It’s been almost 24 hours from Porto/Portugal where I’m currently living to Jávea in Spain where the Green Digital Nomad Unconference took place at the coliving and coworking space Sun and Co.. I was a bit late on booking my flight tickets and when I wanted to secure them prices were already increased to a level that made me stop from continuing the booking. Damn it, these bastard algorithms! I tried a few of my hacks to get the better prices again (VPN, private browser window, emptying the cache) but nothing really worked out – prices had been indeed increased.
Well, wait a second! I was about to go to an event where it’s about to be conscious about living more ecological, right? So what about not only talking about it but starting with it right now even before the event starts? Yeah, sounds pretty good actually, not only for my celestial saving account (read: karma).
Almost forgotten alternatives like taking the train and bus came into my mind – and after a short research it turned out to be even cheaper than the initial flight costs that I was calculating with. And since I have a policy for myself of not wanting to fly if the distance is less than 1000km, something which can be done pretty much in one day alleged that we are talking about Western road standards, I took it as a good reason to look into going by those mentioned alternatives.
My own comfort would have almost taken over and not letting me actively think about this first step.
- The bad news was: yep, it took me around 24 hours to get to my destination.
- The good news was: I could take easily a bit more of luggage because I was not restricted to those very tight airline restrictions, and had a plug and internet available during all the while – so I could use the time for working.
A FLASHBACK TO THE PAST
During the long hours that I went through the Spanish landscape I was inevitable being reminded on my very first trip on my own to Spain which I did right after I had finished school back in Germany. Almost 14 years were in between today and that first journey.
Back then, I had a picture of Spain as a country where everybody was happy and laid-back, things would be done mañana and many colors were part of the everyday life. Spanish sounded to me super exotic and like the language of sun. I was highly excited to see an orange tree and a palm tree for the first time in my life.
Sure, nothing is like the first journey and the country certainly has changed from 2005 when I was there for the first time in contrast to today, 2019. But what probably has changed more is my personal view on things, shaped and formed through my experiences, my stays in different countries afterwards, and simply my different approach to life today.
Yes, nowadays I have a hard time to remember how it was to not understand any Spanish at all. Nowadays I see a huge amount of cars even in the middle-size and small cities, many ugly buildings – and the Spanish accent in some regions sounds to me like everything else but nothing that has to do with the sun. Yes, I was certainly having an exotic view on things when I was younger; saw them the way I wanted to see them through a fuzzy positive filter. I believe that I am having a more sober and realistic view today. Well, that might be part of becoming adult.
Nothing is like the first journey.
Nowadays I hardly remember how it was to NOT understand any Spanish.
Back to 2019, where the local bus just dropped me at Jávea, the place where you can find the coworking and coliving space Sun and Co.. I was coming a few days earlier here because I wanted to make some connections before the event and to “feel” the atmosphere of the place.
Sun and Co. is a place which emphasizes community activities and makes a weekly plan together with all member of the “family”. I guess this is one of the reasons why they recommend staying for longer, something like 2-3 weeks, so that you can get a full picture of the dynamics of the place. I believe that this is not only pure marketing, such impression I can confirm from our Economadia Coworking Farm project.
THE GREEN DIGITAL NOMAD UNCONFERENCE
Rémy, the organizer of the Green Digital Nomad Unconference, is staying long-term at Sun and Co. and is therefore already kind of a half-local. He speaks pretty well Spanish and knows Jávea like the back of his hand. He is also he founder of Green Coworking Europe where you can find more in-depth information ecology in combination with coworking, coliving and the next upcoming events.
An un-conference, in case you didn’t know, is a format where all participants create the schedule in the beginning of the event, can bring in suggestions of topics which they wish to be talked about and can therefore form and actively create the event. This is different from the traditional speaker-listener format where you have one speaker at the time you being the passive listener.
HERE IS THE THING…
Over the course of this event I gained a few impressions when talking about being location independent and going green, being sustainable.
Wanting to live more sustainable in ecological terms is not very easy; in fact, it takes your willpower and effort to not go for the “by default” solution which takes less effort. Yes, the easiest and most comfortable ways are those which oftentimes have a bigger impact on your footprint or your production of trash than if you take a conscious effort to reduce both.
Comfort is often your strongest enemy when it’s about to make a real change, you might know this if ever tried to lose weight or wanted to quit smoking.
By default means staying within your comfort zone.
By default, you get this plastic straw put in your drink without even being asked.
By default, you go to the next supermarket and buy your things there.
By default, you take a low budget flight which you can reserve with a few clicks while watching your Netflix series.
And you know what? I am guilty of this by default behavior myself for sure.
By default, wanting to live more ecological and sustainable, you need to take the extra mile.
* * *
So my thoughts were: how can going green, being ecological more sustainable be more fun, more attractive, sexier?
It is of no help at all if you swing the moral hammer of that flying is bad and making people a guilty conscience about eating meat. Yes, things have to change in the face of global climate change and a myriad of tons of plastic in our oceans.
But using methods like the big religions did for hundreds of years and still do today……it’s something that doesn’t really sound appealing to me and it is not the way that we from Economadia want to take.
How can going green, being ecological more sustainable be more fun, more attractive, sexier?
WHAT IT ACTUALLY TAKES
Instead, we like to emphasize positive trends and developments which are undeniable finding their way through. Yes, it could be all so much better and faster in place if not big industries interest groups…well you know, complaining doesn’t help here – and giving up neither. Instead, giving nudges and maybe now and then some harder pushes into the right direction is what might have a better effect.
There is always a bunch of people who simply don’t care about such a topic, and neither will you ever convince them. On the side do you have people who are already convinced of all of that, you don’t have to explain it to them anymore (that might be you, otherwise you would probably not read this article here). It’s about those who are somewhere in the middle, not being aware of many things and ideas as they never really dedicated to this topic. It is those people that we wish to reach and to give them an inspiration.
Instead of constantly dwelling on how bad things are it’s more worth stretching the positive points. Swinging the moral hammer will definitely make people more reluctant to listening and becoming interested in what you have tell.
So what group number 2 and 3 of these above mentioned people need is some sort of platform where they can find those kind of relevant and appealing information that would bring them into the desired direction. If you have some ass-kicking blog articles about how to travel more ecological (I mention the Nofootprintnomads here again, check their Zero Waste Travel Guide) or a decent list of “green” coliving and coworking places, chances are you might give it a shot and try it yourself if you basically agree with this direction.
THERE IS A LONG ROAD…
…to go still. A long road of having a real and serious movement for living more sustainable, of having a significant mass of people heading this direction. There are many great initiatives and projects out there, however, they are all scattered and floating out there in space and are often no more than a drop of water on the hot stone.
And at the moment, Economadia is something along these lines – which is reason enough to keep up the work. Feel free to join our community here and to get further insider information about how to combine location independence and sustainability.
Spoiler alert: if you ever happen to go to Sun and Co., you will get a free night when you name Economadia as a reference – sound good, doesn’t it?