Travel Journal #1: New York City

Four busy days on the road.

It can be so hard between airports and airplanes, running to meet friends, and sponsoring work events to live a waste free life.  However, I made a commitment two years ago now, and I am so focused on doing this.  Trips like this put my systems to the ultimate test, but I think any observer would have been proud of me (and my hacks).  

Average trash avoided daily: 17 pcs


I carried a hybrid system of The Warrior and The Explorer with a few Z-Bentos too.  I have a hard time buying food in airports because everything is majorly packaged in plastic and I have some food allergies, so I usually start my trips with food from home to get me through at least two meals.  People sitting around me are always envious of my beautiful salads and soups, way fresher than airport fare.   

Included in my system: 2 Nested to-go containers, the Z Cup and Canteen, Cortado cup for 4 plane flights (to avoid plastic cups), 1 set of stainless cutlery, stainless steel straws (outfitted a whole table of colleagues in NYC), 1 napkin/paper towel/washcloth, 1 small tiffin of dish soap, 2 market totes, 1 produce bag. And of course the backpack and tote bag to hold them and everything else I carry (laptop, Kindle, etc.)  All of this weighed less than 2.5 lbs.

How I used these items:

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My favorite moment was in Grand Central Station.  I was able to visit the market where all the farm-fresh foods are sold.  I filled one tiffin with local sheep yogurt and one with bulk organic raspberries. I am such a berry fan and I often have to forgo them because of all the packaging. Of course I had my own spoon. Right there in the center of urban life was the best package-free vendor I have experienced in a long time.

I shopped around on the Lower East Side and had a tote for my purchases.  I even carried things for my colleagues with two Market Totes I had folded in my Warrior purse.  I filled my Z-Cup on this trip about 16 times between Colorado, NY and back.  Morning coffee, afternoon tea, iced chai, iced tea, another coffee before a long evening out, etc. I even made a cocktail in it!  I used the Cortado cup on the plane 6 times on four planes.  I packed up leftovers from 2 restaurants in my tiffins, and took dinner leftovers on the plane on the way home, again in a leakproof tiffin.  I filled my 16 oz. water bottle on average about 6 times a day because i was the only one of four people with a reusable one, so I shared it a lot.  

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I used my Napkin at least 10 times in 4 days, and washed it out and dried it overnight in my hotel room.  I had an allergy attack and used it as a hanky for the first time ever.  I used it to clean up a coffee mess (forgot to put the top on) in the airport, and cleaned up my hands after a trip to this AMAZING vegan ice cream shop called Van Leeuwen.  I had two reusable ziplock-replacing bags with me, which carried my tamari almonds and my vitamins.   

Number of biusiness cards handed out to inspired travelers: 14.

I was closely observed by a lot of people and told on the train, plane and in the airport over and over that this approach was very cool. It is so empowering to have made a commitment, developed the perfect system, and to just do it, over and over, no excuses.