Monthly Archives: August 2019

Donate, Don’t Trash

I’m often pretty guilty of tossing items and foods that I don’t need any longer despite knowing better. It seems like a waste of money, time, and perfectly useable resources to just toss something that is taking up more space than you’d like.

Starting with food items, I’m looking to make an effort to donate more of the things I often throw away. It’ll be easy to begin with food simply because it’s more of a visible thing on a daily basis. Nonperishable items particularly do well as donatable items, because so many homeless shelters will gladly take in your excess food.

Just as well, it’s always a good idea to clean out your closets at least once a year in order to make room for yourself and get rid of the materials and clothes you don’t wear often enough to warrant keeping around. Goodwill is notorious for taking these items and reselling them at extremely low prices to help low-income families stay clothed. And the income they generate off these clothes? That goes to helping others in need, whether it’s homeless or disabled communities.

This sort of generosity is paramount in helping out disadvantaged communities and even the health of the environment (and it’s not even generosity for people to give or donate the things they no longer use, especially considering they would typically throw them in the trash anyway).

So one thing I’ll be focusing on for the remainder of the year is what all I can donate to places that will accept it. I have a lot of unused or somewhat used office and shipping supplies that would be of great use to someone out there. Considering no one is looking to buy my shipping supplies off of me, I may as well donate them to places that will definitely take them and repurpose them or give them away to others they know who are in need.

Overall, donating things takes no time or effort on your end besides sifting through what you’ll be ridding of your home. And that’s something you’ll be doing anyway, because if you’re not donating, you’re trashing those things. So why not be a part of a great cause and give back to your community in some sort of fashion? It’s free, it’s easy, and it helps out not only others, but yourself as well. Before you know it, you’ll be wanting to volunteer in other ways as well.

Get It Done Today

What is it about having in mind something you know you need to do, yet you drag your feet for days, weeks, or even months not wanting to do it? Is it the fact that it’ll take some time out of your day, so you say “we’ll do it tomorrow” and then do the same thing tomorrow? Is it the fact that it costs money, so you’d rather not see your bank account deplete any if you can avoid it? Or maybe it’s the fact that we’re all just inherently lazy people doing lazy things for lazy reasons.

I’m inclined to believe it’s a combination of the first and last items.

Think about it. We always have time to get things done, no matter what they are. It’s just that we feel exhausted at points from our work days, and so we look at evenings and weekends as free time to lounge about and do nothing so that we can rest. There’s no problem with doing that with some of your free time; however, it’s a problem when all of your evenings and weekends consist of this mentality.

Closeup image of notepad with pen.

You’ve got to learn to break it up and tackle the things you’ve been putting off. It’s not like you won’t still get to lounge. Heck, sometimes we don’t even have real excuses for not doing this. My fiancee and I, for example, have put off getting new yoga mats and a dental water pick for the last month and a half. We keep telling ourselves we’ll order it soon. Well, I wouldn’t call a month and a half later “soon.” What’s especially egregious about our procrastination up until this point is that all we need to do is order it online. I mean, the shipping boxes will be sitting there on our door steps in a matter of days. It’s not like we have to do any research for the products, considering both are recommended to us by friends who have a brand in mind that they enjoy.

The fact we’ve gone this long without pressing a few buttons on an app to order the products we want and have it shipped directly to our home in no time is pretty bad. Shipping boxes are a convenience for a reason: you don’t have to go out and do your shopping in person. You can do it online in minutes!

I think we just need to stop giving ourselves excuses and do the things that need getting done. Saying “we’ll do it tomorrow” should only be a pass one time. Once you’ve used that line for a certain task you know you have to do, you shouldn’t use it anymore. Do it tomorrow and never say tomorrow again on that specific chore.

What CAN’T Be Shipped These Days?

In the past month alone, I’ve probably seen myself undergo more changes for the better than I have in any one-month span during my entire life. And it all started with a diet shift.

To give you some context on my situation, my fiancee and I decided to try out a pescatarian diet last month in order to be healthier and more mindful of environmental and animal rights issues. Now, while you can say that we’re still eating animals and some animal products (which we are), the diet shift has kickstarted a lot of chain reactions in our home that have to lead to the healthiest state of mind and physical health we’ve both seen in ages. So, while we’re still not quite vegan in order to completely minimize our impact on the environment and taking part in animal products, we’re getting there slowly but surely.

Back to the diet, though. One thing that she and I have wanted to do for a few weeks now is to buy fish products from sustainable fisheries that have low environmental impacts and catch wild fish in healthy fishing areas (that aren’t overfished). Unfortunately, this has been a tough thing to pin down living in the heart of the Midwest, meaning nothing local is feasible since some of the major types of fish and shellfish out there are along coasts and not in freshwater areas around here.

This has to lead me to find a company that is a community-supported fishery (CSF), which has basically been taken straight after the CSA (agriculture, in this instance) model. Basically, you pay a monthly fee to have products sent in shipping boxes directly to your doorstep, and you’ll always get a certain amount of food per month. Products change based on season, meaning you may get salmon one month and crab the next.

I’m pretty stoked to try out this company’s fish to get me kickstarted on a happier, healthier, more sustainable product that I can know is the best possible option for my situation when it comes to buying fish. And even better, I won’t have to buy seafood from the grocery anymore, which is time saved searching for things and making trips. Now, we’ll only have to pick up vegetables when needed (and that’s something I’d love to do with the community-supported agricultures that are around my area, too).

It’s amazing what companies are out there today that will send along a few shipping boxes your way with all sorts of products to choose from. The fact that I can buy fish that is sustainable and wild caught and have it shipped to my door is pretty out there, but I’m glad it’s an option.

Modern Lodging

Anytime my fiancee and I travel, we always end up using AirBNB for our lodging needs. We’ve found that it’s comparable in rates to a decent hotel, yet the feel of the experience is far more in tune with the local culture than a hotel could ever offer. Just as well, we get invaluable advice and tips from our hosts, such as which breweries or bars to go to/avoid, where some local attractions are, and how to steer clear of tourists.

Overall, it’s just a much better model suited towards our lifestyle than a hotel could ever offer. Plus, we’d much rather give our money to hosts (and the app itself) than traditional hotels. This sort of business encourages and promotes travelers across the United States, and it does so through the model of having people host you at their homes.

Something we’ve noticed that sets certain hosts apart from others is the preparation involved. When we book a cheaper place simply to save money, we don’t expect too much out of the room we’ve booked. So long as there’s access to a bed, some outlets, and a bathroom with a shower, we can’t really expect much more.

But any rooms that approach $85 or more start to have higher expectations. Ability to control the thermostat is huge. Access to a refrigerator for storing drinks or anything else we need is a must. And, at that price, it’s nice to have contact with the host enough to find out more about the local culture and restaurants surrounding their home.

We’ve also found it quite nice to have a TV in case we want to wind down to something. Heck, one host we recently stayed with had a Roku on their TV, allowing us to watch Hulu and the likes. That was a pretty amazing feature for our two-night stay up in Michigan.

Detail of the livingroom at Hotel Vilòn in Rome

We’ve also enjoyed hosts having shipping supplies available in case we need to mail something in a pinch. Whenever we’re out traveling, it’s always neat to send postcards or trinkets back to family, so we’re often on the lookout for things like packing tape and labels and envelopes. Shipping supplies are cheap enough for hosts to be alright purchasing, too, so it only shows another level of expertise in hosting people in their homes.

More than anything, being prepared and having a clean home with amenities that any normal hotel would have is what makes a successful host. Even if you don’t have some enormous home with beautiful architecture and a pool and more, you can still become great at your craft in hosting weary travelers.

Travel Plans? Forget Them

I just got back from a weeklong trip with my fiancee. It was one of the first times I was able to get out on my own with her, do whatever planning we wanted to do, and see it come to fruition. I’ve got to say, going with the wind on some of those days and just seeing where we ended up was exhilarating. I’d say the only downside to it all is that “real life” now feels pretty bland and structured, now. It’s no fun having to do what you must instead of whimsically going with your gut any given moment.

This sort of living excited me for our future, though. We definitely plan to make more trips across the US and sort of just wing it. Of course, even when you’re winging it you have to be prepared in some sort of capacity. That, we came to learn, mostly manifests itself in the form of what you brought along with you while traveling.

Here’s the thing. We could’ve used more shipping supplies, such as cardboard boxes and packing tape, while we were out on the road. The amount of trips I made into and out of someone’s AirBNB just to unpack and pack the vehicle was more than I’d like in the future. So, though shipping supplies seem kind of like an odd option to include for the next few trips, it’ll make a ton of sense when we can load and unload our vehicles so much easier.

I think what makes a good trip (especially on true vacation) is not much of a plan at all.

That may sound contradictory, but I really mean to say that too much of an itinerary can stress people out, especially if people are late or at the wrong place or in a hurry. Rather than building out this elaborate plan of things to do for each day, why not kinda see where things go from one day to the next?

My fiancee and I managed this perfectly. We knew which places we were visiting on certain days (in terms of the actual cities). And we had an idea of what it is we wanted to do, such as see certain breweries or beaches. But in terms of when we did it and exactly what time? Well, that was left to the wayside. We had much more fun just kinda showing up when we wanted to, having fun for as long as we wanted to, and leaving when we wanted to.

I know this is an entirely different model of vacationing that most people aren’t accustomed to, but we were entirely stress free the entire time. And did we argue or fight at all? Not once.