Diary of Diva: From Fires to Mt. Kilimanjaro

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Image by Lars Paronen

I am a full-time firefighter in Ontario, Canada. I love to be outside mountain biking, hiking, snowboarding and also love to rock climb and do yoga. I am very active and have always had issues with tampons leaking when doing activities or at work.

My one most embarrassing moment was about 14 years ago on the fire ground when I had just started as a volunteer fire fighter and we had a huge barn fire. Of course I was excited to get into action and do my job, but unfortunately I had nowhere to “change” when it was time. So being new I was really embarrassed about asking to go back to the fire hall to help change the empty cylinders of air just so that I could replace my tampon (which I didn’t carry on me in my bunker gear and later learned to be more prepared). I had to say to my captain that I had a “girl issue” so he would let me go.

Fast forward a few years ago when it all changed for the better. Our Fire Department in Waterloo hosted a Female Firefighter Conference, and The DivaCup was there as a sponsor with a booth educating us about the benefits of menstrual cups. I talked to a fellow firefighter who already used The DivaCup and she only had amazing things to say about it. I remember being in awe when she said that she could leave it in for 12 hours. She assured me it was the best thing ever!

mountainclimbI had to try it!

With our job, not knowing when the next call will come and having something that you can trust for an unknown amount of time is priceless. It’s just one less thing you have to worry about at a call. Once I tried it, and after getting used to it for a few months, I never went back to tampons and have never had to worry again about leakage.

Such a great feeling!!

Just recently I climbed and summited Mt. Kilimanjaro, and wouldn’t you know it day one of my seven day trek, my period came! But of course I was prepared with The DivaCup on hand and was confident that it would still be the best trip of my life to date. It was refreshing to know I could trek all day and not have to worry about anything with full confidence. The porters on my trek always said: Hakuna Matata, which means no worries, they were right in so many ways.

Supporting local businesses is also very important to me so it was great to know that The DivaCup was a local company in my community. Being an outdoor enthusiast and caring about our environment, it’s nice to know that that I am creating less waste as well.

I want to thank Diva International Inc. (makers of The DivaCup) for allowing women to be able to be confident at the time of the month in anything they pursue. Diva International Inc. is an amazing company that gives back to organizations around the world. I volunteer as a Board of Director for a Not for Profit organization called Mom2Mom Africa and Diva International Inc. has helped support us financially as well as given us cups for some of our girls in TZ.

Thanks again! I hope I have inspired someone to give The DivaCup a try. Trust me you won’t regret it!


mom2momJoanne M.

Joanne lives in Collingwood, ON with her husband and daughter. She is a fulltime firefighter in Waterloo and a board member of Mom2Mom Africa. She is an avid outdoor enthusiast who loves camping, rock climbing, snowboarding, moutain biking, hiking and yoga. Joanne (and friend Laura Bender) recently summited Mt. Kilimanjaro, raising money to build a well for children of Arusha, TZ that Mom2Mom Africa support.


{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.


Diva Traveling Tips!

Ready to travel pink suitcase with summer equipment isolatedWith summer just over a week away, the Diva Team thought to put together some summer travel tips for the Diva Community. Whether you are planning a beach vacation, trek around Europe or interior camping trip, there’s a tip below just for you!

Period Care  While we may do our best to plan trips around our periods, they sometimes decide to show up when we least expect it. Being prepared with basic essentials can make a world of difference. First things first, never leave home without The DivaCup – it takes up little to no space in your luggage and is the most reliable method of period care for travel. A hot water bottle, ginger tea and comfy (stretch) pants can also provide some relief to those pesky cramps.

Extra Set of Clothes  When you can, check a bag and when you can’t pack an extra pair of clothes in your carry on, including underwear!

Foot Care While buying a pair of flip flops for $3 is a bargain deal, your feet deserve the best. If you are planning a trip that will include a fair bit of walking, invest in a good pair of flip flops or sandals that offer both comfort and support. Walking or hiking shoes that allow your feet to breathe are also a must.

Hydrate  Ensuring that you have access to clean drinking water is important for any trip. Pack a reusable water bottle and fill up at the water station at your campsite, hotel or airport. Eating water rich foods such as cucumbers, radishes, celery and watermelon can also aid in keeping you hydrated.

Journal  Documenting a trip is one of my favorite parts of traveling, even for business trips! If you will have easy access to the internet a travel or photo blog is a great way for family and friends back at home to journey with you.

Sun Care  While we all love to soak up the sun, it’s no secret that the sun’s rays can have damaging effects. A sunburn can limit the activities you can participate in on your vacation, disrupt sleep and lead to health concerns. Pack only a high level SPF sun block, forgo the tanning lotion and ensure you have a good pair of sunglasses, a hat and cover-up.

Pack a Book!  I’ll admit I’m a bit of a bookworm, always have been and always will be. Reading is a great way to soak up the sun or pass the time when a flight is delayed. Download a book to your personal tablet or pack a small paperback for your next trip.

Snacks  Packing a protein bar in your carry on will ensure you get some nutrients if the flight is delayed and can make for a great pick me up once you’ve landed in a different time zone.

Tune up! If you are planning a summer road trip don’t forget to get an oil change and your brakes checked.

Pack Ahead  We are often told to plan ahead, but how many of us pack ahead? Being on the road with Diva has taught me to pack a few days in advance. This allows for laundry to be done and essentials like toothpaste to be purchased well in advance.

Downsize  While I’d love to bring 6 pairs of my cutest flats with me, I have learned that you really only need three types of footwear for any trip: good walking/hiking shoes, flip flops (if the temperature allows) and flats. If you are traveling somewhere that experiences a lot of rain, rain boots are a great option and you can often pack them full of socks, shoes and clothes. Packing a bottle of DivaWash is a great way to reduce bottle space as it’s great for face, body and The DivaCup.

Games!  Pack a deck of cards or smaller board game (such as Boggle) for flight time, a camping weekend or rainy day at the cottage.

Whatever your summer plans are, all of us at Diva International Inc. want to wish you a safe and happy summer!

Share your Travel Tips with the Diva Community below