Essential Oils

When I was about 15 years old I discovered my first essential oil, patchouli. It was the early 1980s. I soon discovered lavender and rosemary. I did not have any role models or guides, and the internet as a mass commodity was still years away. So, I wore them as perfumes. This went on for years. I loved the smell, and I seemed to be the only person I knew who was wearing them (except for people I met at certain music shows….) I didn’t think much about it; all I knew was that I liked them.

As time went on, I started running 5 – 14 day overnight trips for students on the Chesapeake Bay. I wanted to be able to have all of my “luxuries” with me and for all of them to fit into my bag. I wanted to travel lightly and simply but with comfort. It seemed like an impossibility when I was living on boats:

a skipjack,


a pulling boat,


and an oyster buy boat  – with 14 teenagers and a captain. 

These experiences provided an intention for me – to live simply. Bumper stickers on my car at this time reminded me to: Live simply so that others may simply live and Who says one person can’t change the world?

This finally manifested in my desire to know more about essential oils and simplifying my life. I began to read whatever I could find on aromatherapy. And, thank goodness the internet hit and I could watch videos and take online classes with individuals who were experts in herbs and oils. I was amazed that there were so many people who were deeply interested in the same thing as I. It opened up a whole new world of knowledge for me. 

I learned that essential oils are the “lifeblood” of a plant. They protect plants from disease and provide nutrients. They can be found in a plant’s flower, stem, leaves, bark, or fruit. They are usually extracted from steam distillation. In each drop of essential oil, there are 40 million trillion molecules. They are so tiny that when we apply a drop to our feet, the oil is absorbed immediately and begins to work. Within 22 seconds, they reach our brain, within 2 minutes our bloodstream, and by 20 minutes our whole body. So much for the 15 year old me just liking the way they smell!

I started playing and making my own products. Now, when I travel it all fits into one bag. And, I am still learning. 

When I travel my bag contains:

  • baking soda – for shampoo, brushing my teeth, and washing my face in the morning
  • witch hazel – my go-to toner
  • olive oil – for washing my face at night
  • rose water – a refreshing spritz for any time during the day
  • my homemade deodorant – coconut oil, cornstarch, baking soda, essential oil 
  • my homemade glow stick – frankincense, lavender, tea tree, copaiba, witch hazel
  • my homemade lotion – works on face and body
  • my homemade powder/bronzer – which can also be dry shampoo if I add an essential oil

It’s great to be able to travel so light.

My go-to for all of the supplies I need for making these goodies and more are:

Mountain Rose Herbs – click on the image for more information 

image from