Paper or plastic, big or small, bus or car?

We’ve been in Portugal about 10 days, and it’s been an intense emotional ride… gratitude, sadness, deep grief, surprise, more gratitude, deep prayer and connection.  When I reflect on our journey, I’m so overwhelmed by the support we are receiving, by the human compassion and kindness, and for this I am thankful.

We left our sweet home and community with some goals, one of which was to live without a car.  Our land in Horse Shoe was remote and peaceful, and involved lots of driving, mostly transporting our daughter to and from school (13 minutes to get to the main road, and then another 13 or so minutes to get to school) to get to the farmers market, co-op, anywhere we were going.  So many aspects of our life were sustainable and yet we were still relying every single day on gasoline and driving to meet our basic needs.  This journey is a pilgrimage toward deep sustainability…

Hopefully we won’t be driving a car too much for too long..

We’ve been staying in Porto with my sister, who has been living her for 12 years.  She’s helped us so much to get paperwork taken care of that allows us to live here, to buy a car, and get on the road.  Isn’t that ironic, though? We left to be free from gas and bought a car- and while it’s a temporary fix, so we can figure out where we’re going to land, I can’t help but taste the salt… this irony of our modern day pilgrimage that has compromise tucked in to soften the journey for our traveling family unit…

Plastic reigns king in the bigger supermarket…

As a vegans, I’ve been surprised by the amount of meat and cheese in ready to eat foods.  Our conscious community and surroundings in WNC was a place where gluten free and vegan were hip and easy to eat (not dominant, just available). Yet in WNC, there were so many cars that just guzzled gas (fashionable hummers, SUVs…), here tax incentives encourage smaller and more  fuel efficient cars… in the US, at the co-op I can shop completely without plastic, here this can be done in grocery stores and markets with very selective shopping, and I have some room for improvement.  I haven’t found the bulk grains , soaps, and oils yet… The vegetable market produce is not packaged, and I can bring my own jar for the olives,  bulk legumes…

Plastic bags are easy to use, but you can plan ahead and bring your own bags…

At the market it’s really easy to shop local and bring your own bags…

I watch people reuse egg cartons like crazy.  My sister uses cloth bags to purchase her bread in… pastries from the bakery come in paper boxes.  As usual the big grocery stores seem like the place where plastic reigns… we bought sunflower oil and it came in a plastic container.  I missed my co-op where I used to fill the oil in a jar… As we journey in prayer to a life of less waste, I am in deep prayer for the shift from plastic to other more sustainable carrying vessels, from driving to walking and biking.  I do plan to sew a variety of bags that I can keep reusing, as well as build my collection of jars again… and it’s our first week and I tried to create a small demand and less waste…  I miss my besties, my auntie, my animals, the beautiful mountains, lush forests, and the delicious sweet water of WNC… you are a part of me like flesh and blood.

Tomorrow we start our road trip… more soon….

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