diy-toothpaste

DIY: 4 Ingredient Natural Toothpaste

Before any travel, it’s necessary to go through everything I own and make sure I love it enough to bring it with me in my 65L backpack.  With this thinking comes creativity. I need to carefully consider everything I can leave behind, and in turn, my “needs” have become strong “wants”. My once full make-up bag(s) and products began to dwindle, and I’ve also started thinking more about what I really need, and what is good for me mentally, physically and in terms of my overall health. Quality over quantity, everyone.

 

After doing my research, I found that, as we all likely know, the products stocking our shelves contain a lot of **** I would rather not have on or in my body. This is where toothpaste comes in. I just kept buying these massive plastic tubes of chemical, not really knowing what it contained but knowing it was the norm. Once I heard about the benefits of oil pulling and the possibility to make your own toothpaste, I had to try. So, a friend and I got together, pooled our ingredients and it turned out well! It can take some getting used to, but I got accustomed to it rather quickly. Now if only I could find a bamboo toothbrush in Chile somewhere (any leads?).

 

Here is how to make your own DIY toothpaste and say goodbye to unwanted, unnecessary chemicals in your daily routine.

 

Ingredients:

3 tablespoons of coconut oil

1 tablespoon on baking soda

3-5 drops of mint essential oil – to preference

3-5 drops of stevia – if tastes to bitter, to preference

 

Directions:

  1. Pick your vessel. I chose a glass jar with a lid to seal.
  2. Spoon coconut oil into the jar. If the oil is fully solid, pop it it over a flame or in the microwave for a couple of seconds to soften. 
  3. Spoon the baking soda into the jar and mix well, this should be very evenly distributed.
  4. Add Mint essential oil (edible) and Stevia drops to your liking. After trying the mixture without stevia, I added a few drops which really helps the toothpaste taste more like the product you’re used to.
  5. Scoop out a small amount using a spoon – avoid using your toothbrush directly in the mixture – and brush away as usual!

 

 

Have you tried making your own DIY toothpaste or other DIY products? How did it go? 

 

 

x – Jenn, The Redhead Abroad

Budget Travel: 5 Cheap Eats in Melbourne, Australia

I’m going to get straight to the point because if you’re reading this, you’re likely in Melbourne and hungry! Or just hungry.

I lived in Melbourne for 1.5 years and found out very quickly that it is a beautiful – and expensive – city. But even while living and travelling on a budget we have to treat ourselves once in a while, right?! So I’ve put together this list of my top 5 Cheap Eats in Melbourne, Australia that are sure to leave both your belly and wallet satisfied.
Disclaimer: I have personally tried all of the places I am about to recommend and am in no way affiliated with any of them- just love what they offer. I hope you enjoy them too, while saving a bit of cash at the same time.

 

Happy eating!

 

Grab Dumplings in Chinatown

 

In the heart of the City is Melbourne’s Chinatown, literally filled to the brim with delicious restaurants at every turn. Shanghai Dumpling House and Shanghai Village are my favourites. Shanghai Dumpling House is the ultimate cheap, good food experience. The ambience is definitely casual, and its cash only. At $8 including tax for 20 steamed or friend dumplings of many kinds to choose from, you can eat well for super cheap and BYOB for a couple of dollars’ fee if you wish. This is the ultimate go-to as a couple or group- it’s our go-to before going out dancing or after a movie. Shanghai Village is a bit of a more nice environment but still has super cheap options as well.
Check out Shanghai Village Facebook page here .

 

Pay as you Feel at Lentil as Anything

 

Lentil as anything has a pay as you feel philosophy wherecustomers order delicious meals and donate whatever they can afford. The meals are hard to choose between (my favourite has to be the veggie burger or japanese pancake though), and there are guides posted in the restaurant to show you where your donation will go and how it will help the restaurant. All waiters, chefs etc are volunteering their time, and Lentils is run on an honour based system. They are solely run on the generosity of the public and all staff are volunteers so please donate generously if you can! Check them out and their locations here .

 

Sushi in the City

 

Sushi-to-go is the ultimate grab and go snack in Melbourne. The sushi is served still as a full roll and not cut into pieces. I’m not sure if an official name for this exists, but I’ve just started saying “sushi log” (you heard it here first, guys!), and each log is around $2 depending on where you go. My favourites are all along Swanston street between QV mall and Flinders Street Station. Grab a few of these and bring them to a park or eat in for a quick, fresh, super cheap lunch. I love grabbing a few to go for a mini picnic along the Yarra River.

 

Snack your way around Queen Victoria Market

 

I used to live quite close to Queen Victoria Market. This is the ultimate stop for cheaper veggies, fruits, legumes, fish andmore. After doing our bi-weekly vegetable stock-up, we get hungry! Take a wander around the market where you can find juicy, delicious and cheap local Australian fruits, cafes, and restaurants with delicious, affordable homemade snacks of all varieties. During all seasons they also often have events such as food and craft night markets, free outdoor yoga, and specialty food-truck days. Sample your heart out.

 

Try a Yoga and Dinner Combo at Urban Yoga

 

Urban Yoga is the best deal I have come across in Melbourne in any category- hands down. I found Urban Yoga through Classpass, and one evening I wandered over to the studio where we had a relaxing one hour yin yoga class  followed by a delicious, warm, vegetarian dinner on the floor below. How much, you ask? $17! Or $14 if you’re a student. I was SO excited you guys. Hear me out- yoga in Melbourne, like most cities, is crazy expensive. The majority of yoga studios charge upwards of $25 for a single hour yoga class, and definitely no dinner included. So imagine how happy I was to discover this. My go to for a relaxing, healthy evening.

 

**Side note: Classpass (link)  as I previously mentioned is an app where you pay a monthly fee to access multiple fitness studios around Melbourne (it’s in other cities and countries too). It’s great because instead of locking yourself in to one studio, you can try many. They have a great intro pass option too – try it out if you’re into yoga & fitness at a reasonable price.

http://www.urbanyoga.com.au/yoga-sessions/

 

Talk about cheap eats! I hope you found some foodie inspiration from this list. It’s definitely possible to find meals in Melbourne that are affordable and delicious at the same time!

Have you been to Melbourne? What’s your favourite place to eat?

 

-x Jenn, The Redhead Abroad

How I Survived Christmas Abroad

Have you ever experienced the holiday season away from your family and closest friends? Perhaps in a foreign country as well? The Christmas and New Years holidays are the most important time of year, when family gathers and shares over feasts, gifts, and maybe one too many rum and eggnogs. It’s also a time where we may be halfway across the world, and are just trying to have the best Christmas, knowing we are far from home. I have spent the last two holiday seasons away from my home country and family, and this post is all about how i survived Christmas abroad (and more!), and you can too!

Surround yourself with people in the same situation as you.

If you’re abroad during the holidays, there’s bound to be someone nearby in the exact same situation as you. Find fellow backpackers in your hostel, families of local friends, anyone that you want to share the holiday cheer with! A great idea is organizing an easy and fun Secret Santa gift exchange with a group of people at a small price range, make a get together to share appetizers or desserts or to watch a holiday movie together! This can help everyone have a wonderful morning filled with surprises and treats with those who are sure to soon be close friends.

Embrace new traditions.

The key to surviving the holiday season away from family and in a new environment is to immediately understand that it will be different. You’re in a new country, with a different culture and set of traditions. So let go a little bit of the traditions you have at home (keep a few!) and welcome the new traditions that come your way. It will spark the Christmas excitement again!

For example, I have just spent Christmas 2016 in Chile, where everyone waits on Christmas Eve until midnight and then opens gifts and meets family until the early hours of the morning. In Canada where I’m from, we have dinner, family conversation by the fire and then fall fast asleep only to wake up early the next morning for gifts and a large breakfast.

Viejito Pascuero (Santa Claus) en Chile

Call or Skype your loved ones.

Yes, technology seems to be taking over to a certain degree. And we should leave our cell phones and other devices to the side during the holidays to fully be present and connect with those around us ( really we should do this for the most part always!). One time where your phone will definitely come in handy this year is to call or skype your loved ones at home.

I recently skyped with my family and they showed me around the house, our decorated tree, the snow outside, and them! Although it made me miss my family even more of course, I was able to imagine I was right there with them. Thank gosh for technology with loved ones far away!

You’re doing it!

After experiencing Christmas abroad, the verdict for me is, of course, nothing is better than home. Family is the most important at this time of year, right? But at the same time, what I do enjoy about the holidays abroad with new people I meet in my travels is it opens my mind to other cultures, I learn and practice new traditions, and it makes it that much sweeter when I will finally have Christmas at home again. Travelling at Christmas has also really put into perspective the amount of material items we give and consume during the holiday season. While travelling and keeping in mind those I am usually giving gifts to are travelling as well, it helps you to think much more about what you are purchasing, and how it can be useful to that person, making gift giving that much more satisfying!

Happy holidays to you, wherever you are in the world!

Where is your favourite place to spend the holidays? Do you have any holiday traditions? Let me know in the comments! Please subscribe if you’d like to see more posts like this.

-x Jenn, The Redhead Abroad

Top 5 Etiquette Tips: Chile

Interested in Chile and want to learn more about the culture? Chile is a beautiful country rich in deep history and well-engrained etiquette. Here is a list of the top 5 essential etiquette tips to have when visiting Chile – and to fit in with the locals!

 

Tip #1: Permiso!

 

In Chile, saying “permiso” (english: “excuse me”, literally “permission”) is the key to following all polite etiquette in chile. When to say “permiso”:

  • You’re on the metro (train), it’s crowded, and you need to get off, say “permiso” to those in your way. They will politely step aside and allow you to exit.
  • When entering a home or a room. When entering someone else’s space, whether it be an apartment, home, room or otherwise, always announce “permiso” as you enter. This is the equivalent of saying something similar to “permission to enter”.
  • When reaching for something or asking anyone to move ie. reaching slightly across someone to grab something on the table,  or to pass someone in any situation they need to move or you will be in their personal space.
  • When you’re about to eat with your hands. See tip #2 for this one.

 

Tip #2: Fork and knife. Even for “finger food”.

 

If given a fork and knife with your meal, DO NOT eat with your hands. I found this out the hard way while eating pizza. In Canada, we dig right in with our hands. Unless it’s extremely hot or we are in a more formal situation, then we might use a fork and knife. In Chile, it is considered very bad manners to not use a knife and fork to eat, including with what other countries consider finger food (pizza is the biggest one).

A good idea is to wait until someone eats with their hands, ask, or at the very least say “permiso” before picking up something to eat ie. a piece of meat, pizza etc. The only foods I have seen Chileans eat with their hands, and without saying “permiso” first is ice cream cones, empanadas and completos (see my post on these traditional chilean foods if you’re unfamiliar!).

 

Tip #3. Greet (and say goodbye to) each individual.

 

This is a very important tip. It is crucial here in Chile and varies a lot around the world.

In Chile, you individually greet each person. The size of the group, the people, the environment, it doesn’t matter. If you arrive to a party of 20 people and you don’t know half of them, you go around the room and kiss each individual on their right cheek (right cheek to right cheek) and say hello, and your name if you haven’t met before. For women, you greet everyone with this cheek kiss, and add in a hug for people you know well, or whenever you want! For men, you greet with a cheek kiss to women and shake hands of other men- unless he is a close friend or family- then give a kiss on the cheek if you wish. This is common courtesy and is expected of everyone! When you are leaving, you say goodbye in the same manner to each individual. This is very important as you may be seen as cold or impolite if you forget!

Coming from Canada, arriving to a big get together consists of waving and loudly saying hello to everyone, especially if you have recently seen everyone and you are a very casual group. This is seen as very awkward in Chile! Kisses on the cheek are always a good idea.

Extra tip: This form of greeting/departing someone is still valid in an office or interview setting. I learned the hard way!

 

Tip #4. To Tip or Not to Tip.

 

In Canada, we tip everyone. Taxi drivers, waiters, 15% no matter how the service is. Everyone! It’s engrained in our nature now. But in Chile, everything’s a bit more vague.

At restaurants, make sure to check your bill. Usually, the waiter automatically adds the tip into the total, so make sure NOT to tip on top of that! Although this tip has been added in, it is still up to you to decide how much of a tip to give, and it usually depends much more on the service and actual experience you had. Feel free to pay the full tip or discount it a bit.

Do not tip taxis. I haven’t heard of anyone tipping a taxi driver, but if you’re feeling extra generous of course you can.

In other cases, you can tip someone whenever you like, just keep in mind it isn’t necessary and usually they aren’t expecting it.

 

Tip #5. Don’t take your shoes off.

 

Just don’t. Before arriving in Chile, I was used to living in houses where it is very rude if you don’t immediately take off your shoes at the front door. This is usually due to general cleanliness or carpets etc. However, as soon as I started living in Australia with my Chilean boyfriend, my world was turned upside down!

Chileans don’t take off their shoes in their own homes (unless they just rolled out of bed- but they still wear slippers or flipflops), and definitely not in other’s homes. Whenever I don’t have shoes on in the house (I love going barefoot), there is always someone quick to say that I might get sick, even during Chilean summer! So, final word is: keep your shoes on.

 

There are my 5 etiquette tips for Chile! I hope you enjoyed this article and I was able to prepare you in some way for your future South American travels, or that you were slightly enlightened by these cultural differences!

Please comment, share if you like this post, and subscribe for more travel and wellness tips from myself!

For photos of my travels around Chile and other countries, find me on instagram !

x – Jenn, The Redhead Abroad