Clearly, I’m a captive author writing another blog on a laptop when I already spent the majority of my week working remotely in front of a screen 😉
It’s day 10 of 14 for my hotel quarantine in Shanghai and my enthusiasm for finally being in China and being back in my nomadic vibe has lost its lustre a bit but I’m getting closer to the end and still appreciative to be close to starting a new chapter of living in Shanghai and China. Why I’m in Shanghai is because I have a role with the Dulwich / Dehong group of schools as the Group Head of Sustainability and Global Citizenship. Utilising my title and passion for sustainability it would make sense to think about my positive Teaspoons of Change while staying in a hotel room.
Firstly, I prefer hosts than hotels and ask to be ‘hosted’ over being put up in hotels for all my work and travels. Not really an option for quarantine!!! 😉 So, while having an extended captured stay in a hotel room it is worth thinking about some of the most sustainable ways to stay in a hotel. Every hotel is different but this is actually a pretty good example of a standard hotel so I feel these tips might be useful for most hotel stays…
So here is a list of hotel room Teaspoons of Change I feel I’ve been able to enact to make small but significant positive impacts:
- Unplug the fridge – I’m pretty used to living without a fridge, it’s not the middle of summer and I get served 3 meals a day and make sure I consume them within 24 hours
- Zero food waste except for eggshells and apple cores that I have in a separated bag that may go to compost at the end of my stay (likely not but good to be living the habit eh!
- I find when live without a fridge or with a small fridge you have LESS food waste – try it… 😊
- No bottled water. I’m 9 years into not buying drinks in plastic bottles and I have been given a 24-pack of bottled water to use but I’ve also been given a kettle so twice boiling tap water should render it safe – so far so good! Plus, the bottle water in a tight pack has made for a great set of weights for exercise!
- Turn the A/C off. Luckily, I have a window that can be opened in my room (less than a head width – even my skinny cranium) actually it can’t be closed properly. The first few days were chilly coming from summer in Australia but nothing a jumper and warm slippers couldn’t fix. I’m also not that keen to be pumping air in my room from a COVID hotel A/C 😉 As much as possible turn off the A/C and I have been known to ask for a fan in hotter places and they usually find one somewhere or when possible I usually get cheaper accommodation anyway that will likely have a fan instead of A/C
- Keep your rubbish organised. They must think my room with be a dump when they unweld the door open after 14 days (joking I can open the door to collect my meals). I have soft plastic together, cardboard, and my plastic meal trays washed and stacked (the irony of not buying a drink in a plastic bottle but able to float back to Australia on the plastic trays consumed while I am here). It is very likely they will put it all in a big black garbage bag and send it all to landfill or incineration but at least I am giving them the chance to recycle if it is possible and I am maintaining my usual habits – even on holiday / quarantine!
- Refuse the unnecessaries. The ultimate of the 5 Rs – Refuse, Rethink, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. My meals were coming with a new set of disposable chopsticks and spoon. I always travel with my own cutlery so don’t need them. I asked for them to not give me a set but they seem to only do that about half the time. I have rung them enough now that they do their best but you never know who is working that day or they have a lot of rooms to cater for so they still keep on coming from time to time. This is annoying for them but it does also makes a little point of conversation as they know I try to not create any waste so at the moment I am the crazy foreigner but if other people do the same it may become the norm???
- Vegan please (if possible…). I’m a flexitarian for the reason of this very situation. I try to eat vego and vegan as much as possible. My breakfast here comes with an egg and little carton of milk. I tried for a few days to ask for no egg or milk but this message didn’t seem to register and I get limited food here with my rapid metabolism so I’ve just had to suck eggs on that one 😉 – but again asking is worthwhile and even the rejection is still a step forwards; if enough people ask they may one day cater for morons like me… or not; but doing and saying nothing guarantees change can’t happen!
- Use your own stuff. There are little shampoos, toothbrush and toothpaste and other things but using your own means less use of those single or short use items – simple. As cute and sentimental a mini shampoo is you can still admire it and use your own!
- Unplug at night – TVs, laptops and all those things that use stand-by power
- Put up a Teaspoons of Change and Global Goals poster 😉 I had them with me so they get a place in my room and good background for my zoom calls! This one might be optional but you can get them on the Teaspoons of Change website!
Exercise. I’m a runner and rider not a workout kinda guy but running ain’t really an option so I’ve been following a UK guy who sounds like Russel Brand and doing HIIT workouts – I don’t even know exactly what HIIT stands for – high impact something training? But I’ve grown to enjoy them now and 10 days later I can chuckle and not have every muscle in my body go into spasm! These are hard work! Muscles being used that I only knew from my exercise physiology texts books at uni! I’ve also finally got into a bit of light yoga – more of that in my life to come I reckon… I also brought push-up bars that I’m not scared of anymore having been stiff for days initially! I also brought a chin-up bar but a screw came loose somewhere in transit rendering it useless for quarantine…☹
- Meditation. Morning and evening and so important when in a hotel room for 14 days with no exit. Keep the mind clear (as much as possible), breathe deep and connect with yourself and this unique experience. I love the Insight Timer app…
- Other things I’ve brought for passing time are a didgeridoo – no complaints from my neighbours (I think) and my vocab cards for learning Mandarin – I just hope I haven’t stuffed up the pronunciation and have to relearn them all again!!!
Having come from living in my self-sufficient Happy-Simply tiny house in South Australia to this situation could have made me go a bit crazy and anxious, especially at the barrel of crude oil I’m consuming in plastic food trays but what I like about this experience, and is important to other people, is sustainability perfection is stupid! I find people are often paralysed by not being sustainable ‘enough’. We do what we can, when we can. I know I will always do my best to be sustainable no matter what the situation and that approach adds value to way I like to live my life – without guilt or unavoidable worry. When I’m in a situation like this where things are almost completely out of my control, I don’t stress what I’m not doing or can’t do and instead get my Teaspoons of Change lens out and think about what are the small but significant choices, decisions and action I CAN make to have little positive impacts in this situation… Don’t aim for perfection, aim for good choices – more of them, more often, when you can!
Having said that, if people have other sustainability tips for me in this situation – let me know!!!
4 more sleeps to go and then probably more living and less blogging 😉