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Our Green Story : Gallavanting.ie
When I started Gallivanting.ie in 2017 my focus was on food, folklore and our ancient Celtic heritage. Sharing the stories from history, enabling visitors to meet farmers and local food producers and bring them to some of my region’s iconic visitor attractions. I wanted to offer a more refined experience so I supplied my guests with complimentary snacks, spring water and a door to door service.
At home, I have always recycled, I heat my house with a wood burning eco stove, I grow my own veg and rewilded my back yard. I refuse to buy "fast fashion" instead making my own or buying second hand. I clean my house with vinegar, lemons, and baking soda and compost all my scraps.
But as time passed I realised that as a professional driver/guide my home habits weren't enough. By driving a big 9 seater diesel vehicle I was part of the problem.
So what have I done? I have completely changed my business model. The first to go was the spring water, (plastic bottles, who was I kidding!?) replacing them was easy, one big reusable glass bottle and an assortment of china teacups! Next up, only offering zero waste snacks, so out went the crisps and biscuits in plastic wrapping and in came a big bowl of locally grown strawberries and handmade cookies supplied by a local bakery, nestled in a reusable tin.
I stopped printing brochures and flyers opting Kraft stickers with a link to a downloadable PDF and investing my print budget on overhauling my website. I reviewed the attractions on my books, only visiting farms that used organic and free-range methods, highlighting places like Hook Lighthouse another Eco minded business. Then I began to introduce more off the beaten track locations on my tours, places that would help people reconnect with mother earth.
But it wasn't enough. So I left the van at home more and more as I moved towards walking tours, I studied foraging as an alternative activity I could now offer. Then came Covid…. I honestly believe that this is an opportunity for all of us to re-evaluate what is important. When the traffic stopped on our roads, the birdsong came back, the air smelt sweeter and the skies seemed cleaner. I realised I couldn't go back.
I am now focusing on running a new type of visitor attraction. Guided tours of our native woodlands that teach people how to reconnect with the land, foraging experiences, workshops in making your own zero-waste fair trade and organic skincare products infused with ingredients you grow or forage in your locality. And, in the future, I hope when our international visitors return, they too will want to enjoy my experiences, to take home some of the knowledge that our collective ancestors held. How to ensure your needs are met while honouring and showing respect to the earth, never taking too much.
I find myself now working in ways I never thought possible, virtual walks to stressed execs, consulting on developing foraging corridors with our county council, soap workshops with school students and using my business to promote re-wilding areas across my region. Turning your business Green is a journey that starts with a simple step. It can be challenging at times, but it can be as simple as using email over paper, banning plastic bottles or straw, even using recycled toilet paper! But once you start it can become addictive. It has taken me 2 years to go fully Green with Gallivanting.ie and that journey has changed everything about my business. I never imagined the business model would change as much as it has, but I can say in utmost confidence that I am so grateful I started. Life is better Green!
Update March 2021: Gaibhnait the diesel van is gone, and we have now switched all our driving tours to walking tours that explore woodlands and the old towns on Wexford. Every part of our business is now green. We've got QR codes displayed on metal signs to replace paper flyers, our uniforms are long-lasting organic cotton, and our new souvenir product line coming this Summer is all focused on sustainable, locally sourced ingredients with recycled packaging!
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