Meet Bri, an incredible photographer from Mangawhai on a journey to living a conscious and adventurous life, cruising around in 'Sunny' - her home on wheels.
We recently caught up with Bri (we're not just saying that, we actually caught up at the beach), and chat through all things conscious living, plastic-free pantries, everyday essentials and of course 'Sunny', her epic Land Cruiser she's done up to travel around New Zealand.
1. The truck setup looks incredible! Where are you planning on travelling over the next month? How do you go about organizing a month's trip on the road?
Thank you! Pretty stoked with how the truck turned out. Might be a bit of a squeeze to fit in adventuring the whole of New Zealand but I shall try! Heading to Northland first and will make our way down the country, hopefully some surfing on the east coast of the South Island and some hiking around Queenstown and Mt Cook. I’ve been wanting to do this trip for a while now, but with the chaos and unpredictability of the world lately, I’ve had to push this adventure back a few times, though this was probably a blessing in disguise as it gave me more time to save and to get the truck setup ready. In all honesty, as much as I would like to say I’m organised, I’m definitely not. I just knew what I wanted to do and worked hard to make it happen, found some people to meet up with along the way, and the rest just flows into place. The beauty of having this truck setup and a rooftop tent, home is where you park it.
2. Can you talk us through how you set up your plastic free pantry in the truck? Where did you draw inspiration from and do you have any tips for other people wanting to do a similar thing?
From the moment I started building the setup in Sunny (the truck) I knew I wanted to make a plastic free pantry that was always ready to hit the road. I had to figure out exactly what dry ingredients would be needed and find all the jars to put them in, all while keeping in mind I don’t have a lot of space. I found inspiration from everywhere, everyday legends who I follow online and a lot of research into the essentials you need to live life on the road, the pantry staples that have multiple uses. The biggest tip I have is to plan beforehand what foods and ingredients you will actually use while you’re travelling, it’s so easy to bring stuff along that doesn’t end up being used, and that space could have been used for something more important.
3. We know one of the keys to a successful trip is being organised. What are your top 3 tips on how to create less waste while travelling?
- Water. It’s actually surprisingly hard to find places to top up with fresh/safe water, so make sure you have a big reusable water bottle on hand that you can fill up when you get the chance and you can use this for cooking, drinking and washing dishes. Buy one bottle and keep refilling it!
- A compost bin. Keep one with you for all your food scraps. There are so many places to drop off your compost while you’re on the road; Share-Waste is a good app to have, talking to the locals, finding a community compost bin or a friendly café who composts, all may be able to help if you can’t take it home with you.
- Shop local and plan out your meals. Things like lettuce, milk, cheese, bread and snacks, are very hard to find plastic free at your usual food stops, so shop at farmers markets and bulk food stores, keep an eye out for stands on the sides of roads as well.
4. Your top 5 everyday essentials that you’ve got to have on hand while travelling?
Rice and pasta are the most important ones. So many meals that can be made with these two amazing and filling foods, that’s why I decided to fill a couple of Big Boy Jars with these essentials - no chance of running out while on the road. Muesli and oats, tasty and easy to put together breakfast options when you need something quick (but still delicious). Some fresh fruit, coconut yoghurt and you’re good to go. Some snacks, I love the chickpea rings and the fruit and nut mixes, perfect for snacking while in the truck but also easy to wrap up and take on hikes with me.
5. Your favourite recipe to make while on the road?
I’m a big fan of curries. A bunch of veggies, coconut cream and spices all served up on a plate of rice or quinoa, so easy to make on the road and so many different flavours and ingredients to experiment with. If you have a chilly bin or a fridge, make a decent sized curry so you can keep the leftovers for dinner the next night too.
6. We can imagine you’d park up at some beautiful spots around the country. What does your morning routine look like at the moment? Can you share any of the little things you’d do to find small moments of peace each day?
I love slow mornings. Back home I had been waking up at 5am, missing breakfast and rushing off to work in the dark. Now I have been rising with the sun, after a full nights sleep in the roof top tent, making coffee and not moving too quickly. I don’t think I’ve slept and eaten so well in a while. As someone who never usually has the time to make coffee or breakfast at home, I’ve been loving it. If I’m near a beach, a sunrise swim or surf is usually on the cards too, though as we move further south our mornings may look a little different. I love the slow mornings but I’m also excited for the mornings where we wake up hours before sunrise, amongst mountains and hike to greet the sun.
7. Finally, what does slower living mean to you?
I tend to be someone who is always on the go, always hustling and probably over committing myself which leads to a lot of stress. The art of slowing down is truly special. I have been learning so far on this adventure that you have to slow down to truly enjoy the present. As I have been trying to live a waste free life, things look a little different with how my food comes to be on the table. A trip to the local market to buy fresh produce, fruits, veggies and bread. Planting a garden at home and building a compost bin. A visit to GoodFor with jars in hand, all ready to refill, or awaiting a delivery to arrive. Making my own plant based milks and baking sweet snacks. All my meals are made from scratch now as I have been trying to avoid plastic. I am now a vegetarian, with the exception of seafood that if I catch myself, or I’m gifted by someone I know I will eat it, so fresh fish is an absolute treat, especially when I know the hands that caught it. It’s a slower process, but one I have been thoroughly enjoying. There’s something beautiful about knowing exactly where your food comes from, and though it's been a challenge, this slower lifestyle has been so good for me. When you slow down one part of your life, everything else seems to slow down too.
All photography provided by Bri Woolnough. For more of Bri's incredible photography, check out her page @briwoolnough.
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