I was very excited to be approached by the team at Heyer Copenhagen about an interview reflecting on myself, my travels and how sustainability plays out in my obsession to see the world. Armed with the memories from the last four years I embarked on an adventure through my thoughts to the times and places where I was happiest…
1. Introduce Yourself
My name is Lydia Cooke and I’m a model from the South West of England with an obsession for all things travel and environment. Modelling has given me great joy through meeting various incredible people across the world and finding wonderful opportunities I could only ever of dreamed of. It has also given me a platform on social media to express environmental thoughts and news to followers who take interest in my work. Whilst obtaining a degree in Geography, I discovered that my goal in life is to bridge the gap between public and science.
2. Which of your travelling experiences has been the most unique and why?
The most unique experiences that come to mind all share something in common; a lack of Wi-Fi and connection to the modern world. I could share stories of my trips to the breath-taking canyons of America or the quiet ocean soaked paradise of Gili Air. But there is one expedition that will always remain different to the others. Signposted on by a German lady we met in Vietnam we found ourselves on an overnight local bus, sat next to a chicken amongst other things, on our way to a lost town in Laos. From there we embarked on a four day motorbike trek through jungle covered mountains, natural springs and deserts, staying with local families and connecting with their cultures as we went. We’d pass only a few local people each day and allow ourselves time to experience Laos away from distraction. I was in utter bliss and even heading back to the lost town seemed daunting. Unique experiences come from pushing yourself away from the normal path, these will be the experiences that stay vivid in your mind forever and a day.
3. Do you have sustainability in mind when traveling? And if so, how does that influence the way you travel?
Now more than ever I find myself in a battle against my passion for travel and my obsession with sustainability. In a world where only some are choosing to take the step towards supporting our planet, it’s hard to sacrifice what others aren’t. A lot of sustainable choices in travel are entirely circumstantial, for example if there’s a way to get somewhere on public transport you should always take it.
With that in mind, this year I looked into a flightless trip around Europe (Paris, the Black Forest, Swiss Alps and Dolomites) to avoid harmful emissions where I could. I think it’s important to look closer to home in these trying times and recognise that travel is about experience and journey, not how far away you can get on a flight. Though saying that, there are so many beautiful parts of the world that deserve to be loved and seen. Often travel and unveiling of hidden parts of the world are what makes people aware of our fragile planet. This is where I find myself conflicted, when the world is your oyster, how can you miss the opportunity? We are in a constant feedback cycle where the environment lovers are those who also love to travel.
I could write an essay for this question, but in short I’d confess that travel is my biggest environmental guilt and sustainability is now high on my mind when looking to explore.
4. Imagine the place you’ve been with the best vibe. What was it and why?
I have been lucky enough to travel to a lot of wonderful and unique places, but my four month trip around South East Asia tops them all. Never have I felt more liberated and careless for my problems, armed only with the bag on my back and a drive for adventure there was nothing to focus on but myself and the landscapes I found myself in. I acquired a particular love for the Indonesian islands and can still take myself back to exact moments, smelling the rain soaked palms with the Balinese sun on my tanned and freckled face, tasting the Nasi Campur I had picked up each day from the local Warung. The local communities were gracious and welcoming and other travellers shared the same blissful serenity that I had. I was alone, but never felt lonely.
5. What’s the three sustainable things that you pack?
- Cutlery set – unfortunately a lot of countries are still behind on the war against plastic. My little washable and pocket sized container of cutlery is the perfect companion for street food and quick-stop moments.
- Shampoo bar – I try to avoid plastic bottles where I can and with cosmetics being a compulsory, my tinned shampoo bar is ideal for sustainable travel whilst also taking up minimal bag space.
- Sustainable makeup – though only taking little make up where I can, I’m an advocate of all cruelty-free, ethical and organic beauty. My collection is made up of brands only following those rules.
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