Written by Pauline Viaud
When you leave for many months with your backpack, you have to make a lot of decisions about what you will bring with you! Clothes, hygiene and beauty products, changing habits… I present here my little (r)evolutions to experience your femininity differently while backpacking.
In order for your life to fit in your backpack, you obviously have to make choices about your wardrobe! I prefer the practical and sporting clothes because I love hiking, but I have to be honest and say that I am sometimes in need of more suitable outfits for when I step off the dirt road and am in town. We are far from the skirts and heels that I sometimes used to wear! In hot countries, I am a fan of loose, flowing pants; in Canada, hiking pants or jeans… Varied and flattering are two words that don’t quite exactly describe my outfits!
My secret weapon is always to bring a little black dress, very simple, but that does the job when needed. I also plan to invest soon in a little summer dress to change from my hiking outfits.
Since I was a teenager and until recently, I used to put on makeup every day. Just mascara with eye shadow sometimes, and lipstick on occasion for evenings out, nothing very fancy. The times when I would go to work without makeup, people would say “you have small eyes” or “are you sick?” On long trips, I always bring a mascara, but I realized that it was lying around in my bag without being used more than twice a year!
So, last year, when I started a new job in Guyana, I decided not to wear makeup and, in fact, well… it didn’t change anything! Everyone just knew me like that, and it went very well. And we sweat so much in Guyana that I didn’t feel like putting on makeup, even on weekends.
When travelling, my beauty routine is basically just #1 washing myself, #2 moisturizing my face and, when I think about it, #3 moisturizing my body! ? And why not, #4, when I have some on hand, I make a body scrub with sand or coffee grounds!
For hygiene and beauty products, I have been using simple and natural products for many years. Natural and solid soap/shampoo, bamboo toothbrush: I try to limit my ecological footprint.
ITCHY SUBJECT: HAIR!
In France, in my daily routine, I frequently went to the esthetician to get the hair from my legs, bikini line and armpits removed. When travelling, I am more relaxed about it and let my hair be the way it is, except for my armpits. My electric hair removal device is still part of the trip, which allows me to do a little clean up when I have the desire/the time/the electricity to do it… basically, when all the conditions are met.
I would like to stop doing it for my legs, so I leave a lot of time between sessions because I feel like except for the first days, the sensation of smoothness doesn’t last. The itchy regrowth appears quickly and forces us to think about the next epilation… it’s a vicious circle! For now, during winter in Canada, everything is going very well by removing my hair only once every 2-3 months, and when the hairs have grown a lot, they feel soft ?. Maybe next summer I will do it a little more… or not.
For the past year, I have also stopped plucking my eyebrows. It wasn’t very obvious, but for a long time, I had maintained a cleaner brow line. The result doesn’t show much yet because there aren’t many hairs growing back on my left eyebrow! But honestly, who cares? ?
FREE THE NIPPLES!
More and more often, I don’t wear a bra. I have a small chest, and there is no physical interest in wearing one. I feel like it compresses the body, it leaves marks, the straps sometimes slip… the truth is, it’s quite often uncomfortable! The only positive point I found to it was an aesthetic one, because I chose styles that flattered my breasts and harmonized my figure.
Without a bra, I still have a hard time dealing with the way people look at me sometimes, because, depending on the shape of the breasts, I feel like the nipples are more or less visible through the clothes. So, for now, I still wear a bra when I work or go outside. But as I am currently spending my days hiking in the woods, I have great freedom about that!
No more makeup or bra, hairy body parts, always wearing the same clothes… People could easily tell me that I’m a bit sloppy! But compared to whom, compared to what?
I noticed that I’d adopted these habits without asking myself questions, as a teenager, by simply doing what everyone else around me was doing. Today, I question these cultural habits and keep doing only what really speaks to me.
I think it’s really important to look nice for yourself and your partner. When I want to do something small to feel pretty, I will do my hair differently, change earrings or choose some cute underwear, even if I’m in hiking clothes! My guilty pleasure is to put nail polish on my toenails in summer, it gives them a clean look! And I don’t bother bringing nail polish remover; when the nail polish starts chipping, I just add another coat!
I find it easier to make these small changes while travelling because the freedom to act is complete when you’re not home. I still don’t know which of these habits I will keep once I go back to sedentary life…
I feel pretty good in my body, a body that I accept more today. I try to take care of myself to feel good, to make this feeling radiate in me and around me. For me, this is more a synonym of beauty than those cultural norms that we follow. ?
Do my travelling experiences resonate with you?
This post was translated from French to English by:
Hi! I’m Judith, lab technician in research for almost eight years now and second-year student in translation. I discovered the joys of travelling in my late twenties, and I now enjoy exploring bustling cities as much as the great outdoors. True animal lover, I appreciate the simple things in life and see no problem in eating sushi with a side of poutine! #dontjudgeme ?