Can you imagine a place where you can get back to nature, to a simple basic lifestyle, embracing sustainability? Near Tarifa, between the Andalusian Countryside and the sea, there is a place where you can enjoy the sounds of the ocean, re-energize yourself and discover the beauty of a life surrounded by unspoiled nature.
Ecobnb has interviewed Jenny Armstrong, founder of No News No Shoes, an amazing eco-glamping in the Andalusian countryside (Spain), just few kilometers from the Tarifa city, and near the ocean.
No News No Shoes is not just an eco-friendly accommodation, it’s a lifestyle, and a place where you can learn about sustainability and about “Living off the grid”.”Off-grid” means living disconnected by services of utility companies (grids) such electric, water or gas. Of course living off the grid is not that easy to do, but it is possible, and very attractive. The payoff is a complete surrender to nature, silence and serenity.
We are committed to promoting a sustainable way of life and responsible travel – Jenny and Byron say. To be at one with the ocean and nature is one of the goals of this eco-glamping and off-grid site. Jenny and Byron have chosen this place beacause of the power of the sun, they have started a bio garden and they support local businesses who sell vegan and vegetarian products.
How was your project of eco-hospitality born?
This project has been born out of a continuation of our own life. We believe in a sustainable life style and my partner, Byron, is continually reading about and researching the best way forward in an over populated world with resources becoming less available every year.
We are always happy to meet and discuss ideas with like-minded and committed people and we thought that an off grid site for travellers could encourage that into our lives.
How is the “Off-Grid” lifestyle that you and Byron have embraced in Tarifa?
We chose Tarifa because of the proximity to the Ocean, its sunny climate and it is not so over developed and populated as most of the other coasts in Spain. The 335 days a year of sunshine allow us to use solar power for a lot of our energy at home and all of our energy at the off grid site.
At No News No Shoes we also have water deposits from the rain and the mountain so we are off grid with respect to energy and water. We have started to grow some of our own vegetables this year and that is also a way forward for us as the food chain becomes ever more polluted and unreliable.
What best practices of sustainability did you adopt?
Our best practices of sustainability are to decrease plastic usage as much as we can. No bottled water at home and we boil water and then store it in glass bottles for drinking. We use eco products for washing dishes, washing clothes and washing ourselves. We try to avoid aluminium and parabenes in all products and support as many local businesses as we can who are also committed to bio trade. We do not eat meat and have reduced our fish intake and dairy also relying more on vegetables and grain proteins as well as soya products. We do not make unnecessary vehicle journeys.
What itineraries or green experiences do you mostly recommend to your guests?
Guests who visit Tarifa are blessed by the natural beauty of its beaches and countryside. The town itself offers great vegetarian and vegan shops and restaurants, both of which we recommend to our guests. We encourage our guests to explore the beauty of Bolonia beaches and its Roman ruins which are close by and trek or cycle in the amazing Andalusian countryside. Bird watching is another popular past time as is whale watching in this area.
No News No Shoes is also a “digital detox” retreat. What are the benefits of a holiday without mobile phone?
Digital detoxification is something we are committed to and we do not offer wi-fi facilities. We believe that a holiday should be both a mental as well as a physical break offering tavellers an opportunity to reconnect as human beings instead of being on screens all day. For us, personally, a holiday is a time to be creative and to think out of the box. A time to reflect and appreciate the beauty of nature and to focus on what we do have instead of what we don’t.
What does to travel sustainable mean for you?
To travel sustainably is in effect an oxymoron as all travel leaves a carbon foot print. However, when we do travel we can be more aware of how much we use, how much we expect and how much waste we produce as human beings.
Air conditioning is a luxury that should be used sparingly, if at all. Food should not be wasted. We never order more than we can eat at a restaurant and we never throw food out at home.
Water should be used with care. Even in hotels, where people feel they can over indulge because they have paid for the right to do so. No one has the right to waste the world’s resources no matter how much they have paid. Also, with regard to litter, never leave your rubbish for someone else to take care of. We belive in being responsible for our own rubbish .. the world and the beaches would be much cleaner if every person took responsibility for what they throw away.
Your next initiative on sustainable tourism?
Our initiatives are not fixed. We are, above all, flexible in our approach to life.
Nothing stays the same and our main premise for what we do is best explained by the trifecta:
EDUCATE – ELEVATE – ENTERTAIN
that is what we aim to do every day.
Thanks Jenny for the wonderful interview, and for the valuable example for a Off-Grid lifestyle.
We are ready to slow down and enjoy some days of digital detoxification between the ocean and the beautiful Andalusian countryside. And you?
Cover image: Photo by Simon Rae on Unsplash