I know some of my German friends would roll their eyes at me for saying that Germans love to be naked in public. But I think they totally do. If you’re not familiar with the Freikörperkultur, of FKK (free body culture), chances are you will after spending some time in Germany. And while some would simplify that the FKK movement was born as a form of resistance against the East German regime, nudism in Germany has its roots way further in history. After doing a little research, what stuck with me most is the use of nudity historically as a way for people to free themselves from the religious restriction that has taught people to be ashamed of their body, and from the industrial society. Without clothes, no-one is a factory slave, everyone is equal.
Travel insurance is a little discussed topic around here, but today I thought I would address it because it is a very important one nonetheless. Some people have assumed that, with my carefree approach to many things in life and my generally great health, I would probably not bother buying travel insurance, but in fact you couldn’t be more wrong. In the two and a half years that I have been travelling, I have always, always, always had an insurance. My health is not something that I wish to gamble with, especially not on the road, and you never know what could happen, so please get suitably covered when you travel or you could be very sorry.
If you come here regularly or follow me on my social media, you probably know that yoga takes a very big role in my life. Beyond the fancy headstands and strange contortions I sometimes photograph myself into, yoga established itself as a daily practice in my life when I started backpacking through South East Asia two years ago. Spending long hours in crammed public transport or walking with a heavy backpack for several kilometers ended up taking a toll on my shoulders, back and hips and I found that daily stretching and yoga was the best way to keep my body limber and pain-free. So today is all about yoga for travelers.
I read so many Turkish hammam horror stories online from other travel bloggers that my curiosity got sufficiently piqued: I just had to volunteer myself on the naked altar of the body scrub sacrifice for the greater good of this blog (I know, tough…) – a rather painful and awkward experience by many if not all accounts. Tales of buck-naked merciless scrubs in crowded rooms, with nude masseuses getting to second base with prude North Americans had me sort of worried as I stepped inside Kiliç Ali Paşa Hamami in Istanbul, not really knowing if the tales were true. Thankfully, I quickly learned that the Turkish hammam experience can be a blissful, relaxing and absolutely beautiful one. Without further ado, here’s how I found myself naked as a jaybird with a bunch of other women from all over the world in the center of Istanbul.
1. THE KINDNESS OF STRANGERS IS TOUCHING ME BEYOND WORDS AND HAS 100% RESTORED MY FAITH IN HUMANITY
I have not had to pay for accommodation in over a month and food has been provided for me along the way on several occasions. Whether it be friendly and generous Couchsurfing or Warmshowers hosts, friends met during or before the trip or people at private houses, police and gas stations or temples where I have clumsily asked permission to pitch my tent, the response has always been overwhelmingly positive. I am just blown away by the generosity of everyone that has crossed my path so far. Although I know this isn’t the reason why they are doing it, I cannot wait for the day I can pay it forward when I am in a situation to do so.
I hit the gym most evenings after work before I became a full time traveler. While this was a perfectly enjoyable way to spend a few hours by myself and unwind at the end of a long day (especially on cold winter nights where exercising outside in the dark had absolutely no appeal), it quickly became either impossible or too expensive once I started traveling to far flung destinations. It also made no sense to trap myself in an air conditioned room with all this warm and wonderful tropical nature around me to use as a playground. The answer came organically: yoga.
The (vegan) cavewoman in me always worries about starvation. I worry there will not be enough food and never leave home without a gazillion snacks. As a health-minded person though, juice cleanses have always been on my radar, but thanks to the aforementioned, I’ve always been a little wary of them. I decided to give one a try anyway with the help of the good people at Lifestyle Juicery in Kuala Lumpur.
It’s that time of the year again where you all started to complain on Facebook about the heat rather than the cold! Hurray! Good time to talk about sun protection. Last year, I wrote a post about my favourite sunscreens for traveling, and so today I thought I would present you with an updated version of what sun protection I have been using lately. I placed an order with my favourite online natural product shop iHerb and have been putting to the test five new natural sunscreens in the last few months.
As you might have guessed from the quantity of blog posts that are already piling up here about Bali, we absolutely loved it. A LOT. And for many reasons. The one I’ll be discussing today is jamu, this traditional Indonesian medicinal drink that looks a bit like mango juice and that you might have seen popping up on several warung menus or in baskets on the head of the Jamu Gendong, these women roaming the streets selling their precious potions to the locals every morning.
With its abundance of wellness centers, spas and yoga studios, it’s no wonder Ubud has such a vibrant healthy, raw/vegan, and organic restaurant scene. And if you’ve been following us for some time, you’ll know that this is right up our alley! It is, in fact, one of the many reasons why we lingered around Ubud for so long.
Would you believe me if I told you that ten years ago, I was a chain smoker. I drank my fair share and took the least interest in what I was ingesting, so long as it had a good quantity of butter, sugar and caffeine. Which is all a bit strange because I lived my teenagehood as a dreadlock-sporting, health-conscious, non-smoking vegetarian treehugger. I guess my early and mid-twenties were just a big careless party where I lost sight of myself a little. Don’t get me wrong, it was freaking awesome and I regret nothing.
The island of the Gods.
A feast of colours, culture, beauty and devout faith.
With such beauty all around, it’s no wonder Bali boasts such a rich tradition of beauty and spa rituals whose names alone evoke the most exotic and luscious of pampering experiences: boreh, lurlur, temu-temu, avocado cream bath, spice bath – I could just picture myself in one of Ubud’s secret gardens being scrubbed and massaged with rare oils and exotic spices.
If you caught a glimpse of me in the flesh right now, you possibly wouldn’t believe that I am one of those nutcase who slathers sunscreen on in the dead of the Canadian winter when there’s a snow storm outside. Because, yes, right now I am very, very tan, but this was a long, unavoidable and unintentional process. I am very aware that this is contributing to premature skin aging, but I am taking most precautions (and I say ‘most’ because, unlike Vietnamese women, I am not willing to wear long jeans, socks, gloves, a hoodie, face mask and hat when it’s 40 degrees Celsius outside) and this is one of the few evils I am temporarily ok to deal with for the sake of traveling. I avoid the sun in the middle of the day, wear a hat, slather on a high SPF sunscreen, yet here I am, after four months in South East Asia, looking like an oompa loompa.
The food in Cambodia was nowhere near as good as the food in Thailand, and the vegan options were also a lot more sparse. We had our fair share of rice and noodles with vegetables, and quite a few incidents of unsolicited eggs. One thing I realized early on in Cambodia is that, no matter how vegan something appears to be on the menu, always specify no egg or you might end up with a surprise. That being said, we did have some amazing food in Cambodia. From baguette, to durian, to tofu amok (a mildly spicy, coconut-heavy curry), to mango salad, we had some lovely exotic food – most of the time 😉
Hi! A few weeks ago, we took a cooking class at The Thai Farm Cooking School in Chiang Mai, Northern Thailand. The main reasons why we picked this specific school over all the other ones is because they offered the opportunity to veganized everything on the menu and because their farm is fully organic. We truly had an amazing day and met tons of other fun, food-loving travellers! I can’t recommend this day out enough if you happen to be in Chiang Mai.
Last Sunday I completed my 4th half marathon here in Montreal. I did my personal best, thanks to Hal Higdon’ intermediate training program (which was great, I very much recommend if you’ve been running for some time and feel you’ve reached a bit of a plateau). The weather was perfectly cool and crisp and the fact that Montreal Marathon has just joined the Rock and Roll series made it all the more freaking awesome. I just cannot wait for next year to take another 5 or 10 minutes off my PR.
Here’s a few photos!
Today is the last day of Summer! It was a hot one over here in Montreal! I didn’t have much exciting stuff happening in term of traveling, but I sure made the best out of the outsides (lots of running!). Also my mom visited from Gaspésie for a few days (kayaking, walking, biking, cooking, spa!), I went over to Gaspésie to visit family with Richard (beach, beach beach!) and I also went to Quebec City to visit my sister.
I have a terrible confession to make. I was never fat. There. It’s out. I have no amazing before/after illustrated story on how I became healthy and slim. My story is more one of a lazy-skinny-pot-smoking-couch-potato, I’m afraid; it’s not as golden and glorious. I’ll only say it once (because my mom reads my blog, as if she never knew!).
My amazing not very amazing secret would be this: I am shit scared on getting old. So one day, I decided to kick my little 28 year old butt and get a gym membership. And then I took on running because I thought I needed some form of cardiovascular exercise alongside the weight lifting. I thought it would be fun to get a little fitter before my 30s (before things start pointing southward, you know..)