Traveling and thinking green may not seem like they go very well together (at least that’s what I thought for a long time) but thankfully, Berlin freelancers Anna Schunck and Marcus Werner founded the German online magazine Viertel \ Vor this year and have since taught me otherwise. They have moved out to the countryside in beautiful Brandenburg and are documenting their adventures in nature on their magazine and Instagram every day. I’ve been chatting to Anna recently on all things sustainable travel, fresh air and why thinking #naturefirst is so much fun. Have a read!


Why have you and Marcus started Viertel \ Vor?

We are both freelancers. Marcus is a video director, DOP and a damn good photographer, too. I’m a journalist and copywriter. We were always lucky to have good assignments for large brands, agencies, magazines and publishers. But bit by bit we realized that we often made good advertising for bad stuff. We were busy promoting things and ideas that are not truly important for us – maybe for no one.

Suddenly Marcus dropped that one decisive sentence: We need new role models. And in a way, that’s what Viertel \ Vor is all about: People who think different. People who care about happy bees, enough trees, fresh air and clean water. Modern environmentalists who want to support our local planet while having fun!

What’s the main message you want to get across?

Thinking about sustainability is cool. It does not have to be complicated. It can look good, taste good, smell good, give us and everyone a good time.

One of our favorite ideas of a progressive society is that carrying around a multipurpose mug becomes much more in than having your latte out of a disposable cup.


What impact does traveling (think long distance flights) have on the environment?

Short answer: a devasting one. A flight from Berlin to San Francisco is responsible for melting five square meters of ice – per person. That’s a fact. But everybody has to decide for themselves how to handle it.

A very important step to adopting a greener lifestyle in my eyes is sharpening your awareness. Think about what leads to what. Think about what’s really important. And – most importantly – reduce! Maybe you want to compensate your flights on Maybe one long distance flight per year will do for you. Maybe one every five years is. And maybe that one feels much better if you’ve decided to skip a few short distance flights before.

Traveling around an area that’s closer to you can be so green – and so very relaxing! The most eco-friendly ride is a bus. We love train rides trough Europe. Not only for sustainability reasons, but for watching out the window, seeing all this beautiful nature – like on our trip trough the Elbsandsteingebirge to Prague recently – enjoying time to work, talk or read. And also, sticking to our coffee example, having our drinks out of a china cup (smiles).

How do you personally ensure that you don’t harm nature whilst on the road? 

I think the easiest way to travel somewhat sustainable is to travel like a local. That means: Avoid hotel chains or all inclusive holidays. Look for a local apartment, buy local food on the market or in smaller restaurants. That supports local communities and ensures the money stays in the region you get to explore. Otherwise, it will go to multinational companies who want purely to get as much money as possible out of a destination.

Overall, traveling green for us means more or less behaving the same way we’re trying to do in everyday life. For me, it is about the little things: Put a jute bag in your handbag to avoid grabbing a plastic bag on your shopping trip or at the groceries. Speaking of groceries, take a water bottle with you, a steel box and – very importantly – knife, fork and maybe a spoon. These items aren’t too heavy but it does weigh heavily on your ecological footprint if you’re able to say no thank you to all the plastic dishes offered on the road.


For those who want more, we recommend a camping trip by bike or – very cool! – by kayak which Marcus and I just learned to love since we have a house in the countryside in Brandenburg. There are lakes and rivers everywhere!

From traveling somewhere to accommodation: what’s the most eco-friendly way of traveling in your view? 

Find travel-alternatives for flights. Try to take buses or trains where possible. Sustainable travel doesn’t just mean the impact on climate or handling your waste responsibly, it’s also about doing your bit to not let the destination be destroyed by (mass) tourism.


Another fairly obvious issue is planning your activities around the natural local conditions: a golf course needs tons of water which is a rare occurrence in hot areas. Skiing in spring is often difficult because it’s quite simply unnatural.

Do you have any extra tips on how to eat, pack and plan as sustainably as possible? 

Yeah! I got to know a very useful traveling item when I met the inspiring Maddie from She owns a LifeStraw, a special straw or even a whole bottle that filters bacteria out of contaminated water. Originally, the concept was developed for children with no access to drinking water because you could even drink out of a dirty river with it!

Plus, you can easily refill the bottle everywhere instead of having to buy lots of plastic bottles that would produce garbage many countries can’t or don’t recycle.

In terms of packing and everything else really: Less is more! Heavy luggage is annoying. The greener my lifestyle gets, the more I realize how few clothes I really need. And, believe me, I still like a good style! My experience is that a third of the things you first wanted to pack can stay at home. At least!

What was your favorite trip ever and why?

My freshest memory and maybe the most exciting and inspiring trip has been visiting the Brazilian rainforest with Veja, one of my favorite fashion brands, this October. We were given the opportunity to visit traditional rubber tappers that harvest the wild rubber for the soles of trainers – and save the rainforest from deforestation at the same time.

But my favorite trip remains the train ride between Berlin and Brandenburg: our two homes. The transition between these very different parts of our lives is just amazing. We are lucky to call both home and love having nature so close to the big city!


Anna, thank you so much for your time and please keep doing the amazing and eye-opening work! 
We could all do with a little more awareness on sustainability and green travel.

All images by Anna Schunck & Marcus Werner