It’s a kinda magic

Occasionally you go somewhere new and it resonates you. I guess that’s why we travel, perpetually in search of that something special.

Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica instantly hit me as somewhere a little big magical. I felt both at home, yet utterly enchanted. I guess it’s a little bit like love.

My newfound friend Leah from LA is huge on energies. I stayed behind in Bocos del Toro, Panama and she messaged me “Kesha, you’ve got to get here – you’ll love it”

She was right. The energy of this place feels good. Earthy. Chilled. Authentic. Beautiful. Coupled with a Caribbean rasta-love and the “Pura Vida” (Pure Life) meaning to enjoy and appreciate the simplicities of life.

And I do. Everything I see makes me smile. I’m pretty sure I haven’t stopped beaming since I arrived. Though I’ve had my fair share of homemade icecreams, chocolate, and fresh veggie juices all under a sun that like me is beaming.

Push bikes are the main means of travel here, complete with a cute wee basket. If you’re on a budget one can suffice for two, though this can be a difficult feat – particularly by night with no street lights.

By both day and night tops aren’t required. A bikini is sufficient, and it’s so hot I’m not one to protest. It’s liberating. Besides, I stopped wearing a bra and make up a long time ago.

Beautiful stretches of surf beaches are surrounded by intense jungle, and down the jungle roads you bike at your own leisure. Always looking for the next swim or cafe stop.

Artisan products and homemade chocolate are proclaimed on café jungle side boards, as well as yoga, massages and surfing.

Today a guy offered me a free surf board for as long as I wanted, in exchange for being his Girlfriend. I thanked him kindly for the generous offer, but said I was happy to pay $10 to hire the board.

Although this is the type of place I could set up camp and chill for ions in the happy vibes of the Pura Vida.

Unfortunately I’ve only got a week left in Central America and felt the itch to keep moving.

I was pondering over a breakfast for one what to do next – the options were endless. Later I ran into an Aussie couple I met on my boat to Panama. They happened to be leaving in 2 days for Nicaragua via some white water rafting. That sounded good to me, did they mind if I joined?

Next stop, somewhere on route. To be continued…20140725-002939-1779660.jpg

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Clean eating travels

I write from my friend’s apartment in Bogota, Colombia reflecting on the gourmand side of my journey thus far. Melbourne, Los Angeles, Bogota have all varied greatly in their cuisines on offer.

In the last 6 months I’ve become a mild healthy eating nutter. I can’t say what exactly inspired such a drastic change, but once I felt the results of healthier eating I was a convert. The one problem with travelling though, is you can’t afford to be a fussy eater nor do you want to miss out on anything delish.

I stayed on the North side of Melbourne, just out of Brunswick, and saw a whole new side of the city. Vegetarism and Veganism are huge. Huge. I felt like every 3rd cafe or restaurant in Brunswick had a Vegan sign adorned with hearts and flashing lights. Raw food was also trending. Whole food stores littered the streets of every suburb I visited, and what pleased me most was all the green smoothies and fresh veggie juices on offer.

Kale rides bikes in Melbourne

Kale rides bikes in Melbourne

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m not sure exactly what inspires such a food movement, but I feel like it was fitting with the locals – there was a rustic, bohemian artist vibe. I visited Ceres an organic veggie farm, market and cafe. Here the children, chickens and even parents seemed to roam free. Unpretentious and happy with the simple things in life. Good coffee, fresh produce, and mismatched woollens.

The Ceres Veggie Garden

The Ceres Veggie Garden

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Los Angeles was a whole different story. It seemed to me, a place of stark contrasts. Diners and juice bars populated the streets. Huge meals typically hamburgers with fries seemed to be the go. There were of course variations, but these too generally involved white bread of mammoth proportions. I ordered the chicken salad once, but it wasn’t worth it. The chicken barely resembled meat, and plain iceberg lettuce isn’t really my thing.

Some lunch options on Venice Beach boardwalk

Some lunch options on Venice Beach boardwalk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then there were the juice bars. There were so many equally delicious smoothies I had difficulty choosing. I was given a full dietary rundown on the fibre, calorie and nutrition of each, and all of course were endorsed by some famous LA nutritionist I’d never heard of. The fact that the smoothies were described as “soooo filling” and the same price as a burger combo, made me wonder if these were in fact intended as liquid meals. Do the masses eat the combos and the rest smoothies? It is possible. My visit to LA was so fleeting, and the city is so vast, I think I missed all the hidden gems.

Smoothie lovers paradise

Smoothie lovers paradise

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On route to Colombia I stopped in Fort Lauderdale, Florida and I found even the airport food was pretty impressive. As soon as I’d gotten off the plane I knew there was a Carribean flavour here. Afro-Carribean and Latinos voices sung out across the airport in Spanish. Menus boasted local flavours and fresh organic produce. This place was heaven to my stomach. I ate breakfast at 430am.

And now Bogota. My first meal was a steak with an egg and tomatoes on top, salad, potatoes and guacamole. It was so huge I couldn’t eat it all, and that rarely happens to me. There is definitely a strong American influence in this Colombian capital but you have the best of both worlds. Fresh fruit juice is huge, local superfood berries are in the rise, and the coffee is strong.. so I’m pretty happy. My Spanish isn’t quite good enough to request any of my usual orders but that’s probably a good thing.

 

Sally Fallon & nutrition myths – A Book Review

Sally Fallon calls her dietary guidebook Nourishing Traditions politically incorrect nutrition.

She looks at how the industrial revolution introduced a wave of processed foods such as refined grains, canned foods, pasterised milk and sugar. Fallon argues with it came the host of illnesses and degenerative diseases that are the norm today.

This may sound like scare mongering to some of you. Especially the cynics on the ‘everything gives you cancer’ these days band wagon, but she makes some valid points.

We are all becoming aware of the fact that our modern diet may not be the best. We know we eat too much sugar and processed foods. We may have noticed a slight intolerance to dairy or gluten. We’re aware of the pesticides used on our fruit and veggies, the hormones pumped into chickens, the artificial way cows produce so much milk. We’re becoming conscious of this, yet our diet is so engrained in our lifestyle that change is hard. And there are too many changes you should make.

Still, consciousness is everything. Being aware. And making changes one small step at a time, as fits in with your lifestyle. For this, Fallon’s Nourishing Traditions provides an excellent starting point based on an analysis of traditional diets. Here’s just a selection of dietary myths she dispels.

MYTHS

1. Butter and fat are bad. This is something I’ve ‘known’ as long as I can remember. I remember my sister as a child getting caught eating butter out of the fridge and being scolded for such fattening behaviour.

Fallon goes into an in depth scientific look at poly-saturated and mono-saturated fat and fatty acid carbon chain lengths… but basically she suggests margarines and vegetable oils are not as healthy as we think. Because of the way they are extracted and used, they oxidise and go rancid creating free radicals and more. Saturated fats are not as bad as we think and in fact have many benefits for the body.

Studies have shown cultures with high fat diets such as the Swiss, Austrians and Greeks have life longeviety. It’s about eating the right types of fats. Ditch the Marg, and Canola oil and go for pure Butter, Coconut oil & Olive oil.

2. All Carbs are equal. Not everything we eat is equal, and not everything in moderation balances. Refined carbahydrates have actually been stripped of the bulk of their vitamins and nutrients. But they are worse than just empty calories — they actually deplete the body of its existing reserves of nutrients.

“Strict abstinence from refined sugar and very limited use of refined flour is good advice for everyone.” These were never in our diets prior to 1600, and our bodies haven’t evolved to be able to digest them properly nor get the proper nutrients we require from them.

3. A spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down. Countless studies are now highlighting the dangers of eating too much sugar. It’s said to be more addictive than Cocaine, and is linked to heart disease, kidney disease, liver disease, Candida, behavioral disorders and the list continues, for like a page…. Just cut the sugar. Where possible.

4. Diet Drinks and Sugar Supplements help with weight loss. Sugar substitutes are just as addictive, and some people actually gain weight from them. They also can create a host of other issues due to their toxic nature. She urges the one thing of all things to start by giving up is soft drinks. Ok so cut the sugar AND soft drinks.

5. Vitamin Supplements are the answer!  They are good for short term, but the best way to intake vitamins is through whole foods. This ensures they are taken as intended, not in isolated or in extremities which can cause it’s own problems.

This is just a few points that struck me from the 674 page book (to be fair there are a LOT of recipes)

I like how she quotes lots of interesting facts and studies to back up what she’s talking about (her reference list is 7 pages!) Some of her ideas may seem extreme, but taken with a pinch of salt they make sense.

She divides food into 3 categories: eat, eat in moderate amounts, avoid like the plague. I like that. Eat everything (most things) in moderation. But it’s all about finding what works for you and your body. “Each person’s ideal diet is usually discovered through a combination of study, observation and intuition, a process designed… to keep him fit and healthy”

I’ll leave you with this quote which is gold.

“The challenge to every individual is to determine the diet that is right for him and to implement that diet in a way that does not divorce him from the company of fellow human beings at mealtimes”

Here’s the review from Barnes & Noble:

“Rather than jumping on the bandwagon of vegetarianism, nonfat dieting, soy mania, or any of the other eating fads that currently inform our sense of “proper nutrition,” this book looks to tradition, to the foods that have provided us with sustenance and strength for centuries, as the basis of a nutritious and health-conscious diet. Provocative but essentially grounded in logic and science, Nourishing Traditions recommends a diet including fats, oils (both in moderation), and whole grains, and warns readers of the dangers of some of the nutritional theories that are currently in vogue”.

Nourishing-Traditions

 

Surfitation

Surfing — meditation for people who can’t sit still.

I had quite a sublime experience. It was the golden hour, the last hour of sunshine where the lighting goes all magical. Dappled lighting fell across the water, playfully casting an iridescent glow.

A concoction of colours bled across the sky, always transient as the next one swept by. The sky turned a violent shade of violet as the blue ‘hour’ approached. Twilight lingered briefly in a period of neither daylight or darkness, and then night set in.

All this time I sat on my board. Calm and still. Enchanted by the smell of coconut surf wax, the taste of salt water, the distant echo of waves and the feeling of the smooth water engulfing me.

My desire to paddle for waves faded, as I become more and more lost in my musings. I just sat and reflected. At risk of sounding cheesy, I felt happiness and peace.

For someone who struggles to sit still, this meditation of sorts was quite the feat. This was my closest experience to meditating previously…

https://keshafay.com/2013/08/31/wise-as-a-toothless-owl-2/

There is something quite magical about surfing, and this is coming from a complete rookie. Being immersed in the ocean, thrown about it it’s mercy. I feel alive… Adrenaline dancing through my body.

And I’ve found my new favourite hour to surf. The fact that it’s also shark feeding hour is pushed far into the deepest recesses of my mind.

photo-55

waiting for the waves…

Why travel?

My brother recently said to me, “Kesha, only young and single people travel — and you are now neither”

This kinda threw me and my pending solo trip to Colombia. Maybe my spinstering 27 year old self should settle down and get a nice white picket fence. But the very thought of this, at this moment in time, has me and my backpack fleeing for distant lands.

Is travel a form of escapism? What drives this incessant desire to travel? Am I merely making the most of opportunities while my life is still flexible? And as my brother so eloquently put it, if I’m always beach hopping with cocktails why not just do it at home?

“We travel, initially, to lose ourselves; and we travel, next, to find ourselves. And we travel, in essence, to become young fools again — to slow time down and get taken in, and fall in love once more” Pico Iyer

Savai'i, Samoa

Savai’i, Samoa

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For me travel is primarily driven by a desire for the unknown. The lead up is often as fun as the experience itself. I hire mountains of library books, and scour travel forums. I obsessively read about places and dream of the endless possibilities.

Yet once I’m there all my planning goes out the window. I like to soak up the atmosphere, and follow my nose and stomach. My curiosity is stimulated. I have nowhere to be but here — and I like that.

And there’s the people you meet. They are always so refreshing. Inspired by life. People discontent with the 9-5, success, and the picket fence. People who dream and yearn for more. These are my people. The dreamers, the soulful and the adventurers.

I can feel so at home on the road, soaking up new stimuli that sometimes I find it hard to return home. I become despondent and restless. But the true art of travelling is to take the experiences, the dreams, the lessons and integrate them back into your world at home. Then travel is not escapism, but a means to enrich our lives.

I love this quote:

“And if travel is like love, it is, in the end, mostly because it’s a heightened state of awareness, in which we are mindful, receptive, undimmed by familiarity and ready to be transformed. That is why the best trips, like the best love affairs, never really end” Pico Iyer

Here’s 27 other reasons to travel. You may even spy my photo featured in the mix.

http://www.gossipviews.com/33922/27-reasons-you-have-the-urge-to-hit-the-road/

kesha

kick the bucket

I’m not really a fan of the term Bucket List. I am into a bit of carpe diem and the so called wanderlust.

Call me a dreamer. Here’s my list of future endeavors…

https://keshafay.wordpress.com/le-bucket/

Congratulations!
Today is your day.
You’re off to Great Places!
You’re off and away!

You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes
You can steer yourself
any direction you choose.
You’re on your own.  And you know what you know.
And YOU are the gal who’ll decide where to go.

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A week without the Book

Day 2: I awoke in a sweat. Why, oh why, didn’t I change my settings so I couldn’t be tagged in photos or statuses? What would the online world be seeing that is beyond my control? I was in a fretful state as I imagined the havoc the online world could be bestowing on me.

Day 3: I was booking a massage for a Producer, reading reviews and accidentally clicked on a Facebook page. Whoops. I may or may not have skim read my notifications.

Day 4: I logged in and temporarily deactivated my account. I got a rush of power. I felt on top of the world. And the feeling of anonymity felt good. I was invincible and invisible.

Day 5, 6, 7 & 8: I was so busy and preoccupied with work I forgot all about Facebook. Actually. In downtime I went and had real conversations with real people. My Instagram trawling may have peaked higher than usual.

Day 9: I logged back on to Facebook. The notifications were of no real interest. I scanned the newsfeed. I began to feel hateful. I’d forgotten how annoying people and Facebook are.

And now? The last few days my Facebook use has been almost back on par with earlier days. I’m a little bit disappointed with myself. But I see Facebook for what it is: a tool of procrastination that alleviates boredom.  I want to spend more of life away from a screen. I’ll endeavor to minimise my clicking on the little blue f.