Almond Milk & Almond Cheese Recipe

Environment, Food, Health, Lifestyle

What I love about homemade almond milk is how easy it is to make and the benefits it has compared to store-bought. For the most part, any nuts found in grocery stores in the US are pretty expensive compared to other foods, but if you are a constant almond drinker like I am, it might be worth your while to start getting up early to milk the almonds in the morning (yes, I know I am the corny, bad-joke telling friend).

I will tell you though, that making your own almond milk can be more expensive. That’s right, buying whole almonds cost you more money. So why am I writing about homemade almond milk in the first place? Well, if you are someone trying to lower their carbon footprint, trying to eat avoid processed ingredients or just looking for a new way to use food, then keep reading…

What’s the difference between store bought almond milk and homemade? I made this little chart to break down the differences:

Have some time for peace andquiet to rest and relax (1).png

If you look at the ingredients list on the back of an almond milk carton, chances are you are going to find some sort of additive, stabilizer or emulsifier that is used to preserve the contents far beyond the true expiration date, add texture and taste to the milk. Some names you might read are soy lecithin, carrageenan, xanthan-gum, and many others. Now while these almond milk or beverage options might be more cost effective, they could be disrupting the microbiome in your gut.

A study released in the journal Nature shared that “mice on a diet containing emulsifying agents develop low-grade inflammation and obesity/metabolic syndrome.” Their conclusions being that “these conditions correlate with a decrease in gut microbiota.” This discovery should be concerning considering metabolism and immune development depend on a healthy gut microbiome to function optimally.

Reading about the negative effects of chemical additives in almond milk motivated me to learn how to make my own, which lucky for me and you if you are intrigued is super simple!


Once you have your milk, you want to make sure it is sealed tightly and refrigerated to preserve it for the next 4 days. So now the fun part, what do we do with the pulp? Another reason I love making my own almond milk is the vegan cheese I make from the almond pulp! For this vegan cheese recipe you will only need 3 ingredients:

Almond Pulp leftover from the milk

2 tablespoons of melted vegan butter

1 tsp of salt

Mix the three ingredients with both hands making sure you are really blending everything together. Once you feel you’ve distributed the ingredients evenly, taste your cheese to make sure it is ready. If it is not salty enough for your preference add more as needed. Make sure you wrap your cheese or keep it in a sealed Tupperware once its done.

If you are not a fan of the vegan cheese, you can try using the almond pulp as a nutritious flour when baking.

To achieve the flour consistency, you’ll want to spread the pulp out on a baking sheet and dehydrate it at the lowest temperature in your oven. Once dry, blend the almond flour to make it a fine powder. You can then store the almond flour in the fridge until you need it to bake!

Let me know if you try out this recipe and if you are experiencing less tummy aches because of it!

Van-life: Finding Comfort in Discomfort

Culture, Environment, Food, Health, Self-Love, Travel

The idea of packing up your bags, loading up the car with your best friend and heading Southwest sounds like a dream, until you realize you need to make cooking, bathing, sleeping and all other human necessities happen out of a Kia Sedona.

Before leaving on our 3 month adventure, we did a lot of research on how other people were living out of their cars successfully, visiting natural wonders around the Southwest and planned our route; seeing picturesque landscapes, pimped out vans and happy travelers, we were ready to get out there. Don’t get me wrong, van-life is one of the coolest learning experiences one can enjoy in life and I wish for every person the opportunity, but I do want to highlight some of the challenges or unglamorous realities one faces while living out of a car/living outdoors that put you in positions of discomfort, ultimately helping you grow to become a more resilient, resourceful, life-hacking individual.

You will face:

  • The unforgiving extremities of nature (blazing hot sun, frosty cold altitudes)

From the Sonoran and Mojave desert to the canyon peaks in Colorado, its hard to find homeostasis when your body is adjusting to varying temps and altitudes.

While in the desert we made sure to pack the car with at least 5 gallons of water everywhere we went. You never know if your car will will break down and you’ll be waiting in the sun for hours; this didn’t happen to us but it likely could have!

If it wasn’t the dry desert heat beating down on us one day then it was the bitter cold reminding our fingers and toes how insignificant they are. These discomforts heightened my senses and awareness, the kinda feelings you lose when you live in a thermostat controlled home. By putting yourself in situations of discomfort, you awaken your senses to be receptive to the feelings of being warm, cooling down, resting sore muscles, all of the things that have become a given in your own home.

  • Keeping up with Personal Hygiene

Unless you’re living out of a vehicle with a water system, keeping up with personal hygiene gets tricky. California beaches have outdoor showers for beach goers which made it easier, albeit at times down right creepy to get a solid shower in public. Picture Venice beach, suns down, 12am and we’re showering with flashlights in hand.

Life-hack: If you find yourself a 5 gallon water container and enough privacy you can shower out in nature! We used a window curtain, ran a metal wire through it and attached carabiners on the ends to make a removable curtain; if you find a tree you can tie the water container to a tree and you have yourself a makeshift shower.

After leaving warm weather and outdoor public showers, we just started showering less altogether. What once was showering whenever desired in the comfort of one’s own home became a periodical luxury even if it was a shower in the back of a laundromat that lasted 5 minutes.

  • “Me time” with limited Space

Personal space and me time is hard to come by on the road if you are traveling with a partner, but I would much rather be on the road experiencing natures beauty with another person by my side… at least that’s my mentality until human annoyances get in the way which is expected when you’re sharing small spaces. Be prepared for bettering your communication skills and learning to compromise.

  • Driving long distances

If you want to see the beauty of national parks, other states, diverse landscapes, chances are you’re going to have to drive there.

Make the most out of spending hours in the car by taking photos, discovering new music, making pit stops, listening to podcasts, reading, having meaningful discussion, keeping an eye out for wildlife. Make the time you spend in the car as productive as possible.

  • Working around daylight

Daylight is your #1 friend on the road when you depend on it to scope out campsites, spot wildlife and stay warm, which means you’ll be planning your days around the sun.

Tip: Prep your food for the day and keep it in an easily accessible cooler, that way you can munch while driving. Easy to make foods that don’t require cooking like – sandwiches, fruit, nuts, etc. are great options. Another good reason to pack your food for the day is that once you get to your destination late at night, you won’t have to cook in the dark.

  • No Service, you’re off the grid

A blessing and curse. A chance to disconnect, breathe, be present. But where are we again?

Download maps! Mark your coordinates in your GPS so you’re able to use them offline.

  • Time of the Month for Women

Dealing with personal hygiene is hard enough as it is, add dealing with your monthly cycle on top of it all and things can get difficult.

Lucky for me and many other women who travel often, we have found some of the best goodies on the market for periods like menstrual cups, re-usable cotton pads and period underwear!

The menstrual cup I use is the Diva Cup and it can be left for up to 12 hours before emptying. Um hello full day of hiking a National Park without carrying tampons or having to stop and find a place to put them!(if that is even an option.) Worried about leaking? There’s a solution for that too! My favorite pair of underwear were gifted to me by a friend and made by Thinx, a rad company that uses a highly absorbent fabric to make their life-saving undies to wear on your flow days. (Thank you Sammy for being the first to bring Thinx into my life!)

I never have to worry about my period when I travel thanks to the women who found a problem with how products are designed for them and did something about it. They started their own companies and I am proud to be a supporter of reusable, comfortable, healthy, cost-effective, planet saving products.

  • Cooking

Ahhh besides the fuel you need to get around in a car, it’s easy to forget the fuel your body needs to enjoy your trip to it’s full potential.

I can’t count how many times we’ve forgotten to eat a meal while on the road, and it’s something that affects your trip more than you think.

Too tired to drive? Getting irritable? Try to recall the last time you ate. 4 hours ago? Get on munching the healthy foods and drinking water as soon as you can. Seeing the difference in my mood and outlook after munching on healthy food really puts me in check.

Don’t let being on the road and the challenges that come with it get in the way of your self care and health. Put your basic needs first so you can have the energy, positivity and patience to enjoy every experience.

Van life is worth giving up the comforts of home, routine, security; In exchange for stability you get the discomforts of the road that force you to remember the simple comforts every person needs – water, warmth, healthy foods, clean air, hugs – and come home with a new found appreciation for pretty much everything.

Creamy Lentil Coconut Curry

Food, Health, Lifestyle

I make curry in the freezing cold and peak humidity of summer, the spices will have you breaking a sweat, but the comfort and nourishment of this dish makes it a good idea on just about any day. This dish can feed plenty or be packed and you will have leftovers for dayssss and it’s budget friendly.

So here are the ingredients, most of which are plants:

The Basics

2 tablespoons of your oil of choice. (I use coconut oil for more coco taste)

1 head of garlic (Chopped, 8-12 Cloves)

1.5 cup onions (Thin Slices)

2 scallions (chop bulb and shoots)

2 cups potatoes (I love the taste Japanese sweet potatoes give the dish, but you can mix a variety of potatoes of your choice.)

2 cup veggie Stock

2 teaspoons sea salt

1 cup lentils (Any variety)

1 15-ounce can of coco milk

1 15-ounce can of coco cream

Add What You Love (mix and match the veggies, I will share with you my favorite combination)

1 cup broccoli florets

1 cup red pepper (Sliced)

2 cup kale (Chopped)

2-3 tomatoes

Spice it up

2 tablespoons ginger (Chopped)

2-3 tablespoons curry

1 cup chopped cilantro


  1. Heat oil in large skillet while adding your garlic, scallions & onions until soft
  2. Add the potatoes & veggie stock & let simmer for about 15 minutes
  3. Once potatoes are semi-soft, add the lentils & sea salt, simmer for 10 minutes
  4. Spice it up! add ginger &curry mix in well
  5. Add the veggies that take more time to cook first(broccoli & red pepper) and more veggie stock if you need, simmer for 10 minutes
  6. Mix in your coco milk & cream, this is where the flavor blends with texture
  7. Now add your softer veggies(kale & tomato) lower the heat and simmer for 5 minutes or more if needed, once fully cooked, remove from heat & mix in cilantro
  8. Taste test: make sure the veggies are soft, the spice is on par & add time or ingredients to adjust to your taste
  9. Serve once done & store the rest for leftovers!











Sea Turtles… Friends or Food?

Culture, Education, Environment, Peace Corps, Travel


Well, it turns out many people in Nicaragua eat sea turtles and their eggs even though it is illegal, there isn’t much regulation. At first it was really devastating to hear as an environmental education volunteer, and while it’s still devastating, I understand that eating sea turtle eggs is a tradition that has been passed down for generations, specifically on the coasts of the Atlantic and Pacific. Since learning about this cultural norm, I’ve been asking many people in my community of all ages why they eat sea turtle eggs and if they are aware that sea turtles are an endangered species. I usually hear a local go on and on about how good the taste of sea turtle eggs are with lime and chili and I definitely cringe every time they tell me this, however, I have also learned that many locals depend on selling turtle eggs as their main source of income.

Sea Turtles serve a vital role in the health of the marine and dune ecosystem by being one of the few marine animals that eat sea grass. This is important because as the sea turtles eat the sea grass they keep it healthy and allow the grass beds to spread across the ocean floor, where other marine species such as crustaceans, shellfish and other fish species develop homes and nests. There has been a big decline in sea grass beds and scientists say this can be due to the decline in sea turtles. So the less sea turtles, the less sea grass beds and ultimately the less biodiversity in the ocean overall.

Shrinking sea turtle populations also effects the health of the dune ecosystems. When sea turtles are ready to lay their eggs, they will find an area on the beach or dune and the unhatched eggs, hatchlings and eggshells leftover provide nutrients to the vegetation growing on the dunes. With more nutrients we get stronger plants, with stronger plants we get stronger roots, which leads to healthier and stronger dune ecosystems that will suffer less erosion. With the rise in consumption of sea turtles and their eggs, our dune ecosystems are suffering immensely.

So how can we conserve one of the oldest species on the planet?

Educational events

Beach patrolling

Relocating eggs to sanctuaries

Turtle liberation events



Government Regulation

All of the things listed above support positive behavior change, the most difficult and impactful change that can occur in conservation and development work.

After realizing how much my town enjoyed eating sea turtle eggs, an endangered species, and living close to the pacific coast,  I was conflicted as an environment volunteer; it was a challenge. However, I used this obstacle as inspiration for my sea turtle conservation project that I facilitated with the help of my teachers and a local NGO. A group of 20 students, 3 teachers and myself coordinated a sea turtle conservation day that consisted of an outdoor classroom setting where we showed the students the sea turtle sanctuary and nest area, as well as explained the life cycle of the sea turtles and why they are endangered. By the end of the day, my students and teachers understood how the consumption of turtle eggs correlated to their decline and endangerment as a species; What once stood out to me as a cultural norm that could not be changed turned into an opportunity for education and discussion. 

With strong motivation, creativity, and teamwork I have found the challenges that are presented to you as a Peace Corps volunteer become your best projects and relationship building moments during service.

Grow baby, Grow!

Peace Corps

As Peace Corps Volunteers here in Nicaragua, we are each excited to get to our communities, start making connections and planning projects that will hopefully lead to  long-term sustainable change. We get to our assigned sites with intentions to meet  as many local people as possible like community leaders; the mayor, the school directors and teachers so we can get a feel for their interests and needs to start planning potential projects.

I was most eager to get my hands dirty and start a personal gardening project with a local farmer. Lucky for me, my host uncle has a farm just 2 Kilometers from my home with plenty of fertile soil and cow manure! (an important ingredient to successful gardening) After all the information we received on organic composts, pest control, and veggie gardens, I could not wait to put it all to practice.


Soliciting the leader of the herd for some quality poop to use for the compost


Bike ride to the farm


Tilling the soil (so fertile!)


Compost mixed and ready in a month

This is a one-month compost pile that consists of dirt, cow manure, dry leaves, green leaves, ash and a bit of water. It should be ready in a month to feed my growing plants!


Created four beds to plant cucumber and radishes

The tilling of the soil probably took the longest to prepare since the space was covered in weeds before we got to digging. It was a miracle that I was able to convince my host brother and sister to come out to the farm and help me, especially after seeing how dirty I get after a day on the farm. I’ve learned after living with two host families that Nicaraguans are shower enthusiasts and pride themselves on looking and smelling good. I am clearly the family disappointment…


Pepper plant nursery


Just a week after planting the cucumber


Cucumber plant


3 weeks after planting

At this height my host sister and I installed trellises in the garden so the plant could begin wrapping itself around the string and grow upwards.


My fourth grade student Angel helping me apply a natural pesticide made from leaves of Neem



A month and a half later and I cultivated my first radish!


Brought home organic radishes home to share with the host family


Farm friends

Now that I’ve had a chance to experiment with different gardening techniques I am excited to start the school year in February to teach primary students and teachers how to start a garden of their own at their schools!


Site Assignment Day!


The suspense is real on week 10 of Pre-Service Training here in Peace Corps. Reason being that everyone is anxious to find out where they will be situated on the map of Nicaragua for the next 2 years of their service.

Peace Corps staff got creative and traced a map of Nicaragua on the floor with stars indicating the placement sites of future volunteers! Name by name got called and trainees stepped on their little stars soon to be their home for the next 2 years! I will keep emphasizing two years because it’s an incredibly long time that we will get to spend here doing epic development work.


Villa del Carmen, Managua… is Rebeccah’s site! A small town situated an hour outside of the city center of Managua where my group and I landed just two and a half months ago.


My rural ‘pueblito’ (small town) is made up of about 8,000 people who earn their living in lime mines or by working jobs in the city of Managua. Villa del Carmen is right in-between the city of Managua and the Pacific Coast where you can find private beaches, ecolodges, yoga and surfing. This means beach clean-ups with my students and turtle conservation projects!


Despite the healthy production of sugarcane, corn, beans, wheat and sesame crops in my community, the population of Villa del Carmen is the poorest and most underdeveloped municipality in the department of Managua, hence why a volunteer like myself is needed!

I will be the first environmental volunteer to serve in Villa del Carmen through Peace Corps in several years and am excited to be a positive presence in the community in terms of skills and knowledge surrounding environmental education. Tomorrow I leave for site visit to formally meet my counterparts and host family before I swear-in on November 9th. Let’s do this!



Nica Pride, Fiestas Patrias

Peace Corps

Young girls and boys dressed in traditional nicaraguan clothes of all colors, marching, music, dancing and a whole lot of pride for this charming country. This is the atmosphere on September 14th during Nicaragua’s Independence Day and September 15th during the Independence day of all of Central America.


(My adorable students in their dresses dishing out a subtle pout and displaying some national flowers)

Weeks before the holidays you can hear band practice and bombas (fireworks) happening. The schools in our city and cities all over Nicaragua practice for several hours trying to perfect the instrumental version of Despacito and many other popular songs in Latin America at the moment, I was super impressed by how many songs they were able to play and how many I recognized. I’ve been listening to Reggaeton ever since I landed in Nicaragua and I can’t seem to stop… but I’m not complaining!


(Handmade dresses like these! The people here are so crafty, I can only imagine how long this must have taken.)


(One of my students, Adriana, rocking her outfit and glasses and her profe (teacher) fan-girling.)



(Gabriela and Samuel, does this need any further explanation? I think not, they are the cutest.)


(Student Maria)

It’s weird to think I’ll be celebrating Nicaragua’s Independence Day three times during my service and that I’ll be here for so long but I couldn’t be more excited. Ready for Nicaragua to become my second home; it’s already starting to feel like it 🙂

26 Days in Nicaragua So Far

Peace Corps

It was not too long ago I was day dreaming in one of my last college classes about what Nicaragua was going to feel like, what kind of weather I would experience, what kind of people I would meet. Fast forward a couple of months, I’ve graduated college and have also just landed in Managua, Nicaragua. I brought 2 massive suitcases each weighing precisely 50 pounds (the max limit) and my backpacker’s bag that I somehow managed to squeeze into the plane as a carry-on. Other than these 3 items, I brought heaps of curiosity and an open mind to take on this new adventure. Our first 3-day orientation took place in the hotel directly across the street from the airport in Managua, little did we know this was going to be the most luxurious place we’d stay in for the rest of our 2 years in Nicaragua. During this time, we all made an effort to get to know our group of 38 trainees that make up the TEFL (English) and Environment sector of Nica 70 (the 70th group of Peace Corps Volunteers in Nicaragua). I knew I had been placed somewhere special after our group one night at dinner ordered water for the table and not only did they not mind my suggestion to order without plastic straws, but rather loved the idea and encouraged it at every meal. A burden I once felt I was by being the voice of ecological reason had been lifted and for a change I felt supported and heard, it felt so right.

Over the course of the next 3 days at the orientation retreat every volunteer was bombarded with safety measures, medical handbooks and kits, cellphone chips, Spanish grammar books, Spanish dictionaries, environmental classroom guides, cultural workbooks and so much more. It was information for hours and hours every day along with language interviews and placement. We also got to meet current volunteers who have been in Nicaragua for a year now; many of them living in several different departments scattered all over Nicaragua. On the third and final day of our retreat we were all sent off to different “pueblitos” or towns in Carazo to move into the homes of families we will be sharing a home and culture with for the next 3 months of pre-service training.

Diriamba, Carazo is the department I am situated in, a fairly populated city with accessible grocery stores, restaurants and bars, the complete opposite of some other sites some Peace Corps trainees are living in. I am living with Doña Yeseñia and her two daughters, Daniela and Alejandra. This family has been totally supportive of my vegan diet and the girls remind me of my sister and I. It feels home-y. There are 4 other volunteers living here in Diriamba and attending language classes with me, Britton, Anna, Henry and Ozzy, my familia and support group. We have become pretty close, that’s kind of what happens when you bond over diarrhea and the lack of running water in your life. We watch movies, go on runs together, get cat-called together and work together and I wouldn’t have it any other way, except maybe the cat-calling we could all do without.

We are coming up on week 4 of Pre-Service Training, leaving us with 8 more weeks before our swearing in ceremony when we become official volunteers!

An Airport Story

Peace Corps

This is the day I leave for Peace Corps, nerves and adrenaline are doing their thing. Mom, Dad and I get up 4 hours early to pack any last minute items and I am already dreading the goodbye, the forceful growing up that entails my two years service abroad. My family and my friends are my bloodline, they are my stability, and ever since I found out I was invited to serve in the Peace Corps I made it my mission to value each and every person in my life a little extra and spend as much time with them as possible. My friends are almost like little pieces of gold that I have found walking through life and over time these special people make up an empowering gold necklace you wear proudly and it becomes your strength when they are far away. These goodbyes were very hard.

My family and I arrived at the airport with a little over two hours to get through security. This wasn’t an international flight; my group is meeting in Miami for orientation and then flying to Nicaragua in the next two days, so I figured two hours was plenty of time to get me through security. As I kissed my mama one last time and hugged her hard enough to last me 27 months, I proceeded to wait in line to go through screening. I take off my shoes, pull out my computer, do all the necessaries, besides pull out my reusable water bottle which I later realized was the reason for my 40-minute holdup. The TSA officer kinda scolded me and asked me if this was my first time flying. To which I answered shamefully, no. And she responded, ”you should know better!” Yes lady, I know I forgot to empty the water out of my bottle and I am off to the peace corps and stressed the fuck out so can you please just let me empty it so I can get to my gate? She said that I had the option to either throw out my stainless steel water bottle that I so proudly found at a thrift store for $3 when retail price is $40! Or that I could exit the security area and get back in line to do the whole take your shoes off process over again. I reasoned with myself that I had enough time to get back in line and make it through TSA one more time to save my precious water bottle. Well, I dump every drop of water out of my bottle, put it in my bag, I show my ticket and passport, I get back in line, I am waiting their and seeing the time pass, finally, I take off my shoes, all of my jewelery, all of this for the second time, I think, ok, I have time, I’ll make it. As I stand their shoeless looking down the rotating ramp, I see it! My bags again, it’s coming down the ramp, I’m doing a little dance with time to spare, until bam, my bag takes a left turn and goes straight into the hands of TSA. AGAIN. At this point I cry as if my bag were my child being taken straight out of my arms. This is how you start to feel when you’ve spent nearly an hour going through security. So I go back to security staff and beg them to remember my face, “ME! Remember? The idiot 21 year old who left a full water bottle in her bag? Yeah! That girl! Luckily they remembered and I pleaded, oh please help me, my bag is up for inspection again, I promise you everything is out of there, I poured out the water, my flight leaves in 20 minutes! The man says, “I’ll see what I can do.” I see him speak to one of his coworkers and points to my bag. The woman grabs it and brings it up to the front for inspection and I hear her say, “Who’s bag is this. Excuse me, who does this belong to?” I weave my way through other helpless mothers and fathers of stuffed and lifeless luggage babies and I say, “Me! Me! That’s my baby, I mean bag.” She immediately feels the bag and says in a disappointed voice, “ma’am, you forgot to take out your computer.” I hear again, “is this your first time flying?” At this point I have lost all confidence in making it two years in a foreign country when I can’t even follow basic airport instructions. To be fair, it’s a full moon if you believe in that stuff, I’m stressed out from having to say bye to basically everyone I know and I just want to make my flight.

She quickly checks the rest of the bag, says it’s good to go and I run to the gate with 15 minutes to spare. As I approach the gate I see some guy signaling to his wife I presume, and I hear him say, “Come on! We are going to miss it! I quickly check my ticket to make sure that isn’t my gate and yes of course it is. The couple, myself and several others missed the flight headed to Miami at 11:05AM. Oh fuck. This is not good, I have orientation at 5 o’clock and I missed my flight. I plead with the desk lady, “No you don’t understand, I need to make this flight, I’m off to the Peace Corps, please, I’m going to miss my orientation.” The lady (at this point I read her name tag and learned her name, Georgia) kind of gives me a second look, like oh the Peace Corps. She proceeds to tell me that she had several family members serve our country through the military. She told me how noble it is to be doing what I am doing. In my head I’m thinking well I don’t if I’ll be doing any of it now that I missed my flight. I see Georgia pick up her radio and start speaking to staff on board. She ultimately tells me it’s just too late. The tears start forming, my face starts getting hot, I start getting prepared for people to see my ugly crying face, I can’t help it. I’m on the phone with my Dad, Georgia is tip tapping on her computer seeming to be doing everything she can to get me to Miami. My dad attempts to console me but I am still in tears. Georgia says, I can get you on a 3:30pm flight to Miami. By that time I will have missed orientation, but it’s my only choice. She books the 3:30pm flight and then proceeds to tell me that there is a list of things she’ll be getting yelled at for and one more conscious mistake can’t hurt. She steps outside of the desk and says, “I don’t care if I get in trouble, I’m bringing out the big guns.” I start following right behind this fierce woman going straight up these stairs leading into this white glossy looking, corporate feeling American Airlines secret floor. She looks around and quickly tells me that she doesn’t see any familiar faces so this might not go as planned. I’m still unsure at this point as to what is going on. She tells me to put my game face on and I figure this means look like a desperate 20-something with puffy eyes who just wants to get to Peace Corps orientation. And she’s got on this, “My whole family has served in the military and I’m bringing out the big guns look.” And both of us storm straight up to this lady behind a desk. She says, “Hey there, I know that this is against American Airlines rules but long story short this young lady is going to serve in the Peace Corps and she has missed her flight. Can she stay up here until her later 3:30pm flight? Picture me standing there with the ultimate puppy face even though I have no idea what Georgia is really asking for. Either way, this lady says of course and Georgia takes me around this dazzling floor with private lounges, TV’s, a full bar, buffet style hors d’oeuvres, and the works, turns out we’re hanging out in the first class floor. She shows me this touch screen sleek black machine and tells me to treat myself to a nice cappuccino or tea while I wait for my flight. I find a seat and Georgia walks back to talk to the nice lady who let me in here and then starts walking back towards me, she hands me two white tickets and says, it’s all gonna be ok, here’s two free premium drink vouchers for the bar, you’re gonna do great, god speed, and before ya know it she’s gone.

I have a feeling it’s going to be these little things that keeps me hopeful in life. Thank you Georgia, for making a young and nervous recent college grad feel like she’s not alone.

Packing for Peace Corps (While Saving the Earth)

Lifestyle, Peace Corps

The time is fast approaching! A month countdown begins today, before I leave the USA to serve in the Peace Corps for two whole years!!(yes, I’ll be nearing age 24 by the time I get back, crazy, I know)

Where am I going you wonder? Nicaragua, where i’ll be teaching environmental education to primary school children, the dream. Packing for a two year trip requires quite a bit of planning, especially if you’re like me and plan on being as environmentally friendly as possible, which means a lot of second-hand thrift shopping and clothes swapping with friends and family.

One of my goals as an environmental educator is to promote sustainability in all forms, and this means being a conscious consumer as I purchase and pack clothing, luggage, shoes, etc.

What’s the big deal with shopping around for new things anyway? Shopping used to be a trip to the mall, ordering online, basically buying anything and everything brand new. This didn’t bother me until I read the numbers…

  1. It takes 700 gallons of water to make a cotton t-shirt.
  2. The average American throws out about 82 pounds of textile waste per year.
  3. Clothes can take up to 40 years to decompose.
  4. Shoes can take up to a 1,000 years to break down.
  5. 95% of textiles cannot be recycled.

After reading figures like these, my immediate reaction was how can I contribute less to these statistics?!

The solution may not be convenient, but it’s certainly less expensive, less pollutive and better for the earth, which is a concern for Peace Corps volunteers who care about people and the planet. Shopping second hand for most of my Peace Corps needs was a fun challenge and one I know will shape my future experiences.



  • 3 Denim Shorts
  • 1 Khaki Short
  • 1 Denim Skirt
  • 3 Long Khakis
  • 5 Pairs of Slacks
  • 2 Rayon-stretch Pants
  • 3 Dark-Denim Jeans
  • 3 Long Skirts
  • 1 Short Skirt
  • 6 Pairs of Yoga Pants
  • 2 Yoga Shorts
  • 6 Cotton T-Shirts for Bed
  • 1 Long Sleeve Spandex Shirt
  • 2 Shorts Sleeve Spandex Shirts
  • 9 Tank Tops
  • 4 Long Sleeve Tops
  • 4 Collard Shirts
  • 6 Cotton Shirts
  • 3 Blouses
  • 3 Strappy Tops
  • 4 Dresses
  • 1 Pair of Overalls
  • 1 Sweatshirt
  • 1 Rain Jacket
  • 1 Cotton Jacket
  • 1 Bandana
  • 2 Swimsuits
  • 30x Underwear (This I would not recommend buying second hand… when put in a situation like this where you must by new, I try my best to shop organic, fair-trade. My favorite brand by far is: PactOrganic)
  • 30x Socks (Same rule applies for socks, if you can try to go organic and fair trade)

Where to find second hand clothes? I found most of the above at: Goodwill, Poshmark(Online Clothing Buy/Sell), Housing Works, City Opera Thrift Shop, and from the closets of friends and family(Shout out to you guys, you rock). Local thrift stores are all over the place and many of them partner with great charities and organizations to raise money for HIV Prevention and Awareness, Train people for Careers, Fight Homelessness, support the LGBTQ Community and so much more. There are several pros to thrifting!



  • Converse
  • New Balance
  • Hiking Boots
  • Mules
  • Slip On Canvas Shoes
  • Sandals
  • Flip Flops

*Tip: When buying used shoes you can disinfect them with a natural homemade mix of things you can find in your fridge like vinegar and lemon.


(My sister thrifted and gifted this fitting little miss green T, thanks Sam)


  • Macbook /Macbook Charger(Laptop is a must)
  • Compact Converter
  • DSLR Camera (2x Lenses)
  • Power Bank/Travel Light
  • Phone/ Phone Charger
  • External Hard Drive
  • Speakers
  • Headlight + Extra Batteries
  • Extension Chord
  • Headphones (x2)
  • Flashlight
  • Flashdrive (x2)
  • Battery Powered Alarm Clock
  • Extra Batteries
  • Digital Watch/FITBIT (Great to track miles/calories without the use of gym equipment)

Personal Health/Hygiene

  • Bamboo Toothbrush/Case (x5) (I like these because they are compostable but obviously you can find these in country)
  • Toothpaste (You can purchase toothpaste or 3 simple ingredients to make your own)
  • Floss
  • Razor
  • Face Wash (You can bring your own, use African Black Soap or make your own with local ingredients)
  • Shampoo/Conditioner (You can bring your own or make your own with local ingredients, I use Baking Soda + Apple Cider Vinegar)
  • Soap/Soap Holder (African Black Soap is magic and can be used for practically all washing needs like face wash + shampoo)
  • Deodorant (You can purchase or make your own with local ingredients, I just use baking soda! Works like a charm)
  • Menstrual Cup (Zero Waste alternative to Tampons or Pads, Saves you $$$ + good for the planet, highly recommend)
  • Hair Brush
  • Hair Ties/Clippers
  • Quick Dry Towels (x2)
  • Shower Bag
  • Natural Loofa (Compostable)
  • Mirror
  • Nail Clippers/Files
  • Tweezers
  • Q-Tips
  • Natural Sunscreen
  • Essential Oils (Great for Skin Treatment, bug bites, relaxation, headaches, all around soothing)
  • Tiger Balm
  • Makeup
  • Aloe Vera (Can be used as moisturizer and for any burns!)
  • Chapstick (You can purchase or make yourself with local ingredients)

Screen Shot 2017-07-24 at 7.52.13 PM

100% Recycled Biodegradable Packaging, BPA Free, Phthalate Free, PVC Free, Biodegradable & Compostable

BMBU Toothbrush

Lifetime Razor, almost 100 years old belonged to my great grandpa during the 1930’s. Besides the sentimental value behind this razor, I am happy to find a razor that isn’t a plastic disposable, and even better allows you to sharpen the blade over and over again. You can actually still purchase a Rolls Razor on EBay.

100% Biodegradable floss, no waste here.

This sunscreen is non-toxic and cruelty free. Most sunscreen finds its way into ocean waters and bleaches coral, however, this brand, Raw Elements is safe for you and the planet.

Work Supplies

  • Plenty of Pens/Pencils
  • Sharpies
  • Highlighters
  • Tape
  • Crayons
  • Scissors
  • Whiteboard Markers/Regular Markers
  • Index Cards
  • Stickers

Found this stainless steel water bottle for $3 at goodwill! Brand new would be $40


  • WATER BOTTLE (32 oz. Preferably)
  • Sunglasses
  • Baseball Cap
  • Cotton Sheet set
  • Comfy Pillow
  • Umbrella
  • Reusable Canvas Bags
  • Stainless Steel Straw
  • Pocket Knife
  • Journal(s)/Books
  • Card Games
  • Light-Weight Robe
  • Belt
  • Earplugs
  • Hiking Packpack
  • Gardening Gloves/Tools (For enviro volunteers)
  • Jump Rope (Aside from running, i’m assuming it’s gonna be a challenge getting a decent workout)
  • Pictures of Family + Friends
  • Yoga Mat
  • French Press

This blog post will be a work in progress up until the day I leave; I will continue adding content as I gather more things and discover any useful tips for Peace Corps packers!

This blog represents my own thoughts and opinions. They do not directly reflect those of the U.S. Peace Corps or Nicaragua