Journals of Conscious Travel & Lifestyle

Author: Anna (Page 1 of 8)

I'm Anna, a digital marketer and blogger writing about travel and self development. I'm interested in travelling and living consciously, social entrepreneurism and remote work. I'm a Brit living in and loving beautiful Sydney.

6 Easy Zero Waste Bathroom Swaps

Here are 6 easy swaps for a more eco-friendly bathroom. All of these products are effective and convenient, and work as well if not better than their plastic predecessors.

I find the easiest product swaps tend to work in a similar way to what I’ve historically used, for example I like the convenience and performance of liquid pump hand wash, so switching to a similar but refillable version was easier to adapt to than trying to switch to bar soap.

So, if you’re looking for a few easy low-friction swaps to cut down your plastic waste in the bathroom, look no further! 

I’m including 6 products I currently use and find effective. I’ve also included some eco bathroom product swaps I’m still researching before switching. 

  1. Toilet roll
  2. Body wash
  3. Cotton buds
  4. Face wash and moisturiser 
  5. Dental Floss 
  6. Bath Salts
Eco friendly bog roll

1. Toilet roll

Packs of toilet paper from the supermarket always come wrapped in plastic. This thin type of wrapping plastic is not recyclable unless you send it to a specialist processor like terracycle or take it to a supermarket with a soft plastic recycling scheme.

Sustainable solution: Toilet roll individually wrapped in paper

Who Gives a Crap toilet paper is great quality, comes in pretty paper wrapping, and is not packaged in plastic. It comes delivered to your door in a cardboard box. There are several similar companies offering plastic-free bog roll these days too. Easy swap, and what’s easier than having it delivered to your door?!

2. Body Wash

If you’re set on using a liquid foaming gel-based body wash in a pump bottle like me, you probably won’t want to switch to bar soap. Thankfully there are refillable body wash options available in Australia bottled in glass or aluminium. 

Sustainable solution: Body wash in a refillable aluminium bottle

This Natural Refillable Body Wash comes in an aluminium bottle. Choose from a pump or aluminium screw lid. The idea is to keep the pump dispenser and buy the ‘refill’ bottle with aluminium lid thereon after. This body wash smells amazing, is completely natural and plant-based, and made in Australia.

3. Cotton buds

Regular cotton buds made from sticks of plastic with cotton wool stuck on the ends cause havoc for marine life when they end up in the ocean. They are too small to be recycled properly and don’t biodegrade. 

Sustainable solution: plastic-free paper cotton buds

Eco friendly cotton buds are now fairly widely available that are made from either paper or bamboo instead of plastic. They break down and won’t cause a threat to marine life. I’ve been using these cotton and paper cotton buds from Woolies and they’re great quality, and no plastic!

New Wave Body Wash

4. Face Wash and Moisturiser

If you usually use face wash and moisturiser in single use plastic bottles or jars, simply switch to refillable aluminium or glass!

Many conventional face care products, even those claiming to be natural, also contain harmful chemicals like artificial fragrances.

Sustainable solution: natural face wash and moisturiser in refillable glass bottles

Azur Pure Skincare’s refillable face wash and moisturiser each come with a pump version and refill version, and you can send back empty bottles freepost for re-use as part of the closed loop system.

5. Dental Floss 

Regular string dental floss is very bad for the environment – it’s made from synthetic wax-coated nylon which won’t biodegrade, housed in a plastic shell with a metal cutter, and it can’t be recycled.

The synthetic wax on floss string is commonly made with Teflon, which contains PFAs to make it slippery. PFAs are hormone disruptors, can cause birth defects, cancers, and compromised immune health. Not the best thing to be rubbing through your teeth, then! 

Sustainable solution: silk dental floss

I’ve been using this Kmart silk floss and my teeth feel cleaner than when I used a plastic floss! It doesn’t glide as easily as the plastic type, but this seems to be the reason it does a more thorough job.

6. Bath Salts

Bath salts are often packaged in plastic pouches which are generally not recyclable. They are sometimes packaged in pouches which look like craft paper, but are lined with plastic or have a plastic window, so aren’t recyclable.

Also check the ingredients for dodgy chemicals, colours or fragrances which you certainly don’t want to soak in.

Sustainable solution: refillable bath salts in a glass jar

I use natural zero waste bath salts in a glass jar and refill it with compostable refill pouches. Azur bath salts are 100% natural, contain antioxidant and detoxifying blue spirulina and relaxing lavender and ylang ylang essential oils.

My eco bathroom fails

Bathroom products I’m yet to find eco alternatives for:

I’ve personally struggled to find a sustainable option which I like for the following products, and would like to hear of any of your eco suggestions for these products in the comments below.

Sustainable Shampoo and Conditioner

I’ve tried shampoo and conditioner bars, and personally I just don’t enjoy the experience of using them. I will try one more brand, but I think liquid refill bottles are the way to go for me. I’m currently using a natural plant-based shampoo and conditioner in plastic pump bottles. At least I managed to switch from mainstream chemical-laden haircare finally. 

Any eco haircare suggestions?

I am keen to try Barnone shampoo and conditioner in aluminium bottles. They’re available at the local supermarket. It would be great if they were also refillable, but aluminium is infinitely recyclable and therefore much less likely to end up in the ocean, so it’s a pretty sustainable packaging option compared to plastic.

Sustainable solution: refillable shampoo and conditioner in aluminium bottles

Non-plastic Toothbrush

Although I love bamboo toothbrushes, the last one I had went mouldy. 

Anyway I find my electric toothbrush very effective and thorough, and it gives a really clean feeling. BUT most electric toothbrush heads can’t be recycled. 

I use a Phillips sonicare electric toothbrush and was excited to find some bamboo toothbrush heads compatible with Phillips Sonicare! I haven’t tried them yet so please let me know if you have. I’ll report back here when I’ve tried.

I found recyclable Oral B electric toothbrush heads too. Not non-plastic, but at least they’re recyclable.

Sustainable solution: recyclable or bamboo electric toothbrush heads

Natural plastic-free toothpaste 

I am guilty of using the odd plastic-packaged toothpaste, as for some reason I STILL haven’t got around to switching to either toothpaste tablets or finding a nice natural toothpaste in an aluminium tube instead of plastic. I use both a main brand sensitive toothpaste (to keep sensitivity at bay) and a natural one from MooGoo which leaves my teeth feeling very clean. Please, Moogoo, switch to aluminium tubes and I will be forever loyal!

I’m not sure if I like the idea of toothpaste tablets, but I will certainly try some soon. I’m more likely to get on with an aluminium tube of natural toothpaste. I do worry the sensitivity will come back though, so if anyone knows of a good natural toothpaste for sensitive teeth, please holler!

Sustainable solution: toothpaste in an aluminium tube, or tablets

Metal Razor

After having laser hair removal, I use a razor about twice a year!! The hair on my body is so sparse and light now. I have a men’s Gillete razor, which actually has a metal handle, but it has small plastic parts in the blades. I have generally found men’s razors and blades are better and cheaper than the women’s ones (they think us women are mugs!) 

I love the look of the all-metal eco razors now available and plan to get one of those when my existing blades run out. I love this pretty zero waste metal razor in pastel pink, baby blue or mint green. Or this rose gold metal razor is gorgeous.

Sustainable solution: 100% metal razor and blades

A bathroom filled with quality sustainable products made from natural materials looks far better than one with loads of plastic tat lying around, in my opinion. I find most plastic products tend to look brash and cheap, especially shampoo bottles. So I’m looking forward to completing my eco product swaps and getting rid of the last few plastic-y products!

Bali Silent Retreat

Bali Silent Retreat is a place to unplug, unwind and reflect. Set amongst peaceful rice fields in the rural and less travelled western part of Bali with views of Mount Batukaru, Bali’s second-highest volcano, it’s a truly special, serene and unique experience.

I was there this time last year, and with limited travel due to Covid-19 have been looking back through my photos and thought I’d share my experience.

Bungalows amongst ride paddies

Accomodation options

There are private bungalows and shared dorms with various pricing options. I’m fussy with accomodation so I stayed in the private bungalow – the most expensive option – but it’s worth it. It was quiet and private with a cute verandah overlooking the ride fields above.

Bali Silent Retreat Lounge
The Communal Lounge and Dining Area

The overall experience, location, activities of yoga, meditation etc and most of all the incredible meals – healthy vibrant (mostly vegan) flavoursome food that’s grown onsite. I’ve wanted to go to the Silent Retreat since hearing about it on my trip to Bali in 2015, and finally went in July 2019.

Meditation at Bali Silent Retreat

The style of meditation is relaxed, unstructured silent introspection and reflection. There are daily optional structured activities including yoga, meditative walks and other classes. The rest of the time you’re free to wander through the tropical gardens or sit and contemplate the world.

Tropical Gardens Bali Silent Retreat
Lush Tropical Gardens

Bali Silent Retreat seemed like the ideal gentle intro to silent meditation to me. I love the idea of silence and reflection, yet Vipassana meditation retreats I’ve heard about sound quite intense and formulaic with the 4am starts and rules, and I was looking for more holiday style relaxation this time.

The yoga and meditation octagon bale

Yoga Classes

Daily yoga and meditation classes are held in an open air structure with a fabric roof (above) called the ‘Yoga and Meditation Octagon Bale’ surrounded by trees. Classes are suitable for all levels and lead by different international yoga instructors. You can choose morning, afternoon or both.

The veggie gardens at Bali Silent Retreat

Tropical Gardens

Tours are available of the impressive productive sustainable gardens which use permaculture principles and have some fascinating tropical plants, fruits and vegetables. the garden tour was a real highlight – we tasted the sweet pods of raw cacao trees, and put the bright peachy-coloured sap of the ‘lipstick tree’ on our cheeks and lips!

Bali Silent Retreat Gardens

The whole grounds are surrounded with well kept gardens. Dozens of ripe passion fruit overhand the chillout hammock zone ripe for picking.

What It’s Like at Bali Silent Retreat

The Retreat really is a breath of fresh air, a chance to reconnect with yourself, reflect, relax and unwind from constant stimulation of everyday life. A reminder to be gentler to yourself and closer to nature. It has a really special energy.

Bungalows from the ride paddies at Bali Silent Retreat

Described as a “five star ashram”, Bali Silent Retreat is certainly therapeutic and relaxing with ashram principles. Guests can do as they feel, participating in as much or as little as they wish. It isn’t linked to any particular discipline or philosophy; this agnosticism really appeals to me!

Photos of Bali Silent Retreat

Given the ‘silent’ subject I decided a photo essay is the best way to share my experience. I wish I’d taken more photos but I switched my phone off for most of the trip in line with the recommendations and purpose. Some fo these pics are from a lovely girl I met there.

Lush green rice fields with volcano backdrop!

Enjoy! Let me know what you think in the comments section below, and if you have any questions. Or if you’ve been to this or a similar retreat I’d love to hear about your experience.

Bali Silent Retreat Flowers
Flowers in the entrance – one of many thoughtful details
Bali Silent Retreat Ashram
Ashram entrance
Bali Silent Retreat Cushions
Cushions in the lounge
Bali Silent Retreat Dining Tables
Dining Tables
Bali Silent Retreat Kitchen
Kitchen: Delicious teas, treats and meals await!
Bali Silent Retreat Daily Steps
Bali Silent Retreat Daily Steps
Bali Silent Retreat Medicine Herbs
Medicine Herbs
So green!
One of the team in the rice fields
The gong that calls everyone to yoga and meditation each day

Day Tour to Mt. BatuKaru Holy Temple

One of the day trips we did included the stunning old temple below. The history and culture are fascinating.

Water blessing ritual
Temples in the mist
River next to the temple

Day Tour to Hot Springs

We also visited some hot springs with pools to swim in,. They had a swing – I love a swing!

Natural hot spring pools near Bali Silent Retreat
Hot spring pool
Swing at the hot springs
Swing overlooking hot springs
Cute bungalow at hot springs
Sunset Bali Silent Retreat Ricefields
Sunset Over Bali Silent Retreat Ricefields

For full info and programs see the Bali Silent Retreat Website.

Testing Out a Tiny House Near Sydney

We went to stay in a tiny house near Sydney in Stanwell Tops, an hour’s drive away, to try out what it felt like.

Once covid restrictions had eased I was craving some time in nature, peace and quiet and fresh air outside the city.

Experiencing tiny house living

I’ve been wanting to experience living in a tiny house for a short period to be closer to nature and to drastically reduce (or nearly eliminate) living costs for a while.

Tiny homes on AirBnB near Sydney

There are surprisingly few tiny homes for rent on air bnb anywhere near Sydney. I expected more given the interest in tiny living in Australia and NZ.

I chose one that looked modern, surrounded by nature yet not far from Sydney. It worked out around $340 for two nights in total.

I wanted to see how the space would feel, if it would be claustrophobic, if things worked smoothly and how warm or cold it would be.

We arrived after dark in NSW winter and the house was very cold at first. It soon warmed up after a few minutes blasting a small fan heater. The space was generally quick to warm up and stayed warm for a long time with just a short blast from the heater.

The tiny home had everything you’d need for a short stay and they even fit two double beds in – one in a loft mezzanine and a pull-down one in a cupboard. The kitchen was functional and didn’t feel too cramped, altho we didn’t prepare any elaborate meals.

The ladder was very simple with a small step that folds flat. I’d want a more substantial stair and handrail as we both had wobbles where we felt we could have fallen when climbing up to the bed.

The bathroom had a standard shower, sink, toilet and cupboard. We’d definitely need more storage in there for longer term living, and I’d want some sort of bath ideally, either in the house or outside. But it was all perfectly convenient to use.

I imagine summer would have a more open feel as the deck would get loads of use. I sat in the sun on the deck for a while and we spotted some curious deer in the woods peering out at us (introduced, not native but obviously thriving).

Things to do in Stanwell Tops

Stanwell Tops area is great to explore – we went to see the local hindu temple, below.

There are lots of bush walks in the area and we chose an easy one that starts at Stanwell Park train station called the Wodi Wodi Track. It goes up the hill and has expansive views down onto Stanwell Tops and the coastline.

We took a few wrong turns and found various viewpoints along the way.

The beach in Stanwell Tops is rugged and scenic with impressive houses dotted around the cliffs.

We had a wander along the beach and took a wrong turn when it got dark…we somehow scrambled up a hill and ended up in someone’s garden in the pitch black!

Driving further down the coast on the Sea Cliff Bridge has incredible ocean views, well worth a drive. The next day at dusk we drove down it to Scarborough and had a drink at the Scarborough Hotel, which has a huge beer garden overlooking open ocean.

Lots of the benches were still cordoned off to keep numbers down due to covid. Will definitely go back in summer!

The verdict – a weekend in a tiny house

Overall it was great to try out tiny living for a weekend. The home we stayed in was pre-fab and obviously intended as a rental. So a tiny house with custom features and more eco-friendly and fixtures and fittings and our own decor it would be an amazing space to live for a while!

Next up is to try out living in a tiny house / RV or converted van on wheels as I really want a custom kitted out van to go on road trips and live in for a while for a nomadic and free existence.

Confest Easter 2019

Photo Essay: My Confest Journey April 2019

“What time is it?” “daytime”.

Losing all sense of time with a dusty digital detox at Confest.

Smiling friendly open souls, naked muddy bodies, yoga in the trees, deep workshops, river swims, wood fires, drums, laughter, dancing, stars, fairy lights, and of course, chai. 💖☕🎶🎪🌳🍄🌞

Managed to arrive after Sunset Again
Stalls at Confest
Food stalls
Morning Confest People Sitting
Morning Confest
Confest Maze
Confest Maze
Confest Workshop Tent
Confest Workshop Tent
Confest Workshop
Confest Workshop
Space Van Confest
Space Van
Confest Variety Show
Confest Variety Show
Chai Tent Confest
Chai Tent
Confest Time
Confest Time
Chai Tent Chats
Chai Tent Chats
Good night Confest
Good night Confest

Sleep at Confest

For anyone who’s a light sleeper I’d recommend camping in the area called “Listen to the grass grow” Next time I will camp there for sure.

I had an awesome time at Confest but definitely didn’t get enough sleep being a light sleeper. It’s not that it’s super noisy, but I did get woken a few times. I had a sore throat and was stressed about getting more ill so I think that compounded being noise sensitive. I also didn’t drink.

If you’ve been to Confest I’d love to hear your experience in the comments!

If you’re thinking of going and you’re apprehensive, just go! The long journey there is part of the whole experience. Open your mind and be free!

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