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Alden Wicker

✷Journalist + blogger ✷Sustainable fashion + travel ✷President @ethicalwriters ◦ Morocco ↣ Istanbul Say hi: [email protected]

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HOLLY ROSE

I had been looking forward to the Sahara to stave off feelings of FOMO for not going to Burning Man. And I will say this about the Sahara desert: it is far more comfortable there than Black Rock Desert! There are oases of date palms and shade, a farm where you can while away the hottest hours playing with kittens, you can walk barefoot through the sand without messing up your feet, it’s a perfect 70 degrees at night, there are beautiful landscapes coming and going along with artisan cooperatives, the Berber people are warm and wise humans who live in harmony with the desert, and there are camels! So overall, I would say I’m satisfied with the trade. (At least for one year.) ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ I’m wearing a fairly made block-print caftan I bought in India last year, and a simple white cheche we bought in the last outpost before the desert. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ #saharadesert #moroccodesert #caftanmorocco #ethicalootd #desertstyle #travelersdiary #thisissustainable #creatingawareness #sustainabletourism #welivetotravel #purposefultravel #aroundtheworldtrip #alifewelltraveled #experienceseekers #creatememories #beyondexpectations #memorieslastforever at Erg chigaga luxury camp

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A Berber nomadic woman outside of her tent in the Sahara desert. I always ask permission before taking photos of people from other cultures! I also show respect by taking photos of them the way I would want photos of me taken: to show how beautiful they are. I indicate with sign language and any words that we share that i think they and their clothing is beautiful and I want to take a photo. Sometimes they say a flat no. Glad I asked! Sometimes a woman will look surprised that I asked, and it takes some cajoling and smiles before they shyly laugh and pose for me. And I show them the picture and they laugh some more, and I know I’ve made them feel beautiful. It’s a favorite moment of mine. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ #ecocultworldtour #wanderingforgood #travelbetter #fujifilmxt10 #travelersdiary #thisissustainable #creatingawareness #responsibletourism #ecotourism #ecotravel #sustainabletravel #sustainabletourism #girlmeetsworld #girlmeetsglobe #welivetotravel #girlswhohike #likealocal #purposefultravel #aroundtheworldtrip #alifewelltraveled #experienceseekers #creatememories #beyondexpectations #memorieslastforever #jetsettingchicks #ethicalfashionblogger #berber #nomadic #saharadesert at Erg chigaga luxury camp

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On the way through the Atlas Mountains we turned off the main road, leaving behind the tour buses, and descended down a gravel road to a small village, where a powerful chieftain used to live with his slaves, wives, and 85 concubines until the 1950s, when his palace was sacked by the returning Morocco royalty for his cooperation with the French. The outside of the kasbah (castle) looks like total ruins, with crumbling rammed-earth walls. Then you walk inside and...(swipe to see) ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ #kasbah #atlasmountains #moroccodesign #pinkroom #offthebeatenpath

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We loved riding camels! They are such lovable, peaceful creatures. But camels are often mistreated for tourist rides, so I was nervous about camel exploitation. But here’s how I knew we were doing good with this particular ride: 1. I did a lot of research beforehand.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ 2. We did our riding in the desert. Camels are traditional to the desert nomad communities, not big cities. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ 2. These camels pictured are owned and cared for by Berbers in the nomad community. They have had this relationship with camels for thousands of years, and are intimately familiar with best practices, unlike city folk in Marrakesh. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ 3. With many nomads forced by erratic weather to give up their traditional (sustainable) lifestyles, paying for a ride can help keep a camel fed, watered, and cared for. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ 4. We paid for our 3 days in the desert up front. A camel ride for one hour in the morning was included. So there’s no incentive for the staff to overwork the camels. They spent the rest of the day freely grazing a half hour ride away. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ 5. Nothing was hidden from us. When they came back at the end of the day, they were placed within eye view of our tent. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ All these things made me excited and confident that it was ethical for us to partake in the experience of riding these camels! ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Will everyone agree with how the camels are treated? Nope. If you think animals should never be used by humans for anything, or you don’t have a good relationship with the world of farms or working animals (versus pampered pets), then you would be upset seeing the way the rope is tied around their mouths, and the branding the Berbers use to identify their camels in case one gets lost. You would be sad to see that at night, their owners fold up and tie one front leg so they don’t wander off. (They can lie down or stand up like this.) But if you’re like me and respect long indigenous traditions that are harmonious with the earth, then you should absolutely pay a Berber nomad for a quick ride on his camel. It’s a great experience! ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ #camelriding #🐪 #saharadesert #ecotravel

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Im BACK from 3 days deep in the Sahara desert! Here I am standing in the middle of what used to be a saltwater lake, before a damn was installed in the mountains more than 30 years ago to provide water and electricity to Marrakesh. All of the birds and most of the nomads that relied on the river that always flowed through the Sahara desert to the ocean left to the nearest town to work for a living, instead of living off the land. Some are still in the desert, though, eking our a living raising goats and camels, or providIng services to the intrepid travelers who make it out here. We had mint tea with a real nomad in her tent. It’s a quiet story, this upheaval, that you have to dig for in order to understand - the nomads don’t complain. (Wearing a sustainable @wyldaire packable hat, @sevdalondon modal/cashmere scarf, vintage jeans, @groceriesapparel organic cotton tank) #thesahara #sustainablefashionblogger #moroccodesert #conscioustravel #thoughtfultravel at Foum Zguid

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Hi there! Thank you for your message. I will be offline in the Sahara for three days, starting today. I will be back online, sort of, on Thursday. If it’s urgent...haha, it’s not. I’m not that important. In the meantime, swipe to see how a Berber villager in the high Atlas Mountains used my @misspompom1 scarf to tie a cheche. Cheches are the ultimate desert survival tool! They shade your face, protect your hair, can be pulled across the mouth in a dust storm, can be dipped into a deep well to pull up water which you can wring out into your mouth, or can be tied around a bundle of firewood to carry it with you to camp. Usually you need a longer scarf to make it more of a wide shelf around your face, but I still felt quite fashionable. I want to do this for my next Burning Man, every day. #cheche #desertfashion #berberstyle #moroccostyle #burningmanstyle at Zagora, Morocco

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We went to the Yves Saint Laurent museum, Jardin Majorelle, and Berber Museum yesterday, and all I could think about as I saw how Yves was celebrated for slavishly incorporating influences from all over the world, was how that would not fly today, in the current conversation around cultural appropriation. A safari jacket next to a “tribal” beaded dress with cone-shaped breasts, the Ballet Russe collection which actually looks like Roma fashion, the Asian collection with the conical woven hat paired with the Opium perfume... it made me really uncomfortable. I enjoyed much more seeing the traditional Berber fashion and jewelry (no pictures allowed, sadly). ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ I don’t believe that white people are only allowed to wear pure Western fashion. Cultures have been exchanging and influencing each other for 40,000 years! However, I do believe that we should strive to pay artisans to do authentic work, even if it’s with higher priced materials that are incorporated into a Western interpretation that can be worn every day in the city, such as @maiyet. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ What do you think about this topic? ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀(outfit by @parenpar) ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ #culturalappropriation #yvessaintlaurentmuseum #marrakech #jardinmajorelle #artisanfashion at Le Jardin Majorelle

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An ancient royal cemetery in Marrakech, Morocco. When I die, please cover my resting place in beautiful tile work. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ #marrakech #morocco #aroundtheworldtrip #saadiantombs #whenidie #cemetery at Saadian Tombs

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You know, Bucharest was one of the least photogenic cities we went to in Central Europe. And yet, it really tugged at my heart. The Romanian people have suffered, under a communist dictator who tore out the heart of the city so he could build an ugly monument to himself, and the current government is corrupt, but the city is remarkably safe, super affordable, and the people are so warm and friendly. It’s not crowded with tourists, either. I couldn’t help but really enjoy our time there, eating nourishing and delicious food and laughing with the women I met. I wish we could have spent more time in the countryside, however. We’ll just have to come back! ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Now it’s off to Morocco.... ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ #bucharest #visitromania #churches #girlmeetsglobe #aroundtheworldtrip at Bucharest, Romania

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On top of the world — or rather, the adorable medieval town of Brasov, Romania — with my love. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ #illdenworldtour #ontopoftheworld #brasov #visitromania #viewfromabove

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Me: “I think the skirt is too big on me.” ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ The shop employee: “No, it looks good.” ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Me: “I mean look at how much room I have in the waist band.” ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ “You don’t want to get it too tight. Believe me, you will not be that size forever.” ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ 😂😂😂⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Translation: “Girl, this is not fast fashion. It’s a hand-embroidered traditional Romanian costume made with pure Romanian cotton from the fabric to the thread and even the loop-button closure. It takes a Romanian artisan two months to make this outfit. This is a lifetime piece and you will lose your shape before it will.” ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ She did suggest taking in the waist band from the inside so I can let it back out when the inevitable happens. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ I really adore Romanian women. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ #romanianfashion #artisanfashion #slowfashionmovement #ethicalfashionblogger #slowfashion

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I've partnered with the @RainforestAlliance for a giveaway! Read on to find out how to enter.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ I visited not one but three different coffee farms when we went to Nicaragua. And by far the most impressive was this one. Yup, this is what a #RainforestAllianceCertified coffee farm looks like: it's actually a rainforest! (Look closely – the coffee bushes are on the bottom left.) The highest quality coffee is shade-grown under rainforest trees. Not only does it taste better, it allows farmers and communities to earn a living while preserving the rainforest. You just need to look for the @rainforestalliance seal on your coffee to get in on this tasty and eco-friendly goodness. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ What do YOU do to protect the rainforest? From September 10–23rd @RainforestAlliance is doing a #FollowtheFrog giveaway, highlighting the ways in which products sourced from Rainforest Alliance Certified™ farms, in partnership with local communities around the world, promote a more sustainable future. Enter the contest by sharing how you incorporate sustainability into your own daily life for each day’s sustainability topic. Follow @RainforestAlliance and tag two friends with your answers. You only need to answer under one of the weeks’ posts to be entered. There will be one winner each week (two in total). Entry deadlines are September 16th and September 23rd. Good luck! ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ #savetherainforest #ecowarrior #coffeelover

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Exploring Bucharest by foot! The tile and ceiling game here is on point. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ #tiles #bucharest #footselfie #cobaltblue at Bucharest, Romania

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I was reading about how in Porto, Portugal, the most beautiful bookstore sells tickets to go inside, because tourists would rather take pictures of themselves in a bookstore than buy books! I get it. I personally am reading — just mostly on my Kindle app while I travel. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Still, I just don’t feel right taking pictures of a bookstore without buying a book! I bought some in Lisbon, which I finished, and when we visited the most beautiful bookstore in Bucharest, I bought myself these books: The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Hardin, and The Ministry of Utmost Happiness by Arundhati Roy, because we are going to India in the fall. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ What’s the last book you bought and read? ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ #literaturelover #bookstore #bucharest #booksbooksbooks at Cărturești Carusel

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I made us take a 3-hour train ride just so we could experience this underwater lake outside of Budapest. Worth it? My blog post about the experience is up on EcoCult today, including how easy it is to capsize your rowboat in there! 🚣🏻‍♂️ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ #lakebalaton #spelunking #undergroundlake #ecotourist #daytripping at Lake Balaton, Hungary

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Dear followers, yesterday I made a large error that I need to rectify. I mistakenly said in a sponsored post that this luxury scarf by @wyildanafnorden was made in Bangladesh. I should I have known that it was too good (and high quality) to be true! It is true that Wyilda donates 5% of their profits to a trade union in Bangladesh that represents female garment workers. (Hooray!) But the scarf itself is made in a certified hazardous-chemical-free Chinese facility of mulberry silk, which is a fabric traditional to China. (If you want to learn more about why I adore traditional Chinese mulberry silk, which is created in an eco-friendly closed-loop system, read my @craftmanshiporg article called “Eco-fashion’s inconvenient truth.”) When you touch this silk, and see for yourself the expertly rolled hems, you’ll see something that the Chinese are the foremost experts on. I very much regret misleading you yesterday, though I assure you it was unintentional, and wanted to make sure no one left with the wrong impression! Thank you for reading, lovely followers. And thank you to @wyildaafnorden for being so gracious about my mistake! ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ #mulberrysilk #ecofashion #madeinchina #whomademyclothes #ethicalfashionblogger #sustainablestyle

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(Sponsored) @Wyildaafnorden is a Scandinavian luxury brand started by two lifelong friends who wanted to share the magic and wildness of nature they experienced in the Far North during their childhood. You can find information about the individuals who made every single piece of your scarf on their website — from the fabric to the care label to the thread. Wyilda scarves are crafted from 100% premium Chinese mulberry silk with hand-stitched hems, without any toxic chemicals. And they donate to to AWAJ, a trade union in Bangladesh, to improve the conditions there. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ #ethicalfashion #whomademyclothes #fairfashionblogger #sustainablefashion #ethicalfashionblogger

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We visited a Hungarian folk arts festival in Budapest, where I found these handmade shorts made from linen milled in Hungary. I loved giving my money directly to the woman who sewed them, she had a very humble attitude but she was smiling with pride. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ And they exactly match my @elizsuzann washable silk top. (She won’t see this tag because she is off Instagram for the next two weeks. You should go read her last 3 posts. She eloquently spoke of the same feelings I’ve been having about Instagram. If you feel like my vibe more distant and inaccessible than other influencers, her feelings are why. I’ll post more on that later.) ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ This is my outfit for 92-degree weather in Central Europe, complete with earrings from @speciesbythethousands, a ring from an artisan market in Mexico City, and an artisan hair accessory from Cusco. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ #ethicalootd #artisanfashion #ethicalfashion #ethicalfashionblogger #summeroutfit

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