Nice to meet you: Sarah and Manu – Van life, self-sufficiency and Minimalism

Morgenroutine: Müllsammeln
Turning work into fun: Sarah and Manu collect random trash every day.

Their morning ritual? Collecting garbage!

Leave it all behind, travel the world and live out your dream: That’s what Sarah and Manu, 27 and 26 years old respectively, have been doing for months now, and they’re delighted with this decision. Travelling in a former fire department van they’ve customized themselves they not only explore nature, but they actively support and assist Mother Nature every day.

Before they began their unconventional journey Sarah and Manu lived together for over a year in a construction trailer designed for self-sufficiency, so living in tight spaces is nothing new for these two.

Sarah and Manu are proponents of minimalism who make all of their own consumer goods themselves. Their German-language blog “Leben auf Achsen” (roughly translated as “life on wheels”) features DIY recipes for making things like ecologically-friendly dishwashing liquid, aluminum-free deodorant and much more.

Their decision to reboot their lives actually began with a tragedy. While Sarah, Manu and their beloved canine companion “Mogli” were enjoying a vacation in Switzerland they decided to stop for a break on the side of the road next to a river. Mogli dove straight into the water – and suddenly collapsed. Manu reacted instantly, rescuing Mogli, only six months old at the time and bleeding heavily, from the water. He discovered that Mogli had seriously wounded himself on a broken glass bottle bottom. The couple rushed Mogli to the nearest vet for an immediate operation.

After half a year in a cast “Mogli” has thankfully recovered fully, but Sarah and Manu’s consternation about the very real consequences of pollution remains. Drawing inspiration from the famous quote attributed to Mahatma Gandhi, “Be the change you want to see in the world”, they resolved to genuinely change their own ways and began living each day more conscientiously and with less waste.

Today Sarah and Manu avoid creating packaging waste by making things like toothpaste and cleaning detergents themselves. Their toothbrushes are plastic-free, and Sarah now even uses a reusable menstrual cup instead of conventional feminine hygiene products. All the food they buy is unpackaged, so they’re well-stocked with stainless steel containers, cloth shopping bags and reusable drinking bottles. While some might find this attitude a little extreme, Sarah and Manu are not out to provoke anyone.

“It’s important for us not force the lifestyle we’ve chosen onto anyone else. We’re not radicals. We just want to show that there are other ways of doing things!”,

they explain.

Part of this dedication is the inspiring morning ritual these two nature lovers have. Wherever they and their converted van find themselves, the couple starts each day by collecting the trash they find lying around in an otherwise natural setting. Aside from the usual discarded cans, bottles, cigarette butts and old product packaging they find piling up everywhere, they’ve also run across more unexpected items including several washing machines, kitchen appliances and mattresses.

Feuerwehr-Van und Müllsäcke
Van life and garbage collecting: Sarah and Manu leading by example.

These two environmental activists work in social media and web development for the Swiss Arctic Project (website in German), an environmental organization raising climate change awareness and seeking solutions to ensure coming generations inherit a world worth living in.

Sarah discovered Ethletic around two years ago when she was searching for plastic-free shoes. Since then the couple have been loyal to our FSC-certified natural rubber soles and the idea behind the brand.

“The manufacturing, choice of materials and the Ethletic idea perfectly embody how we live”,

Manu enthuses. Manu and Sarah combine the need to save space with their ethical convictions by each owning one pair of Ethletic sneakers that they wear daily. As minimalists who believe in the motto “Less is more”, Manu and Sarah only own carefully selected clothing from sustainable plastic-free fashion labels such as HempAge and the Bad Seeds Company.

What these natural adventurers want first and foremost for the future is a long, happy life. But they would also love to see a general change in how society views plastics and the environment. And they’re doing their part to make this change happens.

Learn more about Sarah and Manu on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.

It isn‘t always easy to travel with a challenging alpha dog. Mogli makes every effort to challenge us daily and to go beyond our own borders. We had to learn how to lead a dog with such strong character and to offer him a species-appropriate life. . The hustle and bustle and the many impressions in a city make us feeling sick and we prefer staying in the mountains or somewhere in the impressive mother nature. The city life also meant a lot of stress for Mogli. He had to pursue all the stressy things and couldn‘t relaxe or get calm. Since we live in the van and in the nature, Mogli has become a lot quieter and you can notice a big change. 💚 . We are also more balanced and satisfied than before. This has an effect on everyday life and traveling with a strong dog has become indispensable. We’re allowed to live this way every day! We are glad and grateful to have taken this path and lead the life as a pack on wheels😉 . #lebenaufachsen #minimalwastenomaden #mogli #bordercollie #bergamasker #mix #alphadog #leader #thisisvanlifeing #campervanlicious

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Redaktion: Sandra Laffrenzen
Translation: John Jeffrey Collier
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