Tuesday, June 4, 2019

10 Eco-friendly tips for traveling with a lighter footprint

It only took the mention of "Green Travel", to oust me from my non-blogging slumber.
The planet and it's health, has been close to my heart long before it was cool to be green.

First, let's be completely honest. Travel isn't good for the planet, unless you're going to walk or swim to every country you visit, you will, in some way, warm the planet with carbon emissions.

Nothing like starting off on a positive note, right?

But don't despair, there are SO MANY things you can do, to offset the carbon footprint you leave behind when you travel.

Literally, I could write all day about eco-changes we can make at home, I mean I'm not a "Zero-Waste" person, but I sure do admire the ones that are. If you're not doing huge steps for our planet, don't beat yourself up for what you're not doing, and give yourself a high five for the things that you ARE doing. Make small changes, do what you can, where you are, at whatever stage of life you're in.

Here's what I do when I travel to be as "Green" as possible... (Whenever I type the word green, either Ireland or Washington State pops in my head-- ahhh the peacefulness of Green).

1). Choose an airline that puts their money into environmental change.

I fly British Airways often, not only do I find it's a great airline, I like what they stand for.  BA have spend millions to get a bio-fuel developed that takes the local garbage of London and turns it into fuel for their airlines. They have had some hiccups. But I think they will get there, the important thing is, they are willing to continue even with previous failures. Virgin Airway has developed fuel that turns pollution into a product that can fly a plane-- Think of the scientists that are working behind the scenes, talk about some brain power! I also found this article that got my heart all pitter patter, The most Eco-Efficient airlines!
2. Carry your own silverware.

I know, that's crazy right? But seriously. Please repeat after me "Plastic silverware is not recyclable", even the ones that claim to be compostable, you can't throw them in your back garden compost, they only break down with industrial composts. There are super cute sets on Amazon like these and these. But seriously, why spend money? I just travel with a set I picked up from the Dollar Store and put them in a cute zipper bag I already have. (I also have my bamboo straw in there)

3. Carry your own straw.

This is kind of a given, unless you medically need a plastic straw, there is just no reason to continue using them. I have tried many straws... bamboo, glass & metal to name a few, and I have to say I don't like the metal straws. I'm a straw biter, I don't like the feel of the metal in my mouth and I can't nibble it 👀😅. I do however LOVE the bamboo straws, they aren't good for shakes, but for the every day travel, I love them. I keep several in my purse, that way the kids don't have to worry about straws either! When traveling, don't forget your little straw cleaner, you will need that. Also, depending on where you travel, you might need a Life Straw! My son is always kayaking, fishing and camping. He takes his life straw everywhere!

4. Carry your own Tea Bags

There are a few different reasons I carry my own tea bags. The very biggest reason, is It pains me to see that many hotels, gas stations, airlines, restaurants and most fast food places sell individually wrapped tea in inordinately amounts of plastic.  Not only are tea bags wrapped in plastic but most tea bags themselves are plastic, or partly plastic. I carry PG-Tips, which I am excited to say, now uses a completely 100% biodegradable bag! (Also compostable).

5. Skip the purchased mini sized toiletries.

There is just no need to buy travel shampoo, conditioner, gel, lotion or creams. You have your favorites at home, you just need to put them in re-usable containers. You can buy them in just about any store, or you can use what you have at home. I have purchased some small travel bottles, but I have kept a few cute containers from jellies and little tins as well. If you do buy one time use toiletries or use ones provided by your hotel, make sure you recycle those containers!

6. You don't need new clothes for every trip. And you don't need a new bag.

This is a BIG one. I see luxury blogs and posts on Instagram that are constantly encouraging consumerism, which is a MAJOR contributor to global warming. We all love the perfect photo on holiday, but those posing for the perfect photo with the perfect outfit-- usually in brand new clothes, leads to Fast Fashion. I could go on and on and on about the slave labor, the children and people in poverty making our clothes. I could also go on about the HUGE amounts of water used to make clothing, and I could definitely waffle on about the amount of clothing already in our landfills. But instead, I'll encourage you by putting this right here.

7. Buy small. Buy local.

When I'm on holiday, I love buying local goods. I'm not a big knick-knack person but I do buy things like chocolates, crazy crisp flavors and seasonings. But just like at home, I really enjoy buying from small business when I travel and checking out the local markets are always fun.

8. Try to avoid fast food. 

I know what you're thinking, I'm just getting nuts now. But what I mean is, if you can buy food with less packaging, try to. One of my favorite places to grab a sandwich is Pret-A-Manager, and the plastic wrapped all over everything just pains me. The thing is, the company, is a good company. They give left over food to the homeless and The Pret website specifically states that they are trying to eliminate all single-use plastic. I don't know about you, but that's big for me. It can't be easy feeding people, trying to remain earth friendly AND making sure packaging is safe for wrapping food for human consumption. If I can, I will eat off of a plate in a local place. But sometimes, I can't. We have to do what we can, with the choices we are given.

9. Turn off lights.

If I can, I turn off lights when I leave a room, regardless of where I am. When I travel, I'm not paying the bill, but someone is. Furthermore, who knows if clean energy is being used? Will me leaving lights on really damage the environment? I seriously doubt it, but hundreds of thousands of people turning off their lights-- All the difference.

10. Carry your own cup!

No explanation needed :)

Writing out a list is easy, following it isn't always so. Changing years of behavior takes time and patience. I always say "pick your battles", you can't do it all. Do what you can. Make the changes that you can when you travel, and do the most when you get home. My biggest hurdle is still clothing. I tend to buy too much of it. It's something I work on all the time, and I'm getting better and better. I used to have a closet full of purses and shoes, and now, I just buy one purse until it gets worn, and all of my shoes are sensible and bought knowing I can wear them for years.

I hope I have encouraged you to make small changes when you travel, and if you have any suggestions for me, I would love to hear them!

Tammy

Monday, November 12, 2018

Rudy's-- Some of the best BBQ in Texas!

Since we are on the subject of Gas Stations, and by we, I mean me. I can't let Rudy's go unannounced.

Now. Sit down.
Any Rudy's BBQ restaurant that you go to, is located... In. A. Gas. Station.
No kidding.
I don't know why.
It's just how we do things here in Texas.

Texans are a peculiar breed of people.
But we know BBQ.
Some of the best BBQ in the World is in Texas, I'm not being biased -- Honest -- Read about it HERE OR better yet, you can do your own research and find that there are several award winning BBQ places in Tejas*

When we have company from out of town, we always take them to Rudy's. Not only is the food good and the conversation of dining in a gas station one for amusement, but-----you don't get plates, nope, not here-- You have to eat off of the table. You literally get a sheet of wax paper to lay down and you must proceed to plop your food on it and eat from there. After you get a lot of side eye from first time visitors, it's a hoot!
The food is good, the atmosphere is welcoming and it's just a lot of fun!
The photos I have included are taken over the last 4 years, we have been several times, with a lot of friends and family. Both Procrastibake and The London Kiwi enjoyed their visits!
Outside of all Rudy's, is this massive container that says it has BBQ sauce in it. Now Rudy's is famous for their sauce, but, is this just a marketing tool? Or do they really have BBQ sauce in there?
When you go into Rudy's, you can pay for your gas, or you can make a sharp turn and get into this line...
If you get impatient, you can always use the cattle prod!
You will order your food and drinks and you'll be given your grub in a small crate that looks like this... You have the choice to have a pile of white sliced bread to go with your meal. BBQ isn't meant to be healthy, it's just meant to be good!
Upon writing this, I haven't been to Rudy's in awhile. Now that I am looking at the photos, I am literally cringing over the plastic silver ware and the wax paper-- both of which can't be recycled. (Even environmentalists are forever learning, and I am not embarrassed to bring my own silverware or write the company with suggestions for eco-friendly utensils!!!)


Oh and feel free to drink the BBQ Sauce... Not really, though I doubt anyone would bat an eye if you did, it's really THAT good. It's also available for purchase.
Rudy's hails itself as "Being the worst BBQ in Texas", which makes it so amusing, as it's absolutely delicious!
It has a rustic and family get together feel
Finding a location to eat at Rudy's in Texas, isn't hard, they are all over the state!
So there you have it, a 2nd proof that Texans are somehow enamored by the local Gas Stations!

Winter has reached us here in Texas, and we are currently freezing our royal nay nay's off. However, it's for such a short period of time here, we can deal with it.

Have a great week and if I don't blog before then, have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Tammy


*(Tejas is the Spanish spelling of a Caddo word taysha, which means "friend" or "ally". In the 17th century the Spanish knew the westernmost Caddo peoples as "the great kingdom of Tejas" and the name lived on to become the name of the 28th state of the United States—Texas

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Buc-ee's -- A Texas "Gas" Station, worth sight-seeing in!

This is the absolute best time of year, isn't it?
It's crisp and the trees are changing colors.
Halloween fun has come and gone and us yanks have Thanksgiving day to look forward to. 

I have recently moved to Abilene, Texas and have been slowly painting and decorating our new house. 

But still, something so huge is missing from my life.

Travel.

I haven't been anywhere since May 2018 when I took a quick trip to London,. Well... Unless you include the flight from Washington State to Texas State when we moved in July (Which I don't). 

Now that we are unpacked and settled (Minus some wall painting), I have been feeling down. That feeling of missing something, like something not being quite complete. After my family,  I live to explore & I live to travel. Even if I return to the same city, I have to explore something new. 

I'm working on getting back to my exploration of Europe, I'll be there soon enough. That aside, I had a word with myself. You know, I can also explore, exactly where I am. Texas is a pretty cool place. I'm sure there is a long list of what it isn't, but I sure can share what it is! It's fun, and Texas, well... Texas has a certain personality unlike anywhere else in the World. 

So while I am here, not exploring the distant travel I pine for. I'm going to share more of Texas. This super eclectic, multi-personality, twang accent State!

After concluding that blogging about my own nifty home is cool-- I couldn't let another minute pass without telling you about Buccees... It's a gas station. But before you think... "Seriously Tammy?"... Buc-ee's is a one of a kind experience. I get the biggest kick out of going into them. They are few and far between, and not in every town. I like to visit the biggest one in Texas, located on I35 In New Branfells. This store is 83,000 Square Feet-- It has 120 places to fuel your vehicle, 83 toilets, Cowboy hats, dishes, unique decorating choices & Food Galore!.
I'm not playing around here... This place is the size of a small mall! It's logo is a Beaver-- No idea why, but it works! He's an amusing little guy and my daughter for one, loves his clothing (By "His" clothing, I mean, the Beaver is on a lot of the merchandise).

Besides the Bizarre foods that I will share in a bit, after a long car ride, the first thing I normally have to do, it head for the ladies room, and let me tell you, you have never been to a more clean lavatory anywhere. First, I'll tell you what I hate... Big gaps in the toilet stall door so that people can see you doing your business, now most of us make a habit of not looking, but it's really annoying! In Buc-ee's, you get your own personal room.
Not only do you get your own personal room... You get a VERY clean toilet. I mean how many times have you been to a petrol station and had to hover over the toilet, half crouched down trying to aim into the bowl? I know you have a visual image. I'm also pretty sure this toilet is cleaner than mine at home... (Seriously, I have raised 4 boys!)
However, if it's still not clean enough for you, every room has this on the wall...
So feel free to clean your own toilet and handle
Also, go ahead and sanitize your hands before you leave, as every room has this as well
Seriously. What more could you want to feel fresh after a road trip. If only bathrooms on airplanes were like this! 
After you have accomplished a feeling of freshness on the road, now it's time to explore. And you will want to meander through this "convenience" store.
Welcome to Buc-ee's

I should probably give you a heads up. Buc-ee's is never this empty. I was there at the butt-crack of dawn when I was working out of town, up and awake before most of the town. Many of the photos were taken at the Buc-ee's in Bastrop, Texas. Not as big as the New Braunfels store, but just as much to see!
I think most Texans that enjoy a stop-over at Buc-ee's have something in particular that they like to do. I enjoy a poke around to look at all of the home decor. 
My FAVORITE is the Texas inspired themes, they are so much fun.
I have been meaning to buy these two things in the next photo. I'm ever so slightly obsessed with cotton, and the star has a long time association and representation of Texas.
I like seeing the designs from Mud Pie
Their Art Collection is lovely, and some of it from local artists!
The T-shirts are a Hoot!
It's never a quick stop when you go into Buc-ee's
Are you stopping for Coffee?
Do you want some creamer with that?
What about syrup?
Chocolate maybe?
(Would they notice if I just put my mouth under one of those pumps? As I don't drink coffee)
We always grab some kind of sustenance when we are on the road.
Buc-ee's has that covered and is one of those places that you want to try one of everything.
Do you want Cold Cuts or Cheese? Fruit or Veg?
Jerky?
Fudge?
Cakes? Cookies? Donuts?
Or maybe just some Beaver Nuggets?
There is also Hot Brisket, Turkey, Sausage or Chicken... And Sandwiches Galore to choose from.
I usually get Brisket or a Sub
That all being said, I mentioned earlier in the post about the Bizzare foods that you can purchase.
When it comes to food, I'm pretty cut and dry, I don't eat a lot of meat, though my sub in the above photo would state other wise, my biggest venture of food, is maybe a new potato chip flavor or eating pickled peppers. My dad on the other hand, loves new things. I am always buying a palate of flavors at Buc-ee's for him.
This I did NOT buy... Only eat this if you never want to feel your face again
These things... I believe, are an acquired taste...
But the deliciousness, far out way the strange! (Strange for me, anyway)
I could go on and on, but I won't, I'll just let you explore.
I haven't even began to touch on the hunting merchandise, the BBQ supplies and grills, the Texas souvenirs, the candy or the amazing hospitality at Buc-ee's, you're just going to have to experience it for yourself!
OH YES...
DON'T FORGET TO FILL UP YOUR TANK!
You ARE at a gas station after all!
Buc-ee's-- All in all, is a fun place to visit. I will have to say that the only thing that bothers me about Buc-ee's is that many of it's products are made in China (Including Mud-Pie) and many of their clothes are made in Pakistan. This may not matter to you, but it truly does to me. I don't let this stop me from stopping in and having something delicious to eat, or purchasing their many American products! It would be great though, if Buc-ee's started carrying more local goods.
Get yourself into Buc-ee's!
I hope y'all are having a fantastic weekend,
Tammy