When we travel the typical way, spending a few days here and a few days there, at best we see the superficial. A day is only so long and there is only so much one can see and do in that period of time. Therefore, if a deeper understanding of an area is wanted, you have to do slow travel. And to be able to do slow travel, you have to be creative especially since not all of us are lucky enough to be the offspring of people like Sir Richard Branson.* So as much as I’m not exactly enamoured with my employment, it does allow me to do things like take three months off. This is how I was able to volunteer with Youth Challenge International in Guyana. Being there for three months allowed me to experience Guyanese life, especially life in an Amerindian (Lokono) village. One of the many things I learned while there was how to make coconut oil. I’ve always found it funny how we North Americans pay lots of money for things like coconut oil products when there are others who can make it for free in their own backyards.

Coconut oil can be used in many things including food, medicine, and other various products. It is high in saturated fats but apparently, the saturated fat of coconut oil is not the “bad” kind that can lead to chronic diseases. So while you still want to exercise moderation, it isn’t as if you’re consuming other kinds of oils and butter. The benefits of coconut oil are numerous – many people call it a “superfood”, saying it can do everything from strengthen your immune system to help encourage weight loss. If applied on the body, it can help with skin and hair problems, including dryness.

So, in honour of learning random things which is possible through slow travel, here is a pictorial guide on how to make coconut oil:

Step One: Find a coconut tree and knock down several coconuts.

Step Two: Once down, use a machete to remove the outer shell until you have the seed part (brown and fuzzy). Chop that open with the machete to reveal the white flesh.

Step Three: Find a coconut scraper tool, place it on a bench, and sit on it. Scrape out the white flesh of the coconuts into a bowl.

Step Four: Add water to the bowl. Once the flesh has soaked for a bit, stir with your hands and start squeezing the coconut bits to get out the “milk”. Strain the liquid into a pot. Let the liquid sit overnight.

Step Five: The next day, you will see that the liquid has separated into two parts. Using a spoon, scoop out the top layer into a cast iron pot.

Step Six: Build an outdoor fire for your cast iron pot.

Step Seven: Place your pot over the fire and stir periodically. You will know when it is ready when the liquid has become clear.

Step Eight: Strain the liquid into a jar. Close tightly until ready to use. Voila! Coconut oil!

*Though, if you are looking to adopt, Sir Branson, I’m available!