How it All Began
A SLOW START
It’s a little embarrassing to admit how long it took for me to start my sustainable living journey. I grew up learning how to DIY because my Mom loved to craft, and I spent time in the garden because I wanted to help my Nana. My family taught me the value of money, and how to stretch a dollar… But we were still bona fide consumers.
To tell you the truth, I hustled hard to buy all of the “things” for years. At 21 I purchased my first home, and shortly after I became a self-made entrepreneur.
I freelanced as a graphic and web designer, I owned a wedding and event planning company, I helped start (and later sold my shares in) a trucking company, and I even built a pet hotel and dog walking company from the ground up! (And then sold that business, too.)
After I sold my pet hotel – for the first time in 10 years – I was going to focus on taking good care of myself. I had been so focused on the daily grind, achieving goals and becoming “successful” that my health began to decline (mentally and physically) and I completely lost track of my purpose. Sure, I needed to make more money to get all of the things I wanted: a nice car, a bigger house, expensive clothes… But why? Was that truly making me happy?
FROM HUSTLER TO HIPPIE
It was clear I needed to simplify. I spent all of my time organizing “things”, cleaning “things”, repairing “things”… Imagine all of the free time I could have if I simply got rid of some “things”! So I began to declutter my house so I could simplify my life. (Now lovingly referred to as “the big purge”.) I sold, donated, gifted and recycled most of my belongings. Then I packed a bag and set off to travel Central America for a few months.
…and my life changed for the better!
I flourished! I started feeling like the woman that I lost touch with so many years ago. There was no guilt, judgement, expectations or pressure. Free to simply be myself. So I chose to be surrounded by people who were conscious, compassionate, ambitious and purpose-driven. And that’s when I truly believe my sustainable living journey began.
I was always on board with reduce, reuse and recycle, but “the big purge” changed me. It forced me to confront at decades of consumerism in a really uncomfortable way. I vowed I would never put myself in a position where I needed to devote that much time and energy to another purge ever again! Everything in my life would serve a purpose. Through my personal desire to live a more simple life, I began practicing a low waste lifestyle. Which then led to living more sustainably.
Maybe this was it? For years I have known that I had a voice and the power to positively influence those around me, but what the heck did I know about sustainability? I’m not a picture perfect role model for others to look up to. Then I stumbled across this quote:
We don’t need a handful of people doing zero waste perfectly. We need millions of people doing it imperfectly.ANNE MARIE BONNEAU
Done is better than perfect
And I knew right then and there, that no matter how imperfect it was, I just needed to get started. So I did!
My sustainable living journey has been a slow process because I believe in creating healthy lifelong habits and routines. I think it’s important that we acknowledge that we are all individuals, in different circumstances and all we can do is learn from our mistakes. I’m human. I will make mistakes along the way. But we all start somewhere, right?
The Hippie Behind the Project
A couple years ago I moved half way across the world to Italy. I was hoping to meet some long lost family members, connect with my Italian heritage and slow travel through Europe. I ended up meeting and falling in love with my (now) fiancé Stefano, and we’ve been riding the pandemic rollercoaster together ever since!
When I’m not inspiring others to live more sustainably, you’ll find me making lists, planning and designing my dream off-grid homestead, experimenting with new plant-based recipes, watering my plants, practicing my Italian and helping my clients build the small business of their dreams (through The CTRL Lab).
I’m an advocate for mental and physical health. In fact, I started a (free) women’s wellness support group on Facebook to team up with like-minded women and support one another while on our path to wellness. You’re welcome to join if you want!
I love all kinds of music (everything from Marilyn Manson to Dolly Parton), collect hobbies and binge my fair share of Netflix. (Usually documentaries or anything that has to do with a murder or unsolved crime. Is that creepy? Haha. I don’t know.)