Home Away from Home – My Sustainability Journey

Home Away from Home – My Sustainability Journey

Home Away from Home – My Sustainability Journey

by Jacinta Schofield

For 6 of my 21 years, my home was on the water. My parents had a passion for travel and adored the ocean so buying a yacht and setting sail with my family was inevitable. Exploring third world countries equipped me with a worldly lens and to value happiness and relationships over everything. Now, as an adult, I regularly look back at my childhood and realise how much my travels taught me – resilience, patience, perseverance and even sustainability.

Our boat ‘Cheetah’

From solar panels and wind generators to salt watered toilets, I became environmentally aware at a very young age. We were only allowed to watch TV if we had a sunny and windy day, lights were only allowed to be on when we were in that room and using it, dishes were washed in saltwater with a quick rinse of fresh water (we were washed in a similar way – swim in the ocean with a rinse of fresh water) and our meat consumption was minimal (fish only). These were simply daily norms for me that I never questioned.

Life on the boat 

I want to take you back 12 years to when I was on the boat. A little “day in the life” if you will. I’d open my eyes to the sun glistening on the sea bed covered with diamonds, I could taste the salty smell, so strong that it would dance on my tastebuds, I could feel the delicate wind blowing through my wavey hair and the warm sun kissing my tan skin. I was the luckiest girl in the world. The ocean was my home – deep and filled with wanders.

My morning routine would begin with a swim in the ocean. So clear and fresh that once in you forgot how cold it was. I would dive toward the bottom, watching the sunlight make restless shapes on the sandy seafloor. I could swim forever, dive forever, be here in this underwater world forever. I could briefly hear my name being called and as I surfaced to reality, I could see my mum holding up an old juice bottle filled with water. Shower time. I popped out of the water, feeling the warmth of the sun on my skin and rinsed off with some warm freshwater that was heated from the sun. Mum was in the galley cooking up some yummy breakfast – dippy eggs (cooked in saltwater), with a side of fruit salad. The food scraps were thrown overboard for the fish, we liked to ensure we had minimum waste as rubbish trips weren’t regular (and it was also better for the environment). It was my turn on dishes so I gathered the plates and headed down to the galley. I filled the sink with saltwater (to save freshwater) and added a dash of dishwashing liquid. I washed the plates and gave them a very quick rinse with fresh water and allowed them to air dry.

We were sailing to a new location today so we lifted the anchor and set sail. The wind was picking up and the sun was beaming, this meant power and hopefully a movie tonight (fingers crossed).

One hat overboard, burnt cheeks, two fish and 5 hours later, we arrived at our new destination. The golden sun was setting, the colours of fire hearths and tangerines. We brought the sails in, lowered the anchor and everything was still and silent.

Sunset in Malaysia

After a delicious and fresh fish dinner (caught sustainably), I popped down to my room to brush my teeth and change into my pj’s. I turned the light on for the small amount of time I needed to be in my room and then returned to the living area. It was movie time, with a special thanks to the sun and wind. We didn’t have the luxury to watch individual movies in our room, so we had the very difficult task to agree on one. Another day had set on my wonderful life on the water.

Life on Land 

And we’re back to reality. It’s so amazing to reflect back on my journey and realise how much sustainability was embedded in my everyday life and how I didn’t even realise it. Let me take you through a “day in the life” from where home is today. Brisbane. I start my day with a quick shower. My roommates have always commented on how quick my showers are. I always thought it was normal – get in, cleanse and get out. Next is breakfast. I can hear my chickens clucking about so I go down and collect some fresh eggs for a sustainable breakfast. Of course with my eggshells and vegetable scraps going into my compost.

I then pop my dishes in the dishwasher (dishwashers actually save electricity and water) and pack my bag for uni – laptop, lunch, keep cup and water bottle. After tackling a long day at Uni, I return home after dark. I am extremely conscious about having the lights on only when I’m using them. After a movie with my housemates, it is time to tuck my chickens in and then head to bed.

You see, sometimes it’s hard to break old habits. And in this case, I wouldn’t want to. I challenge you to “live life like you’re on a boat” just for a day or two and see how much water and electricity you save. I did it for 6 years of my life and never even questioned it. Every step counts, big or small. We can achieve sustainability. Together.