This past week has been a bit of a blur. Our minds are going a million directions, and I’ve felt like thinking about one thing and only one thing is just about impossible. Every thought has five or six lined up behind it, and our conversations have been moving from one totally unrelated topic to the next at a mile a minute. I poured myself a glass of water yesterday and realized an hour later that I’d put it back into the cupboard. Porter froze our toothpaste. I’ve kind of just relinquished myself to the reality that these are the sorts of scatter-brained things a very all-consuming time is going to lead to, and to not let myself get overly concerned about it. Being bored is easily one of my least favorite feelings, so I can deal with thawing out our toothpaste every once in awhile.
After rereading our last post a few times, Port and I were trying to think up the kinds of questions someone would have after reading it, what details they’d want to know or areas where we were maybe too vague. So, I thought I’d do a post answering these received & imagined questions, and hopefully be able to go a little bit more in depth about our trip in the process. Here we go:
Define an ethical brand?
This is tricky because there’s a lot of different criteria and rating systems out there to say whether or not a brand is wholly “ethical.” What this usually means is that there’s some sort of trade off, whereby a brand is labelled ethical if the majority of their manufacturing and environmental practices seem to be or if they’re making a conscious effort to improve in those areas. For us, the make it or break it point when we’re buying clothes or working with a brand comes down to, first and foremost, how it was made. If I want to buy something and the brand can’t tell me whether or not their clothing came from a sweatshop, I’m not going to buy it. So much of the clothing we in the developed world buy is made overseas by people who aren’t paid a living wage, have no upward mobility in their jobs and very limited options to work elsewhere, and who are, a lot of the time, working in really dangerous, unhealthy conditions. Obviously, there’s a lot of other important qualities to an all-around ethical brand beyond being sweatshop-free, like whether or not they use pesticides, how they source their materials, and how they deal with waste. We’re still learning a lot as we go, but I think the important thing is that we want to know more. If you don’t want to know what’s wrong with a system, you’re not going to have the passion to want to help change it, so we’re still in that learning phase. Here are some great sites & a documentary we’ve found super helpful these past few months: The True Cost, Good on You, The Good Trade, & Project Just.
Where are you going?
Port and I have gone back and forth on how much of the “wheres” we want to give up. But, honestly, even if we wanted to post a day-by-day itinerary of our trip, it would be impossible. Our first three months are solidly carved out at this point, but after that exactly where we’ll be heading is still very much in the air. For us, a big reason for doing this has been wanting to reclaim that “in the moment” feeling that comes from those quick, spontaneous decisions you can make when you aren’t tied down to a certain place or system. To line everything up perfectly before we even left Boston would take any shot at that feeling away, so we’ll probably be planning a lot as we go. I will say that the first three months or so will be mostly in Europe, and that the first place we’re heading to is Rome. For the rest, you’ll just have to wait and see.
Where are you most excited to go?
I badly want to get to Bali. The majority of our trip is going to be ocean and hot weather oriented because that’s just the kind of atmosphere we both love (and taking photos in the freezing cold is fun for about five minutes) and Bali just seems like the kind of outdoor living, plant-based food, slow-paced lifestyle I love. Porter is determined to get to New Zealand, and I’m definitely not fighting him on that one (as long as it’s not a secret ploy to spend our whole time in The Shire).
How much are you bringing?
The short answer is one bag each. I think I’ll probably end up bringing slightly more than Porter (shocking), but we’re sticking pretty strictly to the kind of “summer camp” packing list made up of staples that you can wear in different ways again and again. We’re both actually looking forward to this a lot. We both went to camp as kids and have both had experiences where we’ve basically had one bag to live out of for months on end and its strangely stress-relieving and just genuinely gives you so much more energy to think about things other than what you’re going to wear, especially when every item you bring along is your favorite in that category.
How do you make money off of a blog or Instagram?
I’ve gotten this one a lot lately, which is totally understandable, but it’s a big question and I think the answer should be really in depth and devoted to its own post. So, I’m definitely going to set aside the time to answer this before we go, but am not going to address it in this post just yet. I will say, the shortest answer is not quickly. Just like any self-propelled business, progress can be painfully slow, incredibly time-consuming, and reap very little rewards for a long, long time before you start to see results. But when you do see results, it’s obviously incredibly encouraging.
What’s your favorite ethical brand?
Hope this was helpful !
Anna Lisa + Porter