Seeking out other conscious minded travellers, a fortuitous Facebook comment conversation on a large girls travel group led me to discovering Simply EcoNomads digitally. Further serendipity would have us only an hour apart when I was interrailing across Eastern Europe for a few weeks this spring. I saw Vittoria’s update that they were in Novi Sad, Serbia. There’s always a little apprehension when you make the move to suggest a face to face meeting – but travelers in general seem to be more open to chance meetings than the other population. Within a few hours, my trip to Novi Sad was confirmed! I spent the day with them exploring the Serbian countryside discussing minimalism, consumption and travel. Here’s what they had to say about the state of the world and what role they are trying to play.
Tell us a little about yourself
Hi, we’re Adam & Vittoria and we founded Simply EcoNomads. We’re trying to build a platform where we can talk about sustainability in a fun and approachable way, and decided to do it through travelling. We started to travel sustainably about six months ago, and whilst we were on the road we stumbled upon a guy called Matthew, who is trying to create an eco community here in Serbia, since we were in the neighbourhood we decided to see it for ourselves and try to get involved. Since then we’ve met, Vivien & Kalki from Balkan Retreat. We’ve always been adventure seekers and wanted to explore and discover new things, in the past we wanted to travel but we always put it off because of our careers. After a while we realised our way of life just wasn’t working for us, so we dropped everything and decided to do something totally different. Before leaving we researched everything about minimalism and living on the road, and how to be economical whilst doing it. For us the journey is about meeting new people, discovering new things and being part of something, part of a solution, and having the freedom to be flexible.
What worries you?
Everything! The way people are so unaware of their impact on the planet and how they don’t change even when they learn the truth. Those are the two things that really worry us. We have access to so much information now, and yet because there is so much information we don’t know how to filter it, or decide what’s important and what’s not. There is no distinction. People have become passive to virtually everything, nothing shocks anymore. Everyone has become apathetic and lost their fight for what’s right. We hold so much power and we can change everything if we decide to, we can tackle anything if only we had the motivation.
What is your positive contribution to the planet?
Well we’re trying our hardest to be good human beings! Reducing our consumption of plastic, being very careful when we’re shopping, trying to limit our consumption of animal products and maintaining zero waste lives. We always try to buy locally or use the food grown in our garden, anything that is locally sourced. It’s about being mindful of how money can really shape the world. We try not to fund companies that don’t support our values, the realisation is we vote with our money really.
Have you had to make sacrifices?
Yes, loads. We don’t get to see our family, don’t get to spend time with friends. I had to leave my job, leave my house, leave my country, leave everything that was familiar; I no longer have a stable income, and no certainty of what tomorrow may bring. But with all that comes freedom, and that’s the beauty of travelling and not having any plans. Before we left, it was like jumping into a void. The build up a month or two before we left was pretty scary “wow this is actually happening!” But once we started I realised there was nothing to be afraid of. The first initial step is really rewarding, it proves to you that you can do anything, you can live life on your terms and that to me is ultimate freedom.
What is your message to the world?
I think everyone can change the world and be part of the solution. People find it difficult to understand that there is something much greater at stake than their lives because they’re stuck worrying about their own struggles. But things are never going to get any easier unless we become a collective intelligence and put our efforts towards doing something bigger than tending to our immediate needs. It starts from within yourself, commit to who you truly are and find a job that fulfills you. I believe you can do anything once you’ve removed yourself from the old ways of life and really see who you are. Disregard what you learned in the past. Have a goal in front of you and focus on your goal every single day, no matter what situation you are in, you will always get to that goal. Eventually you will come to that stage where you can make a difference, but first you have to make a difference in your life and the close links around you.
Sophia Cheng With a decade of communications experience across the for profit and nonprofit sectors, agency and in-house, Sophia has made a habit of making ‘the hard stuff’ more accessible. Since 2018, she has reorientated her life around the climate crisis. She has forged her decade of communications experience into offering workshops, mentoring, blogging, and more, on the biggest issues of our time. View all posts