A Fond Farewell to the Green Tupperware 

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Divesting to the point where everything you basically need for yourself can fit inside a 65L backpack and a carry-on requires forethought — a lot of forethought. What goes in your kit all has to be perfect, or as close to perfect as you can get.

My divestment journey led me from a three-bedroom home with a shed and patio that I had rented for eight years down to a 32-foot sailboat, and then down to the pack. Then, I went from the pack to a 23-foot RV for three years. And then back down to a pack again.

Here I am before 6 a.m. waiting for a bus leaving Germany in 2023. On my back is everything I own ... including, sniff, a certain green Tupperware container in there somewhere.

You can probably imagine there are certain things that I can’t imagine living without. For example, as a menstruating female, I need my Diva cup and reusable pantyliners. With these small items in my pack, I never have to worry about how the women in Bali or Ecuador or Istanbul handle their times of the month. Wherever I am, I’m sorted.

Really, when you get a pack dialed in, everything in it is required and exactly what you want. That is, the goal is to own everything you need and nothing you don’t — and be able to carry it all.

I find the hardest part of living out of a backpack is maintaining a great capsule wardrobe of clothing while also wearing said clothing. It is easier when always living in relatively warm climates. But … climate change is real.I want to be comfortable and look nice all the time. I’m just a nomadic writer; I’m not trying to be an influencer. Unless I can influence you to care for the environment!

The good thing about only owning the most practical things is that it’s easier to be an environmentalist. I buy few items and try to repair as much as I can. I was smart to buy the cork glue and sealer from the official Birkenstock shop in London earlier this year, but the repair only lasted so long. My sneakers (also called trainers and tennis shoes) are wearing out with all these hot dance moves, too.

Now that I’m renting an apartment for some time, I’ve allowed myself to purchase some new clothes from the secondhand shop located literally downstairs from my apartment building. I pass it every day, so I often pop in to see what they’ve got. I was on the lookout for a new pair of pants — and I scored big this week! Modern cut with a frayed edge and a perfect fit, they cost 2 euros, or $2.16.

Most things you can replace, which is important to remember.

Unfortunately, my green Tupperware that I carried in my pack, the sailboat, the RV, and even in that rental house is almost impossible to replace. First, sit back kids: I’m going to tell you a story that takes place in 2009, which is hard to believe is 15 years ago. I was working at the Boys & Girls Clubs as a communication director.

This is a simple ode to a wonder-inducing Tupperware product, the "Mini Max."

That afternoon, my boss came into my little cubicle located in a hallway that led from the administration offices to the club itself, where I often went to play four square to take a break from writing grants. It was before my boss hired this dude from Newark, New Jersey who wore gold chains around his furry neck and made me cry. It was before all that, when my boss said, “Gosh, Suzanne, I can’t think of anything to encourage you to work on” at my review.

It was a fun job for a while.

“So, Suzanne. I’m hoping you can help. I have to go to a Tupperware party, where the ladies are donating a percentage to the Boys & Girls Clubs,” she said. “Will you come with me to represent the club?”

I went, and at one point I found myself sitting at the back of the room. I was totally zoning out, as of course I had no interest in plastic food storage containers sold in a multi-level marketing scheme. I was so in another world that my mouth was agape.

“I KNOW! It really IS amazing!” the woman at the front of the room said, holding a piece of Tupperware. She was talking to me.

She continued to engage me about this Tupperware, which came in a set of three for $30. These pieces were all green with circular, watertight lids that snapped on. Each piece could be folded three times, making totally different sizes as well as provide for flat storage.

Everyone, including my boss, turned to look at me. I was self-aware enough to realize that I looked like I was so impressed by Tupperware that my mouth was literally hanging open with wonder and awe. Embarrassed, I bought a set.

But here’s the thing: That Tupperware was actually awesome. I used it all the time. When I lived in Chiang Mai, Thailand, I would bring the green Tupperware to the pad Thai restaurant just down the road from my apartment for them to fill up with takeaway homemade delicacies for the equivalent of $1. I saved so much plastic with that plastic reusable thing.

Because it folded flat, I could shove it in my carry-on bag. If I wanted to buy something to eat on the plane, no problem. It helped me to be waste-free, or as close to it as I could get.

So, it was a sad day, not long after the end of the holiday season, when I reached for it under the counter in my apartment to discover that the lid had mysteriously disappeared. My roommate and I searched every cabinet in the kitchen. We had had a few parties with plenty of leftovers.

I splurged for the fried egg on top of that homemade pad Thai for $2. Note the container, shown here in 2018 back when it still had a lid.

“You’re just going to have to accept that it’s gone,” my roommate said. “I can only presume it somehow ended up in the trash.”

Again, I was too embarrassed to display my deep sense of loss and grief. But it’s there. I may be able to buy a new one, but shipping to this island isn’t as easy as you may think.

That’s why I need to dedicate this blog to the green Tupperware container that traveled from Florida and through the Caribbean, then around South America, Oceania, Asia, back throughout North America, and then over to Europe. You never got to see Africa, little buddy, and it’s so close.

Where is the lid, you may still be wondering? Because, if you’re like me, you don’t believe that someone would throw away a clearly matching green lid. I suspect that it ran away, Tom Robbins-style, with the less-special but still handy plastic camping fork that also somehow had been lost in my shuffle.

They probably are off together on an adventure to find the black puffer jacket that stuffed in its own pouch. That jacket was lost on a Deutsche Bahn train somewhere in Germany. That’s a long way away, guys. I wish them luck … and plenty of pad Thai again someday.