Cari Aurora

Cari Aurora


"At Home with Snuggs" is a series that revolves around individuals sharing their genuine and authentic menstruation experiences.

This month we chat with Cari, a travel enthusiast that lives half the year in her van and the other half in Japan. Cari talks us through traveling on your period, their must have products and how their relationship with their period changed since coming off birth control. 


Q1- To begin with, would you mind introducing yourself, and giving us a brief overview of you, your work and what you are all about? 

Hey I’m Cari, I’m from west wales. I mainly spend my life outdoors. During the winter I live in Japan running a hostel and snowboarding. Throughout summer I’m back living in my van in west wales with my dog. I’ve been living the van life for 4 years now and still love it as much as the first week. I teach outdoor activities as well as skiing on dry slopes whilst I’m back in wales.

Traveling really sets my soul on fire. I thrive in new places and experiences. I love being home for summer because the UK has so many beautiful wellness sober festivals and creative spaces to offer. The last few years I’ve really been on this journey of learning about myself. I’ve reconnected with fundemental elements from my childhood such as dance and the importance of play. I’m learning what helps me get into my body and regulate my emotions. Having my little van as my own safe tranquil space has really helped me to feel held during this period. Along with these amazing festivals giving me the tools and

 

workshops to practice. I love the smell of fresh orange peel and how it feels to rub your feet in fresh bed sheets at the end of the day. I love people with unusual laughs and sharing a smile with a stranger. I love how the rain sounds against my hood.

Q2- How do you prepare for travelling during your period with snuggs, especially when you're unsure about the facilities available at your destination? 

When I’m travelling, my periods become irregular and unpredictable, so I always make sure I’ve packed my period underwear just in case. If I’m already on my period I wear a pair and keep a spare with me to stay comfortable and fresh all day and night, whether I’m on a plane or by the beach.
I stopped using pads and tampons years ago to try and live more sustainably, and because I didn’t want any of the chemicals in sanitary products near my sensitive areas. I briefly tried a menstrual cups but it was hard predicting whether I would have anywhere to clean and sterilise the cup while travelling. I’ve just found wearing period underwear so much easier and wayyyy comfier.

Q3- What tips can you share for managing period discomfort and staying comfortable during long flights or road trips? 

I always travel with a hot water bottle, but tiger balm heat pads have been a fantastic recent discovery too. I like to wear them on my lower back because that’s where I get the worst cramps, and they smell amazing so that’s a plus! I wear the comfiest clothes and bring spare socks too; anything and everything to feel as cosy and fresh as possible. I then just get into my own little world with headphones in, watch a little movie or listen to a podcast and, of course, eat chocolate. Chocolate is essential. 

Q4- Can you share your experience with period swimwear? How has it changed your approach to swimming and beach activities during your period?

Since using period swimwear I just feel so much more relaxed, without worrying about rushing to find a toilet to change my tampon or moon cup. I can literally hop from bikini to pants without having to worry about feeling any discomfort with water trapped inside of me or strings hanging out from other products. Especially because a lot of the places I’ve traveled to don't have clean tap water, so washing out a moon cup was complicated. This is a risk I no longer have to worry about. 

Q5- What are your must-have products or essentials for managing your period while enjoying summer activities like hiking, camping, or attending festivals?

Honestly, I don’t have many essentials. I try to pack as light as possible, although I do always have an abundance of underwear with me. Even if I’m away for one night I’ll never have less than 5 pairs of pants. I like wearing comfortable loose clothing and taking natural plant soaps that are safe to use in the wild. 

Q6- How do you prioritise self-care and listen to your body’s needs during your period, especially in the busy summer months?

I feel like during the summer or while traveling, there’s this expectation to be having the best time all the time and feeling great. Unfortunately for women there’s at least a week where Mother Nature is not on board with that feel good vibe.

I just really try to remind myself that it’s still normal life and it’s okay not to feel great every day. I also find it comforting knowing there’s a week where I get to think only about myself. Whatever I’m craving - chocolate, sleep, comfort, swim - I make sure that’s what I’m doing. It’s the week where I’m most connected to my body, feeling and listening to everything that’s going on inside. I try to stretch to relieve my back from the cramps and treat myself to good coffee & herbal teas.

Q7- What are some signs that your body needs extra rest or specific care during your period, and how do you respond to these signals?

My skin breaks out just before I come on and that’s when I know I need to really make sure I’m drinking a lot of water. I definitely get more agitated and irradiated by people around me so I make sure I’m getting lots of alone time to be in my little safe space - wherever that may be. My social battery runs out very quickly too but I’m lucky to have great friends around. I can just say ‘‘ok girls- I wanna go”  and they get it. 

Q8- How do you balance staying active and respecting your body’s limits when experiencing period symptoms during summer activities?

I make sure I’m prioritising myself and my needs, so, even if I’ve agreed to plans and I don’t feel like it - I tell myself that I’m allowed to say no or change my mind.

Some days I really do not want to get out of bed or move but I have a little dog that looks at me all sad, so he’s a great motivator for getting up and out. Fresh air and gentle movements are essential for me whilst I’m on my period so I try and think of how good I’ll feel after. 

 

Q9- Can you describe your personal journey with your menstrual cycle and how it intersects with your day to day life. 

When I’m dancing or during moments of intimacy.

Q10- How are you kind to yourself, others and the planet? 

I really try to practice patience with myself and others. Everyone’s going through their own stuff;  being patient with people doesn’t take too much effort but has a big impact. I really feel like this is the purest form of kindness. It also translates for the planet - having that extra moment of patience to wash and recycle things properly has a big impact. Buying slow fashion, having that patience to wait for things to be delivered or even made. Patience is kindness. 

Q11- Could you share any rituals or self-care routines you follow during your menstrual cycle, and how does Snuggs fit into these practices?

I really love swimming on my period. The ocean or any fresh water has always made me feel so held and cleansed. Having snuggs period swimwear has made swimming feel even more relaxing, not needing to worry about blood down my legs as I get out and not having to rush to change straight away. Out of the water, I like lighting an incense stick and meditating while being conscious of setting a soothing intention for my womb space. 

Q12- Can you describe your personal journey with your menstrual cycle and how it intersects with your day to day life.

I've really had a strange journey with my periods the last few years. I struggled a lot with food and nourishing myself as a teen. My hair started to fall out and snap, and I didn’t get a period for years. At the time this was something I gladly celebrated but I now realise how serious that loss was. I liked that I didn’t have to worry about saying no to swimming with my friends or feeling shy during sex. I’ve been on contraception since I was 14 as my periods back then were so heavy I was bleeding through 2 night pads, shorts and my school trousers onto my chair. 

I then got the coil at 18 after being on the pill for years. This definitely was a much better option for me although I was always terrified my boyfriend at the time would feel it. After 8 years of being on contraception I got it taken out just before turning 22. My first period after that was crazy. I remember sitting by the lake in Nepal with my new friend and her boyfriend crying my eyes out whilst laughing, feeling so much joy and sorrow over this ice cream I was eating. I hadn’t had pudding or a sweet treat in 2 months and this ice cream plus the raging hormones that had been messed around for 8 years was just such an intense experience. I look back on that memory so fondly. I remember thinking holy sh*t this is being a woman. Having my period now is a sign for me that I am healthy and my body is thriving.

Q13- How has your understanding of your own menstrual experience influenced your perspective on menstruation in a broader context? 

I really love the concept of seasons during your cycle. How your winter season is your period where your body needs to be slow and cosy. Spring is your follicular stage where you’re slowly unwinding getting back to better energy levels. Summer is your ovulation and luteal is your autumn. I love viewing my period as a part of nature that’s so connected in every way, even through seasons. I feel most witchy when I'm in sync with the moon. That is some mermaid sh*t. I use this great period app that explains every single day of your cycle down to your bowel movements.

It’s been great understanding when women have less or more energy in their cycles and when to plan busier activities or to set chill days. Talking about my cycle so much with the women around me has really opened my eyes to how contrasting different people’s cycles can be. Communicating with friends has helped me understand what other menstruating people are going through each month, and I feel very lucky that mine doesn't affect my day to day life in the way that some other friends’ cycles do. 

 

Interview conducted by Sarah Hazeldene- Head of Community at snuggs, featuring Cari.You can find more from Cari over on our Instagram @snuggs
Images taken by the wonderful Leia Morrison.