Freelee the Banana Girl has offered a glimpse into the new ‘off grid’ lifestyle that she claims has not only improved her wellbeing but helped her save thousands of dollars.
Originally from Queensland, the popular vegan YouTuber is currently living in a cabin in a jungle in South America with her partner where they grow their own fruit, weave their own mats and enjoy a minimalist lifestyle.
The blogger has also given up all cosmetics (razors, make up and shampoo) which alone has saved her more than $4,000 in less than 12 months.
In a video posted to her YouTube channel, Freelee shared her ‘day in the life’ which began with a bike ride and an outdoor shower – the showerhead embedded next to one of the trees on their property.
She then enjoyed a jackfruit for breakfast which was grown on the property before she set off mulching and feeding her fruit trees, collecting drinking water from the creek and eating homegrown papayas and bananas for lunch.
Afterwards, she filmed herself eating ‘sweet leaf’, waving palm leaves for mats and roofing and eating some more homegrown fruit and vegetables grown.
’11 years ago I renamed myself Freelee during a waterfast because freedom is what I hold most sacred in life,’ she wrote on Instagram recently.
‘Since then I’ve been shedding the layers that hold me back. I freed myself from the 9-5 slave drive and moved to the jungle.
‘I spend most of my day nude; free of restrictive clothing. I feast mostly on organic fruits and vegetables picked from the land.
‘I shower in monsoonal rains and drink from pristine creeks. I quit an unhealthy relationship and found peace.
‘I haven’t shaved my body hair, dyed my hair, or worn makeup in over six months… I’m feeling freer than ever in life. This is not random good luck! You too CAN create this freedom, and I’m here to inspire you.’
Freelee is aware her lifestyle is viewed as unusual by many, and to those she says ‘being a weirdo is my specialty’.
‘Please don’t ever be afraid to be different, BE afraid to be like everyone else. You are a limited edition,’ she said.
Freelee decided to adopt a jungle lifestyle one morning when she woke up ‘dreading the work day ahead’.
‘I was exhausted with the 9-5 grind. Waking to an alarm, commuting over a hour a day dressed in a restrictive suit, painting my face to “look the part”, binding my feet in high heels, and faking a smile to the public,’ she said.
‘I was sick of working my life away making someone else rich. Maybe the worst, I was bored. I wanted to be turned on and to FEEL something meaningful everyday.
‘That morning I decided to free myself from being a slave. There wasn’t any social media back then so I transitioned by becoming a personal trainer with my own business. Soon after I found veganism and my true passion in life.’
In October, 2017, the YouTuber hit back at male critics who insulted her body hair.
The 37-year-old, who has gained a large following for her often controversial videos, had shared a snap of herself showing off her armpit hair on Instagram.
‘I haven’t shaved my furry armpits in ages now and I love it. Not only that but I no longer shave my legs, arms, face or pubes,’ she said.
‘No more cuts, bumps, rashes, wasting time with hot waxes and painful strips or visiting expensive salons.
‘Best of all I find it really empowering as a female to embrace all my hair and not give a f**k what the brainwashed mainstream thinks.’
She also took to YouTube to explain her decision and why she feels it’s important to embrace her natural appearance.
‘I have been through periods in my life where I haven’t shaved anything and it felt good… but for some reason I came back and started shaving but not anymore,’ she said.
‘I actually feel so liberated and empowered from the simple act of not shaving. When you think about it, it’s actually a big deal not to shave in this suppressive society. I am no longer conforming to a sexist standard set by the media.
‘If I was born with this hair, why am I trying to constantly get rid of it?’
As a result, Freelee’s Instagram page and YouTube channel were flooded with comments criticising her armpit hair and labelling her ‘disgusting’.
‘It’s a strange world we now live in. I was somewhat surprised and disappointed about the amount of insulting comments coming from men on my hairy armpit post,’ Freelee said.
‘This IS a gender issue. Let’s remind ourselves that men HAVE ARMPIT HAIR and don’t have any pressure or expectation to shave it. The good thing is ladies that your natural body hair will repel these superficial men who can’t handle you being your unapologetic self.
‘You will attract a more confident secure man who will appreciate your decision to embrace your authentic self. What a gift!’
Shaving is not the only thing Freelee has given up, with the blogger also ditching all make up, shampoo and beauty treatments.
As a result, she has saved more than $4,000.
‘It’s been almost a year since I’ve dyed my hair, I calculated I’ve saved around $2,000 on that,’ she said.
‘I’ve stopped wearing synthetic eyelashes at around $100 a month. No longer getting eyebrows sugar waxed and tinted around $50 a month. Not to mention trying expensive face treatments in the past (did nothing) or the make up I spent too long applying.
‘I used to put makeup on my red dot between brows, shave my baby hair fluff on my face and cover my freckles. Mostly to ‘look good’ for complete strangers.
‘These human characteristics are only sold to us as ‘flaws that need fixing’ in order to sell us useless expensive f*****g products. Ugh. It was exhausting trying to maintain an unrealistic standard set by fake photoshopped media pics.’
Freelee also recently shared a photo of her ‘hairy legs’ online and said that while she has changed now, she has posted ‘fake posey photos’ in the past to look like the ‘standard desirable female stereotype’.
‘I know many of you don’t follow me on YouTube for female empowerment and authenticity posts but that’s the direction I’m heading, of course veganism ties in nicely,’ she said.
‘This may negatively impact my channel and social media but I just gotta go with my heart. I’m not claiming to be the realest b***h out there but I’m peeling the layers.’