by Jon Williams
A hippy at heart with a deep love for travel and health, Pip Stewart is an adventurer, journalist, and author. She is a firm believer that connecting with people and the great outdoors is good for the soul. In December, Pip tied the knot wearing the beautiful Monique top paired with the Anika skirt & Unicorn jacket, and we feel so honoured to have had her as a Catherine Deane bride! We sat down with Pip to find out more about her love for journalism, her favourite travel destinations, and how she got into sustainable living.
How did you get into writing and what ignited the love for journalism?
The idea that “everyone can teach you something” is something that I really love. Being a journalist you have the privileged position to ask people questions, share their stories and learn along the way. After a false start in business, I retrained as a journalist doing a Masters in Journalism at the University of Hong Kong. After moving to Malaysia my partner Charlie and I decided to cycle home - 10,000 miles from Kuala Lumpur to London. The journey took 13 months and we met some incredible people who shared their own journey through life with us. Travelling slowly, and by human power, led to some unexpected and fascinating encounters and cemented the idea that there is such power in storytelling - it can connect you to others, the natural world and yourself.
Where is your best location to travel to?
Anywhere with nature - especially wild places! I’ve been lucky enough to have filmed a documentary in the Amazon looking at the impacts of deforestation. I also spent three months in Guyana’s rainforest. Our team, guided by members of the Wai Wai indigenous community, hiked to the source of the Essequibo river deep in the rainforest and then kayaked back down it. The river was our life source, we relied on nature to stay alive. It was a pretty special experience (despite nearly sitting on a deadly snake and contracting a flesh-eating parasite). The jungle makes you appreciate what a small dot we are on this wonderful planet.
Do you like sleeping in in the mornings or are you an early bird?
Early bird (also helped by having a toddler!)
What do you do to keep your well being balanced during such trying/unpredictable time we are in now?
Get outside. Even if it’s howling with wind and rain I always feel better for going for a walk.
What fascinates you about sustainable living?
Because we depend on the planet for survival. We are a part of nature, not apart from it.
What would you recommend to somebody looking at getting into sustainable living?
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed when you start looking at the destruction of the planet but I truly believe small steps can add up. Perhaps the first place is to look at your shopping habits, can you become a more conscious consumer? How much are you consuming? Is what you’re buying a want or a need? Can you reuse it? Recycle it? Will it last? What is the source of what you’re consuming? There is power in the purse and putting pressure on companies and governments to do more than green washing is a start but perhaps the first place to look is what we’re doing as individuals.
What are you doing and what could you recommend to parents looking at raising their kids to live sustainably?
Ironically children can teach us. Just watch a little person outside and you can already see how they gravitate to nature. All parents are trying to do their best so I’m not one for giving advice about how to raise their kids but we try to encourage Willow’s natural curiosity for nature. Look under stones, splash in puddles, embrace a bit of mud, smell flowers, climb trees together. The hope is that kids engaged with the outdoors will not only benefit from it emotionally but also want to care for and protect it. I’m actually in the process of training to be a Forest School teacher to help kids really get excited by life outside.
In terms of buying things for her, if we need to we tend to buy anything she needs from charity shops or secondhand. If that’s not possible, we try to purchase items from brands aligned with our value system.
What advice would you give your 21-year-old self?
The greatest contentment comes from looking outside of yourself.
Do you prefer creating content such as short films or long documentaries?
Funnily enough, I’d say I’ve returned to the good old-fashioned written word. I wrote a book about our adventure down Guyana’s Essequibo River in lockdown (Life Lessons from the Amazon) and adored the process. I wanted to find a way to bring the learnings from the journey to life for the reader and writing gave me the space and time to reflect on things in a way perhaps video didn’t.
What attracted you to choose bridal separates for the big day?
The fact that I can use them again. Despite being together for 13 years, we had a shotgun wedding. I’ve never been a lass who has dreamt of a “big white wedding”, the beauty is in making a formal commitment to each other (although I also firmly believe you don’t have to be married to do this either!). When I started looking into the cost of weddings and the consumption around them I was even less of a fan! I searched for secondhand options as well as brands that had a similar ethos on sustainability - which is how I found you guys.
What are your 5 goals for 2022?
Connect with my family
Train to be a Forest School Teacher
Write another book (or think about it at least)
Continue to raise awareness of neglected tropical diseases like leishmaniasis (the flesh-eating parasite I contracted). NTDs impact billions of people yet are sorely under-researched and underfunded
Write a diary every day