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The Origin Story

A Journey of Discovery

It was 2018 and like many, I was working in corporate Calgary. I was making decent money, moving upwards and living the 'dream'. Only, it sure didn't seem like it was my dream. And I was becoming increasingly frustrated putting my time and energy into projects and, sometimes people, I didn't believe in or support. I kept thinking of what it would be like to do work I believed in, for and with people who inspired me.


I've always been passionate about animals and really, what decent human isn't? I thought about the energy and time I was wasting in an office chair. If ever I was going to make a difference, to do something challenging, now was the time to do it. Some may have called it my mid-life crisis, I preferred "journey to find myself" (it sounds less old man in a sports car and more spiritual that way). After a discussion with my soon-to-be-husband, I took the plunge.


Shortly after, I was holding a single ticket to Thailand. I'd volunteered to be part of a team, dedicated to the rehabilitation of elephants. For two weeks I would be living in a remote village, called a Karen (Kah-ren) village, named after the Karen people who are indigenous to Southeast Asia. I learned to speak Pakinyaw and lived as the villagers did. I hiked into the hills of Thailand every day and while spending time with amazing people from all over the world, we were taking care these majestic animals. It was heartbreaking how many of the elephants had spent most of their lives living in deplorable conditions.


It was educational in so many ways, not just culturally and in the care for the elephants, but how critical eco-tourism, conservation and environmentalism were for the future of this village, these animals and our planet. I didn't know it then, but this time in Huay Pakoot was the beginning of my dreaming green...


I had planned to spend my last two weeks in Thailand on vacation. After my experience as a volunteer, my plans changed. Snorkel trips into the Gulf of Thailand and the Andaman Sea turned into garbage collecting trips. The beautiful waters of Thailand are becoming heavily polluted, with all types of trash, but mainly plastics, specifically plastic bags, which are used by locals and tourists alike. And with no effective recycling system, the ocean is rapidly becoming the landfill.


The tap water is unsafe, which leads to tourists buying bottled water, adding to the problem. And tourists were everywhere. Loading onto motor boats that looked like miniature yachts, taking over the small islands, leaving trash everywhere...seemingly unaware (or indifferent) to the impact of their actions.


While visiting an island that had been destroyed by a tsunami in 2004, I learned that it had been left as little more than a mound of dirt in the sea. Through the resiliency of the Thai people, it was reclaimed and rebuilt. But the diligence and efforts of the local people were wasted, as over tourism led to the destruction of the fragile infrastructure they'd managed to repair.


In that moment, I realized I was one of those tourists. I may not have been leaving garbage or destruction behind me, but my very presence was a burden on their already overtaxed ecosystem and resources. When I looked critically at myself and my own actions, how I had been so unaware of my own impact until that moment, it brought me to tears. Going forward, I lived differently, becoming more mindful of not only how I travelled, but how I lived my life, every day.


When I returned home, it started with small changes. Composting more, recycling and reusing with more efficiency, eliminating single use plastics. It was important to me that I keep learning and improving, so I did and still do.

One evening my knee became sore. I brought out my old (and to be honest, questionably 'clean') heating bag (here's the blog where I get into all the details). There were many things wrong with it, starting with the inability to recycle it if I chose to buy a new one.


This is when all the pieces fell in place, I was inspired by this one product, by my travels, the environment, animals...


I would apply everything I had learned to the development of products that were reusable, recyclable and eco-friendly, right from the start.


Dreaming Green Boutique is about taking care of ourselves and our planet. And as the owner and designer of every product we make, we are a company that is conscious of waste and reducing our environmental impact. I believe we can practice self-care while still caring for the environment, they are not two separate goals, with Dreaming Green Boutique, they go hand-in-hand.

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