charity shops/op shops🌸 – this is a great way to be sustainable, because you’ll be buying clothes that are already made and need a new home rather than resorting to fast fashion. Also, this is a great way to save some money (especially in Australia, charity shops are so cheap here!)

3. 🌼Container for leftover food and reusable cutlery🌼 – A good way to reduce the amount of plastic you use is to make sure you aren’t using takeaway containers and cutlery. Having a reuse-able container is also a great way to save some cash because you can save the leftovers from a meal for the next day. For those that prefer to drink with a straw, stainless steel or bamboo drinking straws are available.

4. 🌼Reusable menstrual products🌼 – I’ve been using sustainable menstrual products such as reusable pads and a Mooncup for around a year now, meaning I’m not only saving money but also preventing plastic waste from pads and tampons. The thought of a Mooncup can be quite daunting to begin with but for me it’s so comfortable that I can’t feel it 95% of the time. Also, it prevents me from leaking which means I can go swimming without fear, which is great for beach goers.

5. 🌸Zero waste toiletries🌸 – a great way to cut down on the amount of plastic you use. Examples of zero waste toiletries is to buy a soap bar and shampoo bar instead of shampoo and shower gel bottles. They take up less room as well as helping the environment. You should also buy a bamboo toothbrush, which are completely compostable.

6.🌼Tote bags🌼 – Packing a tote bag (or a few) will mean you don’t have to use plastic bags when shopping. You can get some really cool designs that looks much better than shopping bags as well!

7. 🌸Recycle or Re-use🌸 – Another important tip is to either recycle or reuse your waste. I often find it useful to reuse jars left over from pasta sauces etc.

To follow my travels or find out more about me, take a look at my Instagram;@thelifeofrhi_

Packing List Australia (WHV) 🐨

🛩 I’ve been in Aus for around 2 months now loving life and thought it was about time I shared my packing list. Before flying to Australia, I travelled around Thailand for 35 days and this packing list worked well for me there as well☀️

🌺 My biggest advice when packing for a big trip to any country is to bring as little as you can. It can be tempting to overpack, but carrying anything over 10/12kg is a bit of a nightmare, especially in hot climates. In my case, I ended up giving a lot of my clothes to a charity shop and giving away some of my toiletries 🌸

Toiletries 🛀🏼

– Suncream (definitely a must, although most hostels do provide free suncream at the desk)

– Toothbrush and Toothpaste

– Shampoo (I use a lush shampoo bar – it lasts around 3 months and takes up barely any room)

– Insect Repellant

– Travel Towel (I don’t like microfibre towels so I went for this Turkish towel)

– Menstrual Products (I use a mooncup)

– Sunglasses

– Nail Clippers

– A small bag of basic make up for nights out

– Hairbands

– Small first aid kit (I haven’t actually used mine as of yet but it’s still nice to know I have one handy)

– Essential Oils (tea tree is a great multipurpose oil to have)

-Eye mask

– Razor

Clothes 👙

– 3 x shorts

– 5 x basic tees/crop tops

– 3/4 x dresses (I try and buy dresses that can be both casual and dressed up for a night out)

– 2 x Playsuit

– 1/2 x comfy trousers

– 1 x Jumper

– Underwear (bring extra, hostel washing machines like to swallow up your delicates 😂)

– 3 x Bikini

– 1 x Swimsuit

– Compact Waterproof Jacket (It does actually rain in Australia…😳)

Shoes 👟

( I tried to keep my shoes to a bare minimum and only brought 2 pairs with me. However, I did end up buying an extra pair once I got to Aus. )

– Sandals

– Trainers

– Thongs/Flip-flops

Tech Items 📷

– Phone

– Laptop or Tablet (not a necessity but it helps when making travel plans and applying for jobs)

Camera (I use the Sony Rx100v as I find this best for amazing quality photos and videos. It shoots in 4K and is super compact and lightweight)

Universal Adaptor

Portable Charger (!!!)

Other Items 📝

– Travel Journal and Pen

– Travel Documents

– Passport and Boarding Passes

– Backpack or Suitcase (I have an Osprey Fairview 55L and I love it. It’s super high quality and comes with a detachable day bag. It also opens up fully like a suitcase, making everything easily accessible)

– Toiletries Bag

Packing Cubes (for me these are essential to stay organised)

Large Water Bottle

– Earplugs

– Cap

– Sarong

– Padlock

✨For updates on my travels or to get in touch, head over to my Instagram;RhiannanGreen

Maevang Elephant Sanctuary – Chiang Mai

As part of a planned group itinerary included in my trip to Thailand we visited an elephant sanctuary for a few days, which left me feeling compelled to write a bit about my experience.

Upon arrival we were greeted by the owner of the sanctuary (and the elephants of course). We were then told a little bit about the place and what the plan was for the next few days. It was explained to us that elephants in Thailand have traditionally been wrongly used by humans for transportation and riding, but that the country was slowly coming away from those methods. Maevang is now 2 years old and has been encouraging tourist interaction with the elephants in cruelty free methods such as being involved with feeding, bathing and going on walks with them.

Not long after dropping our bags off in our room (basic dorm style rooms that only made the experience more authentic) we were all invited to get into some clothes that were provided to us, followed by giving the elephants some bananas and corn. Afterwards, we walked down to the river with the elephants to let them have a little wash. However, the water was a bit cold for them so they didn’t spend long in it before getting out and covering themselves in dirt again! Before we went to bed we sat with some staff members and played some Jenga, we had so much fun.

We started off the second day with a slow jungle walk with the elephants, and had a chance to sit enjoying the scenery in a jungle hut midway. Afterwards, we ate some lunch before going to another river to bathe the elephants because it was a lot warmer. By this point we had all made friends with the locals who worked for Maevang and they took us to a nearby waterfall! The day ended in the same way as the last…. drinking alcohol, listening to music and playing games.

Day 3 was when the hard work began. We woke up, had breakfast, and set off up the mountains on a jungle trek. In total this took around 4.5 hours including a brief lunch stop at a waterfall. For someone who is only moderately active like myself the trek is hard work, but worth every step to have pride in the fact that I completed it. Plus, let’s not forget the amazing views you get along the way, plenty of photograph opportunities.

Our last day spent at Maevang consisted of a 2 hour walk back down the mountain followed by lunch back at the sanctuary before heading off. We stopped at little river on the way back to recuperate and cool ourselves down. There was also a little shop to buy some souvenirs or a quick snack.

All in all, I had a great experience and wouldn’t change a thing about my visit. This place has been the highlight of my trip so far (2/4 weeks in) and I would love to go back and volunteer at some point in the future.

Check out my Instagram to see more photos of Maevang and my travels; @rhiannangreen.

A Diary From Malawi – My Time Volunteering

I tried multiple times to write a post summing up my time volunteering in Malawi, but couldn’t find the words to give a true description. Therefore, I have decided to do a write up of the diary I kept – expanding where necessary (and with a bit more perspective) and taking out moments I didn’t feel the need to share.

Day 1 – 17th August

Today was a very full on, hectic day. We had one 7 hour 10 minute overnight flight followed by a 3 hour 20 minute flight and I’d only managed to sleep for around 30 minutes. Sleeping bolt upright on a plane was a lot harder than I had imagined, haha. We arrived in Lilongwe, changed our British pound to Malawi kwatcha and got driven to our hotel in the city centre. I remember feeling very overwhelmed at first and getting a bit upset because I didn’t like the hustle and bustle of the city. 

We dropped our bags off at the hotel and headed out for food. We ate at a place called veggie delight and had the best vegan food, something I thought I’d really struggle to find in Africa. 

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Day 2 – 18th August

After an amazing 9 hour sleep we left early for a 7 hour car journey from Lilongwe to Rhumpi. The views on the journey were amazing, varying from tiny little villages to huge mountains and other beautiful scenery. This meant that the journey felt so short in comparison. It was such a sensory overload. 

We arrived at our home for the next week and are staying with 2 other couples. One couple are doing aid work and another are in the process of starting their own moringa farm up the road. 

I had the opportunity to go round with my camera for the first time and took some pictures of the nature on the land, it really is a beautiful place. 

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Day 3 – 19th August 

I woke up this morning at 6am to the sound of chickens routing around the dead leaves. We are staying in amazing little huts with mesh windows and straw roofs, which surprisingly get cold in the night. 

We went to our first local school today so that Uncle Craig could do his first lot of football coaching with the boys. It was so much fun to watch and help out with, and all of the kids loved it! One thing I have noticed is that we get lots and lots of stares from people, more out of interest in who we are and what we are doing than anything else. The crazy thing is that it doesn’t make me feel uncomfortable at all.

In the afternoon we went to a choir festival with the other guests who we were staying with, along with one of the chefs and his family.  This was such an amazing experience, one that I so desperately wanted to see. Everyone was singing and dancing to raise money for the church and it was so lovely to see. There was absolutely no judgement from anyone in the audience which is so different to what would have happened if this sort of event was hosted in the UK. Wow! 

Afterwards we came back and had dinner. The water and power had been off all day and the chefs cooked out dinner by candlelight, we were all so grateful (even though unfortunately this is something that they must be used to). We learnt that due to deforestation the lake that Rhumpi gets its water from is running a lot lower than usual for the time of year. 

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Day 4 – 20th August 

Today has made me realise how kind hearted the people of Malawi are. I had a misconception that I would feel judged and uncomfortable due to my acne, but that couldn’t have been further from the truth. My experience from dealing with acne in the UK is completely different to how I feel about it here. No one seems to care about what you look like, what you are wearing etc. ❤️

We went to Luzi women’s development centre in the morning and everyone was so grateful for the sewing machine tools that we brought, and loved the idea of clearing the plastic from the streets and turning it into something useful. It’s easy to forget that not everyone is aware of the detrimental effects that plastic is having on the planet, and may not have access to social media or the news. We told the women how long plastic stays on the planet and that it would eventually begin to effect their crops and they were extremely shocked. My hope is that this information will be shared to others and this will help to spread to message. 

On the way back we brought a sugar cane and 2 papayas, coming to a total of just under £1! Our guide showed us where to buy the sugar cane and some of the guests where we were staying helped us to cut them. They were super nice and very sweet but difficult to eat. 

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Day 5 – 21st August 

A change of plan today due to a funeral meant we headed to Jombo school and women’s development centre a few days early. We were greeted by the women singing us a song and all of the teachers and children clapping, what a warm welcome! Uncle Craig went off to do the football coaching and me and Auntie Karen went to show the women how to make what we call plarn (plastic yarn). We had some time to spare so we taught the young girls how to use the plarn to make skipping ropes and bracelets.

I felt such gratitude from the people at this school/development centre. I feel like the information we shared will definitely be put to good use. 

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Day 6 – 22nd August 

We woke up and had enough water to have a shower this morning which was very cold, but nice. It appears the water is working properly every other day at the moment. At breakfast we were told that the river that provides the water for where we are staying is lower than ever. This means that miles of pipes need to be put in from another river until the rainy season begins which usually starts in December. Its very upsetting to see a place you are so quickly falling in love with in a predicament like this. 

After eating and getting ready we set off for out next school, Kacheche! We had another wonderful greeting and showed more women how to knit with the plastic bags. Because no men attended the women’s centre today, we got a chance to explain to everyone that a menstrual product holder would be a great item to make for themselves and the younger women.

In the afternoon we went to the local market and brought some material, it came to about £2 for 2 metres. 

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Day 7 – 23rd August 

Today we went to Enukweni – the one school that none of us can ever remember how to pronounce! After meeting all the teacher, the headteacher showed us around, which was the first opportunity we had to have a look at any classrooms. The one room was really light, had desks and teaching equipment. The other, unrenovated, had absolutely nothing in it but a chalkboard. Some of the money we raised before heading out to Malawi is being put towards desks for the second classroom, which is lovely to hear. 

Something I noticed at this school was a list of school rules, examples including ‘encourage spiritual growth at school’, ‘no harassment of girls at school’ and ‘be hard working learners.’ 

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Day 8 – 24th August 

Because of the funeral we were still unable to visit Thumbi so decided to go back to Luzi womens development centre. We had so much fun making friendship bracelets with the children and laughing with everyone. 

One thing I have noticed all week that I absolutely love is the openness that women have when breastfeeding. No matter what company is around, no one is bothered in the slightest at someone feeding their child. It has been absolutely beautiful to see and something I wish was encouraged more in the UK. 

A beautiful day to end a beautiful week. 

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To see more photos, take a look at my Instragram; @RhiannanGreen