We have a lot of really incredible people around us.  I am amazed at the number of caring, creative, and thoughtful people that we know.


(Yes, I am talking about you.)

At this point, my mom is thinking, “What does she want?”


She is right – this is one of the those times I am going to ask for your help.


In addition to regular culture shock, I think our North American culture has undergone a huge shift recently.  I’ve been watching it unfold from a distance in great distress (and possibly the worst parts of it are what I see on social media anyway).  There are many complex issues involved – race, gender, drugs, economic inequality, religion, and history, to name a few.  It appears to me that our response to this complexity has largely been to oversimplify and demonize “the other,”  whether the other is Republicans, Liberals, anti-vaxxers, people who warn about climate-change, blacks, whites, refugees, gays,…

It’s fear-mongering and it’s hatred and I REFUSE to participate.


(All of that, partly because I have just been needing to say it, and partly so when I ask you for information shortly, you know what kind of “information” I am not looking for.)

We suddenly find ourselves in a position where we will be buying a lot of “stuff.”  And it is so easy to find what I want, whenever I want it.  Except I find myself overwhelmed just trying to buy toothpaste.  (Whitening? cavity-protection? tartar removing? breath-freshening? striped? sparkly? spearmint? wintermint? baking soda? natural? Expensive or cheap?   They are all good things, but I don’t know how to decide between one or the other.)

The decisions get more complex when one factors in justice issues.  Who made it?  Did they get paid well for it, or were those cocoa beans picked by child slaves?  Where was it made?  Do I want to support industry in that country?

And more complex again when one factors in environmental issues:  Were forests cut down and ecosystems eradicated to grow my coffee?  Is all of this packaging really necessary for me to have a phone?  What kind of processes and chemicals were used to make this thing, and what happened to the waste?

(These are just some of the simpler, more neutral questions one could ask, and many of the issues are overlapping.)

I’m becoming more and more committed to asking these kinds of questions, though.  I’ve been putting it off, placing my focus on other things, and just buying what I need.  But I can’t ignore it any longer – we are being reckless with our resources, and we are ignoring the fact that we are benefiting from other people’s suffering.  I don’t want to participate in systemic injustice so that I can buy what I want, when I want it.  But I also don’t want to be paralyzed, either.

At the moment, I’m looking for information mainly regarding 3 things:

  • Clothing: Winter is coming.  I pretty much just own sandals & summer clothes.
  • Food.  We need to eat.  I’m a little further ahead in this area than others, but I’m still looking for more information.
  • Cars: Depending on where we end up, we may or may not need a car.  This is a huge issue, because I’ve never bought one before – so I don’t even really know where to begin.  One basic question I have is “Are electric cars actually better for the environment?” From there – I don’t even know what I don’t know.


So please, send me information, and let me know if there are specific questions you think I should be asking.  I was surprised at the response we got recently when I asked for expertise in soap-making, but as one friend said, “You do know a lot of hippies.”  Hippy or not, I’d like to hear from you.

You can email me, send me a message on facebook, or use the comments section.  I’m happy with articles, books, and Mike can listen to the podcasts.

Thanks in advance for your help.



8 thoughts on “Information

  1. If you are buy a new car, message me. I know how to systematically bargain the best price. I know a lot of car salesmen, we can help you not get “taken”. They trained us how to get around the tactics and set boundaries. Sadly, people will sell anything for as much as they can sell it for.

    • Hey Alissa – thanks. We actually have family members who sell cars – so I’m not worried about that part! We have good resources there. But I want to start at the place of looking at the conservation and justice issues involved.

  2. I have a lovely pair of hand made wool socks with Amanda’s name on them. If you’ll send me your mailing address (or if you are coming this way), they’re all yours. If Mike will let me know what size his feet are, I may be able to make him a pair as well. 😉

  3. This post really resonates with me and my experience of returning to the Western world after living/travelling abroad. For about a year and a half I’ve been looking into how my life in the West is intertwined with people in the developing world through the global market or through how I deal with our resources. I’ve found myself getting really aware of wasteful packaging and single-use plastic, learning about how oceans and fishing communities (for example) are detrimentally affected by our wasteful lifestyles. I’m also big on using my money ‘like a voting slip’ so there’s companies I stray away from buying from, and other’s that I’ll save for so I can buy from them (because they use their business to alleviate poverty). I’ve got a blog where I write about this kind of stuff: Otherwise let me know if you have any specific questions.

    • Thanks, that’s great! I also think that I am “voting with my dollars,” however little they may be – that I can either continue to encourage a destructive system, or support a person or company that is doing something better. I would also rather spend more money, on fewer things, that are ethically better.

  4. I own an electric car if you want to talk EVs….depending on where you’re ending up and how much driving you’re doing…for example BC has a great infrastructure already but AB not so much. We charge our car overnight (cheapest rate time in ON), and rarely use public infrastructure unless we’re going a far way out of our way (more than 100km). I’d highly recommend it–much better for the environment, as the pollution used to make the car is all it generates in its lifetime. I won’t get my soapbox out here, but if there was an EV that could hold my whole family under $100k, I’d go for it. We’ve gone from using $400 in gas with a small car & minivan to about $100 or less per month to run our minivan and take the Leaf on all our other errands and out of town without the whole family trips. Maybe $15/month in electricity (ON rates again). We’ve had it 2.5 years and I hope to never spend money buying a gas vehicle again. There’s a lot of dealers in BC that import cheaper used Leafs from the States. Anywho, if you go this route, my brain is yours for the picking.

    In other areas, as a general rule I buy clothes used (thrift stores, local FB buy/sell groups) and food as much fresh veg as local as possible.

  5. Wishing you both all the best as you grieve and heal. Our hearts go out to you both. May God shelter you in His palm of His hand.
    I buy second hand alot. I also buy veggies and fruit organic or at farmers markets.
    We love you both very much!!

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