The Importance of BYO skincare products when travelling remotely

I think it’s amazing these days seeing the prevalence of cancer amongst seemingly “healthy individuals”. How many times have you heard someone say “yeah he passed away from cancer but it makes no sense, he was the healthiest guy, always eating the best foods and exercising regularly”. It is my belief it all comes down to the products we are applying externally and surrounding ourselves in daily that are endocrine disruptors (or hormone disruptors). See Wikipedias definition here.

A few years ago I never used to care for what I was putting on my skin, in my hair or brushing my teeth coconut oil with until I dated a highly passionate vegan. I hadn’t even heard of the concept of chemical beauty products, all that mattered was that it smelt pretty, moisturised, left a minty taste, smoothed or untangled. A simple internet search of unpronounceable chemicals contained in my favourite deodorant or moisturiser revealed some pretty disturbing results.

I started exploring alternative options and visiting speciality health food stores and paying more money for natural products. This was certainly trial and error as I found many products were not effective and I had to go through many brands until I found one that suited. For example finding a natural deodorant that actually worked took quite a few months and quite a few dollars, but I was so happy when I finally found a reliable brand and have to this day stuck with it.

Common Misbeliefs 

The biggest misbelief people follow regarding everyday skin care products you find at your supermarket is “if it’s so bad how can it end up in the supermarket and why would these companies want to harm your health?”. The sad truth is many companies want to find the most cost-effective option for manufacturing their products, with very little care for your health but total focus on how much profit they can make.

The use of animal products 

This involves using multiple animal by-products which include ground up intestines, meat industry beauty productshormones from adrenal glands and proteins obtained by boiling ligaments, bones and skin. For a full list see peta.org’s animal ingredients’ list here . The reason companies decide to use animal products is because they are cheap and usually by-products from the meat industry. Also animal skin oils etc are most closely related to our skin, therefore giving a smooth texture upon application, especially in moisturisers and makeup.

The use of chemical products

Again the main reason companies (including big names) use chemical products which are harmful to your health is because of the low cost involved. Have a look at the top chemicals to look out for in your personal skin care products here. You will see listed many chemicals which can affect internal organs, lead to skin allergies, cause chest pain, nausea, affect your immune system and the worst- cancer.

So the issue is not if you use these products once or twice or even for a few months at a time. Rather it is the long term exposure to these carcinogenic chemicals that will do the damage. Of course your skincare routine is engrained to your daily habits- my main tip is don’t change your entire beauty product range overnight- it’s just too overwhelming, trust me I tried! Once you start looking at the ingredients of every bathroom product you will find toothpaste, shampoos, moisturisers and all hair products contain some kind of toxic chemical or ground up animal part. Start with just one and go from there. It took me almost a year to almost fully change my beauty products to natural options. It is also a process of simplification- for example my everyday hair wash I just use diluted apple cider vinegar and for moisturiser face and body I use coconut oil.

The problem with remote regions

Luckily in countries like Australia there are regulations and bodies in place to measure what makes a product “organic” or “vegan-friendly”. Many remote spots just haven’t been educated on the dangers, therefore I’ve found products are much worse off than Australia because of a largely unregulated industry. In Thailand there are entire sections in supermarkets that claim to be organic but a simple scroll of the ingredients will reveal anything but. Small villages in Indonesia, Polynesia and Philippines that I have lived in all rely on toxic products as there is no other option.

Herein lies the importance of bringing your own beauty products on your surf trips. You could say you’re only living in these spots for less than a few months but once you are aware of just how bad most supermarket products are, it’s hard to go back. Again simplification wins. You don’t want to pay for excess baggage because of all the products you’re going to bring to last a few months.

The lesson learnt is not to only evaluate what you put inside your body but equally as important, be aware of what you’re exposing your body to and the long-term effects on your health.

Mentawai adventure

The land of dreaming

I’m a big believer in dreams carrying significant messages or images of the predication of the future places, people or situations you might encounter. I also believe strongly in Déjà vu and its powerful meaning and confirmation that you are on the right path in life. Surely Déjà vu is intertwined with some parts of our dreams, either that, or we are re-visiting the same scenario that we faced in a previous life.

Now with dreams I’m not talking the weird ones where you sleep with your best friend and wake up feeling nauseous or find yourself ridingNew Zealand exploration giraffes in the outback. To me, those type of dreams are just plain weird and I can never find any foreseeable explanation of what just occurred in my mind imagery.  The type I want to talk about are certain places I seem
to visit consecutively for nights, if not weeks on end. I also feel this strongly when I meditate, however the places I go to in meditation, I seem to always recognise as places from my past. Laying in a lush green paddock, gently floating down a river on my back or climbing through a knee-deep snow capped mountain- these all seem to be scenarios from my childhood growing up in NZ. The dreams that repeat for me, are all places I have not been to before and come to me as visions of the future. Let me describe how this happens.

The actual vision

So as I’m drifting off to sleep, faint images of a certain scene start to seep through my mind. Tonight it is somewhere in a rainforest, I follow a path where the forest floor feels damp under my bare feet, I have a destination in mind, although the vision is not strong enough, I know from the previous night’s sleep it is upon a raised land and I feel strongly that I am heading to that familiar spot. Nothing significant happens in this dream, I am just given more pieces of a puzzle, almost in slow motion, meaning the visuals come to me at no fast pace, almost like my eyes are only half open. From what I know, this dream only lasts a short period of time before I continue a random set of insignificant other dreams for the night.

Now what captures my waking mind’s attention the most, is that I willThailand exploration return to this same place each night for up to two weeks until the scene manifests in my reality. In this case I was living in Northern Thailand at the time of these dreams and ended up on a completely random weekend trip away to a lush forest area full of mysterious ancient temples and caves. When I arrived at the forest I had a sense of familiarity wash over me and the memory of those repeated dreams came flooding back to me. After that weekend I no longer continue these same dreams.

This is where I believe we are much more connected to nature than what we remember our existence to be, pre-technology overload and fast-paced lifestyle. Each of my visions always involves the outdoors, much of which is my deep love of the ocean. I have found myself in some of the most stunning places in the world and vividly recalling the very scene before my eyes-from previous repeated dreams.

One step further

When I found myself living on a remote Indonesian island in the Mentawais my dreams became very powerful. At one point I wasn’t quite sure what was reality and what was dream and when I talk to other surfers that have spent long periods in these islands they can tell me the same situation. It’s a beauty that cannot be truly described. I previously wrote about this reality flip here.

Another strange set of reoccurring dreams was at the time I was dating the owner of a surf camp in these islands. What didn’t make sense to me from the beginning of meeting him, was the fact he never featured in any of my dreams. Generally each person who is in my life frequently, shows up in my dreams. However, I had a certain dream for two or three weeks straight, where I had this deep feeling within my being that I had met and connected strongly with “a” man. In my dreams I am not only picking up on the dream visually, but also energetically. I could actually feel all these feelings of being in love and being completely and utterly content, however the man I was with in my dreams had “no face” and I couldn’t recognise who it was, therefore I could not link it to the actual man I was dating.

What happened in those dreams is that I had the memory of meeting aMentawai adventure man I was deeply connected with, but at the same time I couldn’t find him and he would vanish from my side like a puff of smoke each and every dream. The dream would then take me to an unknown city, a really busy environment with lots of people moving in many different directions around me and I felt so incredibly alone to be in a city that I hated. I was overwhelmed to be in such a busy place when I knew my current home was set amidst a dense jungle, where waterfalls tethered off into tropical lagoons.

At the time these dreams occurred I was very much in love with this man and was seeing a long future out in the islands. It wasn’t until one night when he abruptly decided that the relationship was to end and insecurely dictated my very feelings for him. He told me I was not connected with him and that I didn’t love him, when that was the furtherest from my truth which (not coincidently) fell on deaf ears. Being an intimidating man who notoriously had the last say in any situation, the relationship was deemed over.

After a wild escape from that island and two days travel, there I was, sitting at a huge city in Malaysia, feeling more alone than ever and so confused how things could end so quickly and how he could vanish from my life (like a puff of smoke?). I believe those dreams were trying to indicate to me future events and with greater practice I am sure I could use these dreams more powerfully to predict future occurrences.

If you have trouble recalling any dreams that you had at night, the key issurf girl dreaming to first practice with meditation and mindfulness. I had a friend who claimed he just didn’t have dreams at all and really couldn’t understand some of the dreams I described to him that I had. He only just began practicing yoga and was brand new to the world of meditation. It wasn’t until he attended a 10 day Vipassana retreat that he was able to still his mind enough to begin recalling his night dreams. Upon his return from the retreat he ecstatically described his new discovery of a peaceful mind and dream occurrences. Vipassana can be perfectly described as below:

“Vipassana is a way of self-transformation through self-observation. This simple code of moral conduct serves to calm the mind, which otherwise would be too agitated to perform the task of self-observation. It focuses on the deep interconnection between mind and body, which can be experienced directly by disciplined attention to the physical sensations that form the life of the body, and that continuously interconnect and condition the life of the mind. It is this observation-based, self-exploratory journey to the common root of mind and body that dissolves mental impurity, resulting in a balanced mind full of love and compassion.The scientific laws that operate one’s thoughts, feelings, judgements and sensations become clear. Through direct experience, the nature of how one grows or regresses, how one produces suffering or frees oneself from suffering is understood. Life becomes characterised by increased awareness, non-delusion, self-control and peace”.- dhamma.org