On my recent travels to different countries, soap gave me a lot to think about. Soap, of all things. A basic necessity for hygiene, one which we take for granted, like so many things in the West.
I often share a room with my clients on my Venus Adventures trips and it never ceases to amaze me in this day and age, with all the awareness about the imminent danger of humanity ceasing to exist as we know it, how many people still leave lights or aircon on, accept plastic bags and don’t reduce their waste etc etc. Rant rant. I don’t have kids, so I am not passing this planet on to anyone except my cats (but I still do as much as I can to save the planet for them), and I have full faith in them surviving the apocolypse…
Reusing, recycling, refusing plastic, turning lights off, reducing waste, using your bathroom towel more than once…..(quick rant about that one….in some hotels I dutifully hang my towel up so that it won’t be changed daily, only to find…it gets changed! On consulting reception they say they just change them all every day anyway, otherwise people complain! Despite the notice in the bathroom asking you to reuse it! Humans – ugh!! My solution? Just hang up the Do Not Disturb sign and keep ’em out)
You need to “be a good human and look after Mother Earth” even when you are travelling or on holiday. Being on holiday doesn’t give you an excuse to be wasteful because you have been good all year (yup, some people do think that)…

These munchkins don’t use soap, plastic, electricity or towels.

Soooo…where was I….Soap gave me a lot to think about on recent trips. You know, in most hotels in the world you get a small bar of it, or a plastic tube of it in your bathroom. You use it a couple of times and then leave the rest…(and you probably steal the unopened ones if they are nice, right?)
In Ethiopia, we were visiting some remote tribes in the South. Usually they just want money for their photos (it’s how they make a living) or maybe they want that nice ethnic scarf you are wearing. However on this trip, they specifically asked us for soap to wash (surprizingly – this wasn’t the case 10 years ago – oddly I happened to have some in my bag!) . They only have money for necessities and a trip to the shop is a 30km walk through the bush, so it’s easier to ask tourists for some. I am not sure how or why it got popular to ask tourists for soap, but like anyone, they like to wash. Maybe they like the smell too.

This tribe (Mursi) asked for soap


This tribe (Hamar) didn’t ask for soap, probably because they cover themselves in mud and butter


In Cuba, due to the US embargo, it is very hard to get hold of basic necessitiesย  (don’t get me started on Trump!!) so you also get asked for soap (amongst other things) on the street.ย  Fortunately we knew about this beforehand and took some with us to give away, and people were very grateful. I can’t tell you what it feels like when an old man on the street asks you for a bar of soap…what’s the world coming to when you can’t even have soap!? (He scored a lovely bar of olive oil soap that day, so I hope he’s enjoying his lovely soft skin!) So even if Cubans want it, they can’t buy it, and they don’t have much money to buy it anyway ….. Next stop: Italyย  – with another Venus Adventures groupย  – where soap is available all over the place, day and night, everyone can afford it… and it is wastefully used in hotels.
So you can imagine how the subject of SOAP has left my brain frothing over the past few days….These articles below give you some soap for thought (if I haven’t already) and thank God, there is an organization reusing old hotel soaps. So…next time you are in a hotel – THINK before you lather up – and reuse that bar you just opened at the next hotel…because believe me, you are lucky to have it!
Note: I am no angel, but I at least do ALL that I can and not just a token effort….c’mon – let’s go back in time and stop using chemicals, plastic, and being shopaholic consumers…think, reuse, recycle…


  1. Julie Paterson · · Reply

    We not only share the same name but also the same ethics, I agree 100% Julie Paterson

    1. Glad to hear it! Where do you live?

      1. New Zealand, have few friends from TePuke who travel with you ๐Ÿค—

  2. Nevena Barrett · · Reply

    On your side, Julie! We should all try to do as much as we can to respect the earthโ€™s limited resources.


    Sent from my iPad


    1. Thanks Nev! Think of you often as I wear my Arabic scarf from Grenada xx

  3. jane oundjian · · Reply


    Sent from iJane


    1. love and hugs back at ya! xxx

  4. Nevena Barrett · · Reply

    With you ALL the way, Julie, and have been for the last twenty years. Great article! ๐Ÿ˜˜ Nev

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