Day 142 of 159

The royal palaces built into Portugal’s Sintra Mountain Range are evidence of the Catholic country’s Islamic past. Although today, less than one percent of the population practices, the country was under Muslim control until the 13th century.


Zero Waste: Hygiene

To supplement the information provided in the video, here is a complete list of the hygiene items we reviewed with price comparisons and links.

  • Aftershave: a little coconut or jojoba oil mixed with you favorite essential oils.
    • While the upfront cost is pretty high–you’ll probably spend around $10 for a bottle coconut/jojoba oil and another $10 for an essential oil while you could easily buy a bottle of conventional aftershave for under $10–they go a long way.
  • Air freshener: our favorite options are sage, palo santo, and incense by JackThreads.
    • Depending on where you live, you might be able to harvest sage for free. Other good options are lavender and pine (don’t burn the lavender though! just make a nice bouquet). JackThreads incense goes for about $7 a container compared to around $4 for Febreze.
  • All purpose cleaner: white vinegar!
  • Body & hand soap: any bar soap!
    • Even organic bar soap options, such as Dr. Bronner’s, are cheaper than most packaged body wash and hand soap products.
  • Condoms: like we said in the video, there aren’t a whole lot of waste free condom options and the priority should always be placed on safe sex, not zero waste. Sustain Natural is a really cool company that offers biodegradable condoms and other organic, reduced waste feminine products.
    • Forget about the price comparison for this one, do whatever you can to practice safe sex. If you have the funds to buy Sustain’s condoms, go for it! If not, hopefully your college or local Planned Parenthood has free options for you.
  • Deodorant: although we didn’t show it in the video, we are following this recipe for DIY deodorant:
    • The price of the ingredients plus the time to make the deodorant itself definitely makes this option less accessible. Do what you can!
  • Detergent: white vinegar and baking soda.
    • Remember white vinegar from earlier? Yep, its still $2. Baking soda is even cheaper at less than a $1 (the one we used in the video actually cost 0.74 cents, excuse the typo).
  • Face soap: try to find bar soap that doesn’t irritate your face. Activated charcoal soap works well for us and acts as a natural cleanser.
    • Going for about $5 a bar on the low end, the price is on par if not lower than most other non zero waste options.
  • Floss: floss can be pretty hard. I found a pretty good option at a local store back in Seattle (Puget Consumer Coop) called EcoDent. However, although the box was cardboard, the floss inside was still wrapped in plastic. Wasteland Rebel has a very helpful article on zero waste (and in their case vegan) floss.
    • EcoDent goes for around $3, which is a fairly typical price.
  • Mouthwash: you saw the recipe!
    • As was the case with the aftershave, the essential oils (and potentially gin) are a large upfront cost, however, you’ll be able to make batches on batches once you have all the ingredients.
  • Prescription medication: forget zero waste, just stay healthy. Here’s an article on recycling prescription bottles.
  • Razors: get yourself a safety razor! Or a straight razor if you’re brave.
    • Upfront cost is high ($17) but it’ll last a lifetime if you’re good to it, so you’ll save money in the long run.
  • Shampoo: Lush will reuse their containers! Certain stores also offer bulk options.
    • Lush is veryyy expensive. It’s safe to say that for this item, going zero waste could be too pricey.
  • Shaving cream: coconut oil (try lathering up your bar soap and then adding coconut oil to the mix in your hand). Note: if you have a disposable razor, it will probably clog. Another reason to get a safety razor!
    • You already know the prices for coconut oil, soap, and safety razors.
  • Tissues: handkerchief! You heard the deal.
    • One handkerchief, a lifetime investment, is $4. A single box of tissues is about $2; it’ll pay itself off quick, especially if you have allergies like me.
  • Toothbrush: go bamboo if you’re looking for a traditional option. If you’re feeling adventures, check out Miswak or Neem twigs!
    • A Spry bamboo toothbrush is around $3, only slightly more expensive than a typical plastic toothbrush.
  • Toothpaste: baking soda plus any additives you think might enhance the flavor and texture. We added peppermint essential oil, a little salt, and coconut oil.
    • Zero waste comes out to be cheaper again! Less than a dollar for baking soda compared to around $2 on the cheap end for non zero waste toothpaste.


Day 89 of 159

Carried my camera around Nyon and Geneva for a day to document what 24 hours in my study abroad program looks like.

I’m enrolled in SIT’s Banking, Finance and Social Responsibility program in Switzerland. SIT programs are characterized by homestays and site visits (i.e. field learning). Because I filmed on a Friday, the day is a little different than normal, but the house, commute, campus and thoughts are all there  🙂

Day 76 of 159


Every angle of Zermatt is fit for a postcard. From the high end watch shops in the town to the quaint fondue restaurants in the hills just above to the mountains surrounding it all, Zermatt offers a bit of everything Switzerland is famous for. Even the McDonalds pulls of a charming Bavarian look. Just outside Zermatt, Gorner Gorge presents an impressive hike through the steep, winding walls of the Gornera.

Day 34 of 159


Coming from Rio, Geneva felt more like home than a new destination when I first landed. Lac Leman, the mountains, green trees, modern city… all of it could have been placed in the Pacific Northwest. However, a distinctly swiss feel began to settle in as I left Geneva for the relative countryside around Nyon–the cows, sunflower fields, vineyards, trains and old wood & stone buildings, all added up to a scene that can’t be found in the states. After all, Geneva may feel similar to Seattle after Bogota, Cartagena and Rio, but you’ll never look out over Lake Washington or the Puget Sound from a castle.

View from Chateau de Nyon in Nyon, Switzerland. About a 30 minute train ride from my home stay up in the hills of Arzier and just a 5 minute walk from SIT’s office and classrooms.

Day 13 of 159


Monserrate 10,314 ft up in Bogota, Colombia. Like Los Angeles, Bogota extends so far that it feels less like one central city and more like a microstate in itself–multiple skylines, different barrios separated by geography, infrastructure and/or culture. We stayed in the University District which, clustered up against the foothills of the Andes, was home to various schools, a stretch of quaint hostels, a lot of cafes and museums, as well as a few bars (most notably Bogota Brewing Company which, although admittedly very gringo, was a great pub that poured their own microbrew). The view from Monserrate put our little corner in context with the city as a whole just like the view from Griffith or Hollywood Bowl Overlook places Eagle Rock in the vastness of Los Angeles, prompting that instinctual feeling of awe.

Day 1 of 159


I don’t know exactly what it was about preparing to leave home this time around that made me so nostalgic. The two years of perspective I’ve gained away from home that have allowed me to reflect on my adolescence in Seattle more acutely likely played role. A stronger internalization of the changes this part of life (mid-college years) entails probably contributed as well. Anyways, I was pretty sad leading up to the first segment of this 159 day tour of the states, South America and Europe (and replaying the Shin’s Port of Morrow album definitely didn’t do the situation any good). However, whether it was just my short term memory lose kicking in or the excitement of travel, all feelings of nostalgia vanished when I got on the road.

This photo was taken in Paradise, MT on July 28th, the first day of my 159 day tour which I will (attempt) to chronicle in the Visit section of this blog. The first 10 days will be spent road-tripping though Washington, Idaho, Montana and Wyoming with stops in Whitefish, Glacier, Yellowstone and Jackson.

Subaru Outback packed with my personal road trip essentials. Trail running gear, frisbee, hammock, reads (This Time is Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly and Existentialism: A Very Short Introduction), quality beverages (including Anchor Brewing’s IPA and Lager), ham/cheese/avocado sandwiches, underwear, etc.