079 | Doing Better in Sustainability with Ketti of Tilted Map

sustainable travel and zero waste
Sustainable principles in travel can be overwhelming. Ketti Wilhelm of Tilted Map offers suggestions on what to look for to do better.

Beginner’s Guide to Untourism:  https://ordinarysherpa.com/untourism

Doing Better.  It’s a growth mindset that we can change and learn new things no matter how old we are.  I had been looking for someone to share concepts of sustainable travel who could dive deeper into how to travel better.  I wanted more than all natural roughing it type of experiences, because if that is not our style we aren’t likely to make things harder than they already are, especially if we have a kid or two in tow.  I also wanted more than the trending eco-friendly accommodations.  I wanted to dive into sustainable concepts like carbon offsetting for dummies; the convergence of minimalist principles and environmentally friendly power of LESS.  

I was excited when I found our guest’s website where the home page highlights.   It’s not about being perfect – it’s about doing it better. She uses a different way of doing something familiar, in this case a different way to travel.  You will soon recognize the alignment to the principles of Untourism and might even see small businesses doing sustainability travel well on her website.  So while riding up the escalator at Travel Con and I shared I had a podcast and she and I exchanged business cards I immediately made a note to follow up with her.  

Ketti Wilhelm is a former freelance travel writer and the founder of TiltedMap.com, which is a blog about sustainability, travel, and zero-waste. She left Montana after college, with a job teaching English to 300 university students in China, and a side-hustle as a freelance magazine writer… and just one word of Mandarin and no background in education. She determined her husband was the right partner after two months living in a minivan and many other adventures.  Feeling left out of conversations with her husband’s friends (who is from Italy) she was determined to learn Italian.  She received her master’s degree in Sustainable Business and Energy from Bocconi University, in Milan, Italy and has lived in China, Italy, and France.  She has since returned to the US and back to her roots in writing.  Ketti Wilhelm of Tilted Map, welcome to Ordinary Sherpa.  

Key Takeaways

  1. Ketti took the job as a tool to get to the next country.  Having the job first simplified the decision of where to move and offered a built in community.  There is a link to an article on her blog  [11 strategies from a serial expat]
  2. Ketti initially focused on sustainability from the social aspect perspective which is essential to the sustainable travel efforts.  
  3. Where you spend your money matters
  4. When traveling, make an effort to live a similar lifestyle to what you would at home. 
  5. The intent is to do better, not be perfect.  Simple habit changes over time drastically improve the curve.  
  6. Carbon reduction is the process where an organization directly reduces greenhouse gas emissions through efficiencies while carbon offset is a trade-off, where companies get credit for funding external projects that reduce emissions. One example of an offset program is  planting trees.  
  7. Some ways individuals can reduce their carbon footprint is to eat less meat, reduce single use plastics by using shampoo bars or seeking hotels that offer refillable dispensers over small short term use sample size toiletries.
  8. Where you go is less critical than how you act when you get there.  Ketti started her blog to showcase that sustainable travel is more than ecolodges and thatched roof accommodations.  Ketti shared an example of a hotel in the Mississippi delta region who was doing many things right.  Likewise on the Paros in the Greek Islands it was more socially acceptable to have the bartender fill her waterbottle with tap water versus suggesting she buy a single use bottle of water.  
  9. The Lazy guide to more sustainable travel is a blog post (linked below) can help determine what to look for when making travel decisions with brands.  One example is a B Corp certification which means a company has a triple bottom line (financial, social, and environmental).
  10. Plastic free July is an initiative of the zero waste movement to encourage people to notice their use patterns and make an effort to reduce plastic use and consumption.  

It is interesting to me that many of the principles that she discussed overlap with similar principles of minimalism and untourism, a term I use to travel differently and support local businesses.  If you were inspired by this episode to do better in some way, then let’s play show and tell.  Post on Instagram and tag @ordinarysherpa, send me an email or DM, or better yet leave a written review.  

Before I sign off I have a quick update on the podcast.  I am spending some intentional time with my family adventuring a considerable amount this summer.  I want to model the type of lifestyle I often talk about on the show.  I have pre-recorded several episodes throughout June & July so there will still be episodes dropping each Wednesday, however I am also including a few Best of replays from the early days of the podcast, perhaps some you haven’t had the chance to listen to.  I have been aspiring to do less and this summer is a great opportunity to slow down and be present.  I will periodically be checking email but generally you might see a little less.  If you would like to do a deeper dive on our lifestyle design and get ready for fall you might appreciate reading my book: Beyond Normal a field guide to embrace adventure, explore the wilderness and design an extraordinary life with kids.  It goes great while camping, sitting next to a babbling brook, or spending some simple time outdoors this summer.  You can find the links to purchase on the homepage of my website: Ordinarysherpa.com

Until next week, I look forward to hearing all about your adventures and tips you are practicing to do better.  

To Connect with or follow Ketti Wilhelm of Tilted Map

Website: https://www.tiltedmap.com/

Instagram: @TiltedMap https://www.instagram.com/tiltedmap/

Facebook: @TiltedMap https://www.facebook.com/tiltedmap/

Resources referenced in this post: 

The Lazy Guide to More Sustainable Travel [Simple Tips & Resources] https://www.tiltedmap.com/easy-sustainable-travel-guide/ 

Want to Live Abroad [11 strategies from a serial expat] https://www.tiltedmap.com/how-to-move-abroad/ 

Where to Listen

Apple Podcast, Spotify, Stitcher,  Google Podcast, anywhere podcasts are played