When I was a kid, my parents used to pack us all into the family station wagon and do some serious summer road tripping. We drove around BC, to Alberta, to Disneyland, even to Winnipeg one summer (that’s a good 4,000 kms round trip, wedged between the car door and my sister’s car seat, listening to Tanya Tucker and Willie Nelson). You’ll notice I said car seat; my sister is now 21, so you can guess it has been a good many years since we did a family road trip.
This weekend, my parents packed all three (abet larger) kids in the car, and hit the road. My cousin was getting married in Prince George, and we chose to drive the 9 hours north instead of flying.
I’ve spent some time in Prince George over the years (I spent 7 summers working up north), and let me tell you that the secondhand shopping here is second to none. Now that we can buy things, I’m back on the consumerism trail, but with one major change. I’m trying to think more about what I buy and to pick items that have less impact, be they locally made, sustainably traded, or secondhand.
Ah, secondhand. It’s tempting to get carried away, but I managed to limit my finds in the Value Village to a couple dresses, a shirt, a sweater, 2 dish clothes, a tea towel (we have two at home but they are well on their way to the rag bag), and a fitted sheet (one of the 2 we have ripped right in the middle last time I washed it).
The best thing about shopping secondhand is the winning feeling of a truly great find. Sure, it takes more time, but I haven’t been shopping in a year, so I figured I could spend a couple hours cruising the aisles. One of the dresses I got was tailor made in Canada and fits me like a glove. It is possibly my best secondhand find ever. (and it was only $8!) I also wore a new-to-me dress to the wedding which worked out perfectly with the Hawaiian theme.
I managed to be fairly waste free. Weddings are great because people usually use real plates, cutlery, and wine glasses. We did, however, help set up, and I did feel obligated to take a bunch of cardboard decoration packaging home with us because I just can’t stand to see it head for the landfill.
I can definitely see that the convenience factor is huge when it comes to recycling. If it’s not picked up at the curb, it’s much esier to put it in the garbage bin, and since the curb side pick up system here doesn’t take nearly as many materials as it does back in Vancouver, the garbage bin wins a lot of the time.
So tomorrow, loaded with secondhand finds and bags of recycling, and clutching cameras full of hilarious wedding photos, we will pile back in the car and hit the road for a few more hours of quality time in the wagon. You gotta love family vacations.