{Guest Post} Q and A with This is not a Guidebook author, Emily Flynn

The Diva Team recently partnered with Emily Flynn for Tweet Chat (#LetsGoDiva) about her new eBook This is not a Guidebook, travel and The DivaCup. We were excited to learn about the many adventures this young woman has experienced. As a writer, student midwife and fellow Diva we thought to share a bit about Emily with our Diva Community! And… Emily is hosting a DivaCup giveaway on her website until November 7th, 2014. Entry details are  below.

em.flynn.book.cover1. Tell us a bit about This is not a Guidebook?

This is Not a Guide Book is a sort of unconventional travel guide. Instead of listing a whole bunch of must see tourist spots for a particular place, it helps guide travelers into what may be uncharted territory for them in terms of out of the ordinary adventure. It talks about saving and planning for a trip no matter your budget and no matter where you’re going. It also talks about the benefits of unconventional means of traveling like bike touring, hitchhiking, couch surfing, work for stays, volunteer travel, and the like. I discuss many of my travels doing offbeat trips on a shoestring as well as tell the stories of fellow travelers I’ve met along the way who have shared their exciting lives with me. I hope it’s encouraging to hear about all the many ways you can travel even if you aren’t crazy rich.

2. What inspired you to write a book like This is not a Guidebook?

I caught the travel bug in high school when I went to Europe with a big group of classmates and have hardly stayed in one place since. I have had a lot of people–friends and random acquaintances alike–ask me how I manage to do it when I never make anywhere near as much money as they do. After writing so many long long long emails and blog posts to answer these questions, I had a few friends suggest I write a book with all of the info in one place.

Plus, one of the last things my Grandfather said to me was, “Where’s your book?”, so I figured I ought to get writing!

3. If you had to choose, what are the top three travel tips you would give for women?

1. Have faith in yourself. There are a lot of negative people out there who will tell you all sorts of discouraging things, especially if you’re a woman traveling alone, but you can do it.

2. On a similar note, building a strong community of positive people seems to be more essential for women travelers than for men. Having other women travelers inspire you and cheer you on is really impactful.

3. Don’t be afraid to be yourself. I always pack something cute to wear, a razor, etc., and look for unconventional and exciting things to wear and decorate my gear with, even when I’m living outdoors for six months or biking 1,000 miles. There’s no reason to feel like you have to look or act a certain way in order to succeed in finishing your trip. Be yourself and you’ll be more comfortable and have more fun. This goes for men too.

eFLYNN4. What has been your experience with The DivaCup?

I have been using The DivaCup for about a year now and love it. The best part is not worrying about having to run out and buy a box of tampons when your period comes around; it’s already there in its little pouch when I need it. Not having to throw away so much waste is an amazing benefit too, especially when I’m in the backcountry for extended periods of time. You have to pack everything in and out, and the last thing I want is to have to cart around a bag of used pads and tampons ’til I can get to civilization. I used a sea sponge on my 6 month Appalachian Trail hike and it was amazing to not have to worry about those things. I wish I had a DivaCup then, though. I think it would have worked even better!

5. Tell us about your favorite travel memory?

Hmmmm. That’s a hard one. It’s between my first real backpacking trip through The Olympic National Forest to see Blue Glacier and my trip to the Aran Islands in Ireland. I’ll talk about the second one because it’s funnier…

I took a trip over to Ireland when I was living in Holland several years ago. My boyfriend and I rented a car and drove around almost the entire island in six days. We stopped over to the Aran Islands off the coast of Galway because we heard they were really beautiful.

After a truly horrible ferry ride, we arrived on the tiny main island late at night and nothing was open save for one bar near the hostel. They stopped serving food so we had a dinner of potato chips and Guinness surrounded by some hearty Irish fisherman. There was one in particular who took a liking to me. We think his name was Papa Lou, but we can’t be sure. He spoke in such a thick brogue that I was left to translate for my boyfriend everything he said–many years with my Grandfather made me fluent in Old Irishman. He also laughed and shook my hand as a sort of punctuation to every sentence and asked me to marry him about forty times, but only after asking my boyfriend if it was okay. I’d guess he was somewhere up in his late 70’s. We did manage to have a lovely and intellectually stimulating conversation about commercial fishing, believe it or not, before we retired to our hostel.

It was freezing that night and the hostel was completely empty, so we made a mattress and blanket fort on the ground away from the windows just to stay warm. We got up the next morning and biked around the ruins and small farms before heading back to the mainland. It was a silly night and a really memorable stay in the home of my ancestors.

eFLYNN2Emily Flynn

Emily is a doula and student midwife in Durango, CO. When she’s not catching babies, she’s enjoying all the outdoor activities around the Southwest and saving up for her next big adventure. You can read more about Emily’s travels in her book This is Not a Guide Book and on the book’s blog. You can also purchase a copy of the book, online at Amazon.

For a chance to win a DivaCup prize pack and a copy of This is Not a Guide Book read the submission guidelines here.

 

Diary of a Diva: How this adventure Diva empowered herself!

How this adventure Diva empowered herself!

Hi! My name is Rachel, I am 28 years old. I am an elementary educator, backpacker, tri-athlete, mountain biker, world traveler and love adventure!

I grew up running around with my brothers and other boys in the neighborhood, and never wanted to let anything slow me down. When I was 14, I had the visit from “that dear aunt” and knew at that point, there had to beAd better options than pads and tampons.

Fast forward 10 years – my mind was blown and my life was changed.

I was with a friend complaining about how I was starting my period the first day of my backpacking trip the following week. Dealing with tampons and the disposal on trail is pretty gross and a hassle, needless to say it can attract animals! My friend immediately cut me off to share her newest environmentally-friendly, safe, and convenient back-country and front-country period solution. The DivaCup. I was skeptical at first, but knowing what I had coming up, and the hassle of disposables, I ordered one immediately. After a few days, I could barely even tell it was there and have been rockin’ it ever since!

I am proud to say that have been a DivaCup user since 2011 and I love it. I got several of my friends rockin em’ and they adore it too!

The DivaCup has made my active and spontaneous lifestyle so much more manageable. Whether leading teenagers on 3-week backpacking expeditions, or spending six hours straight in a classroom with elementary students – The DivaCup allows me to feel confident, comfortable, and calm when it comes to that time of the month.

How this adventure Diva empowered herself!

This past month I competed in my first ever 70.3 Half Ironman Triathlon, on the second day of my period! That is 1.2 miles of swimming, 56 miles of cycling, and 13.1 miles of running. Fortunately, I had been training with my DivaCup while on my period, and have been active with it for several years now… so swimming, biking, and running didn’t disturb its effectiveness or my confidence one bit!

I was nervous about the race, naturally, but The DivaCup was with me the whole time, all 70.3 miles of activity! What an amazing product… it NEEDS to get on to prime time commercials and rock our menstruators’ world! It is also more convenient, economical, AND much more eco-friendly than other period products. Women are too powerful to be slowed down by periods.

Empower yourselves! Rock The DivaCup!

Rachel M

Rachel is an outdoor enthusiast, elementary school teacher and avid traveler who lives in New Hampshire.

One4Her provides basic needs to the Pader Girls Academy

photo11823On October 11th, organizations from around the world will come together to draw awareness to International Day of the Girl. This day is set aside each October to advocate for the basic needs and rights of girls and to encourage participation in efforts to help girls reach their full potential.

Diva International works with various organizations to help ensure that all girls, no matter where they live, have access to basic rights – food, clean water, shelter, education and hygiene (including access to feminine hygiene protection). Since 2000, one of our partners, Lunapads has been providing girls with sustainable period care through their Pads4Girls program. Period care is a necessity for women and girls, but is often not accessible due to poverty and limited resources.

This past spring, Diva International Inc. partnered with Lunapads in support of their One4Her program in recognition of Menstrual Hygiene Day. We committed to donate an AFRIpads Kit (complete with 2 pads with 5 inserts, plus 1 carrying bag) for every DivaCup sold on Lunapads.com during the month of May. Each kit provides a girl with a sustainable supply of cloth pads to manage her period for over a year.

Thanks to our Divas, we were able to pledge funds that totaled 443 kits to girls in need!

This summer Lunapads received a request from Maggie Crosby, a graduate student at UC Berkeley, in the School of Public Health, who was working at the Pader Girls’ Academy (PGA) in Uganda. Knowing about Lunapads and their One4Her program, Maggie requested a more comprehensive AFRIpads for the 250 young mothers at PGA that also included underwear (most girls don’t even own a pair) and soap. After reviewing Maggie’s request, Lunapads and Diva International were pleased to use the funds raised from the Menstrual Hygiene Day One4Her campaign to send 250 comprehensive AFRIpad kits to the young women at PGA.

PGA helps child mothers by making it possible for them to bring their child with them to school. This is unique in Uganda, as often child mothers are stigmatized and going back to school is not an option for them. A survey was conducted to see what the girls would need when it comes to self-care and hygiene and most of the girls requested soap, underwear and pads.

Such basic needs.

The young girls who live at PGA have been victims of rape, coercion or abduction (due to Uganda’s 25-year civil war). At PGA they have been given a rare opportunity to continue their studies while raising their babies in a safe place. These are strong young women who have overcome many challenges, and who are learning to advocate for themselves and their families.

The following is a brief recap from Maggie about how your support of the Menstrual Hygiene Day One4Her campaign has helped women at PGA live better, healthier lives.

PGA 1What do the young mothers currently use to manage their period? How does it affect their schooling when they have their period?

Most girls at PGA use rags or old t-shirts to stuff in their underwear during their period. They do not have any money to afford disposable pads and many cannot even afford underwear. Because of this, if their period soaks through their clothing, they may skip classes to avoid the embarrassment. Each student that I asked about this issue during my time at PGA this summer replied that their lack of hygiene necessities negatively impacts their studies. When asked “what information or resources, relating to sexual and reproductive health, would be most useful to you?” the number one response was “pads”.

The effect of menstruation is so stigmatising on the young mothers. Many of the girls often disassociate themselves from the rest of the students until their period is over, which has a big impact on her performance at the end of the term.

PGA 2How will life improve for them to have the kits?

Owning reusable pads, underwear and soap will have a positive impact on the lives of PGA students. These young women have been robbed of their innocence and their agency – poverty happens to them, sex happens to them, pregnancy happens to them. Possessing the necessary resources for dealing with their periods will provide them with a measure of control over at least one aspect of their life.

Having the kits will also save the girls from a number of negative outcomes of menstruation (a) worries during periods, (b) use of unclean clothes during periods, (c) further infections during periods as a result of using dirty clothes. This will lead to improved performance of the students at school as such better ground for sustainability of the school.

What are their hopes and dreams in going to school?

Students in the vocational training program hope to become seamstresses, to work in hotels or restaurants, or to start their own bakeries or catering businesses. Secondary school students mostly aim to continue their studies in nursing or teaching. They want to be nurses to provide adequate support and care to young mothers and they want to be teachers they can encourage girls to enrol and complete both primary and secondary education. One student told me that she hopes one day to be a member of parliament.

While we still have many girls who are blocked from attaining their educational career due to re-current pregnancies, most girls who have attained admissions at schools demonstrate commitment in their studies.

Help change a young girl’s life by donating to Pads4Girls or shop to support One4Her today!

 

one4herPads4Girls

Since 2000, Lunapads has been operating Pads4Girls, a program that addresses an issue faced by hundreds of millions of girls and women in developing nations: missing school or work for several days every month because they lack adequate means to manage their periods. Providing girls with sustainable menstrual supplies is a simple yet highly effective way to give them a chance for a better future.

In 2012 Lunapads partnered with AFRIpads, a social enterprise in Uganda, to create One4Her. For every eligible product purchased, Lunapads matches that purchase by financing the production and donation of a Ugandan-made AFRIpad to a girl in East Africa.

 

Diary of a Diva: Putting The DivaCup to the test!

Tricia F

My name is Tricia and I am a recent joiner of The DivaCup fandom.

I’m a security guard by day, a writer in the evening, and training to be in the RCMP at night.

I’d heard about reusable menstrual items only recently, having grown up on pads and tampons since my first period, and immediately I was struck with how useful it would be to have a reusable version.

At first I was unsure of where to find a reusable option in Ottawa, ON until I happened across The DivaCup in the local Mountain Equipment Co-op and purchased it. The DivaCup held up well during my day job of copious amounts of sitting, and it was easy to forget I was using anything at all.

When I was home and had an hour of Combat training, I knew it was going to put The DivaCup to the test. Most menstrual items are absolutely ridiculous for exercise; pads twist and wedge in uncomfortable ways, while the plastic of them can be quite irritating. And tampons are usually uncomfortable, unable to keep in position and sometimes come out altogether.

I have always hated the feeling of tampons, and the fear of toxic shock syndrome had kept me chained to pads unless I had no other choice. Now I do and I am grateful for it and I have already spread the word about it to those that I can by writing a user’s review of it for the website I write on. I appreciate the easy-to-use, easy-to-clean product and look forward to having a much simpler method of handling menstruation in the future.

Tricia F.

I am 28 years old and married without children. I engage in a wide variety of fitness related debacles, from Tough Mudder to Spartan Beast, Army Runs to zombie walks. It’s a fun way to pass the time and aim for a healthier lifestyle and my husband loves to be dragged along for the ride. I write for entertainment and to earn the occasional dollar, but I work in security and aim to be in the RCMP before the end of 2015, so I expect life to get very interesting very soon. Perfect timing to have The DivaCup take away some of the monthly stress of menstruating.