Now that week two has officially ended, I am starting to figure out the rhythm that will be my life for the next year. I am in no way adjusted to the rhythm quite yet, but I am starting to see what will be required of me to adhere to the life experiment for the next year. This is a slow life movement. Not spending money requires planning, timing, effort and a positive attitude to make happen. I think the payoff so far though makes it worth it.
This past weekend two of my good friends got married out in Golden B.C. Many of my friends were at the wedding. I drove up with a couple of friends on the Friday and we were out there until the Sunday. Normally when I go on a vacation or mini-trip somewhere, I don’t really think about what I am going to eat until I get there. I have often thought of food purchases as part of being on vacation. This time though, I had it in my mind that I wanted to prepare food for the trip so I would not have to spend money on food once I got there. Even though I have not cut out paying for services yet, I wanted to see what it would be like without buying food. This trip seemed like a good opportunity because a) it was short, and b) part of the food was going to be provided via a bbq the first night, and h’orderves for the second night at the reception. So really, it was only breakfast, lunch and snacks I had to worry about—doesn’t seem too bad.
I set out to make travel cereal, something I have not made before. I chose a recipe that was full of superfoods, highly nutritious, and filling. I liked this recipe because it seemed like something I could prepare quite easily while on the road with very little needed other than a container and some water. The cereal was great actually. It gave me loads of energy in the morning. I will say it is not as satisfying as eggs, toast and hashbrowns, but I was happy that I did not have to spend 16 bucks on the brunch buffet the lodge provided. The price of my cereal made it well worth it, and I still have loads left that I am taking to my office on days when I am running late and don’t have time to prepare breakfast.
I was fortunate that my friend, who happens to be living on a tight budget, also wanted to prepare food and bring it with us. I did not feel so out of place with us both doing it—power in numbers. I don’t seem so crazy packing all my own food for a wedding if other people are doing it. We also decided to share food, so this actually made it much easier to prep because we had twice as many options and more food without more work on either of our parts. Sort of like a roadtrip potluck. We did the whole bring a cooler thing, and packed it up with food, and a couple of frozen 2 liter bottles filled with ice (these worked great—they even still had ice in them on Sunday). I made some raw crackers from a cookbook I picked up at vegan raw food restaurant Cafe Bliss in Victoria a year ago, and packed some apples and almond butter to have with them. I also made a beet and quinoa salad that I have been making for years. It’s one of my own recipes that changes all the time depending on what I have on hand with the exception of the beets and quinoa. However, I live for both those things and I usually have both. If I don’t have beets, it means it’s time to go grocery shopping. Last, I made some bbq flavored kale chips for the road trip. I think I may have been over-prepared.
My friend made this delicious chickpea curry, and some raw tzatziki and pita, and a quinoa breakfast dish. Needless to say we ate like champs. When we saw the brunch and lunch buffets we were even happier with our decision to pack our own food. The lunch buffet was an assortment of sandwiches, some salads, and dessert such as nanaimo bars. Being vegetarian, usually my only option for sandwiches is egg salad and these were on white bread. Each buffet costed $16 a person. I would have set myself back $32 to eat food that would have not been as nutritious or interesting to me, if I hadn’t packed my own.
Convenience always costs more than it’s worth though. We pay for it in terms of income, as well as in terms of health.
I wasn’t sure what to expect from this trial run initially. I will say that it definitely required more planning and time on my part to get ready for the trip. However, food sharing made it not so bad, gave us lots of options, and we were very happy that we didn’t have to succumb to the unhealthy and expensive food options that would have been our option otherwise. Also, we didn’t have to make a trip into town (55km away from the lodge) to obtain food so we could avoid the buffet. This is something a couple of my vegetarian friends did. Bringing our own food allowed us to have more time to do exactly what we wanted once we got out to the lodge, without being robbed to pay for convenience. I would say the trade off was fair then, and I actually look forward to traveling this way again. Instead of worrying about what I was going to eat, I spent more time taking in the sights, reading a book, and celebrating with friends. My friend and I both have a bit of sweet tooth though and were hankering for some sort of dessert, which neither of us made. The lodge sold gelato and I almost broke down a couple times and bought some. However, I resisted, and I know next time I will bring a treat with me.
What I like about buy nothing year so far, is that it is teaching me to slow down in life and put energy towards things that matter. For instance, if this was not buy nothing year I would not think twice about what food would be provided and eat whatever is around. Money would not even become a thing for me in terms of purchasing food, because hey, we all gotta eat. Changing my behavior to not spend money is inadvertently causing me to be healthier too. Instead of eating what is around and opting for unhealthy options or ridiculous restaurant portion sizes with high sodium, fat or whatever else is in the food, I know exactly what I’m eating and saving money doing it. This sounds like a win-win to me, plus I have additional money in my bank account.