A few days ago I went to a flea market with 4 big bags filled with stuff. Mostly clothes, shoes, and purses. A lot of the pieces were not even worn more than 2-3 times. They were not all mine as I got things to sell from Lukas and my mom as well but still. I estimate that I had at least 200 pieces with me, sold maybe around 90 of them and made 120 Euros. If every piece on my table once cost 10 Euro (and almost everything was definitely more expensive than that) it once had a total value of 2000 Euro. Or maybe even more. And now I can only sell it for almost nothing and nobody is willing to pay more than 3 Euro per piece? That’s crazy and makes me sad! Not because I don’t get a lot of money for my stuff but because I think its depressing how everything loses its value. Think cars are a bad investment, think again. Okay, so I had my enormous pile of items waiting to be sold and back home there are at least 10 more bags of stuff that I don’t really need or ever use. Over the last three weeks we spent a lot of time going through almost every cabinet and box in our apartment and attic and sorted out stuff that we can throw away or sell. This experience taught me that I never ever want to own as much stuff as we do now. And by modern standards we don’t even own much really. Why would I need and keep things that I never use? Now everything that we use regularly or that has an emotional value for us stays – everything else has to leave. In the next year I want to learn and write more about minimalism. Moving to another continent with just one or two checked bags might be the perfect opportunity for that! Buying sustainable and fair produced products is the logical thing that comes next. I’m of the opinion that you should think twice about everything you buy. Do you really need another shirt if you already own 20? Or a new pair of shoes, a bag or a new phone? And if you decide that you really need it, please consider where the products come from. Most of them are produced in third world countries under horribly unfair and degrading conditions. But today, choosing to work against this is easier than ever. A while ago I started to buy mostly fair and sustainable produced clothes for example. There are of course exceptions (I don’t buy socks for 20 Euros per pair, sorry!) but I try to buy only what I really need or what I’ve been wanting for a long time and, wherever possible, fair produced only. A few brands that I really like are Patagonia, Armedangels and Hessnatur. There’s so much more about that topic and you will definitely find more about fairfashion, greenwashing etc. on the blog in the future. Stay tuned! Are you ever thinking about how much waste you produce? The sheer amount is just insane. It shocks me that it is almost impossible to buy ingredients for a proper meal without simultaneously producing a huge amount of waste. I am currently informing myself about ways to avoid that and how to make stuff myself that help me produce less waste. Shampoo or alternative cosmetics are only two examples. But that’s also going to be a whole new topic so for the time being I just want you to maybe stop and think about the amount of waste you produce day in day out, in which ways this plastic waste affects you and your health and if there are ways to avoid this overuse and over-consumption. And if anyone here knows if there is a store where you can buy food in bulk in Cape Town – please let me know. Okay, I am happy now that I shared a few thoughts here. I’m thinking about these topics a lot lately and I think if everyone would just concern themselves a little bit more with them the world would be a tiny bit better. What are you guys thinking about conscious living? Is it something that is on your mind at all? I am curious! I think that all of the previously mentioned points are very important and that everybody should at least try to live in a more sustainable way. That being said we will focus the blog a bit more into this direction in the future. Don’t think that we both are perfectly handling all of these things, but we are trying our best and we want to improve. We also have two articles where you find some information about Responsible Tourism and about the dark side of animal-basted tourist attractions already. Go have a look if you haven’t yet.
Before we set off to our trip the thought of living in a car for almost 9 months scared me a bit, to be honest. Probably because the one and only time that I’ve been camping before was a three week camping trip through New Zealand in winter. But after the first couple of nights in our cozy car I realized how much I love camping and now, back in Hamburg, i miss the beautiful campsites, wild nature around us and being outside 24/7. I thought this post might be a great opportunity to take a stroll down memory lane and give you some ideas, tipps and inspiration if you are planning your next trip through Africa or if you are already there, looking for a great place to stay. So here they are – our Top 5 Campsites in Southern and Eastern Africa plus an additional list of campsites that we can recommend. Only separated from the National Park through a riverbed lies this little gem. We’ve stayed here during the dry season which means that the riverbed was the only source of water for the wildlife. Therefore we had elephants, hippos, giraffes and even a pack of lions walking only a few steps away from us looking for water and yummy fresh grass. What I enjoyed the most was fleeing from the crazy heat into the pool which is overlooking the riverbed and parts of the national park, watching the wildlife stroll past us. If you are planning on visiting this beautiful place, here are two tips for you: First, there’s a dirt road which goes from the little town ‘Petauke’ almost directly to the South Luangwa National Park. It’s a great route and if you’ve got the time and the nerves for some rough roads you should give it a try. Tip numero two is: stock up on food before you go there. There is a small town nearby (20 minutes by car) where you can buy fresh fruits and veggies but you should take everything else that you might need with you. If you are too lazy to drive all the way to town, there’s a guy visiting the camp site almost every day that sells his home grown veggies to you – a winwin! We already wrote a whole article about this place which you can find here. The last thing that made this place so unique is that due to the fact that they include the community into the business and that therefore everyone makes a profit, it is really safe to walk around, even at night (which is a thing that I wouldn’t recommend doing anywhere else in africa!). We love this place. We already wrote a whole article about it here and you can read more about the beautiful Zomba Plateau here or visit Mark and Silvia’s website here. While sitting in the car for hours and hours, leaving kilometer after kilometer behind us I spend a lot of time searching for campsites along our route that are not only cheap but as pretty as possible as well. I really missed a website with a list of good places that I could trust. Often times the only reviews I could find online where a few years old and, in the end, never really accurate. I always tried to find places that are not too far from each other to avoid driving for too long, that are cheap, clean and safe.
The topic I want to adress today are the tourist attractions and activities where animals are involved, for example riding on an elephants back, walking and taking pictures with big cats, cage diving with sharks and many more. It’s a topic that we’ve encountered many times in the past few years and one that makes me sad, angry and often quite disappointed at the same time because it’s so easy to avoid. I always wonder how so many people actually visit those places where animal cruelty is the norm without looking behind the scenes or questioning anything at all. I guess that is because most of them don’t know or don’t want to know what is going on or maybe it’s just more important to get your awesome shot with a wild animal to show friends back home than to think twice about what you are supporting at that moment. To make you understand what i’m talking about, I want to explain the whole business using the sad tale of the so called ‘blood lions’ as an example. It all starts when the newborn lion cubs are only a few days old. They are taken away from their mothers – that often live in captivity to start with – to be either sold to volunteer programs, or to petting zoos, where tourists can interact with the cubs, take pictures and cuddle with them. The volunteer programs are the most perverted though. Heaps of young people come over to africa with the intention of ‘protecting the wildlife’, spending – their parents – fortunes to ‘help’, thinking that they play a productive part in efforts to reintegrate these estranged lions back into the wild at some point. Or they just straight up arrive in one of the petting zoos where tourists can interact with the cubs, take pictures and cuddle with them paying up to 1500€ a week! If you want to read more about the canned lions / canned hunting, you can find more informations here or here. If you want to get involved in positive projects, check out Kevin Richardsons conservation efforts over at his website as he’s probably the most prominent figure of lion-conservation worldwide