Recap of my 14-day tour through 11 countries

By October 27, 2016 No Comments

 Travelling for work during the school year can be a strain on my family, so I like to schedule a maximum of stops & speaking engagements within a trip. My last one was a 14-day race through 11 countries. But I absolutely love it when my time is maximized -and the impact of my transcontinental flight’s carbon footprint therefore minimized!

Here is a recap of my journey…



First stop: Switzerland. Zero Waste Switzerland (which its founders created after reading my book!)…


… organized four of my speaking events (I noted a record number of men in the audience!).



These took me to Geneva, Yverdon-les-Bains, Neuchatel… and finally Lugano, where I met fans, signed books, and posed for a picture with the managers of Negozio Leggero.



It is an amazing chain of bulk stores. Its displays…



…and selection (including wine!) would make any “zero waster” green with envy!



Next, I spoke in one of the world’s tiniest countries: Liechtenstein…



… but I was also invited to meet its minister of the environment… 



… in its beautiful government building.



In Vienna, Austria, I had time for a wiener schnitzel 😉 but none for taking pictures during the event – apart from this selfie. But with 750 attendees, pictures poured onto social media. I found the one below…Because I entered the venue (a movie theater) through the side door, I had totally missed the awesome marquee! (Thanks #LowCarbonCity Forum for sharing!)

photo credit @lowcarbon_city

photo credit @lowcarbon_city


From there I went to Slovenia for the launch of the Slovene version of my book. I got to see and touch it for the first time, and I concluded that it’s better than the original! The color coding for easy referencing is what I had hoped my US editor would do.


I also learned that Ljubljana is the European Green Capital of the year, so it explains its remarkable waste management system.



In Paris, I had a meeting with a TV producer and then a photo-shoot for the cover of a magazine, but the highlight of my stop was taking my brother to a fancy restaurant for his birthday. Pricey but priceless at the same time!



 The next day, I spoke in Lebanon and was surprised to find out that much of my audience already knew me and my work! Despite original fears of traveling so close to a war-zone, I would have happily spent a few more days there, had I had some to spare.



In Portugal, I held the brand new translation of my book into Portuguese. All events related to its launch (interviews, book signing, and FB event) were graciously hosted by Maria Granel. Eunice, the owner, was inspired by my work to open her store and wrote the foreword. So special!

photo credit: Bruno Colaço

photo credit: Bruno Colaço


I also go to meet some of my followers, who are creating a Zero Waste community in Portugal.   



In Spain, I met the Catalan version of my book…



And then, Esther, my translator!17


I was also happy to discover and empty my tea ball in one of Barcelona’s cool wall composter 😉


And at night, I spoke in this beautiful, old, yet intimate venue.




Next up, was a short, but nonetheless memorable (!) stop in Belgium, for a speech at the European Parliament, moderated by no other than its Vice President, Ulrike Lunacek. I am forever grateful to have been invited to share my story in this iconic setting.



 I also had lunch on the premises, at Les Filles, a cafe where I spotted a great on-the-go option for Parliament employees: Takeout in returnable containers.



The following morning, I spoke at the 13th Baltic Conference for Waste Management in Lithuania, squeezing a Q&A meeting with this classroom at the airport, right before take off.



And then I reached my final destination: Germany, for my third (and last?) TEDx Talk. I met a wonderful bunch and had a blast. I can’t wait to receive and share the link with you!



Once back in California, I hurried to the farmer’s market to buy the last tomatoes of the season…



… just in time to can them for the winter! -a day’s worth of work in my PJ’s 😉 but it fell so good to be home and play catch up.



This past week took me to South America, and in the coming months, I will head to Canada, Europe again, and Africa, for lots more exiting events -those open to the public are announced here or on the events tab of my Facebook page.

These travels naturally come with a heavy carbon footprint, but I am in awe at how fast they’ve allowed me to spread the zero waste lifestyle globally -I have yet to walk away from an event where my presentation leaves my audience indifferent ;-). I can assure you that I have no guilt associated to it. What matters most to me is growing the movement. It has a long term, exponential, positive effect on the environment that no carbon footprint calculator could ever measure.

I go where an organization or municipality is willing to organize an event, so if you know of one and dream a seeing the zero waste lifestyle take off where you live, have them get in touch with me, using the contact link above. Before you know it, we’ll be hugging 😉

And more importantly, thank you for helping me make this zero waste lifestyle a global movement in just a few short years!

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