Introducing Kayleigh Goodman
In today’s episode, we’ll be talking to Kayleigh Goodman from the Floop App. She is English and currently located in Mexico where she is working on her app. In today’s podcast, she will be sharing her story, how travel inspired the idea for the app in the first place, and as an entrepreneur and an avid traveler, she decided to live a more nomadic life so that she is able to have a lower cost of living which in turn means she can pursue her passion project of bringing this app into reality.
- 2:29 About “World Vegan Travel” and its improvements
- 4:35 Introduction of Kayleigh Goodman & her app
- 7:46 What is “The Floop” app about?
- 10:19 How did Kayleigh start her application?
- 11:53 What would be low-carbon eating for a vegan meal?
- 13:45 What should be low-carbon eating in Mexico?
- 19:40 How did she get to the stage, where she is working on her app in Mexico?
- 22:44 How your cost of living expenses is different in Portugal?
- 25:39 What are the challenges that come in your way to setting up your business in a different country?
- 27:47 The idea of being a digital nomad!
- 32:12 What are your future plans, continuing the same lifestyle for your business or going back to the UK?
- 35:28 Environmental impacts of travel
- 37:50 Get in touch with Kayleigh
Learn more about what we talk about
- Sustainable Food Blog – Floop App
- Digital Nomad World – The Fastest Growing Digital Nomads
- carbonfootprint.com – Home of Carbon Footprinting
Connect with Name
Brighde: Hello, Kayleigh thank you so much for joining me on The World Vegan Travel Podcast today.
Kayleigh: Thanks for having me. Brighde I’m really excited to chat with you about travel and everything.
Brighde: We were having quite a chinwag before we press record. So I’m excited to hopefully share some of those things with the people listening today. We actually met because we are part of this group called the Vegan Business Tribe and it’s a company that sort of brings entrepreneurs together to help them grow their businesses. And when I saw what you were doing, I knew I wanted to have you on the podcast because travel has played a big part in what you’re doing, of course we’re gonna get into all of that, but before we get started, I was wondering Kaylee, if you wouldn’t mind telling us a little bit about yourself.
Kayleigh: Yeah. Sure. I’m Kaylee and I’m the co-founder of The Floop App. And that’s an app that we launched on Earth day this year, so back in April and it tracks the carbon footprint of your food. So we pretty sure it’s the first app of its kind. And you can add in recipes that you’ve eaten, it calculates the carbon footprint of the meals that you’re eating every day.
And over time, it will show you how you can switch ingredients in your meal to reduce the carbon footprint of what you’re eating. And the reason that we’re doing this is because our food systems globally are a major contributor to greenhouse gases that cause climate change. And in fact, around a third of all human-made greenhouse gases come from our food systems, which is enormous. Compare that to the airline industry, which we know is bad for the environment. That’s only around 2 or 3% of the total global greenhouse gas emissions. It’s a really powerful way that you can 1. Reduce your personal carbon footprint, but 2. The food that you’re buying and choosing every time you go to the supermarket to get your groceries to influence a more sustainable food system.
Brighde: So is the app focused just on the carbon footprint of the food itself or does it also take into account like the transportation to get the food to wherever it is. And perhaps other things not relating to the carbon footprint, for example, the packaging and the way it has to be stored, those kinds of things.
Kayleigh: Yeah, really good questions. So our app has we have a list. We have hundreds of different ingredients and they’ve all gone through what’s called a life-cycle assessment. So this is a scientific methodology that looks at, they call it Cradle to Grave, but in human language, it basically means It looks at the carbon emissions or greenhouse gases. So not just carbon dioxide, things like Methane, Nitrous Oxide, the greenhouse gases that are produced from in the field when the crop or the livestock is growing, and it then through the processing, so when it goes into factories to be processed or made into kind of ready-made products, the packaging, the transport. We can’t get that kind of a hundred percent accurate for every single ingredient because carrots produced in one area of the country might have different fuel that goes into the tractor, for example than in another part of the country. So there’ll be slight differences, but we can get a pretty good idea of what the average kind of overall carbon footprint for ingredients is. And the question around transport is really fascinating because obviously in different places around the world, the transport of ingredients and where they’re imported from will be slightly different, so we focus very much on the UK at the moment because that’s where I’m from. You can still get a lot of benefit from using the app because around transport is around 9 to 10% of the overall carbon footprint.
So it’s relatively minor, actually, we often think about transport being quite a significant contributor to the carbon footprint, we know about food miles, but actually, most of the carbon footprint comes from the field and when it’s being grown and that’s when it’s most intensive in the resources.
There’s still value that you can get, and over time we would like to be able to offer tweaks. So you can choose where you are importing things from and where you are around the world. So you get more accurate food miles, the transport element. We’d also like to include more of other environmental factors. So you asked around the carbon footprint at the moment we focus on carbon footprint. But we would like to bring in other factors that affect the environment like water scarcity and nutrification things like the soil degradation and maybe even some of the social issues as well. So we’re starting with carbon footprint. But we have big plans to bring in yeah. To bring in the other factors that might never have just considered with our food in the future.
Brighde: Yeah I can’t imagine. I’m wondering if you have a background in Maths or Economics or something like that to bring something like this to fruition. I can’t imagine the database and the calculations that you have to make.
Kayleigh: Yeah. Actually, I don’t have a kind of mathematical background I did do when I was at Uni, I did Biomedical sciences. So I’m definitely a bit of a Science geek. And I love like delving into research papers, and I’ve always been fascinated about nutrition, I’m a foodie, I’m interested in nutrition. I’m interested in food. I just love learning about food. I started learning more the kind of environmental impact, at very high level. I read some article around the impact of avocados and stuff. And it triggered this intrigue, to learn a bit more. But when I actually started to try and find the data on the carbon footprint of our food, I couldn’t find it anywhere. It wasn’t just in one place. It was in the depths of research papers around the internet, there was not a single location, I really wanted to create that and bring it to our fingertips really so that when you’re in your kitchen at home, or you’re planning out your meals, you can see what choices you can make to be a little bit more sustainable, quite easily. So really we wanna make it super simple to bring that carbon footprint to people at home, and I needed a little bit of help to do that, obviously, cuz I, I’m not an expert in this, but luckily my friend that I grew up with very close friend, she’s gone into working in sustainability and particularly has an interest in sustainable agriculture and sustainable business and international development. And she’s got a research background in that. So we had a little conversation. I said, I’d come up with this idea for an That would basically be like, My Fitness Pal type thing, , it’s taken from the idea of a calorie tracker, but rather than calories, you track the carbon footprint.
And so we spoke about it and I said, I don’t think it’s being done at the moment, and I didn’t know if she knew and she didn’t know of anything. Then the next question was, is it actually possible? Is it just so complicated? And it is very complicated cuz there’s all these life cycle assessments that you need to do.
With her knowledge, we felt pretty confident that we could get somewhere to making it happen. And we’ve actually ended up partnering with a data provider who have done a lot of that work already. So that made our life a lot easier to actually start building the app and bringing the technology to life and to help us with that. My partner Jim, is doing that, he has a background in app production. So thankfully between the three of us we’ve been able to pull together our experience and interests to make this app that hopefully has the impact to help people make more sustainable choices every day.
Brighde: Before we get started with our main topic for our conversation today, I’d love to maybe ask if you could give a little bit of a spoiler, what would be an example of a day of eating that would really low in carbon compared maybe a regular vegan meal or, a meal with meat, because I’m sure generally speaking, the vegan option is probably a little bit more climate friendly.
Kayleigh: Yeah, definitely. So if you are eating vegan, which I think most of your listeners will be then yes, that’s you are already a really good starting point, so a quick kind of simple way, if you haven’t got the app or you just wanna have a quick kind of tick list in your head is to ask is the food that you’re eating veggie and if you’re vegan, that’s a nice little tick. The second question is it seasonal? So are you eating things that are in season in the area that you are living and is it local? So are you getting it from the area that you’re living ? I talked about seasonality, is also the idea of global seasonality too. So eating things that are in season, in different places around the world and importing them can often be better than growing ingredients in the country that you live in out of season and using heated greenhouses, and creating artificial conditions to grow those products because they require so much energy if they’re not from renewable sources, then there’s a lot of greenhouse gas emissions that are associated with that.
Brighde: What would be an example of a day of low-carbon eating when you are in Mexico? For example?
Kayleigh: Yeah. Good question what I eat now. Often I have porridge in the morning, which is great because, oats are low carbon, they also have low land use and I have that with plant-based milk. So we’re making sure it’s veggie as well at that point and swapping out dairy for a plant-based alternative is a really great way to really slash your carbon emissions. So porridge with some plant-based milk is what I start my day with, and then something that I’ve been eating a lot recently, particularly over kind of winter, is having Katsu curries. So I like to use spices a lot to enhance the flavor of what might be more boring vegetables. Suppose. I consider boring. So I use Katsu curry and I use carrots and I make the rice with cauliflower rice because rice emits a lot of methane, so that’s a good way to reduce. Methane is a greenhouse gas using cauliflower rice. And you start to see as well that some of these these meals have a lot of health benefits too. So eating more sustainably, particularly if you’re eating whole foods often has some good health benefits too. This week I had some lentil quesadillas. So that was made with corn quesadillas, the tortilla wrap lentils instead of beef.
I don’t eat beef anyway, but lentils on there, which have a really low carbon footprint for protein compared to other sources of protein and some vegan cheese as well for the queso bit. So that’s my low carbon dinner week.
Brighde: So Kaylee, our topic is gonna really be about your story of how you have come to this point where you are living in mexico and as an entrepreneur and as somebody who is looking to make some positive changes in the world. And I always really like listening to these stories because, I always find other people’s stories so fascinating and interesting and inspiring, and they’ll often triggers some ideas of things that I wanna bring into my own life.
I’m sure that this is gonna be an interesting episode for our listeners. So right now you are in Mexico and you are working very hard on this app. But you are not from Mexico and
Brighde: the UK. So how did this all come to pass? How did you get to this point where you are working on this app in Mexico? I’m sure there’s a big, long story behind it and I can’t wait to hear it. Go ahead.
Kayleigh: Yeah, there is a long story. I’ll try and keep it brief for you. So basically about three and a bit years ago, I left the UK because I wanted to try a nomadic lifestyle , at that point I went freelance, so I was training people on Microsoft teams. And I still do a little bit of that now, but and I wanted to prove that remote working is possible.
This is pre COVID. And so I left the UK and I went to Southeast Asia and I was traveling around there working remotely, still working with clients back in the UK. And that really triggered my vegan journey, so to speak because when I was in Southeast Asia became a little bit more aware of our food systems and particularly the meat industry, because in the UK, the culture is very much you go to supermarket, you buy your meat, you buy your food and you don’t see any of the process behind it really. You never really come into contact with the people or the animals that are involved now in Southeast Asia, the countries that I was visiting, it’s quite a different culture and animals a lot more as part of the process when you are looking for food, wet markets and I suddenly felt a bit uncomfortable about that. And I didn’t like the realities of what I was being exposed to, and I had some friends that I’d met, who were vegan as well, so I was talking to them about it, learning from them. We started going to vegan restaurants in Bangkok, and I realized that the food is incredible and I didn’t have to miss out. I didn’t feel like I was missing out. And that kind of triggered the journey. And at the same time, there’s obviously in different parts of the world, particularly in developing countries. The environmental impact as well of particularly plastic and the impacts of climate change are a lot more obvious than they are to us in the UK or in the more developed world. So as having these thoughts around climate and the environment, and just starting to learn a little bit more about that, which also led me to find out about veganism and the benefits that I can have for the climate, so it all reinforced itself together. Then I went to Australia in 2019 and that was when the wildfires that I think most of us have heard about how horrific they were in 2019. And I was in Sydney and the smoke was coming down and there was real concern about the fires coming to the city. And again, just heightened that like the climate emergency is real and it’s really affecting people now. And what can we do about it. And this again, prompted me to do the research and try and figure out how do we actually learn, how do we find out about the impact our food has? And then I ended up going then COVID happened. And I ended up going back to the UK where, and I’m from the east of England, which is a very low lying part of the country, it’s only one or two meters above sea level in parts. And it’s also really important for agriculture in the UK. I think around 30% of the total produce that’s grown in the UK has grown in Lincolnshire, in the East of England which is where I’m from. So I was confronted with kind of the impact of climate change. Also then the impacts of climate change in the UK, because we had a really hot spring during that lockdown that we had in COVID and then the farmers were talking and worried about how that was gonna affect their harvest later on in the year. And so there was all this thinking that prompted me to come up with this idea for Floop and then the question was, how do you make it happen and bring it to life? So I sat on it for a while and I was back, I was in the UK over COVID and obviously had a bit more time to explore that idea and think about how it might happen.
And then ended up going back to do my normal work which was the training and working with people remotely, but I held onto it and then was able to start traveling again and being outside of the UK, which is quite an expensive country to live in. And I didn’t have my home base there anymore because I’d sold my home before I left. It was very expensive to stay, but as soon as I left the UK, I could have a bit more freedom around where I lived, the places that like the affordability, which enabled me to be able to to spend more time on Floop basically. So doing part-time work, paid work, and then doing the research that I needed to make Floop happen and the designing the app and everything else that took me to Portugal.
Brighde: Yes. I know a lot of digital nomads end up in Portugal because it’s a little bit more affordable than the UK, even other countries in Europe . So you made this decision to start living overseas so that you would be able to survive on less money and be able to pursue your passion and dreams for this. So can you give it a bit of an example of how your cost of living expenses are different now?
Kayleigh: So the major reduction in living expense for me has been rent. So in, in Portugal, for example me and my partner could rent somewhere for about 700 pounds a month for a small apartment which, in the UK, we would’ve been looking at kind of 12, 1300 pounds a month between us, which when I was taking a cut in pay anyway, for, with COVID related things and then wanting to dedicate some time to Floop that just wouldn’t have been feasible for us to stay. In Portugal, It takes a few boxes around. I get to travel and see places and then get to stay somewhere that has a lower cost of living. And I think I expect the food to be cheaper around and eating out is definitely cheaper. So that’s a bit more of a luxury that we could afford to do or not to feel so guilty of, but actually in the supermarkets, I think a lot of places are still on a par with the UK. If you’re shopping at local markets that’s a really a great way to support local businesses. And it is slightly cheaper as well because it’s more in line with the local economies prices. So yeah, rent is the major way and sometimes we do house sitting as well. So it’s a really great opportunity to be with pets and animals, which we adore, get some home comforts as well, because moving around a lot, you crave those home comforts. And it’s free accommodation. So you pay a membership for the site that I use and you pay that for the year. And it’s around probably around 80 pounds a year. So if you stay one or two nights somewhere, and I dunno, the United States, the UK, you’ve already reclaimed your money back, but it just acts as a guarantee that everyone on there is there because they want to support each other. And it’s a really lovely exchange because. You get to explore new places, it takes us to places that we would never really have thought of going. So in a couple of months we’re going to Alaska, which somewhere that I’ve dreamed of going, but I thought when would I ever get to go to Alaska, particularly for a month, which I’ll be there for so you get to explore, but also it’s free. So it makes more affordable places and more accessible for us, but also more accessible in terms of being able to dedicate time to Floop as we’re starting that up.
Brighde: It seems like you can really save money. And of course, when you’re a startup, it’s so important to have money to invest, whether it is your time or actual money to invest into the idea that you have. A question I have about like also having a business and being remote, living in different places is the legal stuff behind having a business, for example we decided to come to Canada and we needed to totally re set up our business again in Canada and get the correct licensing here in Canada. If we were to live in a more nomadic lifestyle again I kinda anticipate some challenges in regards to like just the business side of things. And maybe your industry isn’t so well, highly regulated as a travel industry, but are there any sort of challenges that come alongside with, the business and legal side of having a business set up in the UK, but actually physically being in another place.
Kayleigh: Yeah, it’s a really good question. And see, so my business is set up in the UK and all my taxes. My residency is still in the UK. The world is starting to wake up to this idea of digital nomadism and there are some places and countries that are starting to allow these digital nomad visa. So you can go and you can stay in a country for an extended amount of time, usually around a year and work in that country, the caveat, which is normally the case and is the kind of the principles that we apply wherever we go. So you don’t, you can’t work with the businesses in those countries so all my clients are in the UK. But if I was in, I dunno, in Portugal, for example, I couldn’t work with a Portuguese company. To because that would always be take that would be directly impacting the economical kind of setup of businesses and trade in that local area. So I think a lot of countries now are very keen with this digital nomad visa to to bring people, to boost the tourism and all the benefits that that having people come to live in and stay in those countries can have their local economy for restaurants, for shops, for the tourism industry. But as long as it doesn’t impede on the kind of the resources that are needed for local people and the economic support for local people too. So you often have to provide a evidence of income, like a salary that you have to show that you can support yourself.
Brighde: So it’s interesting because this idea of being a digital nomad has been around now for, 10, 15 years or so. There’s always been this gray area, I think. And I think a lot of countries are maybe sort realizing that we can’t really stop this. So we may as well create systems and ways in order for people to be able to do this and maybe, we can charge a premium for the cost of the visa for that year, and that would be the equivalent of, taking tax from this person , there’s some really interesting new visas coming out. For example, I was talking with a friend just a couple of days ago, and she’s always really loved Bali, and she’s learning about how there’s a new visa that apparently is going to be released soon, which will allow you to stay there for five years as long as you are working for an Indonesian company or working in that kind of traditional sense. So it’s really interesting, it really is the future of work. It’s really interesting.
Kayleigh: Yeah, I think it’s a great incentive to bring people to places. Obviously, Bali is a very popular tourist destination anyway, so I think that’s I dunno the details. I don’t think they’ve actually released the details on that visa yet, but yeah, they’re speaking about five years. Perhaps a premium to bring people, but then other countries that are not so popular as a tourist destination also starting them too. But Georgia which sits just south of Russia have had a digital nomad visa for a little while or have allowed people to come for up to a year, so that’s really boosted people. To come and visit and experience life in Georgia and see what the culture is like there. And it’s being spoken about more as a place to go and visit when perhaps traditionally it wouldn’t really be on the radar. So to speak for travelers this looking to go on holiday or to experience a place.
Brighde: What are your future plans? Do you plan on doing, this kind of lifestyle indefinitely for your business, or do you have a goal to go back to the UK? Do you have a trajectory on how long this will continue?
Kayleigh: It’s a good question. And the answer is I honestly don’t know. I I’m really enjoying this lifestyle at the moment and it offers for me that sense of freedom is so important. And something that I felt is a value to me was stripped away over COVID. So I knew that it was really important then. I love being able to explore places that I just want to see everywhere in the world, but then for a business owner, it does have some drawbacks too. So it’s great from a the cost of living perspective, it allows you to get started. You can network with people from all around the world and it’s made us become a remote first business. I’m based in I’m moving around. My partners moving around and Blay’s our other co-founder’s based in Sweden. So we have to be remote first to get things done. And I think that has some really great practices for being lean and agile in a startup, but also, from a sustainability perspective.
We don’t have like physical places that we need to look after. And we can look at the digital footprint and carbon footprint of what we’re doing. But in terms of actually meeting and seeing potential use of the app and talking to people at events and in person there’s nothing that really beats that in person experience and the relationships that you can nurture with people in real life. And so that is a limitation of having this remote first setup. And that’s something that I do crave and I would love to be able to go and speak to people. So being back in the UK is likely or, and particularly in Europe, but I don’t think I’ll ever get rid of that craving to travel and see the world so I dunno how exactly that will look
Brighde: I will say that when we were living in Thailand and we were starting World Vegan Travel it, I had no idea how much easier it would be, if I was living in Canada, just from the time zone perspective, it just made things so much easier because I’m not a night owl so the idea of working at, in the late evening to have calls for example, was not a particularly appealing thing to me. But yeah, there is a lot to be said for being in a sort of similar time zone and in a place where there’s a lot of things that are similar or the same as the country that you are living in, that you’ve got your business registered in, for sure.
Kayleigh: And just the energy as well, the moving around and setting up in new places requires a lot of energy and time to do that, so you get a lot of time back from being in one place and set up. So there are pros and cons. Something that I toy or I struggle with and battle with a lot as well is obviously I talk, I spend all day talking about carbon footprint and the environment and trying to advocate ways that we can live more sustainably and I obviously am traveling a lot and so that has, when you, every flight you take has quite a significant carbon footprint. So that’s something that I’m also trying to do is to the actual amount of flying and long-distance traveling that I’m doing and exploring more locally in places that I’m based. I think slow travel is what I do. I tend to base myself at least in a month somewhere because you just need to establish some sort of routine, but it also helps from that sustainability perspective of you’re not doing lots and lots of travel intensely. And yeah, that’s something that I really struggle with, so I’m looking at ways. To live more sustainably day to day in places that I am. But also when I travel to try and be more sustainable about that too. And I can’t wait for the day that electric planes or biofuel-powered planes exist that’s gonna be amazing.
Brighde: I’m also very conflicted with this too. It’s a really tricky one and I have beaten myself up so much in the past about this and, I continue to feel sort of uncomfortable, let’s say with, owning a travel business and traveling a lot and the environmental impact that brings. And, I’m not trying to shirk my own personal responsibility, but I I think there’s a conversation to be had about how, we, I think a lot of us particularly vegans and people who feel these things quite deeply. We often take a lot of responsibility for our own actions, which I think is good, but I don’t, I think there are other factors that are to blame for want of a better word in this, in with this as well. If I think about, just capitalism, the fact that I was born into this system where you know, the, money was considered everything else, and the fact that the airline industry knew about this like 40 years ago and did very little and the fact that, our governments are supposed to be the people that are doing these things. They’re supposed to be representing us and doing the best for the world. And, I try to be a little bit kinder to myself these days.
Kayleigh: Yeah, I think I hundred percent agree with that. I think there are so many layers that have contributed to the systems and the institutions and basically the world that we have set up and, I think it’s important that we do all try our bit and our actions that we take every day can, and I really do believe that they can influence better more sustainable practices. The thing with large-scale corporations and governments is that it takes so long to enact radical changes. So that’s why I believe that us doing things every day. I think we should try to live more consciously and the decisions that we make around food around travel transport, the energy that we use in our homes, if we have the opportunity and the ability to change them, and we’re aware of what the changes could do, then let’s take it and grab it, and if we slip up every once in a while, or if we need to take a flight or we want to have a holiday to look after our mental wellbeing, that’s okay. And if there’s a way that you can offset it or do that a little bit more consciously that’s even better. So yeah, I think there is a, there’s still this balance that we need to find in our life. It’s not an all or nothing. There are still, there’s all those different nuances and ways that we can live our life, just more consciously, that’s back to the app, that’s what we’re trying to do. We’re just trying to bring the awareness of food, all the processes that go on behind the scenes to more of the forefront of our minds, so that we can live more consciously and think about the decisions that we take.
Brighde: Kayleigh thank you so much for joining us and thank you so much for joining us on The World Vegan Travel Podcast. I’m really hoping that people will, who are listening to this that maybe have this little idea of a business or a thing that they would like to do might consider perhaps, changing their, how they live and traveling a little bit more in order to bring this dream to reality so how might people be able to get in contact with you and download this app and try to use this app to decrease the carbon footprint of the diet and how can they support you and find out about what you’re doing?
Kayleigh: Yeah, so we’re available right now on the app store. So if you have an iPhone or even an iPad, you can go onto the app store now, search for Floop and download the app and start calculating the carbon footprint of your lunch or your dinner, whatever you’ve had today. And we are current, we are coming to Android, so we’re not available for Android yet on Google play, but we are coming, hopefully later this year and we are currently crowdfunding just to help us get over, to be able to launch that.
You can find more about that on our website and sign up to the Android waiting list on our website, which is thefloopapp.com and follow us on social media for any updates too. So thank you so much.
Brighde: Fantastic. Kayleigh thank you so much for joining us today.
Kayleigh: Thank you.