I hate to bring this to you, but Christmas is right upon us, peeps! I know, right? Where does the time go? I’m sure I’m not the only one to think that it is becoming increasingly difficult to buy Christmas presents for the ones around us, with so and so being allergic to this and that, and so and so buying only locally and fair trade. I’m sure a few of you have this lone traveler in your family for which it is impossible to find the right present because she is living out of a small backpack, and on top of that is a vegan. Fret not! I’ve made this handy gift guide for you! Here’s what I think the best vegan-friendly presents are for all budgets this holiday season.
When I decided to move from Asia to Europe last Fall, I didn’t know where I would base myself. Most Working Holiday Visas (also called Youth Mobility Programs) for Canadians end at 30 years old, but a few European countries offer them for people aged up to 35. Upon doing some research, I found that my options were the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland or the Ukraine. I was pretty amazed when I realized the possibilities! I picked Germany based on the amount of people who had told me how much I would love Berlin and how easy it would be to find employment as a non-native German speaker. Want to test the water and visit Berlin first? Here’s how to spend 2 days in Berlin!
A lot of you wander here in search of vegan and long haul travel advice. But some of you (the ones who stick around and support me, I love you all so much!) have a genuine interest in me as a person and how my inner journey unfolds. I owe you a bit of an update… So it’s been six months – SIX! That’s the longest I have stayed anywhere in three years – since I arrived in Berlin from Milan. Obviously, the pace has been very different from the constant backpacking or bicycle touring you’ve known me to do, and the current state of the blog is a reflection of that – I feel like I have nothing exciting for you to bite into. It’s hard for me to share what I am up to for various reasons, and I have been postponing it up until now.
2016 is here! I will be turning 35 at the end of the year, and while this big number makes me LOL in correlation to my level of “adultness”, I can’t help but notice that fear is still holding me back sometimes in life and this is the year I would like to change that. So I made a 35 by 35 bucket list. In this year that will be leading me to my 35th birthday, I have challenged myself to do all the things I have never done, mostly things that absolutely frighten me and that I always told myself I would never do, but also things I have never done for absolutely no reason. I know this list is completely insane and chances are high I will not be able to do even half of it, but listing this and challenging myself to some of these things I hope is a first step in taking actions to ridding me of my fears.
I’m sitting in the departure lounge with tears rolling down my face, staring blankly at my telephone screen, knowing he is also online, right there at the other end. Part of me would like a few last comforting words, but I can’t seem to think of anything to write that won’t make me look like the desperate mess that I am. What is there to say anyway? We’ve said hello and goodbye briefly a few weeks ago – and perhaps that was all a huge mistake – but this really should not be what the magic of the journey of self-discovery I have been on those past months amounts to, in the wake of a 20-month South East Asian whirlwind adventure. Yet, here I am, balling my eyes out and feeling like I’m back to square one.
“If there is no joy, ease, or lightness in what you are doing, it does not necessarily mean that you need to change what you are doing. It may be sufficient to change the how. “How” is always more important than “what”. See if you can give much more attention to the doing than to the result that you want to achieve through it.”
-Eckart Tolle, The Power of Now
It’s taken me realizing that the amount of money I have left in my bank account equals exactly what I owe on my credit card to ring the alarm. I am broke. The travel fund is empty.
As a lot of you know, my boyfriend of the last ten years and I parted ways a few months ago. People seem surprised at how well I have bounced back, but, in all honesty, this was one of the hardest experiences of my life.
Admittedly, sharing my personal life with you here on the blog was a bit of a gamble. I wanted to show the world how happy we were and inspire other couples to travel, but now that everything has fallen apart I feel I owe an explanation. It’s weird for me to have a diary of our relationship in the form of this blog that I have to face every single day. It’s like an unwelcome reminder of what used to be and what could have been. Did the traveling break us up?
My dad took his own life when I was 21. Through the pain, I vividly remember the feeling of relief I felt that he had set himself free, that he had found a way out of a life that wasn’t made for him. Please don’t take this as me saying that suicide is a solution, because it is not. This is just my personal way of coping with the loss of my father. I was and still am happy that he ended his suffering the only possible way. End of story.