Responsible van life
We left sunny Jersey in September 2019 to travel Europe in our motorhome. We were excited to have so many beautiful places to see but unfortunately along with that came SO much litter. After the crisp, clean mountains and forests of Germany, Austria and Slovenia we found this to be especially true heading along the coast of Croatia, through Bosnia Herzegovina, Montenegro & Albania south towards Greece. We absolutely fell in love with Croatia; it’s natural beauty, crystal clear seas, long, winding coastal roads and incredible National Parks were breathtaking but the litter, especially at the sides of the roads, made us sad, angry & very frustrated.
It only got worse as we headed south, each country we drove through had more litter everywhere peaking in Greece. As we entered northern Greece there was just rubbish, mostly plastic rubbish, everywhere we turned. Had we made a mistake? Should we have gone somewhere else? Thankfully we turned the corner into Ioannina and a stunning lake surrounded by mountains appeared. We loved our 5 weeks in Greece, we met some fantastic people, ate delicious food, swam in the sea in December, climbed the most magnificent mountains but were continually shocked by how much rubbish was dumped just about everywhere. Not just in the cities either. We’d turn a corner up a winding mountain road to see a whole truck of builder’s rubble had been tipped down the mountainside, or a layby on a narrow road where people have literally emptied the entire contents of their vehicles. Bags of rubbish, empty cans, bottles and wrappers caught in the hedges, even an old toilet at the side of the road!
Along the way we try to pick up the rubbish we see and clean up the areas where we stay; from small areas to whole beaches. Picking up litter is just something I’ve always done, including other people’s litter- often picking it up and putting it back in their hand with a “I think you dropped this”. My friends will confirm that I’ve made them help to pick up other people’s litter left on the beach, or in the woods. All the children I’ve looked after know that “rubbish goes in the bin”. If a 2 year old can do it, us adults have NO EXCUSE!!
We try to keep our waste to a minimum and also keep bin bags, gloves and a handy litter picker in one of our outside storage lockers so it is easily accessible when we pull up somewhere. BONUS: children LOVE using the litter picker!! Take it out for a walk with your children, there will definitely be something you can pick up and bin.
With #plasticfreejuly in mind, today we launch our new project ParkupPickup to encourage vanlifers, campervan dwellers, motorhomers, RVers, campers, dog walker, hikers and anyone else who stays in nature to help clean up our planet.
We have the luxury of parking up at some of the most beautiful places in the world but they’re not always left clean. With the rise in the number of people living the #vanlife, taking motorhoming holidays rather than flying or staycations in their home countries, especially after Covid-19, we CAN change that. It’s easy: park up, take a look around, pick up any rubbish & help make the world a better place!
To help us get the message out use your social media. Post a before and after picture using the hashtag #parkuppickup. Together we can make a difference!