I arrived in Italy straight from a hectic holiday in New York City and couldn’t have dreamed of a better place to start my trip than in Parma. A city rich in history, culinary wonders and culture, Parma is also a quaint and gorgeous place to unwind, cure a jetlag while roaming the romantic streets aimlessly, stopping in cafes at random for apero and indulge in a little dolce far niente for a day or two. It’s also home to the gorgeous and relaxing B&B Al Battistero d’Oro where I had the pleasure to stay in the first three days of my Italian holiday.
Ah… New York. Every holiday I spend there is always such a tease. I usually stay just enough time to get a glimpse of all of the magic the Big Apple has to offer, but never enough to content myself with all of the amazing food. Because yes, New York and Brooklyn are two amazing cities with so much to explore, but my favorite part about New York is without a doubt the rockin’ vegan food scene. I was there a few weeks ago and was on a cheeky mission to eat my way through the NYC vegan burger trail, and, although I reckon I did a semi-decent job (and I have the belly flab to prove it), I still couldn’t sample everything. Here’s what I managed to stuff my face with anyway.
I took advantage of being back in my old neck of the wood over the Christmas break to check out what was happening on the vegan food scene around town. I was super excited to see that most of my old faves were still alive and well, and even more excited to discover that there were quite a few brand new comers, making Montreal one of the most vegan friendly cities I’ve stepped foot in. So without further ado, here are ten vegan restaurants I sampled and that you should definitely check out next time you’re in Montreal!
This post has been a long time coming because I still to this day cannot find the right words for it. My original thought was to offer some kind of guide to the places I went, what I ate, what I packed, how I paced myself and so forth. But for some reason, it feels pointless. Besides, during the month and a half that I cycled the 3,000km from Istanbul to Milan, I fully disconnected from any form of online activity, from updating my social media to gathering facts for the greater good of blogging. I was too busy taking in whatever the hell I was putting myself through, absorbing what was thrown at me, the brutal climate change after nearly two years in the heat of South East Asia and physically trying to keep up with a four-year veteran cyclist. Here are a few thoughts I gathered nevertheless.
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.
Run-of-the-mill chain hotels and organized tour groups aren’t so much my cup of tea. As an independent people-person type of traveler who loves supporting small family-owned businesses instead of large impersonal corporations, getting off the beaten tourist path and meeting with locals wherever I go, peer-to-peer platforms such as AirBnB, Couchsurfing, Bla Bla Car or Warmshowers have always been some of my favorite alternative ways of traveling. What’s better than to discover a new place in the company of a local who knows the lowdown much better than a plain old book, takes you to all the magical yet unknown locations and is just so happy to help you discover their home town? One of my favorite things about traveling is meeting with locals and seeing “normal life” through their eyes in the places I visit.
I feel there are about half a million articles about how travel bloggers can afford to travel for seemingly years on end, yet this is the single most commonly asked question I receive, so I thought I would address it once and for all. To be painfully honest, I’ve ran out of travel money a couple of times those past two years. But money comes and goes, and I always seem to find a way to continue, because I make travel my priority. I’ve taken a huge leap of faith on a few occasions this last year, trusting that things would fall into place if they were meant to be, and so far, they have. I understand that living this way isn’t everyone’s cup of tea: my lifestyle isn’t about financial security or comfort, but rather doing what I love and making sure I have the means to do so. And I do that mostly by living extremely frugally. The funny thing is: I am making the least money I ever have and traveling more than ever.
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.
In 2015, I meditated in silence for 10 days with Buddhist monks high on a mountain in Thailand, became a yoga instructor deep in the jungle of India, watched the sun rise over holy temples in Burma, cycled from Kuala Lumpur to Bangkok and from Istanbul to Milan, slept under the stars about a hundred times, visited fourteen different countries and met so many amazing people in the process. 2015 was also a year of great loss and I am ready to start anew.
Wherever you are, may this next year be full of adventures, health, surprises and happiness!
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.