36 In Travel/ Travel Talk

Happy Earth Day – Keeping Close to Nature’s Heart

Last year Matt and I started a tradition of going out on Earth Day and cleaning up a local green space. It’s not anything that’s going to save the world or fix global warming, but it’s a start and it’s a way to celebrate and make a difference in our local community. This year we braved the 40 degrees and rain to get out and pick up trash at a local lake that’s very special to us. We took a little under an hour out of our day and it totally set the tone for the day. It was good for the lake, and it was good for my soul as well.


Matt and I on a mission. Reusing plastic bags as trash bags. We found loads of trash along the lake and in the parking area by the playground.

We gave Fellow’s Lake a little TLC

I used to make an Earth Day blog post every year of my favorite places on earth to prove that it was worth celebrating, but last year we took it a step further. I had always had an appreciation for nature, and thought it was worth protecting and cleaning up, but we decided to really try to be better stewards to this beautiful earth that I love so dearly.

I am one of the first to understand that life gets busy and sometimes we choose convenience over the environment, but this year Matt and I are committing to do better in our everyday lives both at home and abroad.

I’m Committing to Producing Significantly Less Waste

Last year we saw this video about a woman who created so little material waste in 30 days that she could fit it all in a mason jar. That video was so inspiring and while it isn’t won’t be that simple while traveling, we definitely became more aware of the amount of waste we were putting into landfills. Then, Matt’s grandma and I had this amaizing conversation about her life growing up on a farm in Kansas during the dust bowl and WW2 and how they had to reduce + reuse far before it became a fad or slogan and I became inspired.

I’m Investing in Quality Items That I Won’t Have to Replace as Often

This coat was more expensive than I would normally spend, but for the first time EVER I was truly warm in a snowstorm.

This year was a bit of a turning point for me in this department. I’m pretty notoriously cheap because in my head the more money I save, the more money I can use on travel. However, I’ve found that buying a cheaper coat, for example, every year or every-other-year isn’t nearly as cost-effective or environmentally friendly as investing in a quality coat with a lifetime guarantee that really isn’t as outrageous as you’d think. This was a valuable lesson that took far longer to sink in for me than it probably has for others.

I’m Traveling Slower

Being a travel-blogger and perpetual wanderer, it’s hard to stay in one place and this often means creating a larger carbon footprint than I would like to. However, I have found a few little ways that can help reduce it and they’re ones that we want to really put into action while traveling. The biggest one is traveling slowly. On our big trip Matt and I are staying out visa allowances in each country, we’re going to fly as little as possible, and walk or bike at every opportunity.

I’m Replacing Disposable Items

I have the reusable bags and reusable coffee cups, but I’m not always great at planning and being prepared for impromptu stops like I would like to be. So, today I put my reusable bags in my car and am committed to bringing those back to the car after every grocery run – I’m also taking some with us on travels for market shopping and beach days. I’m going to invest in metal or bamboo straws and not forget that Tropical Smoothie Cup at home (I’m so stupid-addicted to those things).

I’m Cleaning Up On More Than Just Earth Day

Earth Day last year started the trend, now it’s time to really keep it going! 

I’ve been known to pick up trash on sidewalks, streets, etc. especially if someone has just dropped it – it’s a bit of a shaming process, I know, but I want them to see that people aren’t okay with that. I want to really commit to being better about that, especially on hikes. I love our national parks and forests, I love our state parks and I love all the land in between, here in America and abroad. So, why not be prepared to clean up? Often times I get a mile into a hike and think, I should’ve brought a bag so I could carry that stuff out. I’m going to try to remember to do it every time.

I know that we’re going to fail the environment over and over, but I am going to continue to keep up the practices I’ve already made ritual and implement new ones as I can. John Muir advised that we should, “Keep close to nature’s heart,” but I’m so afraid that if we don’t make simple changes there won’t be much nature to keep close. Earth Day has become more than just a day to talk the talk on Social Media (which I was guilty of for years) for me now. Last year was the turning point and we’re dedicated to expanding what we can do each year from now on.

Now, to avoid being too preachy or tree-huggery (as my brother often describes me – love ya, Cory 😉 ) I wanted to share some ridiculously amazing natural beauty to remind you what all of this effort and celebration is for!

Gullfoss, Iceland in a snowstorm. It was magical. (Post coming soon!)

I waited four years to do the Hanging Lake Trail and it did not disappoint!


Two less popular nationwide favorites: Big Bluff in Arkansas + my favorite waterfall in NC (so far) Crabtree Falls

Nature showing off its powerful side near Queen’s Bath in Kaua’i.

It’s not every day you get to feel like a mermaid. Kuang Si Falls near Luang Prabang was so great we’re going back this fall! 

The Na Pali Coast was an instant favorite. I fantasize about this place all the time. Kaua’i = magic.

Taking in Sunrise over Bear Lake in Rocky Mountain National Park
Ke’e Beach – Kaua’i, Hawai’i

Trekking in Beautiful Banlung, Cambodia

Max Patch one of my very favorite places on earth – 360 views of the Blue Ridge Mountains

How Are You Celebrating The Earth Today? Or Better Yet, This Year!

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  • Reply
    April 22, 2017 at 9:59 pm

    Love your commitment, Paige and love even more your willingness to examine how you can just “do better!”

    • Reply
      Paige Wunder
      June 25, 2017 at 6:04 pm

      Thanks, Meghan. I’m all about trying to improve and I hope that others feel the same way! Thanks for reading and commenting! Xx

  • Reply
    April 22, 2017 at 10:48 pm

    If only the planet had more dedicated people like you, Piage, the world might have a much brighter future. Bless you both for sharing such dramatic photography and bringing us back to the essentials.

    • Reply
      Paige Wunder
      June 25, 2017 at 6:05 pm

      Thank you so much. I really appreciate that. Xx

  • Reply
    Joanna Maguire
    April 23, 2017 at 2:06 am

    I love your idea of going out on Earth Day to make a green space that little bit better. I try to remember to take a bag out with me for rubbish when I walk…forget to way too often though. Small changes lead to big changes eventually though so going to keep on doing what I can 😊

    • Reply
      Emadali photography
      April 26, 2017 at 3:47 am

      our lovely earth deserve much from us .
      I love landcape shooting as hoppy but a lot of things changed recently , human ego and indifference tend to destroy every beautiful thing on earth

      • Reply
        Paige Wunder
        June 25, 2017 at 6:13 pm

        I definitely wish more people could find an appreciation for earth and do their part. Little by little we can all work together to make big change!

    • Reply
      Paige Wunder
      June 25, 2017 at 6:10 pm

      Thank you so much! I am of that belief as well. I think I always have room to improve, even if it’s just something small and I hope others feel the same. Good for you for taking the bag – even if you forget from time to time, you’re making a difference when you do take it.

  • Reply
    April 23, 2017 at 3:51 am

    I absolutely love this, you’re an inspiration!

    • Reply
      Paige Wunder
      June 25, 2017 at 6:22 pm

      Wow. Thank you so much for your kind words.

  • Reply
    April 24, 2017 at 8:53 am

    Absolutely wonderful pictures! And what a great idea that you pick up trash on Earth Day – a great contribution.
    I try to travel slower as well. This also helps you to get to know the country better. Keep it up 🙂

    • Reply
      Paige Wunder
      June 25, 2017 at 6:23 pm

      Thank you so much! It absolutely does help you get to know countries and regions better. Thank you so much! Xx

  • Reply
    April 24, 2017 at 10:27 am

    I love your commitment! Nice what you did last year, and even this year in rain and with high temperatures you picked up trash again.. Good to hear that you are going to buy metal or bamboo straws and that you already do a lot of other environmental friendly things. Very inspirational! =)

    • Reply
      Paige Wunder
      June 25, 2017 at 6:29 pm

      Thank you! It’s so funny because I meant in 40 degrees in Fahrenheit, as in it’s frigid. I definitely did get out and buy metal straws and I’ve been trying to stay on track! Thank you!

  • Reply
    April 24, 2017 at 7:19 pm

    First of all, what a cool tradition. I love that you both choose to spend Earth Day making a difference — even if it’s a small one — it helps a lot!! I also love the many ways you’re taking steps to reduce waste — we can all learn from these ideas!! 🙂

    • Reply
      Paige Wunder
      June 25, 2017 at 6:32 pm

      Thank you so much! I really appreciate your thoughtful comment and your sweet compliment!

  • Reply
    April 25, 2017 at 12:12 am

    Oh thats so amazing. Cleaning up around the lake must’ve felt good – i just feel awful about those who clutter our beautiful natural spots (or any place for that matter). I love your point about making every day earth day – and not just clean up/be green on one day of the year. Happy earth day – you surely did your part.

    • Reply
      Paige Wunder
      June 25, 2017 at 6:42 pm

      I feel awful about it too. It bums me out so much when I see trash. Thank you very much for reading and your sweet comment!

  • Reply
    Sandy N Vyjay
    April 25, 2017 at 1:46 am

    It is a really good cause you guys are working for!! The cause is something everyone should know about and should work on it as muchas possible… Global warming is the biggest problem of our earth right now and there is no solution to it but we can work as much as we can and try to reduce it. Good work guys.

    • Reply
      Paige Wunder
      June 25, 2017 at 6:52 pm

      Thank you very much! I totally agree. I hope we can help reduce it and I’m glad to hear that you feel it’s important too!

  • Reply
    Peter Korchnak
    April 25, 2017 at 9:37 pm

    Nice, good on you. I especially liked the “I’m Cleaning Up On More Than Just Earth Day” part. Why stop only on one day?

    When I was growing up in 1980’s socialist Czechoslovakia, teachers and camp counselors would make us kids pick up trash on every hike and outing as a way to instill the love of nature and our beautiful motherland. It’s become a tic I can’t get rid of wherever I go (not that I want to). Perhaps Earth Day is the same for you.

    • Reply
      Paige Wunder
      June 25, 2017 at 6:54 pm

      I completely agree! In fact, I’m getting out in the morning and doing some clean up! I think that’s beautiful to want to instill that into youngsters. Thanks for sharing your experience!

  • Reply
    Megan Claire (@mappingmegan)
    April 26, 2017 at 4:12 am

    Hope you had a wonderful Earth Day – really impressed by your commitment to clean up on more than just Earth day – if we all made small changes to our habits and behaviours every day, it would make a huge collaborative difference 🙂

    • Reply
      Paige Wunder
      June 25, 2017 at 6:56 pm

      Thank you so much! I absolutely agree and I hope that this post inspires even just one person to do just that! Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment!

  • Reply
    Thelittlelai: Beyond limitsT
    April 26, 2017 at 4:54 am

    Wow, I’m sure that you guys had really an awesome Earth Day. I attended an event during Earth Day regarding with conserving marine life. I’m truly happy knowing that there are really travelers who really have a deep care for our mother earth. I as well love to pick trash while on the trail whenever I get to climb mountains. Thank you so much for sharing this.

    LaiAriel R. Samangka

  • Reply
    April 26, 2017 at 12:02 pm

    If we all took part in these little things, I truly believe it will make a huge difference. I always recycle and try to invest in products that don’t need to be replaced and turned to waste. Such a great reminder that we all need to take part in taking care of our earth.

  • Reply
    Clazz - An Orcadian Abroad
    April 26, 2017 at 5:10 pm

    Great post, Paige! There’s a tradition here called “bag the bruck” where people go down to their local beach with bin bags and collect all the rubbish. I used to do it when I was in the Brownies. 😀 But it’s definitely something I’d like to invest more time into.

    Also I’m totally with you on buying cheaper stuff. I reeeeeally need to remind myself that it’s worth parting with a bit more cash in the long run!

  • Reply
    The Soul of Seoul
    April 26, 2017 at 9:55 pm

    I like the “shaming” people that have just dropped trash. I actually don’t pick it up myself when I see that, but I casually walk over and say, “oh, I think you just dropped something!” like it was something important that fell out of their pocket. People have been known to begrudgingly glare at me but they have all picked up their trash and placed it in a nearby receptacle. We all need to do our part even if it isn’t stopping global warming, but going out on Earth Day to pick up trash in a park is a great idea! Good for you!

  • Reply
    April 27, 2017 at 1:17 am

    Ah yes! So important to look after our earth!! Great post! Your photos are gorgeous too!!

  • Reply
    April 27, 2017 at 2:16 am

    Aww that’s so awesome of you guys to do that! I think everyone should collectively do this not just on earth day but every day! Kudos to you guys for inspiring travelers like me to be more aware and care for our environment!

  • Reply
    What's Katie Doing?
    April 27, 2017 at 3:33 am

    Some perfect reasons to preserve the beauty of nature. I recently did a hike where we had to pack all our rubbish out and its so important to just leave footprints behind you.

  • Reply
    April 27, 2017 at 4:55 am

    We have a similar event only in Romania. it’s called Let’s do it Romania. It’s an event organized by and with volunteers and it’s very efficient. I’ve never joined it but after reading your post, I think that I have more reasons to go.

  • Reply
    April 27, 2017 at 6:39 pm

    These are great ideas for taking care of the earth. I don’t spend as much time in nature as I would like because I can’t drive and you need a car to get to many natural wonders. But I like your idea to invest in quality items so we are not throwing away as much garbage!

  • Reply
    April 28, 2017 at 1:01 am

    You’re setting a good example for what all of us should do to preserve our environment! I love your ideas of minimizing the amount of disposable items we use everyday. I have all those cups that I should be using whenever I buy coffee from coffee shops! Also – travel slower! We forget how much carbon footprints we create whenever we fly. Thank you for sharing this!

  • Reply
    Sarah Kim
    May 1, 2017 at 12:51 pm

    Yes I love this post! I love the part about buying more quality items to reduce waste. I used to be such a cheap ass but I realize spending more means less waste. Even at the grocery store, I stop going for the 2 for 3 deals even if getting a 2nd one means a dollar more because more doesn’t mean less; it creates the possibility of more waste!

  • Reply
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