It’s difficult to define exactly where it all started.
Born, bred and – well, for lack of alternative and my addiction to alliteration – brainwashed in the UK, I grew up in a fairytale forest near London. Rather a fortunate childhood, we spent our days making chalk factories, fairy houses, dens and digging up archaeological remains. That is until my apparently questionable antics during my teenage years had me sent to boarding school.
Subsequently scraping in to study colouring in within (the lines of) a controlled environment (read: madhouse of binge drinking and wonderfully well-spoken humans) – an establishment otherwise known as university, I opted for the human side of geography, interested in the interrelations between people and planet. The most esoteric and alien thing my doctor father had ever seen.
Highlights included writing about David Bowie, the creative economy and.. that’s basically all I remember.
Seduced however by the seemingly more concrete yet mysterious workings of this powerful entity, capable either of causing catastrophic global crashes and putting everyone into misery, or keeping everyone quite content with their cheap Zara purchases, I managed to talk my way in to become the only economics with geography and proficiency in advanced level Spanish grad on graduation day and perhaps ever. And so I was spat out the other side with all the other bunnies staring into the bright lights of the world beyond the walls of “wisdom” and wild nightlife.
Truth is, university wasn’t the easiest ride. Had my own share of psychological traumas (like the rest of us), what some might call a minor quarter life crisis. But it was an experience I am eternally grateful for, guiding me to search for that “special something” that, well, led to my existence. Soppiness aside.. a generalist at heart, the journey that followed inevitably led to me looking for labels – ecological economist, hippie hustler, effective idealist.. – to find my fit within the world.
And so it was, much to my parents’ confusion, that I decided to move and work in Colombia.
Since then, I’ve set up a new life in three cities, two countries, not knowing one single soul. Found jobs – marketing in Medellin, and now in sustainability communications/ consultancy in Copenhagen. I’ve whittled my wardrobe down to a (almost) capsule, shunning the extra stuff that used to at best distract, and otherwise fuel my insecurities. Instead embracing acroyoga, honing my habits, healthy eating, mind, meditation (and a Tim Ferriss obsession) spending Christmas and my birthday (almost) alone, then living alone in a shanty town on the Pacific Coast. I was scarily close to coming into my own, and actually start to love (or at least accept) myself. All the while becoming ever increasingly radicalised..
But it was then it really hit me. Simple living aside, strewn across this place of some of the most exquisite natural beauty I have ever witnessed, a war scene stricken not by poverty, but that thing that slips so easily into our everyday lives. Plastic. The daily discards of our everyday lives, pouring up onto the beautiful beaches not once but twice each day.
We know there will be more plastic than fish in the sea by 2050. But what are we doing about it? Standing up can take many forms, and the ‘alternative’ can be even more attractive. Even economical. For me, living on food waste, trying to go zero waste, making edible toiletries. Through others’ inspiring actions, entrepreneurs and ideas.
They say you can only join the dots looking backwards. Well let’s embrace a future where the only certainty is that we’ll let our souls lead us to live the life that scares us to death.