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

My Spotify Playlist: Yoga Groovin’

 

I have a long background of dance and love to incorporate that into my yoga practice, flowing and connecting poses together, some hip sways here and there. This is the music I dance/yoga/boogie to whenever I need to relax, release, or just get my groove on for a few minutes. What are you favourite yoga, meditation or workout tracks? Here is my ultimate spotify playlist for getting your yoga groove on.

Namaste.

Click here & Happy Groovin’ !

yoga asana in melbourne australia
Stretching it out in my tiny Melbourne studio flat.

 

Setlist:

  1.  Daughter – Youth
  2.  Chet Faker – No Diggity
  3.  Flume & Chet Faker – Drop the Game
  4.  Matt Corby – Oh Oh Oh
  5.  Coldplay – Magic
  6.  Doe Paoro – Wind
  7.  Snatam Kaur – Ong Namo

 

-x Jenn, The Redhead Abroad

Coconut Oil: My Budget Travel Secret

Coconut oil is a natural, budget travel lifesaver. Cheap, natural, and multi purpose. When I’m travelling, it’s important to maximise luggage space, and ladies, we all know how our personal products can take up all the space, and empty out our wallet after a trip to Sephora. It’s my solution for natural, sensitive skin approved, cheap (!) product with multiple uses. Here’s why I can’t travel without coconut oil.

coconut oil

Makeup Remover

If you’re spending anything over a couple of dollars on makeup remover (I’m looking at you, Lancome), that’s unnatural, and likely irritates or dries out your skin and eyes, here’s your answer. I always use coconut oil every night to take off my mascara, and it works like a charm- even for the waterproof brands – without irritating my eyes. Simply put some coconut oil in your palm, rub your hands together to melt or apply directly to the eyelid and gently rub around your eyes. In seconds, the makeup’s gone! Swipe with a damp washcloth and you’re fresh faced. Easy.

ocean bali

 

Bright Whites

Ever heard of oil-pulling? I was confused at first. I mean, how could OIL make my teeth and mouth healthier? But once I started, I began to notice a difference in the way my mouth feels, another level of clean and healthy, and I also began to feel more energized. Just take a spoonful of coconut oil (you can mix in peppermint oil to get that minty taste if you like), and swish for 5, building up to 20 minutes. After doing some reading on ayurveda, I became interested in how many toxins tend to build in our mouths overnight (morning breath – yuck!), and by tongue-scraping and oil pulling, we can get all those toxins out of our bodies effectively & easily.

 

Leave-in-conditioner

I’m currently living in South America, and the weather is the exact opposite of my home in Canada. Dry, no humidity, and always hot! My hair isn’t too happy. Once a week, before bed I massage a big dollop of coconut oil into my hair, focusing on the ends, and wrap it up in a bun on the top of my head. When I awake, I unravel my hair and shampoo and condition as normal, and my hair is back to it’s shiny, bouncy self. Sometimes I like to mix in a couple drops of essential oils into the coconut oil before massaging, such as frankincense for added benefits or even just grapefruit oil so my hair also smells delicious.

Goodbye Sunburn 

I’m a redhead (the blog name says it all), which means I’ve also inherited very sensitive skin – especially to the sun. Although I put all my effort into applying SPF 50 and more constantly, sometimes the sun is too much for me, and I end up with a nasty sunburn. My secret (I’ve had lots of practice to perfect this), is to rub apple cider vinegar on my sunburn (feels amazing), rinse it off with cold water on a wash cloth, and apply coconut oil generously. It sounds strange, I may smell a bit funky, but when I wake up the next day, my skin feels moisturised and looks way better than it did the day before.

 

Pedicure Au-Natural

I’m one of those girls who has a pedicure as a treat maybe once a year (every 6 months when I’m feeling extra fancy), which means my feet need some at home TLC. Coconut oil is so light but moisturising that I sometimes massage my feet with oil in the morning and it keeps my feet moisturised during the day. Sometimes, in dire situations, I’ll lather on some and put cotton socks over my moisturised feet for a lazy morning or overnight, and the next day they’re ready for the beach.

 

These are just a few reasons why I can’t travel without coconut oil. What are yours?

 

x Jenn, The Redhead Abroad

how-travel-changed-me-woman

How Travel Changed Me as a Woman

how-travel-changed-me-woman

 

We’ve all heard the inspirational quotes about travel that keep us yearning for overseas experiences. “Travel is the only thing you can buy that makes you richer”, right? For those of us who have had travel experiences, from a week or two to living abroad, I’m sure we can all agree that it opens your mind to new experiences and to the world around us. Along with experiencing new places, for an extended period of travelling, we may start to notice that this exposure to new experiences can change how we conduct ourselves, our mentality, and much more. In this post I share how travel has started to change me as a woman since leaving Canada in February, 2015.

 

Travel Changed…

My interest in language and culture

Back home in Canada, we are required to learn French in school as it’s our national language along with English, and I have always loved the language, however I felt it was almost useless in a city such as Vancouver where minimal people actually speak the language daily, being so far from our french friends in Quebec. I began to feel as though languages were more of a high school requirement as they diminished from my “passions” list. I could get by every day using english without needing to communicate in any other language. So why did I need other languages?

But once I began travelling, my perception completely changed. I was visiting countries where I wanted to connect with locals, share stories and ideas. Or even just tell them to have a great day or to see how they are. Once again, my love (and seemingly need!) for foreign languages returned. Now, currently living in Chile and planning to travel around Latin America, I am driven to learn new languages to meet new people and become more immersed in wherever I am at the moment. And returning to Canada, I almost felt as if the english language was boring, I now crave the challenges that come with learning a new language!

 

My thinking about the environment and sustainability

I studied environmental conservation in university, but even without that, environmental issues and sustainability is currently on the forefront of many people’s minds. When travelling, however, especially to areas that are more impacted, or don’t cover it up, you start thinking about how you’re impacting the world and become more conscious of your purchases and actions.

One experience which left a mark was off Redang Island, Malaysia during a scuba trip, where I constantly found coral covered in plastic, fishing line, and cans and plastic covering the ocean floor. It takes plastic hundreds of years to fully decompose. This and many other exposures of environmental impact and humans mistreating our home makes me want to think twice about a use-once coffee cup, thinking about how long my waste will be left on earth for generations to come.

 

My relationship with my body

Being in my home country and especially in my teens, I was constantly worried about my body and my weight, and would never be seen without some makeup or fixing my hair. This continued even after university, where I didn’t have as many pressures but was still exposed to a culture and mind-frame where I easily caved to what “society” wanted me to be, or look like.

Now, living abroad for the past couple of years, I realize how focused I used to be on my appearance. While travelling, I unconsciously began to shift my focus more to new cultures, new cities, new friends who couldn’t care less if i straightened my hair or not, and a new way of living. I didn’t care as much about my appearance or what nail polish colour I was wearing because what and who were around me was much more interesting. Now, I am more concerned about my inner well being, a wholesome health. I rarely wear makeup except for a recent job interview or lipstick when I go out dancing, and my latest style goal is how to be comfortable wandering cities to mountains day in and day out, and cutting down my wardrobe so it all fits into my one 65 litre backpack. I’m pale, my hair is usually a jungle, I haven’t had a pedicure in a while, and I’ve never felt more confident.

 

My anxious nature to ease

I am the anxious type at my core, but I hide it well. At home, I constantly worried about the little things. After being abroad and realising how large the world is and how small my worries really are in the long term and worldwide scheme of things, travelling really helped me put my anxieties and worries into perspective. I have become more easygoing. I meet new friends knowing I will have to say goodbye in a few months, I know I may lose my luggage or miss my bus but it will all eventually work out. I’m learning to slow down and appreciate everything I experience around me. I’ve realised that at this moment in life, the most important things in life for me are  my health, my passport, good people, and savouring the moments.

 

My tendency to judge others and myself

Living in my hometown of Vancouver, Canada, I am grateful to have grown up in a very culturally diverse city, which helped me to become more interested in the world around me. However, my city is also one for style, and “outer-appearance approval” (see earlier in this post). Meeting new people when I was younger, I would judge others on who their friends were, where they lived, or if they had the latest clothes from Aritzia (I KNOW, RIGHT?!) . Since I have travelled, I have become much more interested in cultures around the world, and really when it comes down to it, how similar we all are, regardless of what patch of soil we happened to be born on or how much money is in our pockets. I learned no matter where you live or where you come from, we are all so similar and just subject to different circumstances, and this really helps me to see the world as one land, separated by a couple of human-made “borders”.

 

I would love to hear from you if you have anything to add from what you have experienced, how travel may have changed your mentality or emotions toward life, or if you’ve had similar experiences as well!

x Jenn, The Redhead Abroad

 

Travel Yoga: How to Strengthen your Practice Abroad

Exercising abroad is a difficult task. Your routine is bound to change from your schedule at home in all ways, and especially with exercise! Through travel we tend to replace gym memberships with more outdoor activities like hiking mountains or strolling through the city streets, sometimes it’s nice to still keep a small routine exercise to keep us feeling our best, mentally and physically, while abroad. This is how I have continued my practice abroad, and at sometimes re-ignited my practice when I’ve fallen out of routine, through these travel yoga secrets.

 

I had a difficult time at first trying to keep up with my practice. Going from a membership to a studio close to my house and taking a class before work almost every morning, I knew my practice would change once I was abroad. Little did I know just how much it would change. After incorporating each of these tips I have below, my practice became much more steady, and all of the wonderful benefits I had experienced at home came rushing back – from a strong mind to even stronger legs. Here’s what you can do to continue exercising while abroad, because we all know we aren’t just here for the savasana.

 

travel yoga in melbourne outside

 

Remember your Mat

Bring your mat with you! I use “The Mat 5mm” by lululemon which provides the perfect amount of comfort and support for my practice, and “The Reversible Mat 3mm” for travel is a great lightweight option as well for travellers always on the go. I always hop on the plane with my carry on crossbody bag of essentials (see what’s in it here!) and my travel yoga mat bag slung over my shoulder destined for the overhead bin. In any exercise, especially yoga, it is crucial to practice on a good quality mat to avoid injury and enhance your practice. I’ve tried multiple yoga mats and this is the one, guys. I can do a sweaty one hour hot yoga practice and don’t even need a towel with this mat. Absolute Essential.

travel yoga mat
Photo copyright: lululemon athletica. The Mat 5mm.

 

Roll out of bed & into your practice

Even better, leave your mat rolled out beside your bed waiting for you. I love rolling out of bed and before I can think of anything else, I’m on my mat, stretching and breathing out all of my kinks.That way, you have no excuse that you’re tired or have no time. Set your alarm even a few minutes earlier than your usual wake up call, and get your body moving! Even 5 minutes of just sitting and breathing alone is a total game changer for my entire day. Plus, add in a little yoga workout and stretch and you’re done your workout before you even have breakfast. Total travel yoga win.

 

Find your crew

Wherever you are in the world, try to find a group of like-minded or like-exercising people in your local area. Free park yoga is exploding everywhere and it’s amazing! Check local facebook groups, your hostel or hotel, and ask at community centres to find free or by-donation activities. Plus, a group of fellow travelling yogis will help you to stay on track if you make set times and days to practice together.

Beautiful sculpture artwork near Penang, Malaysia.

 

Do yoga with me (THE BOMB) . com  ( doyogawithme.com )

Best yogs website ever – in my opinion. Sign up for free to access multiple classes right from your device. Choose your level and style of class from kundalini to pre-natal yoga, and get practicing. I recommend this class (intermediate level- choose what’s appropriate for you), which I’ve been following to help re-ignite my practice and I promise your muscles will feel this one! I used to take classes with Fiji in Victoria, Canada and learned so much. So imagine how happy I am to be able to continue her classes when I’m all the way over in Chile!

 

Grab those Studio Intro Deals

And if where you are does have a yoga presence- Get those intro deals girl! During my entire time living in Australia (1.5 years), I think I paid in full for a drop in class maybe once. Many studios have intro passes for your first week or two if you’ve never visited the studio before. As yoga is such a trend these days, yoga classes in Melbourne were averaging $25 or more for a one hour class, whereas by hopping between studios in Melbourne city and surrounding suburbs, I would purchase a two-week unlimited pass, taking up to 10 classes in that time, for $19 in some places. Other studios even had a FREE pass for your first week, no obligations following. In addition, keep your eye out for special events like studio openings, studio anniversaries and International Yoga Day – free classes are everywhere just waiting for you – and for cheap. Travel yoga just got way easier. No excuses there!

travel yoga asana in melbourne australia
Stretching it out in my tiny Melbourne studio flat.

 

There are all my travel yoga secrets! So many options to be able to get moving no matter what excuse is holding me back. Of course finding other ways to keep moving such as hiking, exploring a new city or town, or going for a bike ride are also great ways to see the country you’re in and stay active while doing so! I hope these inspire you to roll out your mat or attend that yoga class in a foreign language, and let me know how it goes!

 

How do you get moving when you’re abroad? Have you noticed a change in your fitness routine when you’re travelling vs at home? Let me know below!

-x Jenn, The Redhead Abroad