Why I’m over 50 and have never got a driving licence nor owned a car

In 1986, I first heard about greenhouse gases, the hole in the ozone layer, the loss of native habitat and species, etc.

My father and I were sitting at the kitchen table and ABC Radio was on. I was home for the holidays from university and doing some drawing.

David Suzuki was talking about the tonnes of glass and plastic bottles going into landfill.

My father sat there, elbows on the table, with his hands over his eyes and face.

I’d never seen him do anything like that. It brings tears to my eyes and a lump to my throat every time I remember that day in 1986.

We first started recycling (which was newspaper) in 1988 in Melbourne. Our first kerbside recycling bins appeared in 1989.

I have never gone for my drivers licence since hearing David Suzuki.

I’ve been using public transport and walking when I need to go somewhere on my own.

I was pushed to try to learn to drive when living on the farm again for a short while, and reluctantly attempted it. Driving is hard. I managed to crush the passenger side door by not gauging the width of a farm gate correctly. Accidents happen so easily. Cars are dangerous. Would you crowd-fund a car if it were invented now?

A car is a luxury enclosed racing wheelchair for rich people – Mr Money Mustache.


Dad was 19 years older than Mum, and he died in 1997.

He never lived to see the big changes.

Change began in small increments.  But change is exponential.

It’s taken so long to transition to what we’re doing to try to stop burning the planet now.

Extinction Rebellion are making people talk, think, and act.

As Greta Thunberg said in New York, “Once we start to act, hope is everywhere”.

Saving the world saves you money

How do you prioritise your spending? I’ve been discovering the FIRE community – Financial Independence / Retire Early. It’s a cool thing that also ties in with Finance, Environmentalism, Self-Care, Minimalism, even Frugality, and the best bit is overall personal and global health.

I posted on a frugality blog today and thought I’d use some of that to make a post of my own about things I’ve been doing because I wanted to, not as some sort of punishment or penitence.

This stuff is the stuff that gives and keeps on giving.

I gave up makeup, haircuts, and hair dye about 20 years ago when my son was young.
My “man-bun” is now finally the done thing. I’ve always just kept it long/longish so I can chop the ends off and tie it up.

I gave up shampoo and conditioner in bottles, and switching brands all the time. Now my hair doesn’t get dandruff (I worked out that changing brands is what made it itchy/flaky/scabby etc). I also worked out that the thing in them that keeps your hair soft and unfrizzy is the nut/plant oils, so I use macadamia oil when I need to.
I’ve been using a shampoo soap bar (paper packaging) by Ethique NZ, and only need to wash when I get really sweaty after a long run, about every week. The shampoo soap bar lasted months, still got months left, and cost about AUD$30.
I don’t bother ironing, or rather, many years ago, I stopped buying clothes that need ironing.

I gave up alcohol by starting the Feb Fast challenge two years ago. Oh, the benefits!! Don’t get me started on how great it’s been. A REAL treat for myself, unlike the contradictory justifications for drinking. The money I saved let me pay off our mortgage early so now we can redraw if we want a low-interest loan.

I never started driving, ie never got a drivers’ licence. So I’ve never needed to buy a car.

I did go through a sedentary job/depressed/drinking phase where I used a lot more taxis and did barely any walking, but that’s over. I didn’t want to cheat myself out of exercising.

Some of these things might sound tiring, but I was tired because I was worried I wasn’t doing them.

The urges took over to want to start walking more and more, then running and making friends at parkrun, and becoming happier and more confident, and balancing out my spending and overconsumption. I met friends who taught me about local sustainability initiatives and groups.

I’m now in my mid-fifties, and am a huge advocate of Public Transport, since it’s got me so far without ever getting a licence.

I brought my lunch to work for the past 4 and a half years. That helped me lose 35 kg in weight AND save a lot of money. I put that money away each week to save up for running shoes and events.

I meal-prep once a week. That makes it far less likely to do an overspend after work when “hangry“.

I did No-Spend November in 2018.

I thought it would be really difficult, but it made me want to try and be even more prudent.

Instead of a gut-reaction to buy, buy, buy, my brain wanted to think, and think some more about if/why/when I needed things.

Of course, the massive cultural delusion of Christmas then stepped in, then the New Year penury. Gradually, though, I’ve been saving more and spending less.

I did the 3-month Slow Fashion Challenge from June-August 2019 where I stopped buying clothes and started thinking.

For several years now, I’d almost given up buying flowering plants for the garden. I let the garden die off till only the tough things survived. Now I’m putting in food plants and planning a greywater watering system for a vegetable garden.

I joined an Unpackaged bulk-food group for locals, where we order in bulk online once a month, and split bulk orders of different and interesting food items. That’s saved money, and removed a lot of temptations and decisions at the supermarket, and helped with meal planning, because of having interesting, new, and nutritious things to try that more thought has been put into.

These things feed each other with self-moderation or regulation, and a sense of having enough.

I still feel the fast-paced frenzy of wanting to purchase things online, although now it’s mostly signing up to newsletters or alerts about software, financial apps, and courses to study to learn All The Things. 🙂

It’s still a battle to keep those email subscriptions and payment subscriptions under control.

I’m learning to unsubscribe when I feel annoyed or pressured. I’m getting better at knowing to sign up for more info when I see things on offer, and so I’m reminded to think it through some more. When I get an email I can then either schedule it in, pay for it at a big discount, or decide what I want my memory and/or reminder technology to do with it.

Now I’m looking for either a new job and/or increasing my (passive) income, so frugality has become even more important for minimising worry.

How do you prioritise your spending?

The long goal

I’ve had some big lows this year, due to difficult times in the financial planning industry. The brain use and related insomnia was exhausting.

I’ve had to cut back a lot of running, and haven’t entered races. Haven’t done any big runs since early in the year. But running a few 5-10 km a week has been sustainable, and kept me my positivity.

We had an amazing speaker at our run club social night, Julian Spence (ran #39 in the world in the marathon at Doha in the world championship in October). He talked about his run club, which includes Steve Monaghetti who won silver in the Olympics.

Julian Spence talked about how so many runners accelerate their training too quickly, and about how football, part of his early career, is not very healthy and has too much drinking.

He said to focus on the long goal, of running regularly and sustainably with your run club mates for years and years, to stay healthy and happy

This helps with recognising when to take breaks and ward off impending chronic injuries.

I’m not saying this is going to get us to the world championships too!

It makes me treasure the love of running, my running friends, and my positivity. I’d rather have those than medals any day.

50 ways I’m trying to save the world

Disclaimer: Brace yourselves, this is going to sound like a brag.



In 1986 I heard David Suzuki on ABC Radio telling Australia about global warming, pollution, and the hole in the ozone layer and decided I would always walk or take Public Transport, and that’s what I’ve done.


I’ve created a survey and petition to improve our regional Public Transport services, which is getting support, and I’ve contacted politicians, transport organisations, and the state government planners, and the local paper are interviewing me next week.


I’ve been eating vegan Food for 4 weeks.  I never liked red meat, and after a kid vegan started bullying me on Twitter, I finally decided that being over 50 I can eat whatever the fuck I want.  People don’t like the idea of being vegan because they don’t want to be bullied the way they bully and insult vegans.  I’ve now started bullying meat eaters on Rate My Plate.


I’d read the full EAT-Lancet Global Health Commission Report July 2019; and since then, its Affordability Study November 2019 confirmed my decision.




Vegan is the optimal health and productivity recommendation from the world’s dietary & agricultural scientists, biologists & food geneticists, and humanitarians, despite what TV told you in 1980.


If we don’t all eat vegan, and if we all only ate mince once a week, a roast or cut of red meat once a month, and had 3 meat-free days a week, then 65 million people would still have to spend 86% of their weekly income on food, and we still would have malnutrition, war and/or food-related family violence amongst the 10 billion people we are going to have in 2050.


We can’t keep using 45% of the world’s arable land on growing food for our food (i.e. livestock fodder) even with optimal yield and distribution rates and minimal food waste.


I’ve got 4 fruit trees in my back yard.


I have only two other food types planted, and I would like that to be more, but I need to set up a drip watering system or do an affordability/ecological study of my own for that.


I’m a member of our local “unpackaged” food collective-buying group, where we split bulk orders of various ethical food and household products.


Our house has an electricity provider which supplies the grid with Energy generated from a hydroelectric scheme in Tasmania.


My personal Investments are in sustainable/ethical funds & companies & technology.


I created a spreadsheet for our local types of Recycling collection points (lots of things can be recycled by smaller initiatives), and our town council have asked to use my spreadsheet on their website’s recycling page.


Our town collects 3 bins from our kerbside:


  1. FOGO (food, green waste, and organics): big bin, council collection available every 2 weeks;
  2. Paper/glass/plastic: big bin, every 2 weeks.
  3. Landfill: smaller bin, once a week. I have been putting it out every couple of weeks with a small amount in). Still would like to have that close to zero landfill waste.


I also have containers in the house for collecting these things to take to their local recycling collection points:



E-waste (electronic waste);

Plastic bottle tops;

Bread tags;


Dental products;

Printer ink cartridges;

Soft (scrunchable) plastic;


Paint tins & brushes;

Home and furnishing items.



For 3 months this year, I did a Slow Fashion Challenge and online course about global pollution, recycling, Clothing manufacturing, ethical employment, and sustainable development.


I have only bought 1 item of new clothing in the past 7 months. Not bad for a woman!


I’ve got into mending and Repairing things a lot and designing and sewing things again.


I use the Ecosia Chrome Extension for searching the internet, which is a non-profit Tree-Planting initiative which has so far planted 65 million trees using ad referral click income to fund its work.


I follow the world’s leading dietary and fitness scientists, the UN, climate activists, Reuters, AFP, NYT, global share markets, developments in Universal Basic Income pilot studies (great results in Africa recently), I read/listen to the pioneers in Circular Economy and their books, and I follow news of the countries who are implementing Circular Economy plans, I am one of The World Economic Forum’s “top fans” on social media, and a (verified) former head of the UN started following me on Twitter the other day.


I’m on a mission to save the world!!

(50 sounds like a rough guess at the stuff in this post, but this doesn’t count writing about and discussing politics, economics, logic, social media, art, weight loss, health and fitness, and facilitating and coaching running.)





Vegetable Dumplings

Vegetable dumplings (or they could be fried slugs, not quite sure, they were in a box).

Ketjap Manis & Sriracha Sauce for dipping.

Green Leafy Stuff with Lime Juice, Walnut Oil, and Sesame Seeds.

Real Raspberry Liquorice and a Carob bear (for when you’re meh with chocolate and sugar hits in the supermarkets).

Some sort of Dandelion/Chicory “Coffee “made by a local Barista (probably called Catweazle) which actually doesn’t make you feel weak in the veins or nauseous or high/low/high/low all day like the Coffee Rollercoaster.



Vegan, Veggie Burger, Recipe, hummus, tomato, sriracha, hangry,

Sad Veggie Burger

(It’s actually suitable for veg%ns but we won’t mention the ve-jay-jay word so you don’t get traumatised by feeling the pressure to reject wartime ideals of nutrition.)




Crusty, nuclear-winter-white bread roll.

Frozen fake meat burger that people will say is carcinogenic despite less evidence for that than there is for Nessie.

Sriracha sauce. End of.

Olive oil spread (I can’t believe it’s not rancid yak butter).

Hummus with a dollop of some sort of garlic crap that you get charged extra for.

Ye Olde Dieter’s Nemesis – Lettuce leaves.


Mini, orange tomatoes (had to use those up).

Baked pea crisps, which look just as “toxic” on the nutrition label to anyone who is just informed enough to be detrimental to their own health, except they aren’t the same old thing we’ve been eating since Benny Hill was cutting edge.

Vegan, Recipe, Pulse Penne Pasta, Aldi, peas, chickpeas, borlotti beans, lentil flour, pumpkin, edamame, tomato, red capsicum, chilli, vegan cheese, hangry

Vegan Pulse Penne Pasta

I have a heartfelt belief that my diet should be expensive, time-consuming, and attract insults about my social agenda.

I’m over 50, started eating a vegan diet 3 weeks ago. This is my latest batch of lunches/dinners to nuke in the microwave for when I’m hangry.


Pulse Penne Remano


Pulse Penne Pasta Preparation

Pulse Penne Pasta (Aldi brand made of peas, chickpeas, borlotti beans, & lentil flour),




red capsicum,


vegan cheese probably made of someone’s old polyester running T-shirts,

spring onion,

olive oil,


It took about 30 minutes to prepare, cook, and serve in the storage containers.

Nuked the pumpkin and edamame.

Boiled the pasta in a pan of water on the stove then drained it, put in everything else, then served it in containers for freezing.

Made it look traditional by adding the spring onion and plastic-looking bio cheese (I’d rather not think about the mental picture that name gives me).


I could post all the nutritional/energy/macronutrient details because I’ve been an obsessive kilojoule counter for nearly 5 years and lost 35 kg, but you’re probably already freaking out about my apparent sense of superiority and food perfectionism.

Disco version: One of 4 servings in a batch of instant meals that keep me full for ages.


Pulse Penne Pasta


What’s the verdict?

Love or hate?

In which I ramble on a bit (again) from GoFundMe to Facebook to Social Media

I’m an Australian creator of a GoFundMe for a long-term friend from the USA who is in a coma in hospital in Thailand. The GoFundMe is for his international friends to send funds to the hospital for his treatment and for his dependent family.

Joe’s difficulties in being 70 were known to us. He has been frustrated for a long time in trying to receive his pension by cheque from the USA, unaware he needed to give the pension fund his bank details to receive direct credit of his pension payments.  He had nearly sorted this change out.

Areas that can affect crowdfunding a smooth GoFundMe campaign:

The intricacies of nationality, proof of identity, borders, healthcare, insurance, pension payments, bank technology protocols, international anti-money-laundering laws, online scams, time zones, methods and availability of communication methods, local business working days and time zones, IT support staff availability and support request loads, individual familiarity with use of technology.

➡️Too long; didn’t read?⁉️
But we are are a step further in our journey of being there for Joe when he really needs us.


When my latest GoFundMe update appeared on my Facebook feed was this notice above it from Facebook:

Ask your community for support
When you need to raise money for something or someone important to you, your friends can help. Create a fundraiser on Facebook in a few quick steps.
[name] [name] and 111 other friends have donated through Facebook.
Raise Money

I’ve used Facebook fundraisers, but I also know many Americans who are (also statistically the greatest national demographic) unlikely to trust Facebook.

Similarly, I see many people in Australia and online who do not trust what they dismiss as Social Media.

My theory:

Americans partly wanted to be special when they opened Facebook accounts in around 2009.

In 2009 Facebook was a very different beast.

By around 2012 all your friends in high income countries had seen when you’d added a friend and pounced to add them, and new users were bombarded with requests from “friendly” strangers. Facebook became a frenzied Availability Cascade of competing Friend Count tallies.

So they thought they were different by not using it any more.

I’ll mention some stuff that might change how some of us living in or near their birthplace might be used to thinking.

In 2019 I’ve seen a livestream of Mark Zuckerberg in a discussion with leaders in future human medical technology and nanotechnology

During the discussion, there was a very fast-moving flow of comments being posted by people with names most likely from India and Asia, all saying how much they love Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook and how it’s helped them and their families.

Fast forward a bit, I watched Eliud Kipchoge and the Nike team live on YouTube as they broke the 2 hour barrier for a man’s marathon running record.

During that livestream, another very-fast flow of supportive and enthusiastic comments were being posted by people with names of African origin.

A couple of days ago, I saw the latest video on Facebook from the World Economic Forum.

Estonia is now 4th in the world for child education standards.

Yesterday, I joined up to check out a Google Cloud live session of broadcasts on IT, AI, Cloud Computing, etc.

Most of the experts presenting had Asian names.

It occurs to me that this sort of global visibility and transparency can seem incongruous to people who didn’t learn about it before 2010, have avoided it since, or haven’t known how to look for it on what is often dismissed as Social Media.

Yet we still have transparency issues with transmitting and remitting help where we need it.