December is a lovely month for me. It starts with my brothers birthday, then Christmas and my birthday before the start of a new year. So it seems the perfect month to start a couple of challenges just to round out the year. As the month progresses I will keep a diary, both written and photographic, so you and I can track my progress. Hopefully not tracking my lack of progress!
So just what are these challenges I am going to subject myself and my body to! I’m going to not use shampoo and conditioner for a month (and perhaps continue afterwards), drink 3 litres of water per day and a kettlebell demon idea!
First challenge – no poo method
Hairdressers shudder when you mention it but the hippy and frugal girl inside me is completely intrigued. So what is the no poo method? In basic terms it is cleaning your hair without the use of chemical ladened shampoo and conditioner. I will admit I am nervous about trying this. Intrigued, yes but still nervous. I have lovely hair when I get regular haircuts but it also gets very greasy. Different blogs say how amazing going no poo is for your hair, others say it is horrible and wrecks it but just like everything in life, I can’t really comment on it until I get it a try.
There are a number of different techniques but I am going to use the pre-mix solution. Appeals to my lazy side, mix it up and put it in the shower, refill when finished.
Step 1 – Baking Soda: In a small squeeze bottle I have added one tablespoon of baking soda to one cup of water and shaken well. You use it on the roots of the hair. Once the hair starts to feel ‘slippery’ you rinse thoroughly. In everything I have read states this part of the step cannot be underestimated. YOU MUST RINSE THOROUGHLY!
Step 2 – Vinegar Rinse: Two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar to one cup of water in a spray bottle. The rinse is only applied to the length of the hair no the roots. Keep in for at least two minutes or for the remainder of the length of your shower, rising before getting out.
Step 3 (as required) – Coconut Oil: Because my hair is naturally wavy and has a tendency to knot (I am also very lazy I combing my hair everyday) the coconut oil will provide a deep conditioner. As well when used sparingly, shine and conditioner till the natural oils are balanced.
Not looking forward to the transitional phase where apparently it will suck to be doing this and my hair will be greasier than ever! Joy!
Second challenge – drink 3 litres of water per day
This idea was first spawned after reading an article about a 42 year old women, Sarah, in the UK taking 10 years of her face by drinking 3 litres of water per day after recommendation from her neurologist and nutritionist. Now as a woman fast approaching her 37th birthday I don’t really need to take 10 years off my face but I could certainly do with drinking more water.
Over the years I have been pretty lackadaisical about regular water consumption and can go many a day with only drinking a small amount of water. My skin can be very obvious at showing my lack of hydration. Cracked lips, uneven skin tone, wrinkles around my eyes and dark circles under them. Looking at Sarah’s photo’s from the first day and then after 4 weeks the difference was very tangible.
A lack of hydration effects more than just the physical look of my face. All the bodies systems require water to flush the toxins out, carry nutrients around and eliminate waste. I shudder to think how much of my bodies systems are impaired, so the results over the next month will be telling.
My biggest worry about drinking 3 litres of water per day is shear and utter boredom at the taste. I am going to allow herbal teas and 2 cups of normal tea (which I have weak, black with one sugar) to be counted in my daily consumption rate. All other fluids will not count towards the goal.
My constant need for bathrooms with my pea size bladder may be tested with this challenge!
Third challenge – Kettlebells
I first got introduced to kettlebells after reading Tim Ferriss, 4 Hour Body and whilst training for the marathon I started using them. Such a simple move with the kettlebell swing and yet so many muscles benefit from the action. It has been called the perfect exercise. I tend to agree. Engaging the core, posterior chain, leg power and shoulder stability the result is an all over body work out that develops power, strength and balance in one.
So to challenge myself I can’t be wimpy but I can’t be so over ambitious that I hurt myself. I have purchased a 16kg kettlebell and after 20 reps it gets a little on the heavy side. I looked at a 10000 rep challenge but this means roughly 322 reps per day. Not quiet sure after numerous months of inactivity that my body could handle that…… or can it.
10000 kettle bell repetitions by 5pm on the 31 December 2013. I think I just made myself a little sick at committing to this challenge!!!
Going to get very impressive; or unimpressive depending on how you look at it, callouses on my hands doing this!!!
AND JUST FOR GOOD MEASURE!!!!!!!!
Another challenge or should I say this one is a requirement. As I am a writer I couldn’t have a challenge month without a writing challenge included!
Fourth challenge – 2000 words per day
For the time being, to keep my writing in check while I am sorting out my stuff and generally just being lazy now I am back in Australia, I have to keep motivated in my writing. I gave myself a few days of chilling with the family but now its time to get cracking on the book plus my paid work. Got to keep the dollars trickling in! Therefore I aim to write 2000 words per day!
December 2013 is going to be an interesting month. I can see myself getting frustrated with the transitional period of the no poo challenge, bored with water, sore and sorry muscles not wanting to lift the kettlebell and writers block. However, an unchallenged Robyn makes for a rather lazy girl. I know this about myself and if I don’t challenge myself and make it public I WILL be a slug!
At time of posting I have:
◦ Completed 272 kettlebell swings
◦ Drunk 2.250 litres of water
◦ Written 1200 words
◦ Haven’t washed me hair yet
So I am starting pretty good…… 30 days to go!
Are you challenging yourself to anything this month? Let me know!
Disclaimer: I had a tiny touch of make-up in the photo oops!!
As I finish this post from my parents back veranda, I am pondering whether I have betrayed my dreams. Having departed Tapachula and spending a day in Mexico City and we’ve both flown to respective home countries till we meet up again in Australia in a few weeks. All things going to plan.
All things going to plan, what does that really mean? If my former plan was still in motion I would be getting ready to travel south through the rest of Central America before heading onto South America. I am trying not to feel robbed of the experience but in actual fact I have had an amazing if not different 7 months and if my plan had happened I wouldn’t have fallen in love.
So I didn’t get to 12 months. I did travel for 7 months and managed to visit 8 countries (Spain, Portugal, Senegal, Cuba, Mexico, Belize, Guatemala and Hong Kong), walk 800km across Spain, fall in love, visit my sponsor child, travel the length of Cuba, meet amazing people and realise more about myself than ever before.
When I first decided to take 12 months off and travel I knew it would change and challenge me. I departed confident and happy but also a little angry at how I had been responsible for the past few years being stressful.
Today, I am still grieving the lose of our beautiful angel but I am not grieving the time I spent becoming the person I am. Talking with another expat recently I realised going home is actually a really hard thing to do.
I am so completely different to the girl who left for a contractor job in Afghanistan in October 2009. Sure, I had been to Europe and served in both East Timor and the various countries in the Middle East Area of Operations but I wasn’t fully aware of the freedom I truly had.
I’ve had the opportunity to visit 44 (3 more if you count some transit countries). 17 countries prior to October 2009 meaning in the last 4 years I have visited 26 countries! Not bad! A vast number of those countries have been war torn or very improvised. Children not being able to read or write, who are forced into slavery or sex-trafficking. Women who face unbelievable hardships and men who struggle to find ways to earn money. Some of those men are driven to terrorism to support their families rather than for ideological ideas.
Whilst I am excited to sit on the back veranda at home with my family I am already feeling like a fish out of water. We don’t have concrete plans for the future, do we stay in Australia, do we go to Spain, do we go somewhere else. I have no idea where I will be in 3 months time. That is ok.
After just over 4 years I have been living and working overseas I have been truly blessed and my gratitude for my life has meant my passions have changed. They now lie with helping others, whether it be through my blog, coaching people on the difficult personal challenges we all face from time to time, children in developing countries or in the book outlines waiting for me to write the words.
Traveling has made me realise I don’t need all the ‘things’ I have. My drive for a minimalist lifestyle will be difficult. For a long time I have been surrounded by things. I have beautiful furniture, thousands of books and all kinds of stuff. Sorting through my life will be a trip down memory lane but a very cleansing one.
So the plans of Costa Rica for Christmas, cycling the Death Road in Bolivia, hiking the Inca trail and visiting friends in Chile have been put on hold for now. They are all still places and things I want to do and I am not letting go of those ideas, just the plan to do it now.
For now the plan is actually a little complex. My list of things to do is growing every day:
Personal to do list:
Free-Range-Human to do list:
Foods that must be eaten:
I know I could add a lot more to this list but for now I will leave it too only that.
Coming home is hard but I am very grateful I have such an amazing partner, a wonderful family and friends all over the world that anywhere I lay my backpack could be called home. Plus I can write anywhere in the world so this is just another chapter I get to write!